Mission & History

Mission

To develop a commitment to personal excellence in young people through innovative, quality performance arts education and practical experience in arts-related careers.

History

Under the auspices of the Jackie Robinson Center for Physical Culture, BKSTEPPERS began life in 1989 as the Jackie Robinson Steppers Marching Band, playing in the shadow of Ebbets Field and its great baseball ghosts.

Founded by principal Johnny Walker, the Jackie Robinson Steppers Marching Band adopted a southern style of performance and expression using precision dance and musical styles to create what was called “The Ultimate Musical Experience” for both audience and membership. This “One Band, One Sound” philosophy created a unit that became the equal of any university band, and the envy of their middle- and high-school peers.

In 2004, the band reorganized to become The Brooklyn Steppers Marching Band. The Brooklyn Steppers’ roster exploded to a peak strength of nearly 200 members. The world would soon take notice as The Brooklyn Steppers began receiving invitations to play at major events across the New York metropolitan area. A typical week consisted of performance dates with the New York Mets, the New York Knicks, The United Nations, and the Borough President of Brooklyn. Film and television soon came calling, with the band appearing on every network from ABC to MTV. The Steppers made silver screen appearances in such blockbusters as “Pulse: A STOMP Odyssey” and Disney’s Academy Award-nominated fantasy “Enchanted.” All the while The Steppers balanced their practice and performance expectations with the academic demands, which have become a cornerstone of the program.

The Brooklyn Steppers Marching came through time and time again, and nearly two decades of work culminated in what to date is the ultimate gig: representing the state of New York in the January 20, 2009 Presidential Inaugural Parade for President Barack Obama.

Today, the BKSTEPPERS are soaring towards a future of artistic renewal, expanded programming, and social and community leadership.  Listen, watch and experience the thrill of the BKSTEPPERS as we become an inspiring cultural institution and a source of pride to New York City.