ORLANDO, Fla. – For the fourth time, Florida A&M University’s Marching 100 band performed in a presidential inauguration event.
This year’s event is leading up to the swearing-in of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kalama Harris on Wednesday.
“When I received the letter, first of all, I was elated and with joy as the opportunity really realizing the magnitude of this opportunity we have,” said Dr. Shelby Chipman, director of bands for the university.
It’s an opportunity of a lifetime for Chipman and 150 of his students who were invited to be part of the “We Are One” presidential inauguration event being held virtually Tuesday night.
“We basically met at the student access center, which is a new facility on campus, and we thought, again, that having it there would be a centerpiece to showcase who we are,” he said.
Last Thursday they sent a 60-second presentation video to the inauguration committee in which they showcased two songs, drum brakes and dance routines.
“We had a couple of rehearsals. So, we had one rehearsal for two hours with the students, and then the next day we had, of course, a quick turnaround time with issuing uniforms and shakos that we wear and other accessories,” Chipman recalled.
The “We Are One” event will be streamed live across different TV stations through the Presidential Inaugural Committee’s social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter.
“Now when I think about this and how we’re gonna connect in a different platform but still connecting virtually, it’s just very exciting to know that you know, a lot of eyes are gonna be on the university,” Chipman said.
But it’s not their first presidential inauguration event invite. The Marching 100 has performed in two inauguration parades for president Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama’s first inauguration in 2009.
“This is very significant in the history of the marching band as it relates to the Marching 100 participating in 1993 and 1997 and of course had an opportunity to be a member of the band staff in 2009,” he said.
The marching band has left its mark throughout the years, becoming notable among universities and a variety of events.
“The incomparable March 100 has presented with Super Bowls and Grammy’s and inaugural parades and Disney World, Disneyland, the tournament of roses parade in recent years,” Shelby said.
Another presentation they’re seen at is during college football season in Orlando at the Florida Classic.
This year’s virtual performance includes a rendition of Bill Withers’ “Lovely Day.”
“I think it just fits right into the theme of what everybody is so excited about when you think about our president-elect Biden,” he said about the choice of song. “When you think about the positivity and energy that has come about with so many individuals and folks all over the country that have turned out to vote. We just thought that piece and that tune would just be perfect to kinda set the tone for our presentation.”