TSU Aristocrat Of Bands Committed to 100 Percent Voting, Band Director and Members Urge Everyone to Do the Same

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s world-renowned Aristocrat of Bands (AOB) has a message for fellow HBCU bands and anyone else who will listen, vote!

Dr. Reginald McDonald recently hosted a workshop with fellow band member Tiara Thompson on absentee voting to educate the band on how to ensure their ballots are counted for the Nov. 3 presidential election, and to register those who weren’t.

“We’re committed to getting 100 percent of our membership registered to vote,” said McDonald. “In 2020, you need to vote like your life depends on it.”

Thomas, a junior Political Science major and serves as the student trustee on the University’s Board of Trustees, was the main organizer and presenter of the voting workshop. Prior to the band’s event, she facilitated “The TSU Tiger’s Guide to Absentee Voting Virtual Seminar,” which was hosted by TSU Football Coach Rod Reed for his players. Since the seminar, the entire football team, including players and coaches are now registered.

“I was really inspired by the football team’s leadership in getting 100 percent of their players registered to vote,” said Thomas. “I didn’t want to stop with the football team. I wanted to hit the next biggest group on campus, which is the AOB. I just think that anytime you wear a Tennessee State uniform that you are automatically viewed as a leader. And I feel like right now it’s important for our Tennessee State University community student leaders to actively vote,” and encourage others to do the same.

In 2018, only 34 percent of the campus actively voted, said Thomas, who has been a crusader on campus for voter education and registration.

“As trustee this year, my goal is to double that turnout, if not 100 percent,” said the Olive Branch, Mississippi, native.

AOB drum major Julien Dooley said many students realize the importance of this year’s presidential election, in particular.

“A lot of my friends are very knowledgeable of who they’re voting for, and the importance of it,” said Dooley, a senior from Atlanta. “The things we want to happen depend on who gets in office.”

Visit this link ( to hear a special message from Dr. McDonald and the AOB.

For information on deadlines for early voting, mail-in voting, and absentee ballots, visit the website of the Secretary of State in your state.

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