Florida agricultural and mechanical university

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Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) Marching Band

        The Florida A & M marching band started in 1892 under Professor P.A. Von Weller, the first band director. He is credited for reforming the band marching technique and changing the world's concept of the college marching band. In 1892 the marching band only had 16 members, but as time went on new band members joined each year. In 1950 the band had 110 members, and was known as the "The Marching 100". Now the band has over 420 members and is known as "The Most Imitated Marching Band in America". Over the years as the band became larger, they had many accomplishments such as performing at the Super Bowl, President Inauguration, and also making an appearance at the Honda's Battle of The Bands in Atlanta. The band also has other marching units such as the dance team, cheerleaders, flag team, and majorettes.

        The 4th band director of the Florida A & M marching band was Dr. William Patrick Foster. He came up with the band's mottos which are still used today. The first band's motto is "Highest Quality of CHARACTER." Dr. Foster believed that having the highest quality of character shows what kind of person you are, how you live your life as a person. The second one is "Achievement in ACADEMICS." Dr. Foster believed that to be successful in the marching band you also have to be successful in school, not to be successful in just one but both. The third one is "Attainment in LEADERSHIP." This band motto is the one that he uses to encourage band member to be a leader of them and not to follow other; to follow your own way of life. The fourth one is "Perfection on MUSICIANSHIP". Dr. Foster always tell his marching band that for them to improve their marching style always aim for perfection, and not aim for what is below that. The fifth one is "Precision on MARCHING". He always wanted the band to be more precise in their marching styles and not commit any mistake because of this motto the marching band is one of the top marching band in America. The last one is "Dedication to SERVICE." Dr. William P. Foster always believe that you should dedicated yourself into helping others and when you are doing anything not to give up half-way; to finish the job you started ; Dr. William believed that each of these will guide the marching band member and that they will become more successful in life.

        The Florida A & M "Marching 100" is one of the best bands in the world. It is known for it distinctive styles and techniques it use when performing at shows. The head drum major Shaun West said "there's none other like the Florida A & M marching band". He also admit that the band have a unique style and sound. The Florida A & M marching band has been like this ever since Dr. William P. Foster became the band director and that he has changed the way how they marched. He still influences many marching band member today.

        Even though the Florida A & M marching band was not as productive as it was in the past due to lack of members and instruments since it establishment in 1892 at the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. The marching band has become one of the most respected and well known bands throughout the world. The marching band started out with 16 band members, and as time kept going, new band members joined each year increasing the productivity of the band. In 1950 when the marching band had reach 110 members the band became known throughout the country and nicknamed as the "Marching 100" which the band is still called today. Now the band has over 420 members and is the second largest marching band in the country next to the Florida State University the "Marching Chief" with 460 band members. In 1971 Elliott Seagraves became the first white band member to join. In 1974 Carmena Fennel, Carla Wilson, and Debra Hines became the first three female marching band members. Though the Florida A & M had many success, it also goes to the band directors. In the 100 years history of the band it had five band directors. The first band director of the marching band is P.A. Van Weller. He was the band director from 1892-1898. P.A. Van Weller was the band director for six years. The second band director is Nathaniel C Adderly. He was the band director for the Florida A & M marching band from 1910-1918. He was the band director for eight years. The third band director is Leander A. Kirksey. He was the band director from 1930-1945. He was the band director for 15 years. The Florida A & M fourth marching band director is Dr. William P. Foster, he has been the marching band director for over 50 years from 1945-1998. He have been given credit to for many of the marching band success and changed how the world's thought about the college marching band. On October 10, 1969 The Fine Arts Center on the Florida A & M University was named in Dr. William P. Foster honors. Dr. William and the Florida A & M marching band was also inducted into the Afro-America Hall of Fame for Fine Arts. Also on December 17, 1998 the Board of Electors in Chicago, Illinois elected Dr. William P. Foster to the National Band Association Hall of Fame for Distinguished Band Conductor. This is the highest honor a bandmaster can receive. Dr. William also retired in 1998, but still holds the position of Emeritus Professor Chairman of Music. The current band director of the Florida A & M marching band is Dr. Julian E. White. He was a former student of Dr. William P. Foster. He graduated at the Florida A & M University where he earned a bachelor degree in Music Education. Dr. Julian now serves as the Chairman of the Florida Music Educators Association Black Caucus.

        Under the leadership of five band directors, the Florida A & M marching band itself have many major accomplishment that include; being the first back band to appear in the Festival of States parade in March 17, 1950. The band also appears on national television, and performing at presidents Clinton and Obama inauguration, the band also perform at the governor of the state of Florida, the band also performs at four Super Bowls. The Florida A & M marching band was also feature in magazines and news coverage, they were given many title such as "The Best Band in the Land", "America Band", "The Best College Marching Band in the Country", and "The most Imitated Band in America." The marching band also performed at Grammy Award with Kanye West and Jamie Foxx. During the half-time shows the band also performed with recording artist Prince. The band also performed at NFL half-time shows, for the New York Giants, the Philadelphia Eagles, and many other NFL team. The band also made many consecutive appearances at the Honda's Battle of The Bands in Atlanta. The "Marching 100" also made many appearances at NFL championship games. The band also received the "Sudler Intercollegiate Marching Band Trophy." It was the fourth marching band to receive this award but, the first and only historically black university band to get this award. This award is also the highest honor a college marching band can get. The Florida A & M "Marching 100; became the first southern marching band to get this award. The governor of Florida and the Mayor of Tallahassee issues a proclamation declaring that July 18 is the "Florida A & M Marching 100 Day" in the state of Florida. The Florida A & M marching was first recognized as one of the top bands in America when it performed at Kiwanis International Cultural Exchange Program in Nassau, Bahamas in 1963 of December. In 1971 the band also recorded an album titled "FAMU Spirit". They also released some videos of the band when they performed. The marching band was also feature in books that were written about them and their band directors. The book talks about the success of the band and how the marching band has become one of the best in America. The band also did some advertising for commercial and it was a success. The marching band also did a performance at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles, California. Also many day of the year were name after the Florida A & M Band Day, and some days were named after their band director. One of the FAMU marching band major accomplishment is participating in the Honda Battle of the Bands. On January 30, 2010 they will perform other marching bands from around the country. They had been selected along with seven other historically black colleges to participate in the eight annual Honda Battle of the Band in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The participant includes Albany State University "Marching Rams", Clark Atlanta University "Mighty Marching Panthers", North Carolina Central University "Marching Sound Machine", Prairie View A&M University "Marching Storm", Southern University "Human Jukebox Marching Band", Tuskegee University "Marching Crimson Pipers", Virginia State University "Trojan Explosion Marching Band". The Florida Marching 100 will have 12 minutes to show the world why they are they best marching band in the country. "The Honda Battle of the Bands is designed to showcase the amazing talents of student musicians and celebrate the musical prowess represented at our nation's HBCUs," said Marc Burt, senior manager, Office of Inclusion and Diversity for American Honda. The Honda Battle of the Bands is the only national scholarship program that showcases an important facet of HBCU heritage and culture - music education.

        From 1892 to 1948 the Florida A & M marching band did not have a specific or standard uniforms for its band member but it changed, the band got uniforms. In 1948 the marching band finally got its uniform, and used the school colors for the design of the band uniform with orange and green. Not many changes have been made to the marching band uniform, but it is said to light up the stage during the performance of the Florida A & M marching band.

        The Florida "Marching 100" is considered one of the top ten marching bands in the country. It is known for the style, technique, and tradition it brings to their performance as a historically black University. The marching band is also best known for its high-stepping, electrifying, crowd-pleasing sounds and moves.

        The success of the Florida A & M "Marching 100" does not only go to the marching band unit, but the band staff as well which includes; Director of Band Dr. Jillian E. White, Emeritus Director of Bands Dr. William P. Foster; Associate Director of Bands Dr. Shelby R. Chipman, Assistant Director of Bands, and Director of Percussion Dr. Shaylor L. James, Assistant Director of Bands, Arranger Mr. Lindsey B. Sarjeant, Director of Clarinets, and Director of Double Reeds Mr. John Robinson, Director of piccolos Mrs. Dennine White, Director of Saxophones Mr. Diron Holloway, Director of Lower Brass Mr. Anthony E. Simons III, Senior Storekeeper Mr. Donald Beckwith, Band Secretary Ms. Kimberly Jackson, and Announcer Mr. Joe Bullard.

        Adding to the success of the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University Marching Band is the summer band camp that has been in place since 1990 with only around 100 members. Many of the summer band camp members are from Burke High School in Charleston, South Carolina and William M. Raines High School in Jacksonville, Florida. During the summer, band camp members of the Florida "Marching 100" teach the camp students there and watch them perform.

The purpose of the summer band camp is to help members and students of the marching band to become a better musician and also help them with their leadership. The summer band camp is also a famous choice for most high school student who wants to see the Marching 100 and learn from them also. The summer band camp members range from the 9th grade to 12th grade. Most members who attended the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University summer band camp later became section leaders, officers and drum majors in the Marching 100. During the summer band camp many band staffs, visiting band directors along with the members of Marching 100 help children all over the world who come here to improve their skills in marching and playing their instruments. Many magazines and newspapers also said that the "Marching 100 summer band camp is one of the best band camp in the country, with many band camp members who attended it every summer". After the summer band camp is over, members who participated in this will have a chance to show what they learned from the Marching 100 during the annual band camp parade in front of the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, along with people from Tallahassee, Florida. People of the Tallahassee, Florida community enjoy seeing these young men and women from around the world to perform in front of them, and show what they learned over the summer. Many of them also look forward to seeing band camp members join the FAMU marching band in the future.

There are other marching units other than Florida A & M marching band. One of the marching units is the Florida A & M University dance teams. They have a total of three dance teams. One is called "FAMU Venom Dancers." The second one is "DIVAS Dance Team." The last one is "FAMU Elite Dance Squad." The "FAMU Elite Dance Squad" started in 2002. This is credited to Dr. Abigail Mobley for finding and beginning the squad. At first, there were only 10 members in this squad. This included five cheerleaders and five stuntmen. Currently, there are more than 20 wonderful and skillful ladies in this dance squad at FAMU.

The "FAMU Venom Dancers" started in 1994. The President is Miriam Watkins; the Vice President is Kimberly Clark; the Sgt. At Arms is Shani Vann; the Secretary is Niki Jackson; the Business Manager is Alison Lewis; the Treasurer is Katrina Comer; the Asst. Secretary is Lakara Foster; the Chaplain is Veronica Nichols. Their styles consist of lyrical or jazz. Hip-hop, funk, and pom routines are more common in sporting events.

These dance teams are independent organizations that are a part of FAMU. They aren't necessarily incorporated with the "Marching 100," however they do participate in the same events as FAMU's marching band. They all participate in athletic events such as football games, basketball games, baseball games, and many more. Parades are a popular event that they all take part in. They also perform at Greek letter organization functions.

There is one cheerleading team at the Florida A & M University. A total of 16 cheerleaders and 2 alternatives make up the team. Alongside with the "Marching 100," they participate in pep rallies, football games, parades, and home basketball games for men and women.

Another marching unit that's a part of the Florida A & M University marching band is the flag/color guard team. They were an addition to the "Marching 100" in March 1971. This Flag Corps' nickname is the "Dirty Dozen."

There was a majorette team that's a part of the "Marching 100" in 1946. However, they do not incorporate the majorettes with the marching band anymore. They think this will cause the audience's attention away from the band and towards the majorettes. That is the same reason why the marching band doesn't incorporate the dance teams, but they often participate in the same events. They're all marching units.

The Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University is a historically black college that allowed the "Marching 100" to be possible. It was first called the State Normal College for Colored Students. This was established on October 3, 1887. In the beginning, there were only two instructors and fifteen students. It is located in Tallahassee-the capital of Florida. The first president of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University was Thomas DeSaille Tucker. He was president from 1887-1901. He was also an attorney from Pensacola at the moment. The name State Normal College for Colored Students changed to Florida Agricultural and Mechanical College for Negroes (FAMC) in 1909. Ever since then, more students began enrolling in this wonderful college. One significant thing about this college at the time was its library. It was the only Carnegie Library established on a black land-grant college campus. The University grew rapidly within the years of 1950-1968. They expanded with more buildings. These consisted of the Dairy Barn, Faculty Duplexes, Law Wing of Coleman Library, Gibbs Hall, Tucker Hall, Truth Hall, Agriculture and Home Economics Building [Perry Paige], Student Union Building, Demonstration School Building, Cafeteria, Health and Physical Education Building, Music and Fine Arts Complex, High School Gymnasium, Stadium, and Health and Physical Education Building. The "Marching 100" sometimes practiced in the gymnasium and the stadium. Another great aspect of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University is the hospital that was established in 1956. It served many African-Americans in Tallahassee. Another important fact about FAMU is that they were the first "Negro" facility and institution to be a part of Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Many of the University Presidents contributed to the establishment and expansion of the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University that we know today. Nathan B. Young was the second president who administrated from 1901-1923. J.R.E Lee was the third president who administrated from 1924-1944. William H. Gray was the fourth president who administrated from 1944-1949. George W. Gore was the fifth president who administrated from 1950-1968. Benjamin L. Perry was the sixth president who administrated from 1968-1977. Walter L. Smith was the seventh president who administrated from 1977-1985. Frederick S. Humphries was the eighth president who administrated from 1985-2001. Fred Gainous was the ninth president who administrated from 2002-2004. James H. Ammons is the tenth president who administrated from 2007 to the present. He is the current president that supports the "Marching 100." Also the only woman to administrate was Castell Vaughn Bryant who was an interim president from January 2005 to May 2007. They have been serving Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University for over 120 years. This university is also known as "Florida's Opportunity University."

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University's mission is to provide an enlightened and enriched academic, intellectual, moral, cultural, ethical, technological and student-centered environment, conducive to the development of highly qualified individuals who are prepared and capable of serving as leaders and contributors in our ever-evolving society. It is similar to the "Marching 100" mission dealing with leadership and academics.

The Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University is a school that is known for its "Marching 100" but it is also a school that has good academics. The school motto is "Excellence with Caring." The school's motto and the marching band's motto are on the same level that they are aiming fro excellence. The idea is to be the best in all areas. Most of the majors that Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University offer will bring students to excellence in the future-especially African Americans and other minorities. They offer majors such as Health Science, Agribusiness, Landscape Design & Mgmt, International Agriculture and Business, Biological & Agricultural System Engineering, Civil Engineering Technology, Electronic Engineering Technology, Manufacturing Engineering Technology, Construction Engineering Technology, Computer and Information Sciences, Art Education, English Education, Mathematics Education, Music Education, Science Education, Social Studies Education, French, Spanish, English, Biology, Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, Arts in Philosophy & Religion, Arts in Psychology, Criminal Justice, Social Work, Arts in Political Science, Arts in Economics, Sociology, Arts of Theater, Arts in Fine Arts, Music, Music Performance, Jazz Studies, Arts in History, Architecture, Architectural Studies, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Industrial Engineering, Business Administrating, Accounting, Journalism, Public Relations, Graphic Designs, and Graphic Communications. Many band members of the "Marching 100" major in Music Performance, but some members choose other majors according to their future careers.

The university's mascot is a snake which they named "The Rattlers" Sometimes the "Marching 100" is called or referred to "The Rattlers" as well. The university's colors are green and orange. This slowly developed as the color for the uniform of the "Marching 100."

The Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University offers many fraternities and sororities. One of the fraternities is Kappa Kappa Psi Band Fraternity in which band members participate. There are other fraternities and sororities as well such as National Pan-Hellenic Council, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc., Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., and Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity, Inc.

As a result, the Florida A &M "Marching 100" has become one of the most respected band in the country. From 1982 to 2009 the marching band has become very successful. In the 100 years that the band has been established it is one of the best marching band in America. During this time the band had five band directors, but not many have been successful as Dr. William P. Foster. Under his leadership he organized a band's motto which he and the band members still believes in today. That each band's motto will help guide band members to be better than any other marching bands out there. With this the marching band accomplished many things under his guidance. Even though Dr. William P. Foster has retired he still has many influences throughout the marching band. Another band director that was successful was Dr. Julian E. White, even though his legacy is not as great as Dr. Foster. Dr. White did achieve many accomplishments when he became the Florida A & M marching band director. One of the greatest achievements that the Dr. White and the marching band receive was to march in Washington D.C on the 44th President Barack Obama inaugural parade on January 20, 2009 as the representative of the state of Florida. It was also in this year that the band made another appearance at the Honda's Battle of the Bands in Atlanta. Many success have gone to the marching band and the band director, but credits also goes to the marching bands staff who worked with the bands to improve their marching style and become one of the best marching bands in the world. Their hard work by helping, practicing and trying to improve what is already one of the greatest bands the Florida A & M "Marching 100" shows that everyone in the school deserves credit for the band success, such as the dance teams, cheerleaders, flag team and majorettes.

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