Florida A&M’s famed Marching 100 is traveling to St. Petersburg on Sunday for that city’s annual Martin Luther King Day Parade and Festival celebration on Monday.
The band, arguably the university’s most visible ambassador, has been a regular feature in St. Petersburg for this national holiday.
DuBois Colon, a third-year music student at FAMU, said he enjoys traveling with the Marching 100 for performances, especially when they are for purposeful occasions.
“As a native of Atlanta, Georgia, I have participated in many different forms of celebrations for Martin Luther King Jr.,” he said. “Being that Martin Luther King Jr.’s birth home is in Atlanta, Georgia, it is always a key celebration, especially amongst the African-American community.”
Colon has participated in activities with the Marching 100 since Fall 2015 and deems the MLK Day parade in St. Petersburg one of his most extraordinary yearly parades. “The weather is typically blazing hot,” Colon said, “however, when there is a duty to be fulfilled, you must take action, commit and get the job done precisely.”
Colon spoke on a time when he was both marching and playing during last year’s parade and was able to see the many smiles and cheerful messages from the community as the Marching 100 marched through the downtown area.
“I’m only a college student,” Colon said. “To witness history in the making, be a part of a vision that Martin Luther King Jr. anticipated and to be a primary cause to making a community of individuals joyful is what I always intended to do as a child. This is not only remarkable, but memorable.”
Fourth-year physical therapy student and St. Petersburg, native Dontreal Fletcher, loves it when his university visits his hometown.
“It’s always a great feeling to see the College of Love and Charity in your hometown,” said Fletcher. “It’s even greater when the Marching 100 is involved.” Fletcher remembered last year’s MLK Day parade. Fletcher, along with friends from FAMU walked beside the Marching 100 as they played and marched through the parade.
The Marching 100 can be seen, starting with the drum majors, auxiliary, brass instrumentalists, percussionists and lastly woodwind instrumentalists.
Second-year broadcast journalism student Sterling Bright said he looks forward to traveling to St. Petersburg with the Marching 100. Bright plays trombone and enjoys marching in the front lines of the band. When asked his favorite Marching 100 tune, while filling the streets with melodic sounds, Bright’s response was, “Sounds of Success, S.O.S.”
Sounds of Success is a popular tune, formally created by the S.O.S. Band. Many Rattlers enjoy singing and dancing while S.O.S is being played by the Marching 100.
FAMU’s Marching 100 is expected to return to Tallahassee in the evening of MLK Day.
The Marching 100 has been invited to perform at the 2019 Tournament of Roses Rose Parade in Pasadena, California. Band director Shelby Chipman accepted the invitation.