Shivering band members warmed up their instruments outside of Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg Sunday. About 20 bands in high and middle schools performed at the “Drum Major for Justice Festival of Bands.”
Florida A&M University’s Marching “100” was the honored guest as the demonstration band. Julian White, the band director for the past five years, explained they were there to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the event.
Crowds poured into the stadium for the 6:30 p.m. performance.
North Clayton High School from College Park, Ga. kicked off the event, followed promptly by other marching bands Louisiana Leadership, Thurgood Marshall Middle School from New Orleans, and others pumping out high energy, smooth beats, and smiling faces.
But when the Marching “100” arrived, and required that the entire wall siding be removed to let the entire 350-member band make their grand entrance.
“We had to stop traffic and stop lights just to get here on time,” said Lindsay Anderson, a junior theater major from Savannah, Ga.
The Marching “100” waited their turn to play, observing the other school’s routine.
“I feel good because I haven’t seen high and middle perform in a long time,” said Anderson.
The band often uses events to recruit younger band members to FAMU and to the Marching “100.”
“They ask us questions. They want to know about the city, SAT’s, as well as the band,” said Patrick Nunn, a freshman music major from Orlando.
Hours of practice, drills on the field, over time, and sacrifice compiles the commitment of a band member.
“Sometimes it interferes with school, like when we leave on Thursday,” said Lynnie Beauvoir, a junior economics major from Orlando.
Some professors understand, but students drop out of band to keep up with grades when it interferes too much or when they have to work.
“I look at as a full time job, but sometimes you have to drop what you love to survive,” said Beauvoir.
Being in band has its perks. Most love being in front of an audience.
“It’s pretty exhilarating, the adrenaline rush,” said Erik Carnes, a senior biology major from College Park, Ga.
Marching “100” is considered the “most imitated band in the nation” according to the St. Petersburg Times.
In particular, the signature Rattler hand strike move is copied.
They are known for original dance moves, marching that veers away from traditional military forms and high energy.
“Everything is imitated! The snake move- other bands imitate it, and don’t even know what they’re doing,” said Carnes.
“Quite a few bands do imitate what we do,” said White. “The audience shows appreciation for what we do.”
The Marching 100 finally performed around 11 p.m. They were the reason the crowd waited patiently. “Everyone comes to see our band,” said James Douse, a freshman engineer major from St Petersburg,.
Perfection requires cooperation and patience. Members know this.
“It’s a different life. We’re a miniature world in a big family,” said Beauvior.
Members are all there for one love: music; so, no matter what complication comes up, the show must and will go on.
Contact Mirando C. Jumper at firstname.lastname@example.org.