Sure, everyone knows that the university’s No. 1 ambassador spent New Year’s Day in Pasadena representing FAMU in the annual Rose Parade, but now it’s 2019 and a new semester. Save for a few scattered convocations, on-campus performances are scarce for Florida A&M University’s illustrious band.
However, the band is still as active as ever.
Sophomore business administration major Omari Harris, who is also a member of the Marching 100, explained that the Marching 100 is technically a class. Band members are required to sign up for it.
However, the class is not offered in the spring, therefore members opt to sign up for either concert or symphonic band. According to Isaiah Nelson, a senior music performance major and fellow band member, largely removing the marching aspect makes practices for these bands much less physically intensive but much more musically intensive. There are also fewer practices altogether. But in terms of performances, the Marching 100 doesn’t slow down.
Students can still hear the band play at FAMU basketball games, the St. Augustine parade, Springtime Tallahassee and numerous intimate performances at Lee Hall.
Still, the Marching 100 had an extremely high profile performance two weeks ago: the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California. This performance was especially important to the band because it was one of their highest profile invitations since coming off suspension in 2013.
Harris was among the band members who performed in Pasadena. “That was FAMU history and marching band history,” he said. “We put that one in the books.”
Nelson did not perform in Pasadena but still felt the impact of this significant performance for the band. “It was a very big deal for us,” he said, “because we’re not supposed to be here … it was hard to get to where we are right now.”
He speaks with reverence for the band. His status as a member of the Marching 100 is especially sacred to Nelson, as he at one time believed personal circumstances would prevent him from continuing to play alongside his band mates.
So, when asked to give his additional thoughts about being part of the Marching 100, Nelson said simply, “It’s an honor, not a privilege.”