Brooklyn United's Fundraiser: Marching and Drumming for a Good Cause

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Marching to a higher beat. 
 
Hopping off the B41 bus at Flatbush Junction, passersby were greeted to the sounds and dancers of the Brooklyn United marching band.
 
What a sight it was. Adorned in black t-shirts with “Brooklyn United” boldly displayed, the drummers called out for attention.  The young musicians and dancers totally enthralled the audience with their fundraising performance. The pride could be seen in the young performers’ eyes and tilts of their heads. The drummers were accompanied by a group known as the dance squad, who were as polished and enthusiastic as the instrumental musicians.
 
Brooklyn United Music and Arts Program (BU) is a community-based organization that serves New York City youth.  This program provides youth ages 5-21 with Saturday, after-school, and summer camp programs while stressing academic support, character development, skills building, and performance opportunities.
 
Here’s some background information on marching bands.  Marching bands grew out of the need for filling the gap between the two 45-minute halves of football.   Before 1920, very few schools had marching bands.  Black schools in Alabama helped to usher in the marching band era on college campuses.    It is believed that the earliest historically black college and university band started at the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute (now Tuskegee University) in Tuskegee, Alabama, with its Tuskegee Normal School Brass Band.  The showmanship and style now commonplace, occurred by happenstance at a Florida A&M University (FAMU) practice in 1946.  Dr. William Foster, FAMU’s band director emeritus said, “Our first dance routine, I don’t know how and why it came about.  It was to the tune of ‘Alexander’s Ragtime Band.’  We were just doing steps and high-knee lifts, and people thought that was the greatest thing on earth.  Later, I had a physical educational teacher, Beverly Barber, help with the choreography, putting the steps to music.”  
 
Beverly Barber said, “I didn’t know what I was doing, but it drew in the audience. The band members hadn’t seen anything like it before, and they thought highly of me so they thought it was all right.  Very shortly afterward, other bands started doing it.”
 
Fast forward to 1967, Grambling performed at halftime of the first Super Bowl in San Diego, California.
 
It was difficult for most people to walk away after hearing the Brooklyn United marching band, so my contribution was added to the near capacity filled jar.
 
BU is proud to say – “Changing Lives One Beat at a Time” Call or email for more information:  347-264-4069; www.BKUNITEDMB.COM
 
 

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