Few organizations are so closely identified with Florida State University as the Marching Chiefs. However, despite all its fame and acclaim, the band is asking for help and its members are hoping the community will literally “run” to the rescue.
Even as a little kid, Adam Thompson had his sights set on just one goal. That dream came true in Tallahassee.
“I came to Florida State to be a Marching Chief. I came here with the ideal of serving the band that I wanted to be a part of so badly,” he asserted.
Today, the junior business management major plays baritone sax in the band of his dreams, an experience he said exceeds every expectation.
“Above and beyond,” he smiled. “(It’s) more than anything I could ever imagine!”
Among Thompson’s personal highlights, is that game last December in the Orange Bowl.
“The Michigan/Florida State game!” he recalled. “We’re in the final 36-seconds. We had finally gotten ahead of Michigan and they had a chance to come back and finally beat us. But we played the War Chant continuously and just hearing that sound with the entire stadium going crazy was absolutely insane and one of my favorite memories of being in the Marching Chiefs.”
Given that morale-boosting factor that the Chiefs bring to the players and the fans, you’d think the university would dispatch the band to every single away game. But Thompson lamented that’s not the case.
“They do not have funds to do that,” he explained. “So they keep us at just the big games this year, like Clemson and Alabama, so we’re kind of limited on that. So to try and raise funds for the Marching Chiefs, we host events to try and get the Marching Chiefs name out there and raise funds so that we can have money for instruments and cleanup and uniforms and all those kind of things.”
That would free up more school money to send the band to more away games. Thompson said there is one popular idea, however that had never actually been tried.
“We found that the idea of a 5K had in fact been around the Marching Chiefs for going on two decades now and it just never came to fruition and nobody had actually gone about putting that together and I think it’s awesome that we happen to be here at the time it’s actually coming together.”
Which, although set for later this month, is already recruiting runners and walkers.
“It’s going to be on November 19th,” Thompson said. “That’s the Homecoming weekend and the Sunday after the Homecoming game. And it’s going to be on the campus of FSU. The start of the race happens on Chiefs Field, which is the practice field for the band and it winds throughout the campus and passes by a lot of icons that are considered to be part of the university.”
Thompson said those who cross the finish line will receive a heroes’ welcome similar to what happens after a touchdown on the football field.
“Runners will run back through a pep band that will be playing school songs or the War Chant straight at them. So I think there’s no other event that’s like this and that’s why it’s so special.”
It will be SO special, Thompson said, that even some other schools’ bands are helping out.
“We have members of the University of Florida Band that are coming up to be a part of this and members of Auburn coming down to participate in this event.”
Thompson urged anyone interested to find out more and register online.
“We have a Facebook page under ‘Marching Chiefs 5K’ and we have a web site: www.marching_chiefs_5K.eventbrite.com.”
It’s a way for those who, like Adam Thompson always dreamed of joining the FSU Marching Chiefs, to become a vital part of one of America’s very best and most loved collegiate bands.