Members of Florida A&M University’s Marching 100 are taking time out to thank those who assisted with funding their trip to Washington for President Obama’s inaugural parade.
“We were really low on funding,” said Julian White, director of the marching 100. “So in order for us to make the trip it had to be done from public donations.”
White said the band reached out to alumni to help fund the trip.
Evan Gilbert, 23, a senior music education student from Daytona Beach, was one of many students who called fellow donors and thanked them for their support.
“[Sponsors] were appreciative that we took the time out to call them,” Gilbert said.
Another member of the band, Catherine Williams, agreed.
“White said he even got more phone calls of persons saying that they were excited that we actually called to thank them,” Williams said.
Devin Collins, 18, a freshmen sociology student from Tampa, the band showed their appreciation as a team versus individually.
“It was always done as a group thing and when we went places to ask for money, we thanked them,” Collins said.
According to Administrative Services Coordinator of Alumni Affairs Vernon Bryant, emails were sent to graduates who contributed to the trip were pleased to hear from band members.
Bryant himself got a personal thank you from White.
“(White) was very pleased with the outcome as far as the response from other people who called him to thank him but he thanked me in person for the job well done,” Bryant said.
According to Bryant, it was more than alumni who helped the band get to D.C.
“It was corporate donors, parents, former alumni, friends of alumni, city and civic leaders,” Bryant said. “It was a combination of everybody coming out.”
Bryant said the band appreciated the community’s support and every penny donated to fund their trip.
“It was great and overwhelming,” Gilbert said of the donations. “I didn’t think the community appreciated the marching band or the music department to that magnitude where they will give us that much money to send us to D.C.”
Williams was also gracious of the support from the band’s fans.
“Speaking for the whole band, it felt really good just to know that even in the time of the recession, people were willing to give their own to support us and to send us to D.C.,” Williams said. “It just let’s us know they actually believe in us and want to see us succeed… they know we’re a representation of the university, of the state of Florida and more importantly of Historically Black Colleges & Universities.
Bryant credits the FAMU’s office of university relations’ staff for their participation.
“Everyone played an intricate part in making sure it went off well,” Bryant said.
Bryant also said he credits the band members for their assistance.
“Hats go off to the students,” Bryant said. “They were very professional in making the phone calls, we had fun. It was a job well done.”
Williams said without the donations, the band would not have been able to travel to Washington D.C.
“It’s for that reason that we actually took the time out to call people back and to thank them,” Williams said. “Because without them, we wouldn’t have been able to go and that’s just the reality of the situation.”