Marching 100 to ‘Ba-Rock’ with Obama

The Marching 100 has landed another big gig. On April 15, FAMU’s renowned Marching 100 will “Ba-ROCK” with presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama in Tampa.

The band was contacted a member of the Obama campaign team to perform at Obama’s Tampa rally in Ybor City, a fundraiser to for his presidential campaign.

Frank Sanchez, Barack Obama National Advisory Committee Member and media adviser for the rally, said the Marching 100’s “world class reputation and their high energy” made them an ideal choice for entertainment to welcome Obama and “attract a new generation of donors.”

This new generation of donors Obama seeks is “the average citizen,” Sanchez said.

“There are no fundraisers – and I’ve been involved with presidential campaigns for more than 25 years – that offer $25 per person for a fundraiser.” Because of this, Sanchez believes the band was the right choice for their event.

“I think the interesting thing about the (Marching 100) is that they have broad appeal to all ages,” Sanchez said. “When I see them perform and I look at the crowd, I see 15-18-year-olds and 50-year-olds cheering and dancing,”

Julian White, director of bands, said the band’s performance is a catalyst for many of FAMU’s values, disciplines and traditions.

“The 100 has a fine history of accolades and excellence

that exemplifies the values of FAMU,” he said. He made reference to the band’s performance in Paris on behalf of the U.S., Super Bowls XXXIX and XLI, the 48th Grammy Awards with Kanye West and Jamie Foxx. The 100 was also noted by Sports Illustrated as “The Toughest Band in the Land.”

“What we’ve got to do, folks, is step up to the plate,” White said during practice with Virtuoso, a select group of band members who are attending the event.

Alfred Fleuranvil, FAMU alumnus and project analyst for ECSU financial services, said, “This is a different type of audience for the band.”

Fleuranvil, 29, now a Tampa resident, said he had some doubts, but is looking forward to the band coming to his city.

“I’m sure they will adjust,” he said. “I know it will be spectacular as always, but I’m just curious.”

Although this is a different caliber of performance, White feels confident the band will perform at the level that this event requires.

“This is not new to the band,” White said. “The Virtuoso band are strong leaders who are experienced so I have no doubt that they will do an outstanding job.”

White said the band is doing a service to FAMU and the community by performing at events such as this. White said he was “proud and elated” when he received the request to play for Obama.

“It speaks high of how the public feels about the University and the music program when someone like Obama wants you to play,” he continued.

White said the request originally came from Obama’s staff when he visited Tallahassee a few weeks ago. The band could not participate then.

“We have an administrative process that we must follow and when we were contacted it was too short of a notice to play,” he said.