Marching Band History

10 On The 10th
2011 Rose Parade Videos & Photos
"MSM" Alumni Band Association
Campus Echo
Contact and Feedback
EagleLand HBCU Merchandise
Honda BOB Web Site
NCCU Marching Band History
Marching Band Recruitment
NCCU Alumni Association
NCCU Athletics
NCCU Campus Telephone Directory
NCCU Department of Music
NCCU Eagle Club
NCCU Eagles Fan Forum
NCCU Eagles Networking
NCCU Jazz Studies
NCCU Ticket Office
NCCU Web Site
Officers and Staff
PayPal On-Line SMBC Donations
Purpose & Mission
SMBC Calendar of Events
SMBC Community Links
SMBC Fundraising Projects
SMBC Information Bulletin Archives
SMBC Newsletter
SMBC Photo Album
SMBC YouTube Video Channel
"SMBC" Tee Shirts
The 5th Quarter
The Triangle Tribune
WNCU 90.7 FM Radio

NCCU "Marching Sound Machine"

Click on Photo To View Video Tribute To The "MSM"

Brief History of The NCCU Marching Band and Directors

North Carolina College at Durham’s first marching band was organized by Dr. Stephen J. Wright, who later became president of Fisk University, during the 1938-39 school year. At that time, Dr. Wright was a member of the NCC Education Department. The first group is believed to have numbered only about twenty-five students.

Prior to Wright’s formal organization of a band at North Carolina College, Miss Carolyn Glover had organized ensembles every year, beginning in 1933. This group consisted of students who owned their instruments and were music lovers. They usually played for receptions and campus cultural programs and events.

In the first fifty years of operation, North Carolina College had only four directors:
Mr.Wesley Howard, Dr. Joseph Mitchell, Mr. Hershel McGinnis and Mr. Richard Jones. Under Jones, the college band enjoyed great success. Aside from their halftime performances at all of the college’s football games and other campus events, the band made many outside appearances, including the1960 North Carolina Governor’s Inauguration and the much talked about performance on October 29, 1961, before more than 56,000 fans during the halftime of the New York Giants-Dallas Cowboys game at Yankee Stadium.

In spring 1962, RCA-Victor Recording Company recorded the band and college choir in High Fidelity. The North Carolina College Alumni Association distributed the record.

From its humble beginning, the band grew from 25 to 120 pieces under the direction of Richard Jones and won national acclaim as a precision marching group and a well balanced musical organization.

Following the tenure of Mr. Richard Jones, succeeding directors continued the band’s tradition of excellence. NCCU Alumnus Dr. Joseph Mitchell became director and served the university for five years. Mr. Willie Williams followed Mitchell as director. After his tenure, Joseph Mitchell became acting band director for one year until Dr. Jerry Head joined the faculty. For eight years another alumnus, Mr. Xavier Cason, served as director. His successor was Ms. Robyn Reaves, the first female band director in the CIAA. Further attestation to the excellence of the band is that for the last five years, the group has been invited to perform at the Honda Battle of the Bands Showcase in Atlanta, GA.


1948 - 1949

Click on Photo to View The NCCU Marching Sound Machine Performance in the 2011 Rose Parade

NCCU 2011 Rose Parade Review!

North Carolina Central University’s Marching Sound Machine band was a surprise selection for the 2011 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif. Under the directorship of Jorim E. Reid, the Band participated in the famous 2011 New Year’s Day Rose Parade, considered to be one of this country’s triple crown of marching band honors.

“There is Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the John Philip Sousa Foundation’s Sudler Trophy for most outstanding college or university band, and the Tournament of Roses Parade,” said Reid. “The Rose Parade was in my 15-year plan. I didn’t intend to submit an application for another seven years!”

But Reid’s success in producing trailblazing performances, particularly at the band’s exciting appearances at the annual Honda Battle of the Bands in Atlanta, Ga., gained the attention of Rose Parade officials. They approached him and asked him to apply!

For the Tournament of Roses Parade, bands are selected based on their musicianship, marching ability, and showmanship. Reid emphasizes musicianship above all else. “It’s all about their skill as musicians,” said Reid. “We don’t want to blast our audience but rather, engage them with a high quality listening experience.”

Thank you for your support!

2011 Tournament of Roses Parade: "Building Dreams, Friendships and Memories"

NCCU Spirit "Riff"




Dr. Stephen J. Wright, an accomplished musician who had begun his professional life as a high school music teacher in Centreville, Md., and later served as a high school principal in Upper Marlboro, Md., had become an assistant professor of education at North Carolina College in Durham, a post he secured, he always maintained, because the college (now North Carolina Central) wanted him to start a band.

NCCU Marching Band Directors

1938 Stephen J. Wright - Organized first formal band

1944-1956 Wesley I. Howard

1956-1957 Dr. Joseph T. Mitchell

1957-1958 Herschel McGinnis

1958-1967 Dr. Richard H. L. Jones

1967-1971 Dr. Joseph T. Mitchell

1971-1975 Willie J. Williams

1975-1976 Dr. Joseph T. Mitchell

1976-1989 Dr. Jerry Head

1989-1997 Xavier L. Cason

1997-2001 Robyn L. Reaves

2001- 2014 Jorim E. Reid

2014 - Thurman D. Hollins

In Preparation For Our Highest Ambitions, Our Duty Is To Love Each Other In Fellowship As We Foster, Attain, And Strive For:

The 20 Principles
Marching Sound Machine

1968 - 1969 Band Photo
Click On Photo For (NCCU) Honda Battle of The Bands Photo Galleries

View NCCU MSM Band History Yearbook Photos

Click On Photo For Some Old School Yearbook Photos

“NCCU Victory Hymn”

Ring dem bells on N. C.’s campus, Let them ring as ne’er before!

Bow down school now all together, We will bring the vict’ry home.

We will bring the vict’ry home where ever we may roam.

‘Neath the sloping hills and verdant green we will bring the vict’ry home.

("Fighting Eagles")

We are the mighty Eagles

Our Majesty will soar high

There's victory for you and me

When we show our Eagle Pride.

Fight! Fight!

Our mighty campus we have here

Our spirits will reign free

For we are the mighty Eagles

Dear ole NCC!!!!


"Dear Old N.C.C."

Lyrics by Annie D. Shepard

The sloping hills, the verdant green,

The lovely blossoms' beauteous sheen

Surround our college proud and gay,

Where wave our colors, Maroon and Gray.

What matters it how far we roam?

Our thoughts will oft return to home,

And hearts will e'er be true to thee,

Our Alma Mater, N.C.C.

Refrain :

Then Rah! Rah! Rah! For our colors so gay!

Dear old N.C.C.'s Maroon and Gray;

Thy sons and daughters will honor thee,

Dear old N.C.C.

Mrs. Annie Day Shepard


“N.C.C. Loyalty: A Song”

I. Ah, Dear Alma Mater, our voices we raise, To North Carolina our song of grateful praise,

For all she has done and for what she will do, Our lives will be brighter, our aims be more true.

So North Carolina, we’ll e’er be true to thee; North Carolina, homeland of N.C.C.

Of all the colleges, however they’re blest, Our dear old N.C. College, We love, we love the best.

II. Ah, Dear N.C. College, our joy and our pride, There’s none other like thee in all the world beside;

God grant that thy sons and thy daughters may be Both honest and noble, ever loyal to thee.

Yes, North Carolina, we’ll e’er be true to thee; North Carolina, homeland of N.C.C.

Of all the colleges, however they’re blest, Our dear old N.C. College, We love, we love the best.


North Carolina, yes, we’ll be true to thee; North Carolina, land where we long to be;

North Carolina, we’ll live and die for thee; North Carolina, the home of N.C.C.


C. Grant O’Kelly wrote and copyrighted the words and music to “N.C.C. Loyalty: A Song” in 1936. It was dedicated to Mrs. Annie Day Shepard. A copy of this composition was donated to NCCU from the files of Maggie P. Bryant, Class of 1938.

1968 - 1969 Band Photo
Click On Photo For a Brief History of The NCCU Department of Music

Bookmark and Share

Created and updated by  Dennis W. Ellis .   The NCCU Sound Machine Booster Club  is a Non-Profit (501(c)(3) Service Subsidiary of the Durham Chapter, NCCU National Alumni Association.