Marching ‘100’ dominates band conference

Members of the Marching ‘100′ recently dominated the 5th Annual Historically Black College and Universities National Band Directors Consortium Convention, according to Dennine White, the assistant professor of music at Florida A&M University.

The consortium is a group of band directors and musicians who meet once a year to highlight musicianship and the progress of the universities in attendance. Several HBCUs met in Atlanta to learn new techniques and illustrate their talents.

One of the main events at the conference was the HBCU Honors Band, where a representative from each school joins together to create the ideal band. Only a select few were chosen, and FAMU had the honors of sitting Rattlers in seven out of 10 first chair positions for their instrument section, the highest honor for a musician.

The honorees were Ralph Jean Paul, Phylea Daugherty, Shelvin Robinson, Soila Konchellah, Devan Moore, William Underwood, Melvina Hunter, Christina Roye, and Chad Norton.

Underwood, a sophomore music education student from Detroit, sat first chair for the flute.

“It was a good chance to express our talent,” Underwood said. “But we exceed the level of musicianship that the directors expected.”

Daugherty said attending the conference gave her a greater appreciation for the music department at FAMU.

“It was very interesting and made me see how good FAMU is,” said Daugherty, a senior music education student from Detroit, Mich.  “We are a ahead of everyone in musicianship.

They could play but not on the college level. It made me appreciate FAMU.”

White was selected to direct the flute section and was also asked to perform a solo piece.

“I was honored to be asked because in the past it was military personal because they are the best band,” White said.

White also directed the flute choir and all of the flutists.

“FAMU students were selected to perform the prestigious song Flight of the Bumble Bee, which is one of the most difficult pieces,” White said.

Underwood said he feels the band members are the best of the best.

White said it was a pleasure instructing the students at the conference and feels as if it was a privilege of some sort.

“I am one of a kind,” she said. “There is not another black woman flutist doing what I am doing-teaching on a college level and having the experience I have.”