EXCERPTS FROM “THE MAN BEHIND THE BATON” BY DR. WILLIAM P. FOSTER: Excerpt Six – The FAMU Band Camp

bandcamperssm

1998 FAMU Summer Band Camp

“The FAMU Band Camp is the result of a concept that I developed in the early 1950s. After several years of contemplation and brainstorming ideas with the other members of my staff, I devised a program to meet the following needs: 

  • Bring about an increase in recruitment of talented and competent instrumentalists;
  • Bring about an increase in the size of the FAMU Marching Band;
  • Bring about an increase in majors in the Department of Music. 

I developed a booklet to serve as a guide and source of information on the structure and preparation of a summer band camp to embrace grade levels seven through twelve. The booklet explained that instruction would include the following offerings:

  • The marching band
  • The symphonic band
  • The concert band
  • Ensembles to include Brass Winds, Woodwinds, Percussion, Octet, Sextet, Quintet, Quartet, and Trio.

The booklet explains the use of a support system that included personnel conductors, staff members, student assistants, office staff, secretaries, and clerks. Information on how to provide room and board for band camp participants, the schedule of events, and use of facilities were included in the band camp guidelines… There were a number of good outcomes that could be realized from a FAMU Marching Band Camp. Besides the fact that the camp would help the University in its recruitment efforts, the camp would also give prospective band students the opportunity of learning and actually performing basic techniques of playing, marching, and other things associated with improving the proficiency on marching and playing. The camp will also give my staff the opportunity early on to identify excellent or potentially quality students who could be encouraged to attend FAMU and participate in the marching band. In turn, the students who attended the camp would return to their schools and share what they had learned. This could improve the quality of their individual bands and inform others of the Marching “100”.

Although the concept began in the early 1950s, we were unable to conduct the program at FAMU due to budgetary constraints. In 1990, more than 37 years after developing the band camp concept, the Department of Music received financial backing of continuing education.

white

Dr. Julian White picture is circa 1965

That was the first year of a very successful summer band camp. A couple of years before, I gave all my conceptual data and my printed band operations manual concerning the band camp to Dr. Julian White for his review and implementation. Dr. White was given charge of the band camp project and appointed Director of the Florida A&M University Summer Band Camp. I was Assistant Director. The director of the band camp needed to be someone with the time for preparation, planning, and execution of all tasks involved. Dr White was the right person for the job and has been an excellent administrator of the summer band camp.”

Excerpt of Chapter: “The Famu Band Camp” from “The Man Behind The Baton” By Dr. William P. Foster

***

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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