FAMU's Marching 100 getting Smithsonian treatment

Published: Sep. 12, 2019 at 10:24 PM EDT
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By: Jacob Murphey | WCTV Eyewitness News

September 12, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) – On what would have been Dr. William P. Foster's 100th birthday, friends and family came together to share memories and pay tribute to a true pioneer in music.

Dr. Foster founded FAMU's marching band in 1946, turning a football halftime show tradition on its head. The Marching 100 was born.

That legacy is headed to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

"To build this band up in terms of the number of people, to find resources for uniforms and instruments and to become such an influence, that's what makes him such a pioneer," said Joanne Hyppolite, a curator at the museum.

Thursday night's birthday celebration also served as a chance for the band's former directors to share memories of Dr. Foster.

Current Director Shelby Chipman said seeing the band as a kid in Miami made him want to pursue a career in music.

Foster's son, Anthony, wants to make sure people realize the impact his father had on the school and community.

"He brought attention to FAMU, he brought attention to Tallahassee., and I think the impact was that if you believe in something you can accomplish it.," he said.

The National Portrait Gallery is also celebrating Dr. Foster's legacy. The esteemed museum will open up an exhibit featuring two photos of Foster in mid-November.