For fans of America's show-style marching bands, halftime is game time. A squad of players, some 300 strong and armed with musical instruments, takes over the field, commanding attention with their stirring, spectacular display of choreography and musicianship. The football contest's controlled mayhem makes way for the blaring sound of trumpets and the heart-thumping rhythm of drums. Into this rigorous, ritualistic world comes a kid from a different culture. Devon Miles, a young, gifted hip-hop drummer from Harlem, wins a full music scholarship to Atlanta A&T University with the hopes of gaining a spot as a drummer on the school's renowned marching band's drumline. Devon, sporting a talent that is both raw and undisciplined, has one problem: He marches to the beat of his own drum. Surmounting overwhelming odds, he snares a spot as a starter, much to the disdain of a resentful senior class band member, Sean Taylor, who dismisses the freshman's skills as bogus. When Taylor discovers something amiss about Devon's abilities, he alerts Dr. Lee, the school's demanding, dedicated band director, who suspects that the upstart talent may have duped the school into awarding him his scholarship. That situation threatens not only Devon's future at the school but, more immediately, his spot on the band's drumline just before the heralded Big Southern Classic, one of the region's most popular musical competition, spotlighting some of the area's best college bands and the winner-take-all jackpot of $100,000 for the school. Now, with so much money, and possibly his own job, at stake, can Dr. Lee afford to pass up such a prize by keeping his star drummer on the sidelines?