The Marching 100 has raised $152,000, surpassing the Florida A&M University’s goal of $100,00 to pay for their trip to perform at the presidential inaugural parade in Washington, D.C. But the band said they would like to raise more money to make the trip a total success.
“Right now, the band has raised about $152,000,” said director of bands Julian E. White during an interview Thursday afternoon. “We still need a few more thousand dollars to make our goal.”
More money allows the band to travel and lodge more comfortably, White said.
“This inauguration is most significant because we have an African-American as president,” he said.
This will be the third time the Marching 100 has performed for President-elect Barack Obama.
“We have had a part in his campaign, this is kind of a culmination that works,” White said.
For over 30 days, FAMU’s Marching 100 Band has been raising money to send the 420-piece band to the nation’s capital, where they will be one of several dozen bands participating in the inaugural parade on Jan. 20.
The FAMU Foundation organized the fundraising effort. Students, alumni, faculty, staff and university supporters as well as corporate businesses contributed money to the band.
“Grass roots fundraisers were most definitely the biggest help in raising money,” White said.
Head drum major Michael Scott agreed.
“I think mostly the alumni and local churches helped the most,” said Scott, 26, a music education student from Miami.
Although the university asked for $100,000 in order to facilitate the trip, Scott said the band needed much more.
“(The band’s) initial goal was $175,000. Then we were informed the trip was actually going to cost $200,000,” said Scott. “It takes the band $25,000 just to move. Not including the price of a hotel.”
The band has a legacy of participating in big events. They have been invited to perform at the NFL’s Super Bowl XXXIX in Jacksonville, Fla., at both of President Bill Clinton’s inaugural addresses, and France’s Bicentennial Bastille Day Parade in 1989.
Scott said preparation for this parade was no different from The Marching 100’s performances in the past.
“We worked just as hard for this performance, our work ethic stays the same if we are performing in Washington in front of millions or on the set in front of hundreds,” he said.
A big change is in the level of security surrounding the inauguration.
“Since the attacks of 9/11 the security of this event is heightened,” said band secretary Kimberley Jackson.
She said all members of the band and traveling staff “had to go through secret service background checks.”
Jackson said the security restrictions have made it difficult to plan the bus routes while in Washington.
“In the past, there were not as many road closers or people expected to attend with Bill Clinton’s inauguration,” she said.