Homecoming served as a time of both celebration and remembrance for many Marching Chiefs and College of Music Alumni this year as FSU Bands remembered Richard Mayo.
Following the Chief’s rehearsal on Friday, November 15, 2013, the new field house and archway at the entrance to the practice field were dedicated with a ceremonial ribbon cutting. The ceremony was presided over by current Director of Bands, Dr. Patrick Dunnigan and the Dean of the College of Music, Dr. Patricia J. Flowers. Special guests included Robert Mayo, son of the late Richard Mayo (Director of Bands from 1971-1976) and William Whitcomb, son of the late Manley Whitcomb (Director of Bands from 1953-1970). Funding for the field house, which provides much needed storage space for equipment used at the field and in the stadium, was provided by the dean’s office of the College of Music. The archway will serve as the symbolic entrance to the previously named Manley Whitcomb Band Complex, and was made possible by a major donation from the Florida State University Band Alumni Association.
Earlier in the evening, at the very end of the Chief’s regular rehearsal, Dr. Dunnigan delivered a touching eulogy and a moment of silence was observed in honor of former director Richard Mayo. As an undergraduate student Mayo was the first drum major of the Marching Chiefs to serve under Manley Whitcomb. He went on to a successful public school teaching career and earned a Master of Arts degree from Columbia University before returning to his alma mater. One of his many accomplishments during his time as FSU Director of Bands was the release of the recordings Bach, Rock, and All That Jazz featuring all FSU Bands at that time (Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble with professional solo artists, and Marching Chiefs in a seven-record set). In 1974, Mayo and the Marching Chiefs were invited to perform at the World Trade Fair in Damascus, Syria. Bach, Rock, and All That Jazz, as well as a concert group of FSU faculty and students, performed and were accompanied on the trip by University President, J. Stanley Marshall. At the conclusion of the Syrian performances, the groups were invited by King Hussein of Jordan to perform in Amman for the Jordanian people and the Royal Family. It was after the recognition the group received for this trip that they came to be known as the “world renowned” Florida State University Marching Chiefs.