The A&T Band has been in existence since the early 1930's. The 1950's brought majorettes to the program. The squad grew to incorporate flags. The late 1980's and early 1990's brought the first glimpse of what you see today. The group was then called "The Untouchables." A signature element of this time period in squad history was the "high step" march of the flags and the "A&T Majorette Arch." Uniforms were made of the same material as the band uniforms. They wore shorts, with jackets and hats with plumes. Marching band stems from a military foundation and the auxiliary at the time also fell into that mold.
There were a few years after the era of the Untouchables that the auxiliary unit did not have a name. During this time, Kenneth Ruff (now head band director) was the auxiliary coordinator. The band was under the leadership of Dr. Johnny B. Hodge, Jr. Mr. Rodney Chambers assisted with the squad at some points during this time as well. The name "Golden Delight" was given to the squad in 1991-1992 season. The band was at a battle of the bands that was being televised. Right before the band was to take the field, the announcer asked “what is the name of your dancers?!” “Kenny” thought fast and then responded “Golden Delight!” Who was to know that years later, the name would be known all over the country for their versatility and class. The name highlighted the golden uniforms the ladies now wore, combined with the way fans should feel by watching them perform, - delighted.
Throughout the 1990's, under the leadership of then Assistant Band Director Kenneth Ruff, the ladies began to incorporate dance and twirling movements in their shows. The trademark of the squad soon became its versatile nature. The group was known to have the largest collection of flags and equipment in HBCU bands. An additional highlight was the use of guard equipment that was not blue and gold. Taken from a corps style inspiration, flags were used to "tell a story" and to accent the music being played by the Blue & Gold Marching Machine.
Behind the Scenes: The Staff
Auxiliary advisors during this time were Tarsha (Winston) Reid, Stephanie (Pankey) Veal and the late Charleyne Smith. "Pankey" as she is affectionately known, was also a charter member of the band sorority Tau Beta Sigma National Honorary Band Sorority, Inc. and continues to be a great supporter of the unit. Tarsha Reid has worked with several other performance units in the area and maintains a relationship with the current staff. These staff members held extremely high expectations for squad members and laid the foundation for squads to come.
The change of the millennium brought about a new era for the squad. Current Auxiliary Director Tiffany Brown joined the staff in 2000 after marching with Golden Delight from 1997-1999. These new times brought interesting changes including the first squad website, a change in uniforms and shoes, a recruitment and application process, squad development activities and a new dance style. Also working with the squad was Cortney Saunders Young (2000), Jerilyn Shaw Free (2001) and Lawanda McCullough Wallace (2001). Kafi ZahraHill (A&T Flag from 1994-1997) joined the staff from 2002-2006 and used her dynamic twirling ability to enhance the twirling level and visual presentation of the squad.
In 2003, Dr. Kenneth Ruff became the director of bands at NC A&T State University and has been instrumental in the continued progress of the ensemble. Over the years the squad has continued to evolve its style and image while maintaining a close tie to past traditions and standards. In 2005, Tanika Dean Harris (A&T Majorette from 1994- 1997) joined the staff and injected fresh new life to the majorette squad. Staff assistants have been Cherrief Murray (GD 2000-2002) in 2005-2006 and Turquoise Accoo Daughtry (GD 2003-2006) in 2007, Ryann Brown (2012), Keyanda Thompson (2012) and LaTisha Price (2012-present). An avid supporter of the ensemble and mentor to staff members, Ms. Akua Matherson began working with the team in 2009 as a faculty liaison and on game day logistics. She was made an honorary member of Golden Delight during the 2012 25th Anniversary celebration. This event included a meet and greet, alumni performing in the halftime show on Saturday and a brunch on Sunday. The story of the evolution of Golden Delight unfolds in a wonderful way. Each year there are ladies who come with vision, insight and passion.
Milestones and Successes
The trend is that every 3-4 years, the squad sees a dramatic change that takes the unit to the next level. 1994 season saw a change in the amount of effort placed on dance presentations. 1997 marked a change in the squads dance style and increased difficulty in twirling routines, working to further highlight the “versatile” nature of the squad. 2000 season squad was the first to deviate in terms of uniforms and pushed the envelope like never before in terms of a squad “look”. It was also the year that size and weight requirements began to take shape. 2003 marked the introduction of technical dance into routine choreography and the squad saw an influx over the next few years of studio trained dancers vs. high school band auxiliary members begin to audition. The staff now begins to increase the requirements for prospective members. 2006 took the showmanship and appeal of the squad to the next level and placed an even greater emphasis on the womanly demeanor necessary to aggressively compete in the world of HBCU Band auxiliary. 2008 and beyond the squad has continued to push the envelope in all areas including uniforms, equipment, feature ideas, appearance and appeal. Recent additions to the squad include the hip hop style in the stands and feature routines, movement to 6ft flags instead of 5ft as the main pole size, heels as a standard shoe and in 2010 and open audition process.
Squad sizes have varied from beginning with as many as 32 in 2004 to having about 11 in 2001. 2011 and 2012 seasons rocketed the ensemble to the forefront of HBCU band auxiliaries. The media element of the ensemble was taken to new heights including weekly highlight videos, updates to the website and more intricate photo shoots. Battle of the bands (outdoor) were a part of the band world for NC A&T SU since the early 1990’s. 2003 season started with a major recognition for the squad, as Golden Delight won first place auxiliary over several other HBCU squads.
In 2009, the (then 2008 squad) made its first appearance at the nationally recognized Honda Battle of the Bands and took the crowd. It continues to be one of the most talked about Honda appearances since the battle of the bands began almost 10 years ago. The Blue and Gold Marching Machine has then made 5 subsequent visits to the Honda Battle of the Bands in 2013 (Full Squad on Baton Feature), 2014 (Queen of the Night Feature), 2015 (Egyptian Feature), 2017 (Bad Boy Show) and this year in 2018. (We Are the Champions) The Blue and Gold Marching Machine was the first band to be declared the official “winner” of Honda Battle of the Bands by crowd vote in January of 2014.
Golden Delight continues to be a crowd favorite! 2013 season was focused more on internal affairs of the team, with a desire to reestablish the true essence of what it means to be a Sweetheart of the MEAC. In this season, each rookie that began band camp completed the season. A feat never before accomplished by the ensemble. The social media presence of the ensemble grew from just a well maintained website to Facebook pages (2013) , Twitter (2013) and an Instagram Page (2014). The ladies have thousands of followers that enjoy fresh photos of both performances and behind the scenes action. Season 2013 also included a documentary of the season. In 2002, the Marching Machine was introduced to the world indoor battles. Golden Delight squared off against SC State University “Champagne” in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2003, the ladies flew to Las Vegas and faced off against the Dancing Dolls of Southern University in an indoor battle. The first indoor battle with Norfolk State University was held in 2004, although the name “Band Brawl” was not coined until the second year of the match up when it was held in Greensboro, NC. During this era, indoor battles are a major component of what the squad did each year, with a focus on choreography and exciting themes for the crowds. The band continued indoor battles with schools such as SC State, up until season 2010 and have not continued that tradition in recent years. As it’s own entity, Golden Delight began to compete and do exhibitions as a spring squad in 2010 performing at Indoor Nationals in Atlanta. The next year, the ladies competed and won first place doing the “Crazy/Insane Show” in Washington, DC against other collegiate ensembles including Howard University Ohh La La. As winners, the team did exhibition in 2011 and it was held at NC A&T State University. (The show theme was Futuristic)
Golden Delight is now one of the top HBCU Dance teams. For three consecutive seasons, the ensemble won Best HBCU Dance Team (HBCU Dance Corp). Additionally, we secured the honors of Best Captain (2 years), Best Coach (3 years), Best Marching (for Pfunk 1 year), and several other accolades. The staff team has the united vision of catapulting the squad to the top of what we do! They work jointly to continue to push the envelope for the squad. The once majorette only squad of the 1930's is now one of the top auxiliaries in HBCU marching bands. The squad was the only one of its kind until 2007 when NC Central University modeled its auxiliary after Golden Delight. As the years go by, we will continue to set the standard for others to follow. The evolution of Golden Delight is an ongoing story that each year of ladies will help us to write.
Captains of the Last Decade
KeAsiah McLaughlin (Head Captain), Jaidlin Hill (Co-captain), Alexis Sides (Co-captain)
Desiree Hunter, Cierria Hendricks
2015 Desiree Hunter, Brianna Blount 2014
Kierra Lucas (Head), Murphye Williams (Co Capt), Lakeya Hardy (Co Capt)
Liamcy Hogan, Dacia Stinson & Kierra Lucas
Liamcy Hogan & Dacia Stinson
Ryann Brown, Bianca Turner (Co-Capt), Morgan Cornell (Co Capt) Latisha Price
LaTisha Price & Erica Lawson (Co-captain)
Courteney Johnson & Keyanda Thompson
Courteney Johnson, Keyanda Thompson, & Kashelia Jones