FAMU names alumnus as band director

Florida A&M announced the new director of marching and pep bands at a press conference today.

Interim President Larry Robinson introduced Sylvester Young as the director of the Marching “100,” a band Young once played in.

“The thing that somewhat brings tears to my heart is that everything for me started here,” said Young, who played the trombone and graduated with a degree in music education in 1969.

Young said he did everything he was told to do as a student and left the university with “a world of opportunities.” He said he wants every student who participates in the band to have the same positive experiences and leave with the same aspirations that he had.

Interim Provost Rodner Wright, who has chaired the search committee since July, said the committee was looking for someone who had the respect of his peers, as well as the experience and passion to continue the practices of the Marching “100” that have made the band a household name.

“We are pleased with our choice,” Wright said. “In his new role as FAMU director of marching and pep bands, Dr. Young will report to the chair of the Department of Music and will oversee all aspects of the marching and pep bands.”

Wright said Young will also plan and direct the summer high school band camp and serve as a liaison between the Department of Athletics, the Division of Student Affairs and the Department of Music.

According to Young, the band will return from its indefinite suspension as soon as he, Robinson and “the people in charge” decide the band is ready.

“They have to be ready in more than just performances,” Young said of the band members. “I’m pretty sure, right now, we could put a band together and give you a performance, but it’s far beyond that.”

Young said the culture of the band has to change and band members need to be ambassadors for this university.

“We can’t do that just on the practice field,” he said. “So we got to actually follow through with the strategies that we’re putting place for that.”

Young, who didn’t initially apply for the position before the search was reopened, said fate brought him back to FAMU.

He will reportedly earn a $105,000 annual salary and is expected to report to work June 14.