Marching “100” sets off for Super Bowl XLI

The University sent-off the Marching “100” Wednesday morning as they prepare to perform with Prince at the Super Bowl XLI halftime show. The band members exchanged their marching uniforms for dress attire as they lined up on ‘The Set’ to load the buses expecting to take them to West Palm Beach to practice with Prince. As past ‘100’ performances were being played in the background, the mass of students congregated in mid-50 degree weather to say goodbye and good luck to the band. The ‘send-off’ was not just a campus celebration. With Rev. Dr. John Green, pastor of Bethel AME Church, and Alan Williams, assistant to the city commissioner and fellow FAMU graduate, in attendance, this was a community affair. “We are here to celebrate another invitation to be on the big stage,” said university spokeswoman LeNedra Carroll. Carroll said that “we are about academics,” but this opportunity is another chance to showcase the talent at the university. “We know the band will represent us well,” Caroll said. The rally began with a welcome from Student Government President Phillip Agnew downplaying the reputation of a certain Indianapolis team playing his hometown Chicago Bears. Agnew went on to describe how the ‘100’ have been “a doorway to FAM…better yet the front porch.” He said the band would be at the Super Bowl, “holding it down with their stellar showmanship.” Student band leader Chandler Wilson continued to thank everyone for their support when he took the stage. Wilson said the band’s performance at the Super Bowl would be a recruiting tool for the university. “People are always asking ‘Who’s FAM?'” Wilson said. He said the 150 million people who will be watching the Super Bowl at halftime will know who they are when “we set the stage on fire.” ‘Fire,’ seemed to be the same expression shared by Head Drum Major Shaun West. “(Our performance) is going to be the best thing since sliced bread,” said the sixth-year band member from Tallahassee. West agreed with Wilson and said the performance will be more exposure for the university after their Grammy performance with Kanye West and Jamie Foxx. This was not West’s first performance at the Super Bowl. After his pre-game performance at the Super Bowl with the ‘100’ in 2005, West said this time “it’s a lot more exciting.” “They will recognize the power the ‘100’ has,” he said. As the ‘send-off’ concluded Julian White, the director of band explained how they made it to the Super Bowl. White said Prince invited them in October and November. He continued to dispel rumors that Castell Bryant was opposed to the band performing at the Super Bowl. “She was very supportive,” said White, and “we will be ready.” Five minutes and 45 seconds is how long the band will be on the field at Dolphin Stadium. Lindsey Serjeant, a music professor, said “FAM’s band has been a leader in college bands for the last 50-60 years,” and on Sunday, “we will break history.” Serjeant said everyone in this community takes the band for granted, but “outside this city people revere the hundred.” He said he is excited to have this type of national and international visibility. And though Serjeant said he could not reveal what they planned for their performance, he said it would be a “spectacular show.”