Icy weather delays ‘Battle of the Bands’

The 2005 Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational Showcase was postponed Saturday due to severe weather conditions.

Ten marching bands from HBCUs across the country were scheduled to perform at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

According to the Honda Battle of the Bands’ Web site, the purpose of this event is to “highlight the historic spirit, pageantry and showmanship of the HBCU marching bands.”

This is the third year that the Showcase has occurred, yet the first year that it has been affected by freezing rain and sleet, resulting from one of the worse ice storms Atlanta has seen in years.

Band directors and Honda officials met at 4 a.m. Saturday morning to discuss the possibility of canceling the event. Other entities involved in this decision were the Georgia Department of Transportation, local police departments, the mayor’s office and Georgia Dome officials.

The ‘100’ was preparing to go to the Georgia World Congress Center for breakfast Saturday morning when band director Julian White delivered the bad news.

White said he received a call early Saturday morning confirming that the event had been postponed until Sunday afternoon, a day later than originally planned.

“The weather has put everything out of focus, but I admire the ‘100’ because they are cooperating very well and they are very patient,” White said.

Not only was the band affected by the postponement, but FAMU students were as well.

Three buses, with more than 140 students, left Tallahassee at 7 a.m. Saturday morning, headed to Atlanta. The Student Government Association sponsored the trip.

After almost two hours of being on the road, they were turned around because of unsafe driving conditions and road closures.

“We love the ‘100’, but we can’t control the weather,” said Ramon Alexander, SGA Student Senate president. “We wish the band the best of luck.”

More than 2,200 band members from the different colleges and universities were forced to remain in their hotel rooms due to the unbearable weather conditions.

Because of the unexpected delay, many band members became concerned with their academic issues.

“I have four classes on Monday,” said Earl Kimbrough, a FAMU drum major.”We were supposed to get back in at 1 a.m. on Sunday morning, but now we won’t get back until early Monday morning,” said the 22-year-old graphic design student from Atlanta.

Renee Gordon, a 21-year-old mechanical engineering student from Miami, felt secure with the band administration.

“Everything is always organized and when things come up like this, band officials always make sure that the students are taken care of,” Gordon said.

Honda officials realized the significance of this event and how important it is to the marching bands, the students and supporters.

“Honda has a long-term commitment to the Battle of the Bands,” said Honda spokesperson Manuel Camargo.

“We see this as a long-term investment to the community and to the schools.”