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Julian White

Julian E. White is a distinguished English Professor of Music, Chairman of the Department of Music and Director of the famous “Marching 100” Band at Florida A&M University (FAMU) in Tallahassee, Florida.

White was born in Jacksonville, Florida on March 3, 1941. His parents were Victoria (Richo) White and George White. Raised and educated in Jacksonville, White graduated from Stanton High School in 1959. He earned his B.A. degree in music education from FAMU, his M.A. degree from the University of Illinois and a Ph.D. from Florida State University.

White is a product of the “Marching 100” family, having played in the band as a student, before going on to a career as a high school band director and music teacher. He returned to FAMU to join the band staff in the 1970s as the band’s Associate Director before ascending to the top position in 1998.

Prior to joining the FAMU faculty in 1972, White was a Band Director at Northwestern Junior/Senior High from 1963 to 1965 and was the first director of the William Raines High School Band in 1965, both in Jacksonville.

For a period of ten years, White served as drill designer for the McDonald’s All-America High School Band with appearances at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California and the Fiesta Bowl of Phoenix, Arizona. His drills have been featured in performances on all major television networks and the Bastille Day Ceremony in Paris, France.

White assists with half time shows for Bowl Games of America and is on the adjudication staff for Musical Festivals USA, International Music Festivals and Heritage Festivals, in addition to writing drill shows for high school and college bands.

White is the father of Tonja, born in 1969, and Phaedra, born in 1971, from his first marriage. In 2000, he married Dennine (Mathis), and they are parents of Julian E. White II, born in 2005.

White was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 18, 2006.

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Interview Date


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Maker Category

New Stanton High School

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

College Park Elementary School

Florida State University

First Name


Birth City, State, Country




Favorite Season




Favorite Vacation Destination

Panama City, Florida

Favorite Quote

There Are Consequences To Every Action You Engage In.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State


Interview Description
Birth Date


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Speakers Bureau Region City




Favorite Food

Fish (Fried), Steak

Short Description

Music professor and music director Julian White (1941 - ) was a distinguished Professor of Music and Chairman of the Department of Music at Florida A&M University. He also served as the director of the famed FAMU “Marching 100” Band.


Northwestern Junior-Senior High School

William Marion Raines Senior High School

Florida A & M University

Favorite Color


Timing Pairs

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Julian White's interview</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Julian White lists his favorites</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Julian White describes his occupations</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Julian White remembers the beginnings of his interest in music</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Julian White describes his mother's family background</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Julian White describes his father's family background, pt. 1</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Julian White describes his father's family background, pt. 2</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Julian White describes his earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Julian White remembers celebrating holidays with his family</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Julian White describes his family's musical abilities</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Julian White remembers growing up before electric appliances were common</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Julian White describes his siblings' professions</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Julian White describes the community of Durkeeville in Jacksonville, Florida</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Julian White describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Julian White remembers Jacksonville's College Park Elementary School</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Julian White describes his personality as a student</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Julian White describes his junior high school and high school experiences</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Julian White recalls his first year at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Julian White recalls his first performances with the Marching 100</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Julian White describes his early years in the Marching 100</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Julian White describes his role in the Marching 100 as an undergraduate</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Julian White describes his career upon graduating from college</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Julian White reflects upon his work as a high school band director</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Julian White remembers segregation in Jacksonville, Florida</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Julian White recalls becoming associate band director of the Marching 100</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Julian White explains the topic of his dissertation</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Julian White describes the recruitment process for the Marching 100</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Julian White describes the influence of African dance on the Marching 100</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Julian White describes the instruments played by the Marching 100</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Julian White reflects upon the Marching 100's diverse audience and music</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Julian White describes the popularity of marching bands at historically black colleges</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Julian White remembers working alongside William Foster</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Julian White describes how the Marching 100's performances are created</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Julian White describes the Marching 100's performances outside of football games</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Julian White describes the McDonald's All American High School Band</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Julian White describes the history behind the name of the Florida A&M Rattlers</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Julian White describes his involvement in musical organizations</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Julian White describes the Marching 100's competition</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Julian White describes the staff and facilities at Florida A&M University</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Julian White describes his family</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Julian White reflects upon his life</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Julian White shares his advice for future band directors</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Julian White describes his clinics for band directors and student musicians</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Julian White reflects upon the importance of preserving history</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Julian White describes how he would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Julian White narrates his photographs</a>







Julian White describes his family's musical abilities
Julian White remembers working alongside William Foster
You said your mother [Victoria Richo White] played the piano?$$Yes, she did.$$Yeah. Tell me about her piano playing and what are your memories of her, her musical interests?$$She was a--she took piano lessons, but she was not a virtuoso pianist. She could play hymns and she could play favorite songs and, you know, she could sit, sit at the piano and just play anything by ear even though she had, I would say primary piano lessons, and she would sing. She didn't sing as well as my grandmother [Florence Richo] and sometimes when we would be bad or she would get disgusted, or she may be feeling not well because of her illness and she would sing. And especially when we were bad, and that singing would sometime penetrate. She'd sing 'Jesus, Keep Me Near The Cross,' and 'Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior,' and she would sing those songs and they were just like they were just gnaw at me and I'd take the pillow and put it over my head, and my bedroom was right next to the kitchen where she'd be working. And she'd say, "You know, you're gonna, one day you're gonna wish you could hear this voice," and she knew what she was saying because if today now if I could hear that voice again, oh, it would be so glorious. But, but she was--she was a good musician and I think the musicality, her musicality rubbed off on my sister [Willoughby White (ph.)] because my sister was a virtuoso pianist. She was a virtuoso musician and she played the flute. She played the piano and she inspired--she taught me music. Taught me to play the flute which I, I played before I started on the other instruments, and so that the background I think extended from my grandmother who was a great vocalist to my mother who played piano. Not a virtuoso pianist, but nevertheless did play piano, and then my sister picked up the music and she was just a fantastic musician (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) What was the first instrument that you picked up?$$The first instrument I picked up was the trombone. I sounded horrible on it.$$How old were you?$$I was about nine years old. My brother played the trombone and he sounded horrible, too. So, I imitated the sound then I put it down and didn't, didn't try it anymore because I was really keenly interested in playing sports. I did--I was captain of the swimming team, so I did do sports some. I was a very good swimmer and, I still swim. I, I do a mile a day in the family's pool and, and in my pool in the summertime. But--so, I, I--that side of, of the--of being an athlete did materialize, but that's basically it.$What was it like working under Dr. Foster [HistoryMaker William Foster]? You came and you accepted that position. That's why you're where you are today?$$Um-hm.$$But what was it like working under Dr. Foster?$$It was quite an honor, a distinction and a definite learning period. Dr. Foster is a tremendous musician, administrator and organizer. And to further (cough) my education with him, I think prepared me for everything that I do now. He was--he was and is meticulous in his organization of the administrative aspects of the band program [at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Tallahassee, Florida]. His rehearsal techniques and the development of the marching band [Marching 100] and the concert band employs concepts that ensure success as far as fundamentals are concerned. Marching fundamentals, musical fundamentals, tonal quality, intonation, articulation, phrase and balance, all the performance fundamentals. He was meticulous in that. And then his interpersonal relationships in dealing with his staff--in dealing with the students. He served as an inspiration in terms of the music, the marching, the academics, the character building, the integrity. All were just personified by him, so that was truly an awesome experience. I worked with him. I worked as his associate for twenty-five years and he retired and as far as I'm concerned, he could have sti-, he could still be here and I could still be associate because it was just a pleasure working with him. And I also had the freedom to develop myself and to develop the band along with. So, it was just a great experience.$$Well, the transition from his tenure to your present position took place in what year?$$Nineteen ninety-eight [1998].$$Nineteen ninety-eight [1998].