TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - It's about new beginnings at Florida A&M for the nationally-known Marching "100." After a 19-month suspension, the band is back on the field, stronger now than ever.
There's a new light shining over Florida A&M's Marching "100" after the program was suspended following 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, of the 'Marching "100."
The university has worked to change the culture of the band, creating 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, FAMU interim president.
The 'Marching "100" is back on the practice field. This Thursday they'll have an announcement of where their first performance will be.
"It's great," Gray said. "You know, we're excited to be back. It's a great feeling."
Dr. 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," said Young. "We'll bring this band back, better than they've ever been."
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 and be full-time students to participate in the band.
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