The 14th Annual Atlanta Football Classic – BANDTASTIC

By Elliott Robinson, Esq.
Updated: October 12, 2007

BandsUntil you’ve seen them in person, you haven’t experienced them at all. Until you’ve marveled as they surround the outer edge of an entire football field, you haven’t seen them at all. Until you’ve watched them take up an entire section at a professional football stadium, you haven’t seen them at all. Until you’ve seen the Marching 100 of Florida A&M University, you haven’t seen the best college marching band in the world.

Now I know that last statement will bring about a plethora of responses from supporters of The Human Jukebox (Southern University), The Sonic Boom (Jackson State), The Aristocrat of Bands (Tennessee State) and many, many other fine collegiate bands. Now while they may have rather cogent arguments, we’ll probably have to agree to disagree.

“Perfection in music, highest quality of character, and precision in marching.” This is the motto of the Marching 100 and it came to life at the 14th Annual Atlanta Classic. I’m sure their performance made former legendary FAMU band director Dr. William Patrick Foster very proud. After opening with the Michael Jackson ’80s hit “PYT,” the 101 performed a moving rendition of the gospel classic, “Order My Steps.”

They then transitioned into a “Harlem Shake” inspiring medley of current rap hits including, “We Ready,” “Hot in Here,” and “Oh Boy,” before capping it off with the current Ludacris chart topper “Move.” Their performance was punctuated with the simple, yet humorous announcement, “You may now proceed to the concession stand.” Needless to say, Tennessee State knew what so many others have long conceded, the Marching 101 is a tough act to follow.

Atlanta’s HS Bands Strutted Their Stuff If the high school bands of Atlanta are any indication, then the future of Black College bands looks and sounds awfully bright. Prior to the Atlanta Classic, there was a wonderful joint concert put on by some of Hotlanta’s finest marching bands. They included such legendary programs as Benjamin Mays, Bannekar, SW DeKalb, Tri-Cities, North Atlanta and Booker T. Washington. The highlight of their collaborative set was a lovely rendition of “Georgia on My Mind.” With such a high quality performance, I’m certain there were many future Marching 100 and Aristocrat members on display.

Show Them the Money The Bank of America made a halftime presentation that left many in the crowd shaking their collective heads. As the sponsor of the halftime “Battle of the Bands,” Bank of America had the honor of presenting each band with a monetary gift. Supposedly the gift should be large enough to both show their gratitude and provide some financial assistance to two excellent marching programs.

Their “donation” was in the amount of $1,000 per band. Uh no, that’s not a misprint. I said $1,000 as in 1 grand. Not $1,000 per member, but $1,000 for EACH band. Someone should inform the good folks at Bank of America that $2,000 is not enough to pay for each band member to get a Happy Meal from McDonalds. Talk about cheap. Geez.