The director of marching and pep bands, Sylvester Young, announced this morning that the Marching “100” will perform Sept. 1 in Orlando at the MEAC-SWAC Challenge against Mississippi Valley State University.
The halftime performance will be the first since the band was suspended indefinitely following the hazing death of drum major Robert Champion in November 2011.
Young said the band will take the field in Orlando without any reservations, knowing that “when we take the field, we will not be stepping back in time, but we’ll be starting and cutting a new path for this band with the same precision and all of the things Dr. (William) Foster had in mind in his dream in developing this band.”
Interim President Larry Robinson said the university fully supports Young’s decision to put the Marching “100” back on the field a couple of months after its suspension was lifted on June 27.
“We believe that, moving forward, this band will be a model of excellence for other bands across this nation and will actually focus on its founding principals of character, academics, leadership, marching and service,” Robinson said.
He also said public relations concerns were factored into the decision for the band to perform in Orlando.
“We’re in the position to demonstrate to the world that this band is ready to perform at the level of quality and excellence that is its rich tradition and also in absence of those things that led to its suspension in the first place,” Robinson. “[Young] has a lot of talented kids out here.”
Ronald Gray, a third-year student from Fort Lauderdale and returning band member, said he believes the Marching “100” will be ready to perform for the Rattlers’ season-opener.
“We had the mindset of being ready before we touched this field,” he said.
He dismissed the specific significance of returning to Orlando, saying it is just a coincidence. When asked if he had any concerns about returning to Orlando, he said, “No, not at all.”