High school band has big shoes to fill


Local high school bands have the opportunity to make some noise as they provide halftime entertainment during Florida A&M’s football season. 

James S. Rickard’s High School and FAMU Developmental Research School will perform Saturday in FAMU’s game against Savannah State University.

The bands will perform in place of the Marching “100,” which has been suspended for the academic school year following the hazing death of drum major Robert Champion last year. 

When students first heard about the replacement, their reactions varied. 

Students such as Xantrece Travers, a third-year health care management student from Miramar, Fla., wishes the “100” could perform.

“It’s crazy,” Travers said. “I feel like we let our band play  or we don’t have a halftime.” 

With the band suspended, the university had to find performances to fill the void.

FAMU hired Atlanta-based promotion company Liquid Sole Media, owned by FAMU alumni, to schedule each of the game’s performances. So far, the university has only announced two half-time performances.

 “This is to keep the excitement,” said FAMU Sports Information Director Vaughn Wilson. “They want to roll everything out in increments as part of their promotional strategy. The reason they suggested high school bands for entertainment was because bands are a normal fit for a football field.” 

Wilson said both high schools’ band directors, Quincy D. Griffen of Rickards and Arnett Moore of FAMU DRS, are former Marching “100” members and are familiar with FAMU’s football audience. 

Some FAMU students, however, feel differently about high school bands performing at halftime. Chelsi Harris, a third-year psychology student, said the bands have big shoes to fill to be considered sufficient.

 “I think it’s a good way to expose the high school kids,” Harris said. “I don’t think it’s a bad idea, as long as they do something similar to what The Marching “100” does when they perform.”