Thousands of Marching “100” fans cheered Saturday as the band marched into Bragg Memorial Stadium for its first home performance in more than a year.
The members, covered in signature bright orange, green and white attire, resounded their instruments, danced and sang to the delight of many in the crowd who were eager to see the Marching “100” perform at home.
The band was suspended in November 2011 following the hazing death of drum major Robert Champion but was reinstated in late June, and pre-drill instruction began Aug. 12.
Deirdre McRoy, the music compliance officer, was hired and the university implemented new policies and eligibility requirements, which include maintaining a cumulative 2.0 GPA, enrolling full time and working to complete 12 hours each semester and not receiving an I, W or F. Scholarship students must maintain a 2.5, and students are not allowed to practice on or off campus without supervision by a band official.
Due to these stricter requirements, the band diminished in size.
Shaylor James, assistant director of bands and director of percussion, said he was impressed with the Marching “100’s” performance considering some challenges.
“I think the kids did a great job,” he said. “In fact, we’re getting better every day. You know, we’ve just been operating about three weeks. We did not have any recruiting.”
For at least 75 to 80 percent of band members, it was their first time performing at home, said James, who added that band’s pacing may have also been a little rushed.
“We came out of the chute running,” he said. “Maybe we should’ve maybe started at a slower pace because some of the fundamental concepts that really the band was been built on, those things have to really be established for this unit to really start moving like it should.”
Kionna Randall, a third-year health informatics and information management student from Tampa, said she enjoyed the band’s return.
“For them to come back for after the time that they had off, they’re doing an awesome job,” she said.
But some students, such as Carey Elfrig, a third-year animal science student from West Palm Beach, said she noticed a big difference from previous performances. In her opinion, the band is in a rebuilding phase.
“We need more time,” she said. “It’s going to take a long time to become what we were.”
But James said despite the size and new restrictions, the band will continue to maintain its quality.
“It’s a challenge, but everyone is living up to it,” he said. “The kids are really giving it 100 percent, and we’re gonna get there. I know you’re used to seeing 300 people, but what made this band famous was a group about this size.”