And The Band Plays On

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By Matt Horn
August 30, 2013

After nearly a two year suspension following the hazing death of Florida A&M’s band is ready to re-take the field.

Florida A&M’s band hasn’t missed a beat since a nearly two year suspension.

”It’s really unbelievable, you know what I’m saying? Being in a position where the bands gone and now the bands back,” says band member Zachary Nealy.

The band was suspended after the hazing death of 26-year-old drum major Robert Champion in November 2011. Doctors say Champion was hit more than 300 times during the hazing ritual.

The incident forced the resignation of the university president and faculty members, while felony and misdemeanor charges against more than a dozen former band members. A new band director was hired earlier this year.

The band: 146 members strong is ready for a new chapter in its storied history.

”…Let the world know we’re talented musicians, talented group of students and they’re going to rise to the occasion,” said Ralph Jean-Paul.

Part of the new culture includes stricter guidelines for band members. Buses left two hours later than expected because of the extensive checklist. It verifies each band member’s enrollment status and GPA. ”A few different processes, but its for accountability, so its all great. It’s going to serve a for a bigger purpose,” said Jean-Paul.

”Five buses are taking the marching 100 back to Orlando the same city they last performed in nearly two years ago,” reports Matt Horn.

“The band will exemplify good character and integrity on the trip, its going to be an awesome trip. We will not let our fans our university or anyone down,” said Nealy.

The band will perform for the football team’s first game on Sunday at the Citrus Bowl.

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