Due to COVID-19, both band auditions and cheerleader try-outs have become virtual.
For the Marching 100, the coronavirus has affected its summer band camp for high schoolers and changed the waysauditionsare being handled for section leaders, drum majors, and other leadership positions. Pre-drill is still scheduled to happen for band members in August.
Marching 100 drum major Nehemiah Fields believes that the band has been able to excel through the pandemic.
“There are times we may need to adapt very quickly. COVID-19 has allowed us to use more of our virtual resources,” Fields said. “We’ve been able to interact with prospective members, and through social media as well.”
Last year’s band camp had approximately 300 high school and middle school students in attendance representing more than 20 states. The young campers were mentored by more than 100 band members.
Florida A&M’s Marching 100 is historically known to have transformed how marching bands perform during half-time shows. The band’s founder, William P. Foster, changed FAMU’s band from the militaristic band style to a band that performs modern-day dances to more current music.
The Florida A&M band is unique and well known around the country. The band has performed at at least three Super Bowl half-time shows including one with legendary singer and songwriter Prince. The band has performed at at least two inaugural parades for U.S. presidents: Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
It wasthe only band in the United States to be selected as the “official United States representative” at the Bicentennial Celebration of the French Revolution, better known as Bastille Day in Paris. This celebration was seen live world-wide by millions.
The Florida A&M Cheer Team’s try-outs have also been moved to be completed virtually. The contestants have until May 1 to submit videos to the respective email along with a $40 fee. Contestants must register through the eventbrite link to secure a submission spot for the football and competition teams.
Contestants who try out and make the team will be a part of the football and competition teams, cheer at all home games, designated away games and attend the National Cheer Association cheer camp in April.
Sophomore cheerleader Jillian Henderson is saddened that the coronavirus has cut the time with her teammates short. “It’s unfortunate that the competition season got canceled, along with our banquet,” Henderson said.
This year’s cheer camp was canceled due to the coronavirus. Former Florida A&M cheerleader and 2016 MEAC champion, Amber Hannah, wishes the team could show its talent on the highest level.
“I really wish they were able to experience competition cheer at the collegiate level, since the MEAC championship was abolished,” Hannah said. “FAMU hasn’t been able to showcase the amazing talent our athletes have to offer.”
Follow both social media pages @famu_cheer and @themarching100 for more updates.