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President's Message

Victor R. GainesHappy Anniversary, "Marching 100"!


Sixty-Eight (68) years ago, Dr. William P. Foster arrived on the campus of Florida A&M College, with the desire to create a marching band like no other! Through the years, he would tinker with different ideas, and build a program that would be run by those he taught. Dr. Lenard Bowie, Dr. Julian E. White, Professor Charles S. Bing, Dr. Shaylor L. James, Lindsey B. Sarjeant, were on hand to help build and create the rich legacy that we have today! Our current director, Dr. Sylvester Young, was also a student of Dr. Foster, receiving accolades and letters of recommendation throughout his musical career. He has managed to do some great things since coming back home to FAMU, and we are looking for even more in the upcoming season!

Today is not just a day to recognize the beginning of the Foster era, but to recognize those who came before Dr. Foster, as well as those who continue working to build upon his legacy!

Having been under the leadership of Dr. Foster, I learned a lot about patience and organization, and picked up on a few words of his that would befuddle us on occasion. And from Dr. Julian E. White, his leadership and compassion for us was key to our putting together productions that would set the marching band world on fire!

We should not only celebrate June 1st (or June 1) because of the leadership and legacy that Dr. Foster brought to us, but we should also celebrate his students, those whose accomplishments were in part to the things he did for us, both personally and professionally.

Dr. Fred Morley (president of the FAMU National Alumni Band, the FIRST organized group of FAMU Band alumni), Bishop AJ Richardson (Head Drum Major and Bishop of the AME Church), Dr. Bernard Kinsey (philanthropist and entrepreneur), Scotty Barnhart (leader of the Count Basie Orchestra), and Don P. Roberts (creater and Director of Drumline Live) are just a FEW of the alumni who have been a part of the World Famous "Marching 100" band and have gone on to achieve great things!

Dr. Shelby R. Chipman, our Director of Symphonic Bands, has done an outstanding job over the years with not only the "Marching 100," but with the Wind Ensemble and his Superior-rated Miami Central HS Marching Band!

With our recent group of graduates, we are poised to provide even better opportunities for those who aspire to be a part of a band with such a rich legacy! Let's take this day to not only recognize our giants whose shoulders we stand upon, to how we can BE the giants in the future, and remain an organization that is focused on keeping OUR band second to what? (In my Prof Bing voice)


Happy Anniversary, HUNDRED!

Victor R. Gaines
President & Chair, Board of Directors
Marching 100 Alumni Band Association, Inc.

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