1601 South Martin Luther King Blvd.
Tallahassee, Florida 32307
Marching 100 Super Bowl Blog
Marching 100 Super Bowl Blog
On the Road to Miami
Saturday, Feb. 3
It’s chillier than I thought it would be this morning. As I pull up to the Band Rehearsal Hall, there are young people dressed to the nine on a Saturday morning. Everything from black suits, shirts and ties, stiletto pumps and fashion runway pantsuits-I see it all! The rest of the campus seemed to be asleep, but not these travelers. With the music of Prince blaring from the speakers on Bus B, they were eyes-wide-opened-ready for the road trip.
As the seven buses prepared to head out for Super Bowl XLI, Dr. White took to the bullhorn with announcements. A hushed arrangement of FAMU’s “Florida Song” drifted through the bus as one band member prayed. Then uplifted voices filled the air as the buses snaked through the campus.
It wasn’t long before well-wishers waved at the buses on South Monroe. A light blue Honda honked its horn as we cruised down Apalachee Parkway. As one man wearing an FSU cap turns his pickup onto Buck Lake Road, he pumps his fists in the air and honks his horn in a show of support of “America’s Band”.
It’s a beautiful morning and a beautiful sight to see as the buses hit the on-ramp at I-10. I look back from my window seat on Bus B and saw the caravan. I smile.
“We’re going to Miami!”
It’s been a long day, but it’s no time to sleep for more than 250 band members and University staff. That’s because scores of FAMU alumni and friends have waited for hours at the Mt.OliveBaptistChurch to greet their band. These alumni came from all over South Florida—Miami-Dade, Broward, Glade and Palm BeachCounty.
One woman in an orange and green sweat suit seemed to hug and kiss every band member she could as they filed into the church for an alumni reception. “We’re so excited! The ‘100’ is in the Super Bowl!”
The area alumni, lead by Shirley Baker and John Wimberley, really took care of their Rattlers with a tasty dinner of barbecue chicken, yellow rice, potato salad, green beans, red velvet cake and more.
“We are so grateful to you,” said Dr. White, “for taking time out on a Saturday evening for us.” He turned to the band and then said to them, “These are the giants. The shoulders you stand on. You see all these alumni and the contributions they have made to FAMU. It is really gratifying to see their support as they continue to give back.” Dr. White assured the South Florida FAMU family, “We’re going to represent you well.”
Our stomachs were filled with good food, and our hearts were filled with much appreciation and gratitude. It was back on the bus to Palm Beach where everyone was ready for a good night’s sleep.
Sunday, Feb. 4
Whew! I’m on the bus! Today’s call is . I didn’t want to be late after yesterday’s talk about the consequences. It wasn’t going to be pretty trying to catch the band on television and catch another bus home.
Like fast-moving ants with various striping of orange and green, band members scurried across the parking lot of the Best Western Hotel to get on the bus. We are headed to the campus of NovaUniversity where the band will continue to prepare for its performance and then wait for police escorts to arrive.
It’s gray and overcast in South Florida. It soon becomes clear that nothing will cloud this day for “The 100”. The music on the bus is blaring. It’s Prince again and Beyonce. The noise level is building, as is the excitement.
One young man on the bus picks up the bullhorn. In his best Dr. White imitation he says in a raspy voice, “Bus B, I was dreaming last night that Prince got sick and the only part of the halftime show left was ‘The 100’. Not that we want this to happen, but ‘The 100’ can handle it.” Even though his impression of Dr. White was good, it’s like Joe Bullard says, “Often imitated. Never duplicated.”
Moments later, the real Dr. White was on the bullhorn. He began to give instructions about the afternoon meal, wardrobe and the police escort to the stadium. He also mentioned that security was at Level 1. He added, “Don’t joke or make any remarks. You could get arrested. Have your ID ready and follow all instructions.” Then he said, “You need to give this show your full energy and play. It’s now time to get into a tunnel focus about our performance. I know you’re going to give a great show. The world will be watching.”
The noisy bus became quiet. You could hardly hear a sound. It’s raining, and I can see the red and blue flashing lights of the police escorts. The band prays, and then sings the “Florida Song” once more. We are pulling away from NovaUniversity to make our way to Dolphin Stadium. It is now only one step closer to the world seeing “The Marching 100”. Super Bowl XLI we’re on way!!!
(Again, the security is high at the Super Bowl. They’re even confiscating cell phones. I will make the next update as soon as possible.)