Marching 100

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Marching 100
School Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University
Location Tallahassee, Florida
Conference MEAC
Founded June 1, 1946
Members 400+

The Marching 100 is the official name of the marching band at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) in Tallahassee, Florida. Since its inception, the band has been credited for 30 innovative techniques which have become standard operating procedures for many high school and collegiate marching band programs [1]


The first band at FAMU was organized in 1892, under P.A. Van Weller. From an original 16 instruments, the "Marching 100" has grown to over 440 Members.

Major accomplishments (partial list)[edit]

  • June 1, 1946 - William P. Foster became Director of Bands at Florida A & M University with 16 members, and created what is known today as "The Most Imitated Marching Band in America." He is credited with revolutionizing marching band techniques and reshaping the world's concept of the collegiate marching band. His textbook "Band Pageantry" is considered to be "The Bible" for the marching band.
  • 1947 - The Marching Band consisted of 75 members.
  • 1948 - The Marching Band acquired uniforms.
  • 1950 - The Marching Band consisted of 110 members and became widely known as "The Marching 100."
  • March 17, 1950 - The Marching 100 became the first black band to appear in the Festival of States Parade.
  • 1952 - The Marching 100 consisted of 132 members.
  • 1953 - The Marching 100 incorporated a dance routine using the music of "Alexander's Ragtime Band" in a half-time performance at the Orange Blossom Classic in Miami, Florida.
  • 1962 - With the help of instructor Beverly Hillsman-Barber, the Marching 100 learned a dance routine to the music of "Walk on the Wild Side." Dance routines became a regular part of the Marching Bands halftime shows.
  • January 6, 1963 - The Marching 100 made its national television debut at the Pro Play-Off Bowl.
  • 1964 - The Marching 100 made nationally televised appearances at the Pro Play-Off Bowl and the NFL Championship Game.
  • January 21, 1968 - The Marching 100 appeared at the AFL All-Star Game.
  • August 1968 - The Marching 100 appeared in the Paramount News Film "Half-Time USA."
  • January 12, 1969 - The Marching 100 performed at Super Bowl III.
  • January 19, 1969 - The Marching 100 performed at the AFL All Star Game.
  • March 1971 - The Flag Corps, known as the "Dirty Dozen", were added to The Marching 100.
  • 1971 - Elliott Seagraves became the first white student to march in the Marching 100.
  • 1974 - Carmena Fennel, Carla Wilson, and Debra Hines became the first female Marching 100 Band members.
  • 1978 - The Marching 100 performed at the first NCAA Division 1 - AA National Championship Game at the Pioneer Bowl in Wichita Falls, Texas.
  • 1978 - The Marching 100 performed at the first "Battle of the Bands Showcase" in the New Orleans Superdome.
  • March 29, 1981 - The Marching 100 was the first and only marching band to be featured on CBS "60 Minutes."
  • January 1983 - The Marching 100 performed at Super Bowl XVII in Tampa, Florida.
  • August 1983 - The Marching 100 was featured in a documentary on 20/20.
  • December 1984 - Ebony Magazine featured Dr. William P. Foster and The Marching 100 in an article entitled "William P. Foster: A Fabled Director and His Band."
  • 1984 - The Marching 100 performed at the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California.
  • October 26, 1985 - The Marching 100 was presented the Sudler Intercollegiate Marching Band Trophy. The band became the fourth recipient, the first and only historically black university band, and the first Southern band to receive the trophy.
  • July 14, 1989 - The Marching 100 was selected to be the official United States Representative to the Bicentennial Celebration of the French Revolution in Paris, France. This appearance became a lead story, "A Birthday Gift to France: 500 American Feet in Paris" in the New York Times.
  • 1992 - Sports Illustrated Magazine listed The Marching 100 as "The Best College Marching Band in the Country."
  • 1993 - The Marching 100 represented the State of Florida in the Inaugural Parade of President Bill Clinton.
  • 1995 - ESPN2 aired a thirty-minute documentary on the Marching 100.
  • 1995 - The Marching 100 consisted of 329 musicians.
  • July 26, 1996 - Dr. William P. Foster and The Marching 100 were inducted into the Afro-American Hall of Fame for Fine Arts. The Marching 100 became the first student organization to ever be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
  • 1997 - The Marching 100 represented the State of Florida at the second Inaugural Parade of President Bill Clinton.
  • 1997 - The Florida A & M University Marching Band appeared on a Florida Crossroads program on PBS, "The Marching 100".
  • 1998 - Dr. William P. Foster retired after fifty-two years of service.
  • 1998 Dr. Julian White, a former drum major, took over as Director of Bands.
  • 2000 - The Marching 100 recorded its first CD.
  • January 2003 - The Marching 100 was selected for its first of many appearances at the Honda Battle of the Bands.
  • February 2004- The Marching 100 performed a halftime show for the NBA Dallas Mavericks in Dallas, Texas.
  • February 2005 - The Marching 100 performed at Super Bowl XXXIX.
  • February 2006 - 20 Members of the Marching 100 performed at the Grammy Awards.
  • 2006 - Members of The Marching 100 performed at The American Music Awards.
  • February 4, 2007 - The Marching 100 performed at Super Bowl XLI with Prince.
  • January 2, 2007- The Marching 100 performed for the 44th Governor of Florida, Charlie Crist, at his Inaugural Parade.
  • November 2007 - The Marching 100 appeared on a PBS Florida Crossroads program, "Making The Band: The FAMU Marching 100".
  • August 2008 - The Marching 100 reached 420 members.
  • January 20, 2009 - The Marching 100 represented the State of Florida in the Inaugural Parade for President Barack Obama.
  • December 2009 - Dr. Foster was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from The College Band Directors National Association.


The directors of this band have been:

  • P.A. Van Weller, 1892–1898
  • Nathaniel C. Adderly, 1910–1918
  • Leander A. Kirksey, 1930–1946
  • Dr. William P. Foster, 1946–1998
  • Dr. Julian E. White, 1998–2012
  • Dr. Sylvester Young 2013-2016
  • Dr. Shelby Chipman 2016-

The school reopened its search for a new director. They had planned to announce the new band director on January 15, 2013, but they cancelled that announcement, saying they were not as close to a deal with the candidate as they thought they were.[2] On May 7, 2013, the school named Sylvester Young, the former director of the Hampton University marching band and The Ohio University Marching 110, as the band's director.[3]

Dr. William Patrick Foster[edit]

Dr. Foster was a fellow of the Rosenwald General Education Board at Teacher's College, Columbia University, 1953-1955 for Doctorate Studies. He received his Bachelor of Music Education Degree from the University of Kansas in 1941, the Master of Arts in Music Degree from Wayne State University in 1950, and a Doctor of Education Degree with a major in music from Teachers College, Columbia University in 1955, and the Honorary Doctor of Human Letters Degree in 1998 from Florida A&M University.

Dr. Foster was the creator of the World Famous Florida A&M University Marching "100" Band which has appeared in three films, three commercials, numerous magazine and newspaper articles, 60 Minutes, 20/20 and PM Magazine. The band has been telecasted and seen on thirty-four nationally televised performances on all networks with a viewing audience of over five billion people.

In 1989 the French chose Dr. Foster and his Marching 100 Band as America's official representative in the Bastille Day Parade, celebrating the Bicentennial of the French Revolution. On January 27, 1996 the band was the center-piece of the opening ceremonies of the Walt Disney Indy 200. The band was also the featured attraction at the Fifteenth and Twenty-fifth Anniversary National Telecast of Walt Disney World in 1986 and 1996. In January 1993 and 1997, the band appeared in the inaugural parade of President Bill Clinton.

Dr. Foster is credited with revolutionizing marching band techniques and reshaping the world's concept of the collegiate marching bands. He is credited with being the driving force behind the nation's most innovative college band; He is the former director of the McDonald's All-American High School Band (1980–1992).

Dr. Foster has written 18 articles for professional journals, four published marching band shows, and the textbook, Band Pageantry, considered "The Bible" for the marching bands. He is the composer of "Marche Brillante", "National Honors March", "March Continental", and "Centennial Celebration".

Dr. Foster is the first recipient of the United States Achievement Academy Hall of Fame Award and the Outstanding Educator Award presented by the School of Education Society of the University of Kansas Alumni Association. In 1998 he was inducted as a Great Floridian by the Museum of Florida History.

President Bill Clinton nominated and the United States Congress approved Foster as a member of the National Council on the Arts. He is also a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia music fraternity, as well as the Hall of Fame of the following organizations: Music Educators National Conference; the Florida Music Educators Association, Florida A&M University Sports, the National High School Band Directors, and the Afro-American Hall of Fame.

He is a Board member with G. Leblanc Corporation, John Philip Sousa Foundation, International Music Festival, Inc., and the Marching Musician. On December 17, 1998 the Board of Electors in Chicago, Illinois elected Foster to the National Band Association Hall of Fame for Distinguished Band Conductors. This is the most prestigious honor a bandmaster can receive.

In December 2009, Dr. Foster was awarded the College Band Directors National Association Life Time Achievement Award. He became one of five in the entire history of the organization to ever receive the award. In doing so he joined three Pulitzer Prize winners and the person who established the woodwind movement in the 1950s in America.

Dr. Foster died August 28, 2010 at the age of 91.

Dr. Julian E. White[edit]

Dr. Julian E. White, professor of Music, graduated from Florida A&M University earning a bachelor's degree in Music Education. He later received a master's degree in Music Education for the University of Illinois and a Doctorate from Florida State University. Dr. White is Chairman of the Department of Music and Director of Bands at Florida A&M University.

For a period of ten years, he served as drill designer for the McDonald's All-American High School Band with appearances at Macy's Thanksgiving Parade in New York City, the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California and the Fiesta Bowl in Phoenix, Arizona. His drills have been featured in performance on all major television networks, and the Bastille Day Ceremony in Paris, France.

Prior to joining the Florida A&M University Faculty in 1971, Dr. White served as band director at Northwestern Junior/Senior High School from 1963–1965 and was the first Director of the William Marion Raines High School Band in 1965, both of Jacksonville, Florida. His bands were consistent recipients of superior ratings in Marching and Concert Festivals.

Dr. White assists with halftime shows for Bowl Games of America and is on the adjudication staff for Music Festivals USA, International Music Festivals and Heritage Music Festivals, in addition to writing drill shows for high school and college bands.

Dr. White maintains an active schedule as an adjudicator and clinician. He has also served as guest conductor at the Mid-West International Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago, Illinois. He is very active as a conductor and clinician for middle and high school bands, summer band camps, and district, state, national and international music conferences and workshops.

Dr. White was the recipient of two University Teacher of the Year Awards and the Teacher of the Year Award from the Army ROTC. He received the NAACP Achievement Award, and was the recipient of the University Superior Accomplishment Award. He also received the Distinguished Professor/Advanced Teacher of the Year Award and was awarded the Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership. Dr. White was honored with the most prestigious award given by the Florida A&M University Alumni Association, The Distinguished Alumni Award. Dr. White was the 2004 recipient of the Thurgood Marshall Outstanding Achiever Award sponsored by the Fed Ex Orange Bowl Committee.

His professional memberships include the American Bandmasters Association, National Band Association, Music Educators National Conference, Florida Music Educators Association (Executive Board), Florida Bandmasters Association, Kappa Kappa Psi Band Fraternity, Phi Delta Kappa Education Society, Pi Kappa Lambda Music Society, Pi Phi Boule (Sire Archon), Board Member of the John Philip Sousa Sudler Award Committee, Alpha Phi Omega Service Fraternity, and Kappa Alpha Psi Social Fraternity, Freemason-P.H.A. Dr. White serves as Chairman of the Florida Music Educators Association Black Caucus.

Dr. Sylvester Young[edit]

Young has served as an associate professor of music since 1990 at Ohio University where he taught courses in marching band techniques, jazz ensemble methods, computer skills for musicians and instrumentation. For six years, Young served as director of bands for Ohio University. Prior to that appointment, he served as director of bands at Hampton University from 1982 to 1990 and Lincoln University from 1979 to 1982.

Young earned his undergraduate degree in music education in 1969. He earned his master's education degree from the Bowling Green State of Ohio in 1970 and a Ph.D. in music education from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

The bands he has directed have been invited to perform at many prestigious events.

In 1993, Ohio University's band was the only marching band to represent the state of Ohio in former President William "Bill" Clinton's Inaugural Parade. In 1992 and 1995, the Ohio University Marching Band performed for the Detroit Lions and in 1991 and 1994 for the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns.[4]

Assistant Directors and Staff[edit]

  • Dr. Shelby R. Chipman (Fall '82) - Director of University Bands
  • Dr. Shaylor L. James (Fall '60) - Assistant Director Of Bands, Director Of Percussion
  • Mr. Lindsey B. Sarjeant (Fall '68) - Assistant Director Of Bands, Arranger, Chair, FAMU Department of Music
  • Dr. Nicholas B. Thomas (Fall '96) - Assistant Director of Bands, Director of Woodwinds, Music Teacher Education Coordinator
  • Mr. Ralph Jean-Paul (Fall '2000) - Assistant Director of Bands, Director of Lower Brasses
  • Dr. Sylvester Young - (Fall '67) - Drill and Design
  • Mr. Robert U. Griffin - (Fall '74) - Director of Trombones
  • Dr. Longineau Parsons - (Fall '72) - Director of Trumpets
  • Mr. Donald Beckwith (Fall '75) - Senior Storekeeper and Equipment Manager
  • Mrs. Kimberly Jackson-Taylor - Department of Music Office Manager
  • Mrs. Deirdre L. McRoy - Department of Music Compliance Officer
  • Mr. Joe Bullard - Announcer

Band motto[edit]

The band motto was developed by Dr. William Patrick Foster in the beginning of his more than 50-year tenure as Director of Bands at FAMU.

Qualities to live by to guide our thoughts and to rule our actions/lives:

  • Highest Quality of CHARACTER
  • Achievement in ACADEMICS
  • Attainment of LEADERSHIP
  • Perfection in MUSICIANSHIP
  • Precision in MARCHING
  • Dedication to SERVICE

The Florida A&M University Bands: A Role Model of Excellence.

Summer Band Camp[edit]

The Marching 100 Summer Band Camp has been in existence since 1990, when it had fewer than 100 members. The majority of those in attendance were from Burke HS (Charleston, South Carolina), and William M. Raines HS (Jacksonville, Florida). Apart from the Marching Band there are three symphonic bands (Honor, Orange, and Green), two jazz bands, a percussion ensemble, keyboard and electronic music, and an ensemble for every instrument. The camp also includes drum majors and flags. The camp students are taught by "Marching 100" members, and perform at their symphonic concert, ensemble concert, parade, and the final marching exhibition of Bragg Memorial Stadium.


Evidence of hazing in the band, as well as in bands of many other schools, made headlines after the death of a Marching 100 drum major in 2011.[5] On November 19, 2011, Robert Champion, the 26-year-old head drum major, was beaten to death on the bus after an away game. Investigators found that hazing was involved in the incident. The Orange County Sheriff's Office ruled the death a homicide. An autopsy determined that he had "badly beaten muscles."[6] Florida A&M canceled all of the band's remaining scheduled performances for the 2011-12 school year and launched an investigation.[7][8][9]

In May 2012, two faculty members resigned in connection with a hazing investigation and 13 people were charged with felony or misdemeanor hazing crimes.[10][11] Later that month, FAMU president James Ammons announced that the band would not return until 2013-14 at the earliest out of respect for Champion, as well as to give school officials time for a root-and-branch restructuring of the band. Earlier, it had been revealed that at least 101 band members were not enrolled at FAMU.[12] Two months later, Ammons resigned.[13]

On August 28, 2012, Dante Martin, identified as the "president" of the band bus, was accused of felony hazing in Robert Champion's death. He pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor in connection with a separate hazing incident.[14]

After an unsuccessful mediation session between university attorneys and attorneys representing the family of Robert Champion, FAMU offered to pay $300,000 to the family during the first week of November 2012 as settlement.[15]

On March 4, 2013, prosecutors charged 12 former band members with manslaughter for the 2011 hazing death. Ten of the band members were charged May 2012 with felony hazing for the death of Champion, but prosecutors said they are seeking tougher charges. They also have charged two additional defendants with manslaughter.[16]

On June 27, 2013, Florida A&M lifted the suspension of the band. School officials instituted new academic requirements for the band, as well as a zero-tolerance policy for hazing that applies to all campus organizations.[17]

On October 31, 2014, Dante Martin was found guilty of manslaughter and three counts of hazing[18] and on January 9, 2015, he was sentenced to six years in prison.[19]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "FAMU band director search back to square one". CFN 13. Retrieved 16 January 2013. 
  3. ^ "FAMU names new Marching 100 band director Sylvester Young". CFN13. Retrieved 7 May 2013. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ Olorunnipa, Toluse (3 December 2011). "Death at Florida university exposes ugly secret". The Miami Herald. Retrieved 8 February 2012. 
  6. ^ "Expert: Autopsy of Florida A&M drum major shows badly beaten muscles". CNN. 22 December 2011. 
  7. ^ "FAMU band leader fights to keep job". CNN. 25 November 2011. 
  8. ^ "Florida A&M Band Suspended". CNN. 
  9. ^ "FAMU band leader drummer". CNN. 24 November 2011. 
  10. ^ "Death of Florida A&M's Robert Champion ruled a homicide". BBC News. December 17, 2011. Retrieved 16 December 2011. 
  11. ^ "13 Charged in Hazing Death". FOX News / Associated Press. 2 May 2012. Retrieved 3 May 2012. 
  12. ^[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ Douglas Stangin (July 11, 2012). "FAMU president resigns in wake of band hazing death". USA Today. Retrieved July 11, 2012. 
  14. ^ Hudak and Ordway, Stephen and Denise-Marie. "FAMU band hazing 'president' charged with felony in death of Champion". The Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 29 August 2012. 
  15. ^ "FAMU offers $300,000 to hazing victim's family". WKMG TV. Retrieved 8 November 2012. 
  16. ^ Eversley, Melanie; Bacon, John (4 March 2013). "Ex-Florida A&M band members charged with manslaughter". USA Today. Retrieved 4 March 2013. 
  17. ^ "Florida A&M lifts suspension for Marching 100 band". CFN13. Retrieved 27 June 2013. 
  18. ^ "Former FAMU band member guilty of manslaughter in Robert Champion hazing case". 
  19. ^ "Former Florida A&M Student Sentenced To 6 Years In Hazing Death". 

External links[edit]