Monday, January 16, 2023

The Norfolk State University Spartan Legion at the Rose Parade for MLK Day

One of my regrets when I composed Marching bands from around the world in the 2023 Rose Parade for New Year's Day was that I didn't include the Norfolk State University Spartan Legion, who put on two great performances at Bandfest and the Rose Parade. I ran out of time just as I realized I should put the Buhos Marching Band first and move the Tournament of Roses Band to the end to return to the U.S.A. To make up for my omission, I'm featuring the Spartan Legion today for MLK Day. I begin with the clip I wanted to use on New Year's Day, Norfolk State University (NSU) Spartan Legion Marching Band - 2023 Pasadena Bandfest from Music213.

From Norfolk, Virginia The NSU Spartan Legion performing their musical selections at the 42nd Annual Pasadena Tournament of Roses Bandfest on Friday, December 30, 2022.
That was an excellent performance. So was Norfolk State University (NSU) Spartan Legion Marching Band - 2023 Pasadena Rose Parade.

The NSU Spartan Legion performing their musical selections at the 134th Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade on Monday, January 2, 2023.
That wasn't even the best part of the Spartan Legion's performance. ZymbalistiK captured that in Norfolk State University | Spartan Legion Marching Band - Rose Parade (2023) from the KTLA BandCam feed.

The NSU Spartan Legion Marching Band from Norfolk, Virginia at the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, CA.

Video footage - courtesy of KTLA 5 news. All rights of this footage belong to KTLA 5.
ZymbalistiK remarked how unusual this was in his comment.
NSU is the first band I’ve seen stop and do a full routine/performance at the Rose Parade. I think that was a great idea to fully showcase the band. I wonder if this was planned or spur of the moment thing? Good job regardless Legion!
I agree, it was unusual. In a comment, Ebony Johnson responded "They were chosen to do the grandstand performance while the live performer was televised around the corner." I watched the live performance for the television audience and think the Spartan Legion put on the better show.

That's it for part one of today's celebration. Stay tuned for this year's version of diversity among Golden Globes winners for MLK Day, the real entertainment feature.


  1. NSU has the best college drumline. Better than UNT in my opinion. If I was young enough and picking a college it would be this one. Tenor line is sick.

    1. That's very high praise. I would pick their arch-rival North Carolina A&T for best HCBU drum line and have a bit of local bias for Michigan State as best overall university drum line, but I think these performances were the best I've ever seen from Norfolk State so I can understand why you think they're that outstanding. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    2. I've changed my mind after seeing the Million Dollar Funk Squad (Norfolk State's drum line) in the same video as Cold Steel (North Carolina A&T's drum line) and now agree with you. MDF$ is the better line and is now my pick for best HBCU drum line. In the comments to another video, someone called them "A DCI [line] with soul" and I agree with them. Here's the link to the video: Band Raw || Million Dolla Funk Squad (NSU) Vs Cold Steel (NCAT) || HBCU Culture Battle 2022.

      Now I have to watch Michigan State's drum line (who are also the Spartans) to see if they're as good as I think they are.