The Purple Marching Machine

Our Marching Band

Miles College’s Purple Marching Machine has been thrilling audiences with their high energy performances for decades. Under the direction of Mr. Willie Snipes, the band continues to grow and showcase the talent that Miles College has to offer.

The Purple Marching Machine has received raves for its half-time performances, and was selected to perform during half-time at the Inaugural Pioneer Bowl in Atlanta, Georgia. They’ve also performed as an exhibition band for many marching band Festivals. Today, band membership has grown to over 200. 

The band also wins high marks for its academic record. When the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference announced its 2020-21 All-Academic Team for all sports, eight Miles student-athletes were named to nine spots on the squad, which highlights those with the highest grade point averages in each sport. Additionally, two sports teams — men's basketball and women's basketball — had the highest overall squad grade point averages amongst SIAC schools.

“The students actually drive me. The ones that didn’t think they had a chance, and walk across that stage in the end, make everything worth it.”

Willie Snipes, Band Director and Miles alumnus

One of the largest and most active organizations on campus, the Purple Marching Machine performs for more than 100,000 people annually, and provides the spirit, pride and enthusiasm that are a valuable part of Miles College. The Band’s high-energy approach to football entertainment, combining exciting drills and dynamic dance routines with the quality playing of sizzling arrangements, creates excitement at every performance.

Band Greek Life

Like most bands in the southern region, a sorority and fraternity have been created. Theta Sigma chapter of Tau Beta Sigma was chartered April 5, 1998. They currently have the highest GPAs of any sorority on campus and are under the supervision of band director Willie Snipes, who is also a member.

With a mission statement of, “providing exceptional service to collegiate bands” the chapters aim to promote equality and diversity, including empowering women in the band profession. They also cultivate leadership, educational achievement, music appreciation and community development.”

Follow the Purple Marching Machine on Facebook and Instagram.

Band Highlights

The Purple Marching Machine has a rich history. From performing at a presidential campaign rally and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, to being named top Division ll band at the Honda Battle of the Bands, there’s plenty to be proud of. 

Here are some highlights.

  • Performed for President William “Bill” Clinton’s Campaign Rally at Birmingham Southern College.
  • Traveled to NYC to perform in the 2002 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
  • Performed in Atlanta, Georgia in the first Historically Black Colleges and Universities Band Extravaganza.
  • Selected to perform during half-time at the Inaugural Pioneer Bowl in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Invited to the 2018 Honda Battle of the Bands, our inaugural HBOB showcase. The band brought out Miles College’s choir, Golden Voices, to sing as the band played a live version of For Every Mountain. 
  • The Purple Marching Machine’s 24 Karat Percussion Section invited to participate in the 130th Tournament Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, CAin 2019.
  • Named top Division II band at the 2018 Honda Battle of the Bands and a top D2 Second Ranking band in 2019. 
  • Invited to the 2019 Cracker Barrel National Battle of the Bands in Houston, Texas — the largest African American, non-football game event in the state of Texas.
  • Wowed crowds in the New Orleans Krews Trucks and Bacchus Mardi Gras parades 2020.

Band Membership

The Purple Marching Machine continually seeks to get the best musicians, dancers and flag girls across the country, and recruits nationally each spring. The organization offers over $500,000 in scholarships every year. Students maintaining high GPAs and boasting more experience tend to get offers.

Beyond the thrill of performing for the crowd and traveling the country, band members enjoy a family spirit, and develop skills, commitment, discipline, teamwork, leadership and style.

“The Purple Marching Machine taught me to love not only the band, but to love my new line sisters.”

Rayvon Howard, Golden Stars Captain 2016-2017

Band members work hard to maintain high GPAs while also putting in time for band practice and events. Ready to get up at 5am? Applications for band membership are accepted from November through June of every year.

The Golden Starrs

The Golden Starrs help to energize the crowd during Golden Bears games. 

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