They’ve performed at the Champs-Elysee in Paris, made back-to-back visits to former President Bill Clinton’s inaugurations and thrilled homecoming fans lining the streets of Tallahassee.
And now, Florida A&M University’s Marching 100 is headed to the Super Bowl XXXIX pre-game show Feb. 6 in Jacksonville.
Who cares that the performance is expected to last only six minutes? And though the band will be performing before the 79,000 fans in the sold-out Alltel Stadium, it probably won’t get a chance to be seen by millions of television viewers around the world.
The band is scheduled to perform sometime between 5:56 p.m. and 6:04 p.m., just before Alicia Keys sings “America the Beautiful” in a tribute to Ray Charles.
“Their legend preceded them, and we at the NFL are very familiar with the band and what they can do to stir up the crowd in a stadium setting,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told the Tallahassee Democrat on Thursday.
Julian White, a Jacksonville native and director of university bands at FAMU, said the band was “proud to represent FAMU, Tallahassee and Florida.” “This is quite an accomplishment because it means that they recognize the value of our artistic performance,” White said in a statement.
The band has been practicing for other upcoming performances, but nothing compares to the big game.
“We’re practicing very hard for this. We’re really enthusiastic about it. This weekend we’re performing at the Honda Battle of the Bands, which to us is just a dress rehearsal for the Super Bowl,” said band member Renee Gordon, a Mechanical Engineering student from Miami.
The last time the 100 made it to the Super Bowl was in 1969, when they performed at Super Bowl III in Miami’s Orange Bowl.
“I’m so thrilled that our return to the Super Bowl will be in my hometown,” White said.
FAMU’s Interim President Castell Vaughn Bryant was equally pleased.
“This invitation reflects the high esteem accorded to our band,” Bryant said in the same release.
“I am certain that their performance will be spectacular and unforgettable.”
Staff Writer Sidney Wright contributed to this report.