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Prince, FAMU's Marching 100, And One Of 'The Greatest Super Bowl Performances Ever'

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

It has been called one of the greatest Super Bowl Halftime Performances ever. The year was 2007. The performer, was Prince.  Florida A&M University’s Marching 100 Band was with him.

When Prince lit up the stage in Miami on February of 2007, he had a 350 piece accompaniment: FAMU’s Marching 100 band.

“I didn’t think and we didn’t think the green light had gone off, but then once we got to Miami, and the rehearsals resumed, and the students started to see the 75,000 people who gathered there. Prince came over to our site to say hello and thank you, that was a huge deal."

This is Shelby Chipman, FAMU’s Symphonic Band Director. He’s telling the story of the moment the band got to Miami to start its rehearsals with Prince.

“Of course, the energy in the stadium and the magic of it raining, just took it over the top. We were just fortunate and happy to have been a part of that.”   

Among the 350 Marching 100 Band members that night, was Charles Bobino. He's my brother.

I caught up with him at his apartment. He was one the more than 300 band members who took the field with Prince that night. The Marching 100 had been outfitted with glowing lights on their uniforms, powered by batteries. But those batteries were hot… and literally burning holes through band members’ uniforms.

“We were afraid because we had these electronics on and this flash-rain thunderstorm came out of nowhere and drenched us," he said. "And my freshman brothers and sister …we were like, oh my god, we have these burn holes in our uniform from the electronics. But we powered through it."

They played on. And so did Prince. Through the pouring rain. Which glowed Purple under his stage lights.

Prince died Thursday. He was 57 years old.


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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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