FAMU President Elmira Mangum names Shelby Chipman New Director of Bands
Special to the Outlook
On Friday, May 27, during the Florida A&M University National Alumni Association’s Annual Distinguished Alumni Awards Gala, President Elmira Mangum, Ph.D., announced Shelby R. Chipman, Ph.D., as the new director of the University’s Marching Band and Pep Bands. Chipman is a FAMU alumnus, and currently serves as associate music professor and director of symphonic bands.
“There is no question that FAMU is the home of the most innovative and imitated band program in the world. So, it is only fitting that an innovator and visionary like Dr. Chipman become the next leader to take our program to even greater heights,” Mangum said.
Sylvester Young, Ph.D., who has led the band program since May 2013, has decided to return to the classroom full time. He said he will continue to provide support to the band, but explained that the time is right for Chipman to lead the program.
“There is no one else more qualified to direct this program but Dr. Chipman,” Young said. “He was 100 percent by my side during my tenure, and it is now his time to take the lead. He is going to take this band to a new and higher level. And, I am fortunate to be a part of his team in a minor role, and to watch his training and experience come into fruition.”
Young expressed his satisfaction in the accomplishments of the band and fulfilling his commitment to the University over the last three years.
“Unbeknownst to the public, I said to myself, after coming out of retirement, that I would roll up my sleeves and work with the FAMU band program for three years to rebuild it and to shift the culture,” Young said. “I am proud to say that we were able to restructure the program and grow it to more than 200 members after starting anew. I am also very proud of the students for stepping up to the plate to change the culture and for working together to eradicate hazing. I am happy to say that we have had no incidents since the program was reinstalled.”
Mangum praised Young for the impact he has had in the University’s Music Department.
“FAMU has truly been blessed to have extraordinary men at the helm of its band program since its inception,” she said. “We are sincerely appreciative of the work of Dr. Young in building upon the great legacies of Dr. William P. Foster and Dr. Julian E. White, as well as his tireless efforts to strengthen and restore our beloved band program.”
Chipman expressed his gratitude to Young for the leadership he has shown during his tenure and for entrusting him with taking the band program into its next era. He explained that he is grateful to be standing on the shoulders of giants like Young, Foster, and White.
“These great men have driven the bus in terms of standards, innovation, and excellence. I am humbled and honored to be a part of the successes they have achieved and the major performances and innovations that have been undertaken over the years,” Chipman said. “We are going to continue the tradition of being a role model of excellence in musicianship and pageantry. I am looking forward to building upon such a creative legacy and ensuring that the program remains on the cutting edge.”
Chipman said that he is grateful for the students, alumni, and supporters who have helped to make the program a success over the years, and looks forward to working with the entire University community to ensure that the storied legacy of the Marching 100 continues to reach new levels of greatness.
“I am extremely impressed by and indebted to the current and former students who have served and sacrificed to align themselves with our band standards and our motto,” he said. “I am excited to work with our students collaboratively as we push the envelope of innovation in taking our performances out of the box.”
Chipman thanked God, his late mother, wife, son, colleagues, fellow alumni, and the community, for supporting his musical aspirations and work as a music educator over the years and credited them all, in their respective places, with his development as a leader.
When asked what he wanted fans and supporters to know about the future of the band program and the upcoming football season, he said: “Stay tuned… We are planning a special performance and tribute to a legendary musician that will be like no other.”