Hampton, VA (December 12, 2022) – Hampton University has a history of being first on many fronts: the first HBCU to have full control of a NASA satellite mission; the first and only HBCU to have a proton therapy cancer treatment facility, The Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute (HUPTI) and in November 2023 the Hampton University Marching Force band directors Dr. Thomas L. Jones, Directors of Bands, and Assistant Directors of Bands Mr. Clifford Cox, II, and Mr. Alexander Hamilton, II were selected to participate in the 2023 Macy’s Day Parade. They are the first HBCU band directors to be a part of the Saluting America’s Band Directors Marching Band.
“It’s an honor to not only be selected to this prestigious event as an individual, but for all three of our directors to be selected, it truly underscores the hard work and dedication that goes into The Marching Force. Under President Williams’ leadership, he has inspired our staff and students alike to seek out and achieve these types of goals,” said Dr. Thomas L. Jones. Although Dr. Jones plays 14 instruments, he will most likely play trumpet in this band.
The Saluting America’s Band Directors (SABD) was created by the?Michael D. Sewell Memorial Foundation in 2017 to carry on the legacy of the late Mike Sewell, longtime band director in the Pickerington, Ohio school system. This Foundation project, named Saluting America’s Band Directors (SABD), was conceived as a way to recognize and salute the extraordinary dedication and accomplishments of band directors everywhere—public and private schools at all levels, colleges and universities, the military and community bands.
Joining Dr. Jones, playing Baritone, is Assistant Director of Bands Mr. Clifford Cox, II. “I have a belief that it is important for students to see their directors practice the same craft they are. It’s one thing for them to hear old stories and see old pictures or recordings. It’s another for them to witness it with their own eyes and understand that the dedication to the craft and to musicianship is ongoing,” Cox added.
Rounding out this tremendous trio of musicians is Mr. Alexander Hamilton, II, playing percussion who also serves as an Assistant Director of Bands. “To me, the idea of a band comprised of band directors from across the nation is exciting! Directors are often in the position of curating the performance and rarely a part of the show. When Hampton performed in 2021, we (the directors) had to sprint behind the television production crew to get back ahead of the band and were only able to watch the performance from being tagged on social media. Now, we will have the honor to be on the main stage along with other music educators as performers,” said Hamilton.
The 2023 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will be Thursday, November 23rd in New York City!
About The Marching Force
The Hampton University Band Program currently consists of the Marching Band, the Concert Band, the Symphonic Winds and the Basketball Band. Each of these organizations strive to provide a high level of musical experience for its members, and provides music for various University functions under the umbrella of the Department of Music.
The Hampton University Marching Band, “The Force”, is a grand example of the positive impact of music on student engagement and success. The Force provides experiences which assist students in their ability to assume responsibility, establish a professional attitude, gain self-confidence, develop a humanistic attitude toward life, become proficient in their area of musical specialization, appreciate diverse cultures, and contribute positively to the world around them.
The Force is most often found serving alongside the Hampton University football team on Saturday game days. Fan anticipation is reserved for half time and the battle that will ensue to determine the musical champion of the day. It is a sight to behold and an adventure within itself. The cadence of the Drum Majors leading the march of musicians on a mission to perform at their best and make the audience feel their drive in the depths of their chest along with the beat of the S.T.I.C.K.Y. Situation drum line. The Ebony Fire dance team and S.I.L.K.Y. flag line sway in rhythmic unison, while the crowd watches in awe, mesmerized. They execute so precisely and so effortlessly, that the audience never fully understands the extreme dedication and hard work that goes into making each performance an exquisite experience for the senses of sight and sound.
About Saluting America’s Band Directors
The concept behind the Saluting America’s Band Directors (SABD) project was to create a unique marching band of band directors comprising band directors and music educators from across North America. The band was recruited through advertising, social media, word of mouth and endorsements from well-known leaders in the profession. Renowned band director Jon Waters joined this effort to lead the Band Directors Marching Band.
Hampton University News is produced and published by the Hampton University Office of University Relations, 757-727-5253.