Culture | March 9th, 2022

Cori Bostic Reflects On Breaking Band Barriers

By: Khedgen Willis
Cori Bostic Reflects On Breaking Band Barriers

When working towards your dreams, some may tell you that you aren’t good enough, some may feel that you are unfit, and many may think you can’t do it. For Cori Bostic, despite all of the backlash and obstacles placed in her band journey, she knew that she could do it. She know she could break the barriers.

Bostic is a FAMU alumna who graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Broadcast Journalism. As a member of the Beta Alpha Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc, the Beta Phi Chapter of Tau Beta Sigma National Honorary Band Sorority Inc., and The Incomparable Marching 100, she is no stranger to being involved on campus.

Bostic’s journey began in elementary school when she started playing her primary instrument, which is the oboe. Once she reached middle school, she decided that she wanted to march with her local high school, Southwest Dekalb in Decatur, Ga. While she wasn’t allowed to play the oboe in the marching band, she chose the flute because of her mother’s experience with the instrument and the similar techniques used when playing. This also helped Bostic when switching between concert and marching band season.

While attending Southwest Dekalb, she became surrounded by a multitude of FAMU alumni. Her parents and band directors attended the university which influenced her decisions as to what she wanted out of her college experience. When considering her FAMU, she began to consider the amazing basketball and journalism programs offered and the HBCU experience. “I joined the band in the fall of 2016, but I haven’t let go of my basketball dreams, so I also joined the team that same year. I continued to do both my whole freshman year and at the end of the basketball season, my coach told me I had to make a decision, to be 100% with her program and quit the band. I said no,” said Bostic.

“It was never a voice in my head that told me I couldn’t do it, so I just went for it”

After having that conversation with her coach, she decided to dedicate her time to The Marching 100. She started perfecting her craft with the oboe and achieved top ensemble, along with playing the oboe and English horn in the wind symphony. Bostic gained a lot of experience in the concert band realm. Even though she continuously thrived, she still wanted to attain the highest form of leadership in The Marching 100. “It was never a voice in my head that told me I couldn’t do it, so I just went for it and I didn’t make it the first time and I was upset about it, but I wasn’t going to stop,” said Bostic.

After submitting her application and showcasing her capabilities throughout interviews and tryouts, she was hopeful that this time would be the right time. “It’s no that they wanted to know if it was going to be a female drum major or not, they just wanted to know who the drum majors were gonna be, they always wanna know who they will be,” Bostic recalls of one of her fondest memories. On August 1, 2018, Dr. Shelby Chipman announced the new section leaders, band officers, and rank sergeants, but he announced the drum majors last as a deafening silence filled the room.

“I remember when he called my name. When he said Cori Bostic, I literally stopped breathing and the first thing that I remember was my Tau Beta Sigma line sisters coming up to me and hugging me, and that was what snapped me out of that moment,” Bostic said. “Like omg, he chose me. This is really about to happen. It’s about to go down.”

Before she could even let her parents in on this achievement, the news began to spread like a wildfire. After naming the drum majors, training started immediately after and she couldn’t be on her phone. Later that day, she called her mother and rejoiced at the great news. “I called her six hours later and she told me, ‘Omg we already knew.’ Like dang I couldn’t even tell my mom, but I was speechless,” said Bostic.

“People called me the worst female drum major and it should have never happened”

While this is amazing news to some, Bostic received a lot of backlash for being the first female drum major. She recalls being criticized on social media and during this recent homecoming, even after being an alumna for two years. “People called me the worst female drum major and it should have never happened. All these people had so much to say. Sometimes it does get into your head, but my band director had my back, my squad had my back, and the band had my back, that’s all I needed,” said Bostic.

Bostic not only inspires other women in the band but anyone who wants to chase any dream they have. Some people may feel that women are not able to acclimate and be successful in male-dominated roles but, Bostic believes that no matter the gender, you can still reach new heights. “Do not let other people’s fear of what could be, stop you from what you can do. If you have a dream, no matter if it’s big or small, whether you have seen someone do it, or whether it sounds crazy, you go after it with all your heart. The worst answer anyone can give you is no and it’s just two letters, they shouldn’t stop you at all.” said Bostic.

With all the negativity and setbacks Bostic has faced throughout her journey at FAMU, she continued to persevere to achieve her dream of becoming the first female drum major of The Marching 100 at FAMU. “Becoming a drum major was a humbling experience. Now that I’m out of college, the journey was necessary for my growth as a person. It taught patience, pride, fortitude and through all those, I am grateful.