Motown comes to the stage at the President’s Gala

The Temptations Review featuring Dennis Edwards brought the “Motown Sound” to Florida A&M at a concert immediately following the President’s Gala on Friday evening.

Donning flamboyant green suits, the group charmed its audience with a myriad of lively performances of hits such as the up-tempo “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” and the somber “I Wish It Would Rain.”

In seemingly perfect harmony, the vocalists also serenaded the lovers in attendance with “A Song for You.”

Edwards dedicated the song to Interim President Larry Robinson and his wife, who then shared a dance reminiscent of President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama’s dance at the inaugural balls in 2009 and 2013.

By the end of the concert, the entire crowd, which included funk legend George Clinton, was on its feet doing what Edward’s called “the Temptations rock” to the classic “My Girl.”

The ten-piece band backing the five singers included four FAMU students on trumpets and saxophones.

Earlier in the evening, FAMU’s 14 colleges and schools were celebrated for their academic excellence.

Former President Frederick Humphries said the gala also gave FAMU a chance to give thanks to the colleges and schools.

“You need to highlight the people who are doing good work,” he said. “So you can just say, ‘Hey, we’re not unmindful of the contribution you’re making, and we appreciate it.’ “

Valencia Matthews, dean of the College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities, said it was a nice gesture for FAMU to honor its colleges and schools.

“It always feels good for somebody to just basically say thank you publicly, even though it’s being said on a regular basis,” she said.

Two large screens showed videos that highlighted each college and school’s achievements. Every video ended with the college or school’s dean reiterating that “great things are happening at FAMU every day.”

Robinson said that even though the purpose of this year’s gala was to honor the colleges and schools, it honored the students and alumni as well.

“The foundation of all of those outstanding alumni and the reason why all these outstanding students come to the university is because of the outstanding array of academic programs we have,” he said. “So we thought it was important for us to put them front and center in 2013.”

Joe Bullard, radio personality and the voice of the Marching “100,” hosted the gala. He incited laughter throughout the night with nostalgic jokes about life at FAMU.

Anne Gayles-Felton, former professor and head of the department of secondary education at FAMU, called the gala “a lovely affair.” She said she comes to the gala every year.

“I’m a dedicated, loyal Famuan and always interested in the progress that the school is making,” she said. “And I want to be on the cutting edge of everything they do and contributing whenever possible, because FAMU was good to me for 45 years.”

According to gala chair Sharon Saunders, 496 tickets were sold at $125 per ticket or $1000 for a table of eight.
She said that on Monday she didn’t think all the tickets would sell, but by Wednesday the gala was sold out.