NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Tennessee State University’s (TSU) marching band has won a Grammy, performed for presidents and appeared on national television, but their performance Tuesday night at home in Nashville might be the most memorable yet.
They are called the Aristocrat of Bands. Since 1946, TSU’s marching band has entertained and inspired, and Tuesday, for the very first time ever, they will march onto the stage of the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.
“I know that tonight is going to be something really, really, really special,” said Assistant Director of Bands Larry Jenkins.
Jenkins said he was thrilled to get the call from the Opry that they wanted his students to perform.
“This is very special to be on the Grand Ole Opry stage where so many legendary people have performed, and to leave our mark there as well,” said Jenkins.
TSU’s marching band is already world-renowned and racked up many firsts over the decades. They performed on the White House lawn, marched last year in the Rose Bowl parade, and their album Urban Hymnal won a Grammy for “Best Roots Gospel Album.”
“Of course, time changes, music changes, popular culture changes — so some things change. But there are key elements to our sound, the way we balance the band, to all those things that have really kept us in a special space throughout the years,” said Jenkins. “We have our own sauce.”
The band has been hard at work for weeks fine-tuning that special something for the Opry.
“Oooooh, it is literally going to consume you as the audience,” said Jenkins. “We always say that the next performance is our most important performance, no matter which one it is. So, right now, it’s going to be hard to. We are going to try and figure it out. But, the Opry is going to get the best performance because it’s the next performance.”
Jenkins would not divulge all their performance surprises, but we do know that there will be special guests, including Grammy winners, and it starts at 7 p.m. Tuesday.