The Morehouse College Concert Band is a unique concert ensemble comprised of some of the finest musicians in the country. Many of its members are enrolled at both Morehouse College and Spelman College from some of the country's strongest high school music programs. The ensemble was first organized under the very capable leadership of Dr. Wendell Whalum, who began a "Legacy of Excellence" that has now become the cornerstone in which the Department itself is built. This leadership has continued for decades under the direction of Dr. Ted McDaniel, Roderick Smith (both Morehouse College graduates), Blake Gaines, and Dr. Tim Turner all who during their tenure, continued performing symphonic concerts annually in the Atlanta area.
In 2006, the faculty of the Department of Music was joined by world-renowned woodwind specialist Mr. Clarence Johnson, who is currently the Director of the Concert Band and primary woodwind instructor at Morehouse College. Mr.Johnson is continuing the "Legacy of Excellence" that was begun by Dr. Whalum by performing serious concert literature composed by some of the foremost composers in American and world history. This ensemble meets and performs during both the Spring Semester (listed as "Wind Ensemble") and the Fall Semester (listed as "Concert Band"). Participation is open to all students enrolled at both Spelman College and Morehouse College.
Basking in the world-wide exposure provided by the 1996 Atlanta Centennial Olympics, the Morehouse College Glee Club, The Spelman College Glee Club and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus were the driving voices behind the 300-strong Olympic Centennial Choir featured during the Opening Ceremony on July 19, 1996. During the Closing Ceremony, the Morehouse College Glee Club was featured with soprano Jennifer Larmore and the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra in a stirring rendition of the "Olympic Hymn"; with Gloria Estefan in singing the specially written Olympic theme, "Reach"; joined with Stevie Wonder, spellbinding the audience with "Imagine"; and at the extinguishing of the Olympic Flame, performed the moving a cappella arrangement of "The Flame" with famed country singer Trisha Yearwood.
Directed by the renowned Dr. David Morrow, this distinguished all-male chorus has completed a successful tour of the Russian Republic that included a stop in the capital of Moscow and a recent trip to Poland.
The Morehouse College Jazz Ensemble has been acclaimed as one of the finest College Jazz Ensembles in the country. Many of its members enroll at Morehouse from some of the country's strongest high school Jazz Band programs. The Morehouse College Jazz Ensemble was first formed in 1971 under the leadership of Dr. Ted McDaniel, a Morehouse College graduate. With a membership of 15, the ensemble quickly developed a reputation for Musical Excellence that has now become the very foundation of the group itself. This leadership has continued for nearly three decades under the direction of Roderick Smith (1980-1989), a Morehouse graduate, Blake Gaines (1990-1995), Bill McGhee (1995), and Dr. Tim Turner (1996-2004). During their individual tenures the ensemble continued performing annual concerts in the Atlanta area and abroad as well as touring the East Coast, Mid-West and Southern regions of the United States.
Under the direction of Dr. Tim Turner, the Morehouse College Jazz Ensemble performed with legendary recording artist Ray Charles and jazz pianist James Williams along with participating in concert performances at the Twenty-Fifth Annual Black Music Caucus as well as having performed on tour in Europe in the spring of 1998, in the countries of Belgium, Holland and Germany. The following Spring Semester of 1999 saw the beginnings of the first Annual Morehouse College Jazz Festival. The Jazz Festival is a non-competitive festival for high school bands and college bands in the Southeast region that provides students the opportunity to learn through clinics and concert performances from some of today's outstanding professional jazz artists. The clinicians and performing artists involved in past festivals included local artists/educator Joe Jennings, Memphian Gene Rush, vocalist Deborah Brown, Jazz Trumpeter Jon Faddis, Saxoponist Jimmy Heath, Trombonist/ Arranger Slide Hampton, and the list of Jazz Legends goes on and on.
Now under the leadership of the current Director of Bands Mr. Melvin Jones (a Morehouse Graduate), the Jazz Ensemble continues its "tradition of excellence" having performed across the country with a host of legendary figures in Musical history including Freddy Cole, brother of the late, great Nat King Cole, Saxophonist and Composer Don Braden, Trumpet Virtuoso Sean Jones, and living musical icon Isaac Hayes. Some of the ensemble's recent credits include: (2004) A Star-Studded Musical Tribute to the Late Ray Charles in Los Angeles with Brian McKnight, Stevie Wonder, Michael McDonald, Quincy Jones, Bill Cosby, and a host of musical icons; (2005) A Performance for the National Youth Coalition to an audience of nearly 6,000 students and numerous civil rights leaders; (2005) A special concert paying tribute to Musical Innovator Isaac Hayes; (2006) The Morehouse College Jazz Festival featuring a live performance with Jazz Singer/ Legend Freddy Cole, who also happens to be the brother of the late, great Nat "King" Cole. To date, the Jazz Ensemble has been critically acclaimed as "one of the most entertaining jazz ensembles in the country."
Founded in 1867 in Augusta, GA, Morehouse College is an historically black liberal arts institution of higher education. This all-male institution offers a variety of subjects of study, athletic programs, and a rich tradition that provides Morehouse with its very own "mystique." The Morehouse College Marching Band also has a rich tradition that provides Morehouse Men and Spelman Women with their very own "mystique."
Formerly known as the "Maroon Tiger Marching Band" and the "Maroon Machine Marching Band," the 110-member ensemble has now been dubbed the "House of Funk." The Band performs a variety of repertoire ranging from contemporary popular music to rap, swing and various traditional marching band literature. Great emphasis is placed on providing innovative drill as visual effect with modern arrangements of today's most popular compositions.
The "House of Funk" is a source of extracurricular pride. As part of the band, the eye-catching troupe of dancing girls known as "Mahogany in Motion" and the dazzling ladies of "Maroon Mystique" Color Guard consistently perform at the highest levels of precision and grace. The band has had quality exposure in recent years. The ensemble was selected to perform at Super Bowl XVIII in January of 1994. They also appeared at the Anheuser Busch National Sales Convention, Coca-Cola's VIP Ball, Good Day Atlanta Show, Bryant Gumbel's Today Show, 6th Annual Gold Coast Classic in San Diego, CA, 1st Annual Honda Battle of the Bands and the Atlanta Falcons.
Under the leadership of current Director of Bands Mr. Melvin M. Jones (A Morehouse Graduate), the band's recent list of accomplishments include: (2004) A television and internet broadcast performance for the Frank Ski "Skyy Show"; (2005) Participation in the Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade for Justice in Tampa, Florida; (2005) A Television appearance on the Cartoon Network Series "Fridays;" (2006) The Drumline's Performance in the Atlanta Hawk's Opening Game Halftime; (2006) A National Television Performance for MTV's "Sweet Sixteen" Series; (2007) Casting of a number of our Band Students in the Major Motion Picture "Stomp the Yard" (2007) Performance in the Silver Dollar Classic in California, which marked the first time in over two decades that an HBCU Band had performed in Los Angeles; and (2007) A Performance in the historic Krewe of Zulu Parade as part of the Annual New Orleans' Mardi Gras Celebration.