America’s band takes another step

The ensemble performing their ‘Come Sunday’ piece featuring Strikers Dance Troupe and Mahogany Dance Theater. Photo courtesy: @themarching100

The Marching “100” is one of the main attractions at FAMU, but it isn’t the only worthwhile musical ensemble on campus.

On Feb. 16, FAMU’S Wind Symphony got the opportunity to perform at the 2023 College Band Directors National Association Conference on the campus of the University of Georgia in Athens, GA. The national conference is held semi-annually for all colleges and directors to come to a central location to network, attend workshops and more, all while being able to listen to various musical ensemble performances throughout the conference.

The ensemble traveled to Atlanta two days prior to the concert to practice as well as recruit at multiple high schools in the Metro Atlanta area. On Tuesday, the ensemble hosted an open practice at Westlake High School and followed up at Southwest DeKalb High school the next day.

The open practices were to give a concert type experience for those who would not be able to travel to Athens to see the performance live, but to also give local high school students a small glimpse into a collegiate rehearsal, while potentially connecting with students to give them college advice and answer any of their questions on FAMU or college in general.

Senior ensemble member, Jordan Steele, spoke on his experience of getting to perform at his former high school during his last semester at FAMU.

“It was definitely fun getting to go back to Southwest to perform for the kids… I got to be a prime example of where hard work can get you to those students who are currently where I was just a few years ago,” Steele said. “I’m sure I made my mom and former band director proud.”

After their two stops at Metro Atlanta high schools, the ensemble headed to Athens to handle business.

Their concert included the following selections: Fathom Five, Only Light, Concerto for Euphonium and Wind Ensemble, Unidad en Rítmo (World-Premiere), Sound & Smoke and Come Sunday where they featured performers from both Strikers Dance Troupe and Mahogany Dance Theatre.

Head band director, Dr. Shelby Chipman, was extremely grateful for the opportunity to conduct the ensemble at the CBDNA Conference.

“It was a humbling experience for myself as a conductor.. The 7–10-minute standing ovation following our Come Sunday piece was just spectacular,” Chipman said.

America’s Band takes another step

The live performance is still available for viewing on the band’s Instagram, @themarching100.