Thursday, October 23, 2014

Last week, Washington, D.C. became Rattler Country

When the Rattlers traveled to the nation’s capital for last week’s football contest against Howard University, they came away with more than a gridiron victory. The university also won big in terms of recruiting new students, fostering corporate relations, and reconnecting with alumni in the DC metropolitan area.

FAMU President Elmira Mangum, accompanied by Vice-President of Student Affairs William Hudson Jr., awarded nearly $400,000 in scholarships to some of the best and brightest local students. 

For the first time in more than two decades, the world-famous Marching 100 traveled to DC to participate in the festivities surrounding Howard University’s homecoming.  

On Saturday morning, the band performed in a feature spot in the homecoming parade. With much anticipation, the bright orange and green uniforms made their way down Georgia Avenue.  With their flare for entertainment, they stopped right in front of the grand stand where Mangum and Howard’s President Wayne Frederick were sitting.  The announcers of the parade invited FAMU band announcer Joe Bullard to the microphone.

Bullard’s voice soon bellowed through the loudspeakers: “In all the world, there is only one…” 

With that came a round of applause, as the Marching “100” put on a mini show for the audience.  Every camera, cell phone and video camera was rolling.  The band's unique brand of showmanship brought smiles, shouts and applause from the thousands who lined the streets. 

Following the parade, everyone packed 7,000 seat Greene Memorial Stadium in the center of the Howard campus to witness the Rattlers upset the Bison 31-28 in an exciting MEAC matchup.

At halftime, Mangum and Director of Marching and Pep Bands Sylvester Young accepted a $10,000 check from VH1 that recognized the Marching 100’s role as an inspiration for the “Drumline” franchise. Letoya Luckett and Alexandra Shipp, two stars of the forthcoming VH1 “Drumline: A New Beat” movie, joined them for the presentation.

The Marching 100 later showcased its legendary precision and showmanship on Howard’s home field during halftime performance that brought the audience to its feet.

After time expired on the game clock, the victorious Rattler football team ran over to the band section to celebrate with them and the alumni and students sitting in the immediate area. It was almost like it was a home game, with the number of Rattler fans nearly equaling the number of Howard fans.  Rattler alumni young and old were filled with Rattler spirit as the band played, alternating with the Howard University “Showtime” Marching Band for nearly an hour after the game.

Last week, Washington D.C. became Rattler country.

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