FAMU Marching 100 and Concert Choir to Perform as part of 2021 NFL Kickoff Festivities in Tampa

Fifty members of the FAMU Marching 100 (above) will perform with the concert choir (below) during the NFL Kickoff event Thursday.
Photos submitted by FAMU

By Andrew J. Skerritt
FAMU Office of Communications

The Florida A&M University Marching 100 Band and the FAMU Concert Choir are scheduled to perform during the pre-game festivities for the 2021 NFL Kickoff game between the Dallas Cowboys and reigning Super Bowl LV champions Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday. 

“Lift Every Voice and Sing” will be performed as a combination of Alicia Key’s version from 2020 transitioning to a live performance of the FAMU Concert Choir at Raymond James Stadium, the Buccaneers’ home field. This will mark the first time that “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the Black national anthem, will be performed live in an NFL stadium.

“We are excited to have the Florida A&M University Concert Choir collaborating with Alicia Keys to update her historic rendition of ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’, as part of our 2021 Kickoff festivities,” said Anna Isaacson, NFL senior vice president of Social Responsibility. “This will mark the first time ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’ will be sung live at an NFL stadium and we are looking forward to shining a light on such a versatile and talented choir, while also honoring the legacy of the song.” 

FAMU Concert Choir Director Mark Butler said preparing for the performance has been most exciting and impactful for staff and students.

“We are fortunate to have been selected for this performance, and our hope is that our presentation will serve to inspire and uplift those who’ll hear us sing,” Butler said. 

Around 6 p.m. Thursday, 50 members of the Marching 100 Band will perform at the NFL Kickoff Experience at Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park.  Ed Sheeran will headline the event which will also feature Buccaneers cheerleaders, mascot and drum line, local musicians, NFL Legends and more. 

Director of Bands Shelby Chipman, said the opportunity to perform in Tampa is a fitting prelude to the Rattlers’ season opener and first home football game in almost two years.

“Our Marching 100 members will remind American football fans what it means to be the best band in the land,” Chipman said. “We will give them a treat. We are honored to be invited to perform.”

 The two performances were arranged after Nina Packer, a FAMU adjunct instructor, received a call from her music industry contacts.

“I was so thrilled to get the call from Live Nation Urban about this professional opportunity for our music students. Many of our band and choir members are Music Industry majors and this experience will help them to meet the requirements for the course I teach Practicum in Music Management,” said Packer, who has taught the course for 12 years. 

In addition to the live telecast of NFL Kickoff on NBC and live stream on Peacock, the Cowboys –Buccaneers game will be streamed live across all devices via NBCSports.com, the NBC Sports app, NFL.com, and the NFL app.