LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL – The wait alone was enough to get fans dancing as they entered the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort.

“It’s all about the culture, really,” exclaimed Ashley Springs, whose son is a member of the North Carolina A’sRange &T.

Anyone who knows HBCU bands knows they are quite the show on game day.

As HBCU fan Felicia Smith describes it, halftime is not the time for fans to leave their seats at an HBCU football game.

“They’re in the stands,” Smith said. “They’re watching. They’re cheering. They’re yelling!”

So what happened Sunday afternoon at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex was a dream come true for HBCU fans.

SEE ALSO: A dream come true: Onsite scholarships are offered during HBCU Week at Walt Disney World

Marching Bands from University of Delaware, Winston-Salem State University, North Carolina A&T and Alcorn State University faced each other in a battle of the groups.

“I’m so happy that Disney opened this up for HBCUs to get attention,” said Cardon’s father Lewis.

It was an unforgettable moment as Disney is hosting HBCU Week for the first time. The event, which began in Wilmington, Delaware in 2017, included a job fair, a parade down Main Street and a battle of the bands.

“I’m so grateful to see how Disney embraces the culture,” Rachel Wesley said as she prepared to enter the stadium.

As good as the music on Battle of the Bands was, it wasn’t just about the show.

For some kids, HBCU Week was life-changing.

“I decided I wanted to go to an HBCU,” senior Kemauri Young said.

SEE ALSO: HBCU Disney Week 2022: Bands bring the bass to the Magic Kingdom

Felicia Smith brought several of her students to Friday’s job fair, which hosted on-site receptions and scholarships. It was attended by 8,657 students.

“It was their first experience with an HBCU, it was amazing. Four of them were accepted to Alcorn State,” Smith said.

Tracy Davis founded a dance school dedicated to teaching girls HBCU dance styles. A number of her students now also attend HBCUs. Some were even on the field Sunday in the Battle of the Bands.

They choose a school not only because of the academics, but also because of the culture – with an HBCU offering an atmosphere like no other.

“Historically black colleges and universities really provide a supportive culture, a supportive environment to ensure student success,” said Tunis Agramonte, who is vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion for the Disney DPEP program.

All that being said, it doesn’t really matter who wins the Battle of the Bands… does it?

“It’s not like that, but when it comes to bands, it’s kind of like that,” said one Howard University graduate in the stands.

After all, what’s an HBCU band without a good fight?

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