FAMU, Grambling Bands Invited to Obama Inaugural Parade
December 8, 2008
So far, we know that the Florida A&M Marching 100 and the Grambling State Tiger Marching Band have been invited to participate in the Inauguration Parade for President-Elect Barack Obama. I have not seen a formal list of all of the participating bands, but these two ensembles may be the only two bands from historical black colleges and universities to be counted in the 48 who will march along Pennsylvania Ave on January 20, 2009.
More than 1400 bands applied to participate in the inaugural festivities.
December 6th, 2008
Florida A&M’s Julian White received a phone call Friday evening during band rehearsal that he’ll never forget.
A man told White, FAMU’s director of bands and music chairman, that his 420-member Marching 100 was selected to participate in President-elect Barack Obama’s Inaugural Parade on January 20. White asked the man a quick question.
“Would you mind repeating that?”
White turned on the cell phone’s speaker and put the phone close to a neighboring microphone. Then, the news was repeated to hundreds of band students.
“Pandemonium just broke out,” White said.
Students began pulling out their own cell phones to tell friends and family, White said.
“Within 10 to 15 minutes, it was all over the United States,” White said.
White couldn’t help getting euphoric from the news. He went to his office to place a call to FAMU President James Ammons.
Ammons said, “This is definitely where we wanted to be. Of all the bands in this country to be selected … I think this reinforces that the ‘Hundred’ is truly America’s band.”
Student band president Ralph Jean-Paul said, “Words can not express how we feel. We consider this to be a great privilege for the band to be a part of this historical event.”
Congressman Allen Boyd, D-North Florida, also offered well wishes after hearing the news.
“It is a tremendous honor that President-elect Obama has chosen FAMU’s Marching 100 to be a part of this historic occasion. Performing in the Inaugural Parade will be something that these students will never forget, and I know that they will make FAMU and North Florida very Proud,” Boyd said by news release.
The Marching 100 took part in the inaugurations for President Clinton. For this inauguration, White and other colleagues had to complete an extensive application. They sent a DVD of the band’s marching performance as well as audio clips and a 50-page media kit with the band’s accomplishments.
But that was just the first step. The band must raise $90,000-$100,000 to pay for three nights of lodging and travel expenses to and from Washington D.C., White said.
“We are really going to need the help of our supporters, the FAMU community, our alumni and the local community,” White said.
Updated 1:20pm 12/6/08
Congressman Allen Boyd, D-North Florida, is congratulating FAMU’s Marching 100 band for its invitation to perform in the Inaugural Parade.
In a statement released today, Boyd said, “It is a tremendous honor that President-elect Obama has chosen FAMU’s Marching 100 to be a part of this historic occasion. Performing in the Inaugural Parade will be something that these students will never forget, and I know that they will make FAMU and North Florida very proud.”
Florida A&M University’s Marching 100 band will perform as part of inauguration activities of President-elect Barack Obama, said Sharon Saunders, FAMU spokeswoman.
FAMU received the invitation to perform in the inaugural parade Friday night. The parade is scheduled for Jan. 20.