TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The world-famous Florida A&M University (FAMU) Marching “100” band is headed to Tinsel Town to participate in the internationally-renowned Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year’s Day in Pasadena, California. The band will appear in a coveted spot — following the first African-American Rose Parade President Gerald Freeny.
The performance will add to the Marching “100’s” 72-year history of innovating the marching band and music culture. In addition to performing at the prestigious Rose Parade, band members will make several appearances across the Los Angeles area, including holding public rehearsals, where they will also recruit area high school students. The band will also perform at BandFest and L.A.
Live for approximately 40,000 NBA fans and community members on Friday, December 28 at 6 p.m., PST, just before the Lakers vs. Clippers game at the Staples Center.
While in Los Angeles, the band, which has been featured at the GRAMMY Awards alongside Kanye West and Jamie Foxx, will also tour the GRAMMY Museum. Additional notable performances of the history-making Incomparable Marching “100” include: several Super Bowl appearances (including a performance with Prince), the 1989 French Bicentennial Celebration in Paris, France, and the inaugurations of U.S. presidents (Obama and Clinton).
“Our students continue to be recognized for excellence, hard work and their dedication to be the best in musicianship, performance and academics. We look forward to this exciting opportunity and putting on an unforgettable show,” said Shelby Chipman, Ph.D., Director of Bands. “I want to thank everyone who has made donations or volunteered their time to get us to this moment in history.”
Alumni, University administrators and employees, community members, churches, businesses, partners, and the band students and their families came together to raise nearly $400,000 to ensure the Marching “100” could participate in the special occasion.
“Congratulations to Dr. Chipman, our dedicated music department faculty and staff, and of course, our outstanding student musicians. With the support of the entire FAMU family and friends around the nation, we will mark the Tournament of Roses Parade as another chapter in the storied histories of FAMU and the Marching ‘100,’” said University President Larry Robinson, Ph.D.
The band’s founder William P. Foster, Ph.D., authored, “Band Pageantry: A Guide for the Marching Band” in 1950, which has become the Bible of marching bands for many high schools and colleges. Since its founding, the band has been recognized by Congress and has received numerous honors, including the coveted “Sudler Award” and being inducted into the Afro-American Hall of Fame for Fine Arts.
Today, the Marching “100” is among the most diverse student organizations at FAMU. The Marching “100”’s first female drum
major Cori Bostic and Hispanic drum major Aaron Torres will be among more than 200 members marching in the Rose Parade.
FAMU alumnus Bernard Kinsey, a Los Angeles-based philanthropist and creator of the world-renowned Kinsey Collection (with his wife Shirley), will be among the supporters who will welcome the band to California with open arms. Kinsey was instrumental in organizing the band’s performance at L.A. Live.
He will also host the band for tours of the GRAMMY Museum, Santa Monica Pier and Hollywood and a special uplifting performance at First AME (FAME) Church, whose founder was a member of the Marching “100.” FAME has more than 19,000 members, which include graduates of FAMU.
When Kinsey learned only a few members of the band had ever visited California and only half of them have ever been on a plane, he says he set out to create a memorable experience for the students.
“The key thing I wanted to do for the band was broaden the young people’s view of the world. This trip is going to change their lives, and that’s what education and HBCUs like FAMU are all about – providing these unique experiences,” said Kinsey, whose family has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars toward supporting the Marching “100”’s uniforms, equipment and other academic needs.
He added, that he is excited to introduce FAMU to the Los Angeles area so that others can understand the historic role the University has played – as one of the top producers of African-American bachelor’s degrees – in shaping the Black middle class not only in the South but also across the U.S.
The Los Angeles Chapter of the FAMU National Alumni Association (FAMU NAA), which consists of many industry leaders and famous faces in Hollywood, will also host fundraising and meet-and-greet events for the students during their visit. The Marching “100” National Alumni Association along with the executive board and various chapters of the FAMU NAA, in addition to supporters and friends from across the globe, also helped to support the trip to California.