Must be the Music

Roland Parrish Texas Size Battle of the Band | By: Toska Medlock Lee

They came from Louisiana, Houston, and across the Dallas metroplex to witness the Annual Roland Parrish Battle of the Bands during the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend. In its 2nd year, Parrish’s Charitable Foundation hosted a record 6,000 thousand students, HBCU band fans, alumni, corporate partners and community leaders for a competition where literally everyone WON!

The event also included a College and Career Expo where employers were onsite to hire students on the spot. “Career and College exposure is as important as shopping for the right College or University, said Rodney Baker event organizer and chairperson. “So many young people these days have to work while in school and we believe this career expo can give students an edge on selecting a school that fits their career interest,” he said.

While dozens of high school bands, drill teams and drumlines competed for 50 thousand dollars in prize money, more than 2 million dollars in band scholarships were awarded to individual band members. Band auditions were held at Carter High School where students were able to play for several band recruiters from Langston University, Grambling State, Texas Southern and more.

“We are privileged that this event offers a component for HBCU band directors to hear the talent of band students in the metroplex, said Baker. This is one of the many ways the Parrish Charitable Foundation continues to fulfil its mission of creating educational opportunities for young people,” he shared.
Parrish, who is also a musician, recognized that the Battle of the Band Competition came during a time when history was made on several fronts and decided that the platform of music would be perfect to pay special tribute to some trailblazers within our community and to also recognize Southern Sector’s three championship football coaches who swept the State of Texas football programs in December 2022.

The significance of having business icon Hiawatha Williams, who recently had a City of Dallas Park and Recreation Building named in his honor, along with three African American coaches from the Southern Sector of Dallas, who led their teams to state Championships, to say the least was beyond special.
Parrish used the platform to show his appreciation to Desoto Coach Claude Mathis, Duncanville Coach Reginald Samples and South Oak Cliff Coach Jason Todd. The roaring applause was evident that saluting these men, all in one place, was appreciated.

Hiawatha Williams, Founder of Williams Chicken applauded the comradery of the coaches and commended Roland Parrish for his support of the student musicians. “Parrish is to be congratulated for his vision and commitment to the students in these band programs, shared Williams. We often hear about athletic scholarships, but when you see the impact that the music has on the audience and how well the students play and perform, I’m grateful that something like this exists so that the students can take their talent to the collegiate level,” he said.

The corporate partners, colleges and career participants understand that it must be the music, as they make plans to return in 2024!

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