WEEKLY EXCERPTS FROM: “THE MAN BEHIND THE BATON” – DR. WILLIAM P. FOSTER

103826837“….To develop excellence, the student must be willing to put in great amounts of time, energy, and effort, thereby attaining and achieving personal goals and objectives. The student is reminded that writing, communication, and mathematical skills must be mastered. With the focus on excellence, the student is encouraged to consider the Band Motto of the Florida A&M University Marching Band as his/her personal guide. The Band Motto sets forth qualities by which band members live. It guides their thoughts, actions, and lives.

It was some time before I knew my nickname. However, I began to notice that when I would drive up to the band practice field that the band students would begin humming the siren sound of a police car. It was not long thereafter that I discovered my nickname was “The Law.” In other words they were letting everyone know, “Here comes the Law. We better tighten up.”309a21060dc41f4f59e685545a2b52c5

Because I am a perfectionist in terms of precision in marching and in performances, it was not unusual for me, upon hearing repeated errors in executing a difficult phrase or passage in the music, to ask those students to please “lay-out” for effect. This meant that they would not continue to play until they had corrected the errors. Many students attest to the fact that this statement caused them to work harder towards improving themselves through frequent visits to the practice rooms.

Today, I am often referred to as “The Maestro,” “The Law,” and “The Legend.” I like all three of the names. they “fit” me. The future of our youth in this changing world is dependent in part on how we as contributors to our community and society can assist youth in becoming high achievers. This is a great challenge.

Excerpt of Chapter: “A Great Challenge” 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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