The ‘100’ marches on

The Marching 100 Band flyer for their first virtual band camp held this previous summer.

In 2019, Florida A&M University’s Marching 100 was nominated by voters to participate as one of the “final eight” bands in the 2020 Battle of the Bands Invitational showcase. Now, the Marching 100 is working hard to prepare for upcoming events and, as always, perform a zestful show for Rattler fans.

This past summer, the Marching 100  conducted its first virtual Summer Band Camp due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The band’s  mission during the virtual Summer Band Camp was to give middle school, high school, and directors a chance to advance their musical learning magnificently at home from world-class musicians, as well as instructors.

The virtual Summer Band Camp lasted for three days. Each day was divided into two-morning class sessions and two-afternoon class sessions. Some of the events that took place during the camp were events such as drum major workshops, marching band techniques, master classes, and learning dance routines.

Matthew James, student assistant to the director of bands, said the camp went well.

“The experience with the virtual camp was more than what we bargained for. We boasted over 800 registered participants, and it was a great experience for all who underwent the student track or the director track. It was a different experience for the student leaders since we’re not used to conducting music virtually or leading a virtual rehearsal. Overall, it was a rewarding experience to see people that I had seen at previous band camps, as well as new faces,” James said.

“This experience truly demonstrates that the ‘100’ can stand the test of time and all changes that it may bring,”  James said.

Although a virtual band camp wasn’t the Marching 100’s plan at first, the incomparable band made it happen. The Marching 100 has started practicing twice a week — Mondays and Wednesdays — and is restricted to freshmen and student leadership as their key focus for this fall semester is to show the freshmen the fundamentals of maneuvers and musical concepts the band uses,” he added. 

Head drum major Moises Martinez, admitted that is a far from normal fall term for the band — and everyone else at FAMU.

“The Marching 100 practices every Monday and Wednesday from 3:35 until about 5:30. The rehearsals run down from training the freshmen and

Student assistant to the director of bands, Matthew James Playing the saxophone during a Marching 100 performance.

giving them the basic marching fundamentals, marching up and down the field 8 to 5, and basic maneuvers in terms of turning, flanking, half rights, half lefts, and about-face,” Martinez said. 

While the Marching 100 is getting its freshmen prepared for the upcoming semester, there are a few presentations lined up for this fall semester, such as “The Farewell Tour.” There is without a doubt that the Marching 100 will be ready in the spring for the football season since they couldn’t step out fully this semester and show what Rattlers are all about. 

Pep Bands Director Shelby Chipman said there will be more virtual presentations as the university continues to follow CDC guidelines for best practices during the pandemic.

“So what we are going to do is have a type of virtual musical presentation. It may be at Bragg  Memorial Stadium, where we are practicing social distancing, or may be our drill field where they will have an opportunity to see the band. There won’t necessarily be any fans there, but certainly, you can connect to the people via that mechanism,” Chipman said.