Under the blazing sun, there’s a new light shining over Florida A&M’s ‘Marching 100’.
That’s after the program was suspended after the 2011 hazing death of drum major Robert Champion in 2011. Third-year band member Ronald Gray marched with Champion.
“We’ve learned from it. We’ve had rules and regulations put in place by the university to prevent those things from happening again,” said Ronald Gray.
The University has worked to change the culture of the band -- tougher guidelines and more education on hazing to name a couple. Also, the number in the band will decrease by a third to no more than 256 members.
“This is a new era for the ‘Marching 100’. An era in which they’ll demonstrate to the world they are really going to perform with great skills,” said Dr. Larry Robinson.
The Marching 100 is back on the practice field. Thursday they’ll have an announcement of where their first performance will be.
“It’s great. You know we’re excited to be back. It’s a great feeling,” said Gray.
Doctor Sylvester Young was named the new band director back in May. He says the program will be the strongest it’s ever been.
“For the public, hang in there with us. We’ll bring this band back, better than they’ve ever been,” said Dr. Sylvester Young.
As the program gears up for another season, the university continues to learn from tragedy.
The band will march on to revitalize a storied program tainted in recent years by scandal and controversy.
Band members will be required to maintain a 2.0 GPA and be full-time students to participate in the band.