Obama impressed with Marching 100

Saturday in Tampa the Marching 100 marched to the stage to welcome Sen. Barack Obama and entertain guests at the Tampa O-Train rally.

The crowd cheered when Julian White, director of bands, finished playing “Do What You Wanna” and said, “We’re here to entertain everyone, the young and the old.”

The Tampa O-train rally, part of Obama’s fundraising campaign for presidency, attracted Tampa residents of all ages and various races. He assured them he would provide a variety of music to satisfy their expectations.

Without sheets of music, the band played whatever White requested.

One of his special treats was “Flight of the Bumble Bee.”Sen. Obama appreciated the student performers.

“This is the best introduction I have ever had,” Obama said.

“You guys make us all proud. You’ve made us proud all year long.”

He thanked them for sacrificing their time on a weekend near the end of the school year. “It is good when young people are doing positive things (like this).”

Gazing out over the nearly 600 attendees, Obama looked back on his career and wondered how he got to where he is now.

“As a young man, I had been inspired by the civil rights movement. I said to myself, that is what I want to be a part of, the next phase of justice, freedom and equality,” Obama said.

He said he worked for a church earning a $12,000 salary, while diminishing unemployment and establishing after-school programs. Obama’s work experience found on his Web site, www.barackobama.com, shows that he has dedicated his life to public service as a community organizer, civil rights attorney and senate leader in Illinois.

The senator focused on his passion for the average individual.

“Ordinary people can do extraordinary things when they are given the opportunity,” Obama said. He encouraged the volunteers to continue doing the work they do and audience members to stay involved. Obama said that “at each and every junction in America, ordinary people have said that we don’t care how America is, we care about how it’s going to be.” Audience members were pleased with his speech.

Blanche Ganey, a retired St. Petersburg resident and parent of a current FAMU student, said, “I like his politics, unlike those we have now, he is sponsoring some inclusion (of average people).”

White, proud that the band was chosen to play at the rally, said this was a non-partisan performance. However, he said “I am confident in saying that the band supports Obama.”

Band member Shannon Brown, 19, an elementary education sophomore from Orlando, said, “I was glad that we got to hear what he had to say. I didn’t know whether I supported him before speaking, but after hearing him, (now) I do.”