Musicians remain loyal to program


The music department, now referred to as FAMUSIC, is trying to establish a new brand.

“It signals a fresh new start for the department. It’s really a rebirth,” said Kawachi Clemmons, Florida A&M music department chair. “We wanted to reestablish our presence through branding. We hope to use the FAMUSIC logo for all of our programs and marketing of the department.”

For decades, the Marching “100” has been a source of pride for Florida A&M. With its precise marching techniques, unique drills, and high-energy dance routines, the “100” has become the standard for both high school and college marching bands nationwide.

Although the band has been suspended for the 2012-2013 school year due to the hazing-related death of drum major Robert Champion, the music can still be heard on campus. Not the songs S.O.S, Say La La or Backstabbers, but the sounds of symphonies and overtures such as Frank Ticheli’s Postcard and Reed’s Panichello from the FAMU wind ensemble.

“The FAMU Music Department is committed and focused on developing composers, performers, teachers, recording engineers, managers, etc., that have the highest level of educational experiences,” Clemmons said. “The music program is still offering a number of opportunities for student ensemble experiences.”

Despite the tragedy and negative publicity that, not only the university’s marching band received, but also the university as a whole, there’s still a small group of new students who want to grow musically with the music department.

Freshman Carlitos Macias, from Santa Marta, Colombia, has made FAMU’s music department his home this semester despite the absence of the “100.”

“I believe FAMU’s musical excellence comes from more than the Marching “100,” Macias said. “This is where I want to grow as a musician.”

Macias isn’t alone. Director of Jazz Studies Lindsay B. Sarjeant said the department has over 40 new students this semester.

“So far, I am really impressed by this year’s incoming class,” Clemmons said.

The band’s absence doesn’t mean students can’t hone their talents. Clemmons said new students, along with students already in the music program, can participate in FAMU’s wind ensemble, symphonic band, jazz bands, percussion ensemble, flute choir, gospel choir, concert choir and several other groups.