By Marlana Lawrence
The Florida A&M University (FAMU) Marching “100” Band unveiled its brand-new turf practice field at a ceremony on Friday, Oct.8.
Located on Osceola Street between the Hansel Tookes Recreation Center and the FAMU Towers, the new practice facility is the size of a football field and is marked like one.
“The new field is one of the best practice facilities for any college band. The best band in the land deserves a top-flight practice facility,” said Director of Bands Shelby Chipman, Ph.D. “This facility reflects the support and appreciation the University has for the Marching ‘100.’ We are very grateful for their support.”
Chipman presided over a brief ceremony attended by FAMU President Larry Robinson, Ph.D., Vice President for Student Affairs William Hudson Jr., Ph.D., and Valencia Matthews, Ph.D., dean of the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, under which the Music Department is housed.
The proposal for the turf field was introduced by 2020-2021 Student Government Association (SGA) President Xavier McClinton to improve the rehearsal facility and to bring it up to par with band practice facilities at other universities. The nearly 70,000-square-foot turf field cost about $520,000 and was financed by the SGA.
“Our marching band is a huge priority because they represent our campus,” said current SGA President Carrington Whigham, who also attended the ceremony.
The new field not only gives the band a top practice facility, it also helps to safeguard the well-being of the band’s 270 members.
“The grass was straining the students’ ligaments,” Hudson said. “The new field is much safer and helps avoid injuries.”
The Marching “100” celebrates its 75th anniversary this fall, having been founded under the leadership of William P. Foster, Ph.D. In September, the band performed at the nationally televised NFL season kick-off in Tampa and is scheduled to perform at two NFL games this fall.