Sylvester Young Named New FAMU Band Director [SLIDE SHOW]

By: Lanetra Bennett
May 7, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - There is a new director at the helm of FAMU's Marching 100.

The president introduced Dr. Sylvester young as FAMU's new band director this afternoon.

While many say they hope this means the Marching 100 will finally come back and be ready the football season, neither Dr. Young nor the interim president could give a definite answer on that.

Former Marching 100 band member Kachiuk Paubi says, "I've been worried about all of this stuff that's been going on with the band."

Paubi says his worries are over. "It's good to finally have a band director. Finally."

Dr. Young says, "I'm really excited. I feel like a kid who's been waiting on this special gift and he just got it."

Dr. Young is a 1969 graduate of FAMU and will be filling a position that has been vacant since last June.

That's when Dr. Julian White retired following the hazing death of drum major Robert Champion in November 2011. The Marching 100 has been suspended ever since.

Dr. Young's answer as to when it'll be back: "As soon as the president and the people in charge and myself decide that they're ready. They have to be ready in more than just performances."

Paubi questions if it's even realistic to be ready by the first football game in September. "You still have to worry about band staff. You still have to worry about recruitment that we missed out on because kids decided they didn't want to come because there was no band director. Can they dot it? Yeah, But, I wish they would've started sooner."

Dr. Sylvester Young seemed ready to get started with the FAMU Marching 100 as soon as Dr. Robinson put the director's hat on his head Tuesday.

But, maybe not as ready as band member Joshua Dandridge.

Dandridge says, "I'm definitely ready. I'm a music major so I'm always practicing and I'm always encouraging other people to practice. The spirit of the 100 never went away just because we were suspended."

Dr. Young says he will not tolerate hazing as the new band director and says he has to make sure everything's in order before allowing the band to perform again.

He says, "I'm pretty sure right now, we could put a band together and give you a performance. But, it's far beyond that. We got to change the culture of this band. We got to make every band member an ambassador for the university."

Dr. Larry Robinson says measures are already in place to help bring the band back such as the hiring of the Special Assistant to the President, Music Compliance Officer and a dean and Music Department chair.

Dr. Young recently retired from Ohio University. He was there for nearly 25 years.

Dr. Young starts at FAMU June 14th.

Press Release: Florida A&M University (FAMU)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida A&M University (FAMU) has named Sylvester Young its new director of marching and pep bands. Young, a FAMU graduate and former member of the Marching “100,” spent nearly 25 years at Ohio University, most recently as band director. FAMU Interim President Larry Robinson made the announcement today after an extensive nationwide search process.

“Dr. Young is a talented and experienced administrator, musician and scholar who I believe will provide strong discipline, leadership and vision for the Marching “100,” Robinson said. “Dr. Young has had a stellar career as director of bands at several universities and I am looking forward to Young continuing the great traditions of the Marching “100" when we deem it ready to return to the field.”

“I am honored to be back home at FAMU and fully embrace the challenge ahead,” Young said. “The Marching “100” had such a positive impact on me and I know firsthand what this band means to FAMU. We will enter a new era of excellence for the band and I am proud to be leading the charge.”

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.

“As chair of the search committee, we were looking for someone who has the respect of his peers, the experience and the passion to continue the practices that have made the Marching “100” a household name,” Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Rodner Wright said. “We are pleased with our choice.”

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 went on to earn 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.

In his new role as FAMU director of Marching at Pep Bands, Young will report to the chair of the Department of Music and will oversee all aspects of the marching and pep bands. He will also plan and direct the summer high school band camp and serve as the liaison between the Athletic Department, the Division of Student Affairs and the Department of Music.

Young is scheduled to report to work on June 14, with an annual salary of $105,000.

Previous coverage of FAMU Alum Sylvester Young in interviews for the Band Director position

By: Lanetra Bennett
April 9, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - The first of FAMU's final two candidates for band director spent the day trying to convince the university why he's right for the job.

Eyewitness News was in today's interviews.

FAMU's Marching 100 is known for its music and its moves.

Dr. Kawachi Clemons, the FAMU Music Department Chair, asked, "Would you follow more of those traditional show development concepts or would you be looking to do something new?"

Dr. Sylvester Young says if he were to be selected as the new band director, the band might dance to a different tune--to a certain extent.

Young says, "You can't reinvent the wheel, but, you can make the wheel better. People don't drive 1920 cars anymore. So, that means you have to change with time. You want to keep it fresh and you want to keep it ahead of the pack."

Young is one of two finalists for FAMU's new band director.

During his day-long interview sessions with different department heads Tuesday, he said he would also look at the size of the Marching 100.

Currently, there are more than 400 members. He says his optimum size is between 256 and 320.

Young says academics are also a priority. He says as band director at Ohio University, he required monitored study time for freshmen, he set an age limit for band members, as well as not allowing students to register for more than five semesters.

He says, "I found out that we had a lot of kids who would register for school only for the first semester, first quarter just to participate in the band. Well, I eliminated that."

Because hazing is a topic of concern with the band, that was one of the main things administrators asked.

Young graduated from FAMU in 1968. One of the first questions the leadership team asked during his interview Tuesday was: "Were you hazed?"

Young answered, Sadly to say, I was as a student."

He told his interviewees about hotel room assignments when the Marching 100 used to travel to Miami for the Orange Blossom Classic.

He says, "A typical upperclassman would put his name first and them he'll put three freshmen names on the list. Then when we get to the hotel, they put us out. That's hazing. We slept in the hallways or whatever because they had their girl fiends. But, then that was acceptable. That was the way it was. We wouldn't question that.

An administrator asked after Young shared that story, "How would you handle it now?" He answered, "That's totally unacceptable now."

Young says if he's selected as the new band director: "The first thing that would have to take place with this band is that the culture of the band would have to change."

FAMU Head Coach Earl Holmes asked, "How would you assure parents that participation in the FAMU band or the pep band be a safe environment?"

Young answered by saying, "We got to talk across the table from those parents. We just can't let them send their kids here based on hearsay. We have to talk to those parents."

Administrators mentioned that the band director position would begin July 1st. They still have not given a specific date as to when the Marching 100 would return. Young says he would have the band ready by FAMU's first football game on September 1st.

Young retired from Ohio University two years ago. He has also worked at Hampton University and Lincoln University. He as 40 years of teaching experience.

The second finalist, Don Roberts, was scheduled to sit down with the search committee at 6:00 tonight. He will have a full day of interviews tomorrow as well.

By: Lanetra Bennett
April 9, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - The FAMU Athletics Department is participating in the interviews in full force. Several key leaders and administrators are participating in the interview, including the athletics director and Head Football Coach Earl Holmes.

Coach Holmes asked Young how would he convince patents that it is safe for their kids to come to FAMU and be in the band.

Young said that he would somewhat require parents to bring their freshmen students to campus instead of just sending them. He says that would give him an opportunity to sit down with parents and discuss everything with them in person.

Under the new structure of the music department at FAMU, the new band director would report directly to the chair of the department. The music chair told Young that's why the first thing he wants to know in the interview, is about Young himself, as a person.

Young is also telling the department chair about rules he implemented at Ohio State to root out problems of students wanting to be in school and returning to school just to have fun in the band. He says he established an age limit and a limit in how many times a student can register. Students could only register for the marching band five times. Young says anyone over the age if 23 would have to have a long conversation with him about their intentions of wanting to be in the band.

Young says he also implemented a requirement that all freshmen band members had to spend monitored study time at the library.
Young says if he's hired at FAMU, his first objective would be to support the real reason why students are in school, and that's to get a degree.

When asked would he follow the Marching 100's traditional show development or do something new, Young said, "you don't reinvent the wheel, but you do try to make it better."

Young says he would respect FAMU's tradition but says he would initiate new elements because he says he would want to keep it fresh and stay ahead of the pack. He says he would be open to ideas.

By: Lanetra Bennett
April 9, 2013

The first of two candidates for FAMU's Director of Marching and Pep Bands begins his second round of on-campus interviews.
Sylvester Young started this morning at 8:30 with a one-on-one with an associate dean of the College of Social Sciences, Arts & Humanities (CSSAH.)

During his interview, Young told the associate dean that he took several measures to stop hazing when he was the band director at Ohio University. He says he had protocols for traveling, such as band members having a dress code. Young says students in the Marching 100 should be ambassadors for FAMU.

Young recently retired from Ohio State. He is a graduate of FAMU.
He met with the search committee last night.

After interviewing with the associate dean of CSSAH, Young will interview with the Music Department Chair, Department of Athletics, the President and Leadership Team, Faculty, followed by band rehearsal at 3:35.

The second candidate, Don Roberts, meets with the search committee tonight at 6, and tomorrow, he will have the same day-long schedule that Young is following today.

By: Garin Flowers
April 8, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - FAMU is one step closer to finding a new director for the world famous marching 100 band.

Monday, school officials met with a potential candidate for the job.

Many will tell you, FAMU has not been the same since it's famed March 100 band was suspended, but, that could soon change with the talks of the band coming back.

"I think that it's pretty good that the school is you know moving the ball as far as searching for a new band director," Clifton Abraham III, FAMU Student, said. "I feel as though the Marching 100 is one thing that the school is missing."

The search for the Marching 100's band director has narrowed down to two. This week, both candidates are meeting with school officials.

"Right now, the band just needs a fresh start, FAMU needs a fresh start and starting with of course hiring a new band director is the key to starting fresh," Abraham said.

Sylvester Young is the first candidate. The search committee interviewed him Monday evening on campus in a public meeting. Young is a former professor of music from Ohio University, and a FAMU alum.

"He's just had a very successful career," Rodner Wright, Search Committee Chairman, said.

The meeting last an hour and a half. Students and staff questioned Young. This decision will be critical for the Marching 100, which has recently faced tough challenges.

"They have to have a clear understanding as to what the context of the university is," Wright said.

The next candidate will have his interview come Tuesday evening.

The search committee did not give a deadline on when they'll make a decision, but once they do, they'll send their recommendation to the president who will make the final hire.

Press Release: Florida A& M University

Florida A&M University (FAMU) will announce the new director of the Marching and Pep Bands.

Tuesday, May 7

H. Manning Efferson Student Union
Grand Ballroom, Lobby

Participants for Press Conference:

Solomon L. Badger III, Ed.D.
Chair, Board of Trustees

Larry Robinson, Ph.D.
Interim President

Rodner Wright
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

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