EXCERPTS FROM “THE MAN BEHIND THE BATON” BY DR. WILLIAM P. FOSTER: Excerpt Two – The Sudler Trophy


sudler“The Sudler Trophy is a trophy awarded annually to a collegiate marching band that is of particular excellence and have made outstanding contributions to the American way of life. The award is made possible by a grant from Louis and Virginia Sudler of Chicago, Illinois. The John Phillip Sousa Foundation administers the annual selection and presentation of the award. The first recipients of the Sudler Trophy were the University of Michigan Band in 1982, the University of Illinois Marching Band in 1983, and the Ohio State University Marching Band in 1984. In December 1984, I received the following letter from Dr. Al G. Wright, President of the John Phillip Sousa Foundation. The letter, dated December 17, 1984, is complimentary:

Dear Bill:

It is with a great deal of pleasure that I inform you that your fabulous Florida A&M Marching Band has been named recipient of the Sudler Intercollegiate Marching Band Trophy for 1985. Congratulations! This is undoubtedly the highest honor that can come to a university or college marching band in the United States. The three previous recipients of the Sudler Trophy are The University of Michigan Band in 1982, the University of Illinois Marching Band in 1983, and the Ohio State University Marching Band in 1984. At your convenience we will appreciate your sending us some B&W photographs of the band, the staff, yourself; also send public relations material. The Sousa Foundation will announce this to the press next spring. We will keep you advised. The presentation of the trophy should take place at a time and site of your choosing. We hope it will be at a time when your marching band is on TV. We do request that it be at a time when there is not a visiting band present, which could be uncomfortable. The Sousa Foundation will be pleased to visit your campus several weeks prior to the actual presentation in order to finalize plans and schedule. We will be in touch with you about this next April or May. I know that with your experience and expertise that the 1985 Sudler Trophy presentation to your Florida A&M Marching Band will be the most brilliant and exciting to date.

Sincerely,

Dr. Al G.Wright, President – John Phillip Sousa Foundation

On October 26, 1985, the “Marching 100,” the FAMU family and I were humbled to receive the prestigious Sudler Intercollegiate Marching Band Trophy for 1985… The Florida A&M University Marching “100” Band was the fourth recipient of the Sudler Trophy. To be the recipient of the Sudler Trophy award, to walk or march with such distinguished honorees remains an accomplishment of which we are very proud, not so much for ourselves, but most importantly, for our University and its community of supporters at home and abroad”

Excerpt of Chapter: “The Sudler Intercollegiate Marching Band Trophy” from “The Man Behind The Baton” By Dr. William P. Foster

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Dr. William P Foster is founder and creator of the world renowned Florida A&M University Marching 100. He has been credited for the creation of the very first band dance routine, many marching techniques, drill patterns, and band pageants (Themed shows). All of these, and many more of his creations, are still utilized by college bands across the country today.

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