Another Thanksgiving has come and gone. It is hard to think about Thanksgiving without thinking about the McDonald's All American High School Band that was a regular staple of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Well, the McDonald's band seems to have given way to the McDonald's All-American basketball team. It seems that basketball is cheaper than picking and transporting two stellar musicians from each of the 50 states to a central location and having them perform in a parade.
From 1980-1992 this all-star group of musicians were under the direction of the FAMU Marching 100 Band staff, led by legendary director William P. Foster.
Dr. Foster's handling of the McDonald's All-American High School Band got the best out of this group of strangers each and every year. Their sound was always exceptionally strong and solid, which started with Lindsey B. Sarjeant's arrangements and Foster's attention to detail. According to accounts, Julian White's moving drills worked well for the group.
Sadly, there isn't much footage on youtube of this group, but here's what we found (fast forward to the 7:14 mark). Notice that distinct "Marching 100" sound.
(pictured above: William P. Foster (director ), Vanessa Williams (Miss America), Lindsey Sarjeant, unnamed drum major, and the late Charles S. Bing.)
Special thanks to Elliott Seagraves, Marching 100 (1971), who inspired this article and contributed.