Not a Quiet Place: Exploring Special Collections in Performing Arts at UMD
 

Lift Every Voice

 

We explore the history and culture around bands at Historically Black Colleges and Universities with Steven Cunningham of Grambling State University and Fredara Hadley of The Julliard School. 


Episode 2: Lift Every Voice

 

Download the full transcript (PDF)

[Introduction music]

Narration: Welcome to “Not a Quiet Place: Exploring Special Collections in Performing Arts at the University of Maryland. We’re calling our second episode “Lift Every Voice” and we’re focusing our attention on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. I’m Christina Taylor Gibson, project archivist for the American Bandmasters Association here at SCPA. In the first episode we explored the history of the wind band, tracing it from the end of the military/ town band era in the late 19th century through the 20th century. While creating that episode, we spoke to Steven Cunningham, Assistant Band Director at Grambling State University. He described a music and band culture that we felt needed more exploration, so we used that interview to start today’s conversation.

In this episode we’ll trace our research process, beginning with the Grambling State University Tiger Marching Band and broadening out to marching bands at HBCU’s, and the role they play in U.S. cultural life. To get some context, we spoke with Fredara Hadley, an ethnomusicology professor at the Julliard School. She is working on a book about the way HBCU music culture has influenced U.S. music. She is also a graduate of two historically black institutions, Florida A&M University, where she received her undergraduate degree, and Clark-Atlanta University, where she received a masters in African-American studies. As always, if you’d like to find a transcript of the show or find some extra information about it, please visit our website lib.umd.edu/scpa-podcast

Let’s begin with the Grambling State University Chant Performed by the Tiger Marching Band. Following the chant, we’ll hear Dr. Cunningham describe Grambling’s performative style.

[music]

SC: Well, here at Grambling, we really focus on showmanship. So we do show styles. So we high step, we play very popular music, not just from today but from the old days. We play all types of styles, hip-hop, gospel, pop, whatever sounds good we play it. And we dance while we play during our halftime shows. 

So our band members are very adept at doing multiple things at once while playing and sounding good. So it’s definitely a unique style that we started here and other bands have emulated that but we’re definitely the originators of that. 

Narration: Online I found a 2017 performance of Bobbi Brown’s “It’s My Perogative” from a game with Jackson State. “It’s My Perogative” occurs approximately halfway through a medley of popular songs arranged especially for the band. As the band enters, you can hear a key piece of what Fredara Hadley calls “swag”—a call out first to the drum majors and then to the whole band over the loud speakers, as the band begins a complicated interlocking diamond marching pattern on the football field. We’ll hear the opening segment first and then the Bobbi Brown number.

Although the repertoire Grambling State performs is similar to other large HBCU bands, their sound and performance aesthetic is distinct. The similarities include a repertoire pulled from current and classic popular music, a military-like uniform, and the incorporation of movement in performance.

But the details within that framework vary quite a bit. Grambling state, for example, favors a bright, brassy sound with a lot of syncopation and a large percussion section. They make a point of moving while holding their instruments, sometimes dropping to the ground and rising up again while playing to show off the members’ dexterity. Dr. Hadley explained how and why these regional distinctions arise.

FH: So, in terms of context, I think a couple points are important. When we talk about the HBCU bands that tend [to have marching bands]. There are a hundred and something HBCUs, right? And not every HBCU has a band number one. Not every HBCU has a marching band tha routinely are a part of these conversations, right? And my working theory around why that is is most of the time when we’re talking about HBC bands we’re talking about them at public, large land grant historically Black colleges. So that would include Grambling, Southern, Alabama A&M, Alabama State, Tennessee State, Prairie View A&M, FAMU. Um. Exceptions to this are schools like Bethune Cookman which is a private, smaller HBCU, but I think what catapults them back into this conversation is that they’re in Florida, which is such a kind of marching band rich state. Other schools: Norfolk State, which is a public university, North Carolina A&T, South Carolina State, Savannah State, these are HBCUs whose bands are often in these conversations. And I say that that’s important for a couple reasons, one, because those schools are public, they tend to be bigger, which means, one they’re more affordable for students who are in-state, and two, it makes it possible to build a large-scale band, right? And so Morehouse College, Howard University also have very good bands. But because of the size of the school and the scope of athletic programs, and the prominence of those athletic programs at public HBCUs in particular, I think there’s something about that that helps to bolster the band programs that accompany and exist alongside those athletic departments. That’s my working theory around that. And why I think the kinds of HBCUs that have these bands are important.

The second part is more directly to your questions musicologically. These land grant institutions, very likely often have national reaches, international reaches, in terms of their student population and where the students come from. But they also have very deep penetration in the states themselves. And so a Grambling, a Southern, a North Carolina A&T, have lots of students from those specific states. The cities and the small towns in those states. Same is true for FAMU. FAMU has students from all over the world, but it has very deep penetration in the state of Florida because it’s an affordable school option for state students,

Narration: Steven Cunningham reported a similar set of phenomena at Grambling State, with both local and national influences affecting the band’s recruiting activities and the dissemination of their style. A big part of Dr. Cunningham’s job involves recruitment. He maintains social media sites for the band to communicate with alumni, to attract new members, and to continue the band’s relationship with its audience. During the off-season, like other faculty and staff, he travels around the country to talk with potential students.

SC: “So we audition kids from all over the United States via Skype. And sometimes people, they come onsite and audition. And we definitely travel to different parts of the country. I was in Washington, D.C. last year. It was the HBCU recruiting fair there. I think it was at Alfred Street Baptist. Near Mount Vernon Metro? 

So I was there. It was like. They like to send us to like our home areas to recruit. So I’ll go to D.C. and Virginia. I’m from Virginia originally. And we’ll just go from there. And I know in December, I’m going to Chicago to recruit.

So, the recruiting thing is huge. It’s very much like college football. You have to retain, first and foremost. You have to retain your members. And then you have to consistently recruit for the next class.” 

Narrator: At the same time that this active recruitment is going on from year-to-year, the Grambling State Band is a central node in a network of Louisiana-specific musical influences. Most of the band’s faculty and staff, with the exception of Dr. Cunningham, are former band members. Before being hired at Grambling State, many of them taught for several years in the local school systems. Many more band members remain part of the local musical culture. That explains why so many of the HBCU bands, regardless of their widespread recruitment activities, reflect local music cultures. Dr. Hadley used the example of Howard University’s band playing Go-Go music. 

FH: And that makes a lot of sense, because Howard exists in Washington, D.C. I would expect the same if you checked out Bowie State, which is right in P.G. County, as well. And so I think it nods [to local culture]. And you get the same with Southern and Grambling drawing on the musical cultures of Louisiana, which is very specific. That brass band tradition. Even the instrumentation of those bands in particular, and being so brass heavy? I think you can draw lines to that Gulf Coast region and how long-standing those syncopated brass bands existed as a part of community practice in those areas? In a way that they didn’t even exist in other states. Like my home state, of Florida? And so I think that’s part of what people think about in style is, you know.

The other part I would add to that is colleges, HBCUs in particular, are the manufacturing center for the Black professional class. And there’s a sort form of elitism that comes alongside that. But what HBCUs do is they serve as this bridge, this musical bridge between what the institution stands for in terms of sort of 20th century notions of racial uplift and progress and, you know, betterment, all of these kinds of things. The band, however, still gets down and dirty in a way that both Black professionals and the Black communities in which these schools exist can still recognize themselves and enjoy themselves in a way that might not be so easy for orchestra performance, a symphonic band performance, or a choral performance, and so I think all of that provides both the necessity and the desire for HBCU bands to constantly re-affirm, both stylistic, technical stylistic choices, like he mentioned “we don’t put our instruments down.” Some bands do. They put their instruments down, and they get back up and dance. Other bands, they’re like, we’re not letting go. How they hold their bodies when they march, certain marching techniques, I think about FAMU’s death march technique and all of those things are idiosyncratic to the schools from which they come. And of course there is all sorts of borrowing that exists across HBCUs. But then bands become very known for those particular stylistic choices as well as how they tap in to both local and regional musical traditions.

Narrator: You can easily hear and see the style difference of various HBCU bands. We’ll play three short examples for you back-to-back to illustrate the point: the first is Howard University, then FAMU, and finally Grambling. All three have a “show style” but each cultivates a slightly different sound. The three bands differ in the balance of instruments—with Grambling making use of large brass sections in the brass band tradition, and others emphasizing percussion or woodwinds. They also employ different types of syncopation. Some arrangers tend to ask the performers to anticipate the beat a little bit and others to hang back. Usually degree and type of syncopation patterns reflects the local dance and performance style. Every element changes slightly depending on the song, the arranger, and the situation, so to really get a sense for local difference we’d have to listen to a lot of performances, but this will give a quick idea.

The first excerpt you’ll hear is Howard University’s band playing  “Pretty Girls” originally by Backyard Band, a go-go group. The second example is Florida A&M University, or FAMU doing Sounds of Success by S.O.S. Band. And the last piece is Grambling State playing “You Know I Ain’t Scared” by Wnc Wop who is from Baton Rouge

[music]

Narrator: The visual element expands the number of local differences. If you want to see these bands in performance, check out the links on our webpage. You don’t have to see the bands though to get a sense for the precision and musicianship required to execute performances at this level. Getting that favored sound and look requires a great deal of rehearsal and inculturation.

Most years, band members arrive onto campus early before the academic year begins to rehearse. Dr. Hadley told me that the music made in early fall rehearsals was part of the soundscape of fall—one that she has missed when on campuses without a marching band. As a result of all these efforts, students do come from throughout the country, with all different expectations and require what Dr. Hadley calls a “period of indoctrination” to become a whole ensemble. As Dr. Cunningham told me,

SC: “It’s varied. We have some kids that come in from corp style high school so they’re traditional roll on their feet. They come in and they have to learn a whole different style of  marching. We have a lot of kids that did show style in high school, but they didn’t do. They might. They didn’t march the Grambling style. There’s different styles like you see at Southern, Jackson State. We all have different styles of marching, but we’re show style.”

Narration: Understandably, bands at HBCUs become marching advertisements for the institutions they represent. In addition to performing at campus football games these bands participate in both local and national parades, they compete at Battle of the Bands, they appear in televised Bowl games, and on rare occasions, perform in concert halls or on movie screens. Pop culture references, including Drumline, a 2002 movie, and Homecoming, Beyonce’s 2019 concert documentary featuring her 2018 performance at Coachella, have explored the centrality of HBCU marching bands in Black cultural life.

[clip from Drumline]

Narration: In some ways the public-facing part of the Marching Band’s role reminds me of other music organizations on HBCU campuses. Specifically, it recalls the history of the Fisk Jubilee Singers, choral group founded in 1871. They performed spirituals in beautiful concert arrangements throughout the U.S., and, eventually, throughout the world, earning a great deal of money and prestige for Fisk University. Their success became a model in so many ways. Most immediately, it inspired many post-Civil War HBCUs to form similar ensembles, which also became public-facing, fund-raising arms of their home institutions. This, in turn, cemented a method and an image for Black uplift that wends its way through everything from W.E.B. DuBois’s Souls of Black Folk to Jessye Norman’s album releases. The Fisk Jubilee Singers still perform this music. Here is a 2019 performance of “Wade in the Water”

[music]

Narration: As you can hear in the example, there are significant stylistic differences between the formal choral style of the Fisk Jubilee Singers, and the popular, interactive quality of a Marching Band half-time show. Earlier we heard Dr. Hadley talking about how the marching bands get “down and dirty” – it would be difficult to describe concert spirituals in this way. In part the differences arise out of their separate histories. Here’s Dr. Hadley again

FH: Yes. By and large, you have choral ensembles before you have bands. Okay. You have choral ensembles because Fisk becomes so incredibly successful after their founding in 1871 that just about every HBCU is kind of being birthed in that 19th century moment, and into the early 20th century, they’re also forming choirs that do arranged spirituals. So Hampson Singers, you know, Morehouse Glee Club, so that’s one of the first keys to success. And we have to remember that HBCUs, although founded largely with White philanthropic money and state governments, they’re not funded in the same way their White counterparts are. And so there’s a tremendous amount of money that’s needed to be raised just to kinda keep the thing going. And so the fact that Fisk is able through the Fisk Jubilee Singers to find an early solution to this, that’s—People see that as a sure-fire method. Okay, this is what we can do.

At the same time, you have, you know, generations of conservatory trained, African American musicians and composers graduating from Oberlin, NEC, later on what would be the Julliard School, um. And where can they work? Other than Historically Black Colleges? And so, on the choral side especially, from the very beginning, you have really high quality. The finest teaching talent, musicians that you can find to create these ensembles. And so, they are incredibly successful. And they’re successful because they’re able to take, you know, these folk, these plantation melodies, these folk spirituals and turn them into arranged spirituals and perform them in front of predominantly White audiences to raise money.

Almost from the outset, bands have a different mandate. And so while the function or the impact that they have is being public facing or performance ensembles on behalf of these small Black colleges scattered throughout the South is the same, their audience and who they are trying to speak to is different. Right? And so, I think the first HBCU band is Tuskegee’s in the 1890s? And then, but again, as the questions you pose point to, there’s this swirling of influences for HBCU bands, that cut across military bands, that cut across the kind of community bands that grow out from that, as well as minstrel bands. And so you see folks like W.C. Handy at Alabama A&M thinking about how to—in the early 1900s—how to incorporate not just standard band repertoire, military band repertoire, but infusing, as early as then some of the popular tunes from his repertoire as a band leader of a minstrel troop. And so all of that says that—we aren’t—consciously or not, it places HBCU bands on a trajectory to speak and communicate or entertain the populist first as opposed to the donor class or as opposed to White audiences. And I think that teasing out, that nuance, that historical nuance is really important.

Narration: There are many threads to follow in what Dr. Hadley says here. There is the difference in timing—with the choral ensembles arising almost immediately and the marching bands following by several decades. And there is the difference in audience and approach—with HBCU marching band’s gravitating toward the popular and accessible while the choral ensembles produce art music. But there is also a wider set of influences and pressures. And here’s where we need to pause for a moment and talk about sources and stories.

Dr. Hadley mentioned W.C. Handy. He taught music at Alabama A&M for two years, from 1900 to 1902. He came to Alabama A&M after several years working in a minstrel show. His reasons for leaving Alabama A&M were probably both aesthetic and financial—he noted the orientation toward classical music rather than the popular music he played and he estimated that he could make more money as a performer and independent band leader than as a member of the Alabama A&M faculty. His story indicates that, while the bands were playing popular music early in their history, they did not yet occupy the central place on HBCU campuses that marching bands do today. The performance styles familiar in contemporary marching bands probably arose during the mid-20th century—but we’ll come back to that part.

First a little more about Handy. His most successful period came after he left Alabama A&M and turned to music publishing and recording. From 1905 until his death in 1958, Handy wrote, published, and recorded the blues. The most famous of these, St. Louis Blues, The Memphis Blues,  and the Beale St. Blues became jazz standards and created the musical and lyrical formula for early Rhythm and Blues and Rock and Roll. You haven’t lived until you’ve heard Louis Armstrong playing the St. Louis Blues, which he recorded many times. This is the 1929 version.

[music]

Narration: If you are wondering how this ties into the promised discussion of sources and stories here’s your answer: In addition to serving as a self-appointed “Father of the Blues” Handy’s publishing and recording enterprises sit right at the center of discussions about how we know what we know and who authors that knowledge. Handy was very open about the collaborative nature of his compositions. By his own account he collected songs and ideas as he travelled throughout the South, drawing on a rich oral music tradition. He was not so much the inventor of blues as the recorder of the blues. Handy’s practice was entirely in keeping with the day, and we can hardly blame him for thinking of attribution in such a way. But because he didn’t list the names of the performers, improvisers, and composers who contributed to his publications and recordings, there are holes in our knowledge about where blues comes from and how it developed that remain difficult to fill.

The structural problems that prevent a satisfying history of the blues are not limited to a single person or genre, and critiques about silences in the archives are as loud as the absences themselves are quiet. The research, writing, and producing of this episode illustrated for us some ways in which structural bias have affected our repository and the known histories of bands more widely. Although one of the strengths of UMD’s collection is band music, particularly college and university bands, we have very little material documenting the history of HBCU marching bands. So, like many other repositories in historically White institutions, the narrative found most easily in SCPA is about White band leaders and their organizations.

The problem is sufficiently widespread that there aren’t good histories about music-making in and around HBCUs. I asked Dr. Hadley about her current book project—did she have a thesis or an outline yet? This was her response.

FH: Well, I can say this. When I was doing my dissertation research, I was really blown away that there was no book that attempted to just talk about the impact of music of HBCUs on American music culture. Those ideas don’t. Like, there’s not a book about HBCU bands! Period.

CTG: Correct. It is really meager.

FH: That is madness to me! For now we’re talking about the high level of impact they’ve had since the 1950s. That’s sixty going on seventy years ago and there is no definitive text about that. I’m not writing THAT book, but somebody should. But I’m really interested in just giving broad strokes of the choral traditions, the band traditions, but also, how students, when they come to these campuses choose and make music on their own that become their own genre, that become their own musical worlds and all of that. I just feel very strongly that that has not. That that deserves some sort of nod, to what HBCUs have contributed to musical culture in general so that’s what I’m attempting to do in the book. And the thesis is simply that it matters. It matters—both the sanctioned musical activities that happened on these campuses as well as the innovation that comes from a ground-up level with the students themselves. All of that matters to how we think of American music writ large.

[music]

Narration: In a much more modest way this podcast episode is like Dr. Hadley’s book project: it is an attempt to start a new conversation and to broaden existing conversations about how we define and study Bands because we agree with her: it matters. We do own one small collection donated by William P. Foster, the former Director of Bands at Florida A&M University. His career as represented in this collection illustrates some of the innovations seen in HBCU bands during the second half of the 20th century.

One document in our collection is a double sided sheet of paper listing Dr. Foster’s Innovations and first performances. It is not a set of repertoire, but technical descriptions of FAMU’s performative style. For example number 7 reads “Three dimensional animation of formations. Eagle formation-body forward and back, wings flap up and down.” and number 20 is “Rhapsodic fanfare made up of excerpts of music from the halftime show music.”

As you can hear, Dr. Foster’s language and attitude has the swag that we were talking about earlier, but his facts are right. Foster did transform the FAMU Marching Band, making it into an ensemble with a national profile through frequent television and media appearances. In this recording from 1988 you can hear their robust sound and a simple YouTube search will call up the Marching 100 doing their famous “death march”.

[music]

Narration: Although there are distinct style differences, the movement from a smaller mostly local ensemble to a large media-friendly enterprise was a trend for many HBCU marching bands in the mid 20th century. At Grambling State, for example, Dr. Foster’s contemporary was Conrad Hutchinson. Like Foster, Hutchinson increased the size of the ensemble, scheduled regular, rigorous practices, and purposefully elevated the position of the band both within the University and beyond it. Here’s Steven Cunningham on Dr. Hutchinson’s legacy.

SC: Sure. The Tiger Marching Band started in 1926, that’s when it first began. It started off as a small band, as you can imagine. They played for small crowds. Football games. And Conrad Hutchinson actually came in, I believe it was 1952. So he. Conrad Hutchinson is the legendary band director here. When people think of Grambling State, they think of Conrad Hutchinson. The performing arts center that I’m in right now is named after him. So he’s the one that started. He’s the innovator of the show style. And they played for Super Bowls, they played for the first Super Bowl. And they played all over the world. Japan, etc. And it was just big. Especially as an HBCU, having that opportunity to lay that framework, like it doesn’t matter, like you can go wherever.

And I think they had a lot of support back then. It’s just. You know people couldn’t wait to see the band. They wanted to see them! And they were flying all over the place. You know in my eyes, it was like they were celebrities and they were in college. Yeah, that’s--this is what I walked into.

Narration: Dr. Hutchinson and Dr. Foster were leading their ensembles around the same time that academic institutions were becoming the center of band music performance throughout the U.S., as we documented in episode one, and I doubt that’s a coincidence. It makes sense that the modest college and university band programs emerging around the turn of the 20th century would grow with their home institutions. The demand for a college education after WWII was enormous, first driven by the GI bill and then by the baby boomers coming of age. Although Black people did not have the same access to GI bill benefits at nearly the same rate as their White counterparts, the influx of students of all colors helped institutions of higher learning across the country. School sports become enormously popular forms of entertainment. And naturally school band programs receive increased funding and attention. Meanwhile town bands, minstrel bands, and professional bands diminished in stature and personnel.

As a result, many band programs are able to create large, public-facing marching ensembles and elite art music wind ensembles. Both types of ensembles share a history rooted in the performance of the town, minstrel, and professional bands. And many musicians play in both marching and wind band ensembles, even though the core repertoire associated with the marching band is different from that found in the wind band. Scholarship on bands of all types is growing, but there remain significant absences that matter to “American music writ large” as Dr. Hadley stated.

On September 6, a few days after I interviewed Dr. Hadley, I saw an article on the front page of the Washington Post Style section that illustrated her point. Titled “Patriotism remixed, yet still rings true,” the article led with information about the National Football League’s decision to play James Weldon Johnson’s “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” before each of their games. That move nods to a long-standing HBCU tradition of playing both “Lift Every Voice” and the Star-Spangled Banner before every game. Remember Beyonce’s tribute to HBCU bands at Cochella? The opening medley to that concert included her own version of “Lift Ev’ry Voice,” a tribute to the HBCU practice.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Rn4Xh99dd4

FH: And I think it’s really important to think about how those things exist in tandem. And that happens at a lot of programming at HBCUs. You often have “The Star Spangled Banner,” maybe “America the Beautiful”, you’re always gonna have “Lift Every Voice and Sing”. Like there was a tweet by one of my favorite sports journalists a couple months ago. And she said you know something like, and she did not go to an HBCU but she said something like “I don’t know any Black people who know all three verses for ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’” but then her mentions were full of people who were like, “No, I know it” and all of them learned it at HBCUs, right? And so, HBCUs are fascinating institutions because they are often—They’re segregationist projects at their core. They exist because people thought that Black people should have a certain kind of education but they did not think that they should go to school with White people. Right? So I think that part is important to keep in mind. So it’s born out of this notion that Black people are second class citizens. They’re not good enough or we don’t want you integrated with other—with White students at these institutions. And so that’s always going to make, you know, the relationship as if it’s not already fraught, um, between Blackness and ideas of nationalism complex.

Narration: Dr. Hadley’s observation about the tension between the whole idea of the HBCU and concept of the nation ties in really well with our observation of our own repository and the way in which it provides the tools to tell certain kinds narratives and not others. The answer to this problem is complex too, but it is worth solving because we won’t fully understand our music and ourselves until we look at the whole body of influences and counter influences. Episode 1 and 2 of this podcast are not separate stories, but really two pieces of a much larger narrative about who we are as individuals and how we relate to each other as a nation. It is a story that we are still writing, that we hope our listeners are writing for themselves and those they know. To that end, we’ve provided a list of resources on our webpage, please check it out and let us know what you think. You can find it at lib.umd.edu/scpa-podcast

The webpage was designed by Natalie Salive. Our producer is Ben Jackson. I’m Christina Taylor Gibson. You’ve been listening to Not a Quiet Place. Please join us for the next episode on the Minnesota Consortium for Black American Composers.

Documents from the FAMU and Grambling State Subject Files, Special Collections in Performing Arts, UMD

 

 

 

Selected Bibliography

More Information on the Web:

Links to Music

Articles and Books

  • Caramanica, Jon. “Beyoncé is Bigger than Cochella.” New York Times, 16 April 2018.

  • Dunkel, Mario. “W.C. Handy, Abbe Niles, and (Auto) Biographical Positioning in the Whiteman Era.” Popular Music and Society 38, no. 2 (May 2015): 122-39.

  • Gussow, Adam. “W.C. Handy and the ‘Birth’ of the Blues.” Southern Cultures 24, no. 4 (Winter 2018): 42-68.

  • Hadley, Fredara. “Beyoncé’s Cochella Set Was a Landmark Celebration of HBCUs and Southern Black Culture.” Billboard. 18 April 2018.

  • Handy, W.C. “I Would Not Play Jazz if I Could.” DownBeat: The Great Jazz Interviews. New York: Hal Leonard, 2009. 13-14.

  • Handy, W.C. Father of the Blues: An Autobiography by W.C. Handy. Edited by Arna Bontemps. London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1957.

  • McCluskey, John Michael. “‘This Is Ghetto Row’: Musical Segregation in American College Football.” Journal of the Society for American Music 14, no. 3 (2020): 337–63..

  • Seroff, Doug. “‘A Voice in the Wilderness’: The Fisk Jubilee Singers’ Civil Rights Tours of 1879-1882.” Popular Music and Society 25, no. 1-2 (Spring-Summer 2001): 131-177.

  • Thomas, Dale A. A Band in Every School: Portraits of Historically Black School Bands in Florida. Tallahassee: Harmonie Publishing, 2008.

  • Tirro, Frank. With Trumpet and Bible: The Illustrated Life of James Hembray Wilson. Hillsdale: Pendragon Press, 2015.

  • Ward, Andrew. Dark Midnight When I Rise: The Story of the Jubilee Singers, who Introduced the World to the Music of Black America. New York: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 2000.

  • Ware, David N. “Interviews with Sixteen Band Directors at Historically Black Colleges: Their Attitudes, Opinions, and Methods.” Lewiston: Edwin Mellen Press, 2008.