Clark Atlanta University is home to many organizations. Some receive tremendous support from the institution while others are left to fend for themselves. One organization that needs help is the school’s band, The Mighty Marching Panthers.
“A lot of the new generation has lost interest in music and the love for the art of marching band, “ Kendrick Payne, the Head Drum Major of the Mighty Marching Panther said.
The Mighty Marching Panthers was once a large band that was a continuing guest at the Honda Battle of The Bands, which is hosted right here in Atlanta, Georgia. The Mighty Marching Panthers were once a 200 plus member band but today they have a mere 40 members.
“Many students on campus who can play an instruments do not want to join the band.” Woodwind Captain, Israel Humphrey said. These students may stray away from the band because of the constant battles that the band faces.
Clark Atlanta University’s band has many issues as to why the band has been struggling in the recent years. Funding for scholarships, constant change in Band Director, and small band size are a few of the top issues that the band students face each year.
For years the band has struggled with funding. This is one of the main cause as to why our band is smaller compared to other schools let alone Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Band members struggle to secure their scholarships from year to year, which creates a heavy burden on them and their families.
In the past three years Mighty Marching Panthers has had three different band directors. When asked why there has been so much turnover with the Band Directors, Armahni Clark, Tuba Section Leader said, “Not everyone who is called to lead can lead. Being a leader is hard and there are a lot of responsibilities that come with being a leader.”
It is no secret how expensive Clark Atlanta University is to attend. Many band members struggle to fill the cost of attendance after their band scholarship is applied to their account.
When asked what could be done to gain members, Israel Humphrey said, “Publicity, supporting the band, more band scholarships.”
Catch the Mighty Marching Panthers at all home games this season and performing at events around the city. They could use the support while they work to rebuild the program.