Florida A&M University’s Marching “100” has been selected to participate in the President's Inaugural parade on Tuesday, January 20, 2009, in
A telephone call on Friday to Dr. Julian White, director of bands and chair of FAMU's Department of Music, was unexpected and changed the course of the band’s practice session.
December 5, was a typical band rehearsal for FAMU Marching “100” as they created unique formations with high-stepping techniques. According to White, he received a telephone call during rehearsal congratulating him that the Marching “100” had been selected to participate in the inaugural parade.
“When I heard that we were selected, I immediately asked them to repeat it again,” said White. “I put them on speakerphone and put the phone to the microphone so that the entire band could hear the invite. As soon as the band members heard the invitation, they went berserk. They were screaming and shouting. They started calling and sending text messages to their family and friends informing them of the wonderful news.”
This is not the first time the Marching “100” has been invited to participate in a Presidential Inaugural Parade. This appearance will be the third time for the Marching “100”. The band participated in both of the inaugural parades for former President William “Bill” Clinton.
“For Florida A&M University to be a part of such a historical occasion is truly an honor,” said James H. Ammons, FAMU's president. “This nation will have an opportunity to see once again what we all know — the Marching “100” is this nation’s most talented, dynamic and innovative university band.”
White is also proud of the band.
“I am proud and elated that the 420 piece Florida A&M University Marching Band has been invited to participate in the historic Presidential Inaugural Parade,” said White. “It is an honor to have the opportunity to represent the university, the City of Tallahassee, and the State of Florida. The invitation to Present-elect Obama’s Inaugural Parade is by far what we are most proud of. We would like to thank our President Dr. James H. Ammons who has supported us every step of the way.”
Ralph Jean-Paul, student president of the Marching "100," echoed White’s sentiments.
“Words can not express how we feel,” said Paul, a senior from Miami majoring in music education with a concentration in performance. “We consider this to a great privilege for the band to be part of this historical event.”
To be considered to participate in the inaugural parade, the band had to submit an extensive application. White stated they sent a DVD of the band’s marching performance as well as audio clips. A 50-page media kit also was sent highlighting the numerous accomplishments of the band over the years.
“It was a hard job to condense some many years of accomplishments into just 50-pages,” said White.
Now the challenge is funding. According to White, he estimates that the cost for three nights of lodging and the travel expenses to and from Washington, D.C. could cost from $90,000 to $100,000.
“We are really going to need the help from our supporters, the FAMU community, our alumni, and the local community,” said White.