FAMU Marching 100 Band to Return to Field Sept. 1
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Florida A&M University's Marching 100 will return to the field Sept. 1 in Orlando, nearly 22 months after it was suspended because of a hazing-related death, the school said Thursday.
The famed band will be significantly smaller when it takes the field at halftime of the school's football season opener against Mississippi Valley State during the MEAC-SWAC Challenge.
"I've always said, throughout my career, there's no correlation between size and quality. So what you will see with this band is a quality band," said new band director Sylvester Young as the 126-member band stood behind him. The band had more than 400 members when it was suspended in November 2011 after the death of drum major Robert Champion.
Young pointed out the band had only 16 members when William Foster began leading it in the 1940s. Foster's goal was to build it to 100 members, and he eventually far exceeded it, Young said.
"This is a new beginning for this band," said Young, who said members have practiced together for only four days. "We're really impressed with them, their attitudes, their spirit."
FAMU lifted the band's suspension in June, but Young was unsure at the time when it would be ready to perform again. His announcement was made as the slimmed-down band practiced.
FAMU's interim President Larry Robinson said the school has taken several measures to prevent hazing, including a new student code of conduct, new procedures to report and investigate hazing, an anti-hazing website, assigning faculty to research hazing and more.
"This band will be a model of excellence for other bands across this nation. It will actually focus on its founding principles of character, academics, leadership, marching and service," Robinson said. "When you look at all these actions that we've taken in total, we are fairly confident that we are about to launch a new era and a new understanding and appreciation as to why hazing is not necessary to advance these principles."
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