Alumni, band directors and band members hope Florida A&M’s new band director with “vision” and will respect the tradition of university’s famed Marching “100” band.
In June, FAMU began the search for a replacement for Julian White, the former director of bands who retired in the midst of a showdown with the university over his being dismissed in November.
Band director at FAMU DRS Arnett Moore said that he is afraid that the new director of bands will be someone who is not aware of the customs of the Marching “100.”
“My biggest concern is that we bring in a mentality that doesn’t really understand the tradition of the organization,” said Moore, who played trumpet with the “100” for five years and was also a drum major. “It takes someone who understands the fundamental, understand the music ensemble, [you must] have someone who has a vision for the program.”
On June 29, FAMU announced that it was searching for a new band director of bands with a job advertisement on its website soliciting candidates. The university said in its press release that the job description would be posted in the Chronicle of Higher Education and Diverse Issues in Higher Education.
Then-provost Larry Robinson appointed Rodner Wright, the dean of the School of Architecture, as the head of the search committee. Robinson is now interim FAMU president, and Wright is interim provost.
The search committee will consist of 13 members and include students, faculty and staff. Robinson said that the school’s goal is to hire a new band director by the end of the fall 2012 semester.
FAMU alumnus and former Marching “100” member Clinton Fields stated that the new director bands should be someone with who is fit for the position and graduated from the university.
“My whole take on this is that they should have someone that’s qualified, FAMU has graduated so may band directors that the person who gets the job more than likely will be a FAMU alumni,” Fields said.
Fields played trombone with the band from 1978 to 1983. He said that he feels that the new director should be experienced in music and a trendsetter for the band.
“He has to be music major of course, and he has to have a primary instrument that he plays and he has to be a innovator and keep on the traditions of the 100,” Fields said.
Robinson said that the university wants someone who is able to keep the culture of the band and work with and motivate students.
“We want an individual with outstanding experience in band management, the proven ability to educate and inspire students to excel in the classroom and in the traditions of FAMU’s renown performance style, and the capacity to lead and mentor faculty, staff and other colleagues,” Robinson said.