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FAMU's Marching 100 Band Camp sets an attendance record as HBCUs see renewed attention

students play their instruments on the Marching 100 practice field as parents look on.
Margie Menzel
students play their instruments on the Marching 100 practice field as parents look on.

Days after announcing that record demand caused Florida A&M University to run out of dorm space, the school set another. More than 600 kids recently attended the school’s annual band camp—the largest group ever.

The Orange and Green bands faced off on the Marching 100’s practice field Friday night. The field is ringed with family members recording the competition on video cameras and cell phones. One grandparent, Sharon Gruber, is sitting in the southern end zone, watching her grandson Owen.

Band Camp Grandparent, Sharon Gruber

"His band teacher at Fort Lauderdale High School—she came here and got her master’s degree and so did her husband. So, that’s how he kind of got connected with FAMU."

That's how many kids get to the Marching 100's annual band camp, which drew campers from across the country.

That connection will carry Gruber's grandson Owen, to FAMU in the Fall, where he plans to major in music.

Gruber says the family plans to attend many more events. Her grandson moves into his dorm next month. He will be part of a freshman class that boasts a 3.8 average GPA—another record.

Follow @MargieMenzel

Margie Menzel covers local and state government for WFSU News. She has also worked at the News Service of Florida and Gannett News Service. She earned her B.A. in history at Vanderbilt University and her M.S. in journalism at Florida A&M University.