FAMU Celebrates First Home Game with Battle of the Bands
By Bre-Shara McCall
On Sept. 25, Florida A&M University (FAMU) hosted its first Battle of the Bands event. Students, faculty, staff and Rattler and Tennessee State University (TSU) Tiger fans crowded Gaither Gym for the highly anticipated showdown.
TSU’s Aristocrat of Bands entered the gym first. The four drum majors wore all white with matching headbands while the rest of the band wore white headbands and all blue. The TSU crowd cheered and danced around happily while their band marched to their seats, as the Marching 100 fans glared at the rival band.
As one single FAMU drum major entered the gym, the Rattler crowd stood to their feet with excitement. Sporting black Nike track suits with instruments in hand, the Marching 100 made their grand entrance. After taking their seats, Sylvester Young, FAMU director of marching and pep bands, and Reginald A. McDonald, coordinator of instrumental music at TSU, met in the middle of the floor for a little conversation before the competition took place.
Breana J. Burnett, a graduating senior from Atlanta, Ga. said “This is a time for the two bands to come together and although it is a ‘battle,’ this is about one thing, school spirit. There is nothing like HBCU pride.”
The two bands sat facing each other on opposite sides of the gym, leaving room for camera crews, cheerleaders and occasional FAMU students entering the floor. The bands took turns playing some of their favorite songs, a mix of the old, new and worship variety.
A brief intermission took place and the percussion sections of each band gathered in the middle of the floor.
After the intermission, Aristocrat of Bands started up with another selection. After a signal from Shelby Chipman, FAMU recruiting coordinator of symphonic bands and instrumental music, the two bands were playing simultaneously. Students began rushing the floor when they heard FAMU classics like “S.O.S” and “Ice Cream Man.” Once security forced the crowd to return to the stands, the crowd was thanked one final time before the event concluded.
At the end, no official winner was declared but if you ask any FAMU student, they will tell you otherwise.
“No comment,” Bryon Sneed said jokingly, a senior from Pompano Beach, Fla. “Of course FAMU won” were the words of Bryon Sneed.
Battle of the Bands was a fundraising event for the Marching 100, made possible through FAMU Office of Alumni Affairs, University Advancement, FAMU Athletics and FAMU Music Department.