HBCU Week Disney 2022: Bands bring the bass to Magic Kingdom 

It's not the first time bands have performed at Disney, but the partnership with HBCU Week helps usher in a new era of exposure.

ByTaRhonda Thomas via WPVI logo
Sunday, October 9, 2022
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It's not the first time HBCU bands have performed at Disney World, but the partnership with HBCU Week helps usher in a new era of exposure.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Florida -- HBCU Week brought a new main event to Main Street as some of the best HBCU bands in the land strutted their stuff in the Magic Kingdom.

Sarah Banner made sure she got a front-row view.

"I did get a flight at 6 o'clock this morning," said Banner, who is from North Carolina.

It was important to be there so that she could witness something she never thought she'd see: her daughter marching down Main Street as part of the band with North Carolina A&T University.

"For her to be able to perform in a parade here, she was so overwhelmed," said Banner.

SEE ALSO: Dream come true: On-the-spot scholarships offered during HBCU Week at Walt Disney World

Fellow band parents were reveling in the moment.

"We always bring it. Every time, every stage, everywhere, every field," said Trina Mays-Barton, whose son is in the band.

North Carolina A&T performed Saturday afternoon along with Winston-Salem State University.

Delaware State University and Alcorn State University marching bands performed in the evening. It's part of the festivities marking the first time that Walt Disney World Resort has hosted HBCU Week.

The original event began in 2017 in Delaware. This year, Disney welcomed the event, which includes a college fair, as part of its Disney on the Yard initiative.

"We have never really gotten to acknowledge like we are now, so being able to be here is such a great opportunity," said Ariah Pendleton, a member of the Alcorn State University Marching Band.

It's not the first time HBCU bands have performed at Disney World, but the partnership with HBCU Week helps usher in a new era of exposure of HBCUs.

"Most African Americans that graduate from college, graduate from an HBCU," said Avis Lewis, vice president of Disney on The Yard and an HBCU alum.

Jarius Martin had already planned a trip to Disney World with his family. Finding out it was HBCU Week was a pleasant surprise.

"He gets to see Black excellence," Martin said of his son getting to witness the HBCU bands.

April Williams brought her two grand nieces to see the performance.

"I just wanted them to come and see how important it was about joining an HBCU," she said.

The performance was a treat for all Disney visitors including those who aren't connected to an HBCU.

"I love the unity of all the schools coming here and celebrating with the Disney magic," said Hugo SanMartin right after watching the parade with his family.

With Drum Major Mickey leading the way, kids in the crowd watching the bands got to dream big.

"When I see this, it makes me want to push myself some more," said Kelia Cannon, who plays the trumpet in her high school band.

"Do you think you'll be here one day performing?" we asked.

She simply answered with a confident smile and a "yes ma'am!"

The Walt Disney Company is the owner of this ABC station.