The Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) Marching Band, Sound of Class, was recently ranked among the top five marching bands to perform a halftime show by the HBCU Sports website.

Each band selected utilized their time and musical talent during the performance, to recognize October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. ECSU’s flag girls had pink flags, the drum majors had pink whistles and instrumentalists donned pink ribbons pinned on their uniforms. Their performance was during a game against Virginia Union University.

ECSU Band Director Juliet Boykins, Ed.D., said the showcase was an opportunity to align with an important cause, and continue the culture of marching band performances and prowess.

“I was pretty excited that we were on the same page with them,” she said, referencing ECSU being ranked among Alabama State, Jackson State, Southern University and North Carolina A&T. “I didn’t even know we’d been ranked until the band director from Virginia State University called and told me congratulations.”

Boykins said the band is currently planning and prepping to gain more exposure through national competitions. It’s those efforts that support the band, currently with 89 students, with opportunities to travel and be part of the larger community. One such competition is the ESPN Band of the Year National Championship competition, which features the nation’s top, HBCU marching bands. Winners receive $100,000.

During ECSU’s homecoming season Spectrum featured the Sound of Class and their routine leading up to the homecoming parade. The Grio also featured the band in a virtual HBCU Versuz competition against Miles College. Going forward, Boykins is hopeful the marching band can raise enough money and interest to continue performing on different platforms. Their booster program is currently selling raffle tickets to raise money for future endeavors.

Next up, the Elizabeth City Christmas Parade. 

“With more money we could be more visible,” Boykins said. “We want to continue giving students experiences that will make them better musicians and better people.”