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Silence on the Seven Hills: Marching 100 also missing out on fall

Published: Jul. 27, 2020 at 6:27 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 27, 2020 at 6:28 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - When the MEAC announced they were suspending their fall sports season, a lot of the discussion focused on football.

However, one aspect black college football fans are sure to miss this fall in Tallahassee is the symphonic sounds of the Marching 100.

Over decades, fans have packed Bragg Memorial Stadium to see the Florida A&M football team, but there was just as much excitement about the Marching 100′s halftime show.

“Now that’s a little bit of pressure, you know that halftime is important,” Dr. Chipman said. “Something about FAMU that makes it different is our ability to have that, what we call, ‘It.‘”

This year, because of COVID-19, Saturdays in the fall will be without the slow one, the rapid 320 steps per second and, of course, the snake.

”FAMU’s band is one of the most modeled bands in the country,” Dr. Chipman said. “We always tell our students to leave nothing on the field because you never know who is seeing you for the very first time and that may be the only time they see you. We want you to be very impressionable.”

On the financial side, the band will not receive money from the Orange Blossom and Florida Classic contracts, nor from events like the HBCUs Battle of the Bands.

“We were thinking about those Saturdays we were off, there were a couple of promoters that had already contacted me back in February saying we would love to bring the band to “X” city to have you guys featured as the exhibition band,” Dr. Chipman said.

But the real hurt might not be seen until next year, as the band uses several of these events as an opportunity to recruit potential new band members.

“I think as we’ve come back,” Dr. Chipman said, “And we’ve had the chance to perform in the Tournament of Roses Parade, we’ve been on a few Battle of Bands for high school students. We’ve invited students to play along with the high school band. That’s excitement that you can’t build in.”

Dr. Chipman says this year the band was likely to break the 300-member barrier, which is close to participation numbers the band saw during its hay day.

”This year, the projections were going to be slightly up because of the recruiting season that we had and the number of students that we had coming to return,” he said.

Dr. Chipman adds the one game the band will miss is the trip to Southern University to compete against the Jaguars.

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