The FAMU Percussion Ensemble was organized in the fall of 1952 under the direction of Mr. James H. Latimer. The ensemble then consisted of only three percussion majors along with other members of the percussion section. Since then, the FAMU Percussion Ensemble has developed into one of America’s outstanding university percussion groups.
The FAMU Percussion Ensemble is presently under the direction of Dr. Shaylor L. James. Since Dr. James assumed leadership, the ensemble has received national acclaim and recognition as one of the outstanding collegiate ensembles in the country. The ensemble has appeared on national CBS television, performed for the United Nations General Assembly along with numerous appearances at universities and clinics throughout the southeast. Aside from the many professional performances by the ensemble, they are in constant demand for educational lecture/concert demonstrations.
In addition to playing the standard literature for percussion ensembles, the FAMU Percussion Ensemble has premiered thirty-eight new works for brass, strings and percussion. Many of their performances are of student compositions. The ensemble takes pride in its unique feature of such diverse media as jazz/rock, vocal/percussion, percussion/dance choreography, chamber works, along with many compositions employing the use of the human body to produce musical sounds.