BOWIE, Md. -- They are known for their sound and high energy, but Bowie State’s Symphony of Soul Band is now silenced.
Bowie State University’s marching band was suspended last week after hazing allegations surfaced.
A university spokesperson refused to reveal the nature of the hazing charges, and Prince George’s County Police said it is not looking into the incident right now.
“To say they’re caught up in a hazing scandal, it didn’t really add up.” Edward Evans told WUSA9.
Evans created the Meet Me on the 50 Band Media YouTube page.
“I wanted to capture the culture. I wanted to capture interviews,” he said.
Evans is also a musician and former drum major at Morgan State University.
So, it is fair to say Evans knows a little something about band culture.
“Band is a very big part of my life,” Evans explained. “Marching bands at an HBCU (Historically Black College and University) — they are the money maker. They do bring the heads and the seats. They fill the seats in the stadium.”
Evans recorded video of Bowie State’s band in October and said the program takes music “very seriously.”
However, the school chose to stay tight-lipped on what supposedly went down in relation to the hazing allegations.
WUSA9 asked Evans if hazing-like behavior happens in college bands. He responded, “Every college band is different. So, I can only speak on my band experience. I’ve never experienced that at Morgan State.”
Evans compared perceptions of HBCU band culture to what was seen in a movie called Drumline.
“You saw all the different tasks and different activities that were involved in joining the Atlanta A&T Band,” Evans described. “It’s a movie, but a lot of the programs or the kids may see that and say ‘oh, this is what they expect of me if I join ‘x’ band.’ You know?”
With very few details made public, students at Bowie State took to social media and started a petition to get the band reinstated.
Petitioners said bad a big part of campus culture.
I don’t want there to be a black eye on the band community because of one institution, or this occurrence, or that occurrence because it’s not really — it’s not fair,” Evans concluded.
In 2011, a drum major died after a hazing incident at Florida A and M University.
Some band members who were involved served jail time, and university staffing changes occurred.
Bowie State University released the following statement on Wednesday:
"Over the past several days, the university has worked to investigate initial allegations of hazing within the Symphony of Soul and the entire university band program.
First and foremost our top priorities are assuring the safety of our students and maintaining the integrity of the university band program. We have found sufficient evidence to confirm the existence of hazing activities; therefore, all performance activities remain suspended, including travel to the CIAA football championship game this weekend. Further investigation is needed to determine next steps to be taken through the student judicial process, but we remain committed to concluding the process as soon as possible and resuming the normal operations of the band."