Jones, Evans high school marching bands prepare for the Florida Classic weekend

ORLANDO, Fla. — Legacies, history, and music are being made this weekend.

Three central Florida high school bands will participate in the Florida Classic. Evans and Ocoee high schools will face off in Battle of the Bands on Friday, and the Jones High School drum line was the first to be asked for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity during the classic game on Saturday.


Jones High School’s first female band director Naomi Nelson said the Marching Tigers’ only competition is their history.

“They’re carrying a legacy,” Nelson said.

The marching Tigers will add to that legacy at the Florida Classic on Saturday.

Read: Florida Classic: Here’s your guide to Saturday’s FAMU vs BCU game

They were chosen to lead the Florida A&M and Bethune Cookman University bands onto the field.

“I just felt like we’re the drumline that you were supposed to call!” Nelson said.

Evans High School is also preparing for the Battle of the Bands on Friday.

Watch: Florida Classic: Battle of the Bands

Director of Bands Mario Ford has been with Evans for seven years.

“We represent the Pine Hills community,” Ford said.

Its more than 120 members will face off against 11 other state bands, including Ocoee High School.

Read: More than a game: Students, fans prepare for this weekend’s Florida Classic

“Everyone hears the Green Machine, and they go crazy,” said Evans High School band dance captain Sa’Kura Beard.

“We’re ready to argue with anybody that we are the best band in Orlando,” Ford said.

The directors of both bands are alumni of the Classic teams.

Nelson, FAMU grad, and Mario Ford, a proud Wildcat.

Read: BCU looking to snap Florida A&M’s 2-game winning streak in Florida Classic

They are eager to bring their students into the history of the Classic.

“I’m glad we’re here to represent,” said Paris Robinson, drum major at Jones High School. “We’re facing that culture. So, it’s not me here with these stereotypes that are usually seen. So I’m glad that we get to make our own name.”

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