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News Clips 01/18/2013
FAMU Marching 100 still without a director
Source: Tallahassee Democrat, 01/16/13
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By Doug Blackburn
It was a most unusual news conference.
Florida A&M said on Monday afternoon it would introduce the new band director for the revered Marching 100 at 9:15 a.m. Tuesday.
Shortly after 9:15, FAMU spokeswoman Sharon Saunders said the announcement was delayed. A few minutes later she said the press conference had been canceled and the announcement had been postponed indefinitely.
Larry Robinson, FAMU’s interim president, said he has selected a candidate from four finalists but that negotiations continue.
“There are still some things in negotiations that aren’t resolved that we thought were resolved. Things happened between (Monday) night and (Tuesday) morning that indicated we weren’t quite there yet. I think we will know something within a couple of days,” Robinson said.
In a release Tuesday evening, the chair of the search committee said the delay and ongoing talks with the candidate are the right thing for FAMU.
“We are continuing our discussion with the candidate. In lieu of the new discussion, we want to make sure that we are doing what is in the best interest of the university,” interim provost and chair of the search committee Rodner Wright said in a statement.
A number of Marching 100 alumni were on hand, some to voice their displeasure if Shelby Chipman, a longtime assistant to former band director Julian White, was not selected.
Victor Gaines, president of the Marching 100 Alumni Association, attended the canceled press conference. Many of his colleagues support Chipman, he said.
“I think there is a lot of allegiance for Dr. Chipman and all the work he’s done. I think they wanted to see what was going to happen. They heard it was going in a different direction,” Gaines said.
He added that he was on hand to support the band and the students and not to promote any of the four finalists. “You just hope that whatever decision was made was in the best interest of the band and that the next time they’ll get it right,” he added.
The Marching 100, the university’s ambassador to the world and easily its most recognizable representative, has been suspended since Nov. 22, 2011, following the hazing beating death of a drum major aboard a band bus.
White, the director who succeeded Marching 100 founder William P. Foster, was placed on administrative leave the following day. He retired in April.
The university concluded on-campus interviews with four finalists on Nov. 30.