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FAMU Marching '100,' Concert Choir performs in 2021 NFL Kickoff festivities in Tampa

FAMU Marching 100 selected to play in Honda Battle of The Bands.png
Posted at 11:51 AM, Sep 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-03 11:51:07-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The Florida A&M University Marching “100” Band and the FAMU Concert Choir will perform during the pregame festivities for the 2021 NFL Kickoff game between the Dallas Cowboys and reigning Super Bowl LV Champions Tampa Bay Buccaneers on September 9.

“Lift Every Voice and Sing” will be performed as a combination of Alicia Key’s 2020 version, transitioning to a live performance of the FAMU Concert Choir at Raymond James Stadium, the Buccaneers’ home field.

Around 6 p.m. on the evening of Thursday, September 9, 50 members of the Marching “100” Band will perform at the NFL Kickoff Experience at Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park.

This will mark the first time that “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the Black national anthem will be performed live in an NFL stadium.

“We are excited to have the Florida A&M University Concert Choir collaborating with Alicia Keys to update her historic rendition of ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’, as part of our 2021 Kickoff festivities,” says Anna Isaacson, NFL senior vice president of Social Responsibility. “This will mark the first time ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’ will be sung live at an NFL stadium and we are looking forward to shining a light on such a versatile and talented choir, while also honoring the legacy of the song.”

FAMU Concert Choir Director Mark Butler, DMA, said preparing for the Kickoff performance has made an impact on staff and students.

“We are fortunate to have been selected for this performance, and our hope is that our presentation will serve to inspire and uplift those who'll hear us sing,” Butler said.

Director of Band Shelby Chipman, Ph.D., said the opportunity to perform for the NFL Kickoff game is a fitting prelude to the Rattlers’ season opener and first home football game in almost two years.

“Our Marching 100 members will remind American football fans what it means to be the best band in the land,” Chipman said. “We will give them a treat. We are honored to be invited to perform.”

Ed Sheeran will headline the event which will also feature Buccaneers cheerleaders, mascot and drumline, local musicians, NFL Legends, and more.

The two performances were arranged after Nina Packer, a FAMU adjunct instructor, received a call from one of her music industry contacts.

“I was so thrilled to get the call from Live Nation Urban about this professional opportunity for our music students. Many of our band and choir members are Music Industry majors and this experience will help them to meet the requirements for the course I teach Practicum in Music Management,” said Packer, who has taught the course for 12 years.

In addition to the live telecast of NFL Kickoff on NBC and live stream on Peacock, the Cowboys–Buccaneers game will be streamed live across all devices via, the NBC Sports app,, and the NFL app.