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The Hilltop


SHOWTIME band prepares for the upcoming season

Going into the second season of their Jumpman partnership and with new leadership, Showtime band members share their expectations of the new season.

SHOWTIME band’s brass and percussion sections at Greene Stadium during the 2022 Homecoming Game (Chandler Kinsey/The Hilltop).

From the drumline to the horn section, the Showtime marching band is one of the premiere facets of Howard University. As a new semester arrives, the marching band has made some improvements going forward. 

Being a part of the band requires an intense amount of energy. Members have to learn to balance a rigorous schedule with their academic responsibilities. According to band members, practices run for about three hours. The band begins with a collective warmup and rehearsal. Then, they break off into sections based on instrument groups to practice. The practice concludes with the band taking the field to practice marching and the musical arrangement of their show.

The band is made up of many components comprising the musical and auxiliary sections. The auxiliary section includes the Ooh La La! dancers, the Flashy Flags flag corps and the Dazzlin’ Diamond baton twirlers. All members have to come together to produce a cohesive show. 

“There are so many ways people contribute to the band besides just playing an instrument,” Monteo Montalvo, a sophomore political science major, said. “We have dancers, flag twirlers, majorettes, and an entire media group that takes pictures and videos. If you want the shoes, wanna travel, or just wanna be a part of something you can make it happen in the marching band.” 

“A new season also comes with new goals and expectations to improve on what we’ve already built. I’m the tuba section leader so all I’m thinking about is bringing in new players and building a culture of showmanship,” Montalvo said. 

Showtime is also settling into the second year of Howard’s historic 20-year Jordan Brand partnership. The partnership has given the team more confidence, Jacob Clayton, a rising sophomore mechanical engineering major, said. “They could’ve picked any school, and they picked Howard.”  

To some, the partnership helps market the band in new ways. “The marching band has always been well known, but now because of the hoodies and shoes, we all get recognized in public,” Montalvo said.

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Since last fall, the marching band has also seen changes in its leadership. In fall 2022, band director Kelvin Washington was placed on administrative leave following allegations of inappropriate behavior. According to Clayton, Michael Fitzhugh, the band’s assistant director, has since replaced him.

Clayton says that the changes made within the band have been amazing for the team as a whole. “I feel like since Mr. Fitz has been our director, our band has been playing much better and become more like a family.” 

Following Washington’s departure, the band members believe their experience has emerged into a new chapter with more positive energy. “COVID brought a halt to most band activities. This past year a lot of the seniors and upperclassmen put in a lot of work to reinvigorate the band and bring back the older band culture,” Montalvo said, “Towards the end of last year, we really started to hit our stride in performances.”

The Showtime band season begins on Sept. 1, with the band’s first appearance being at the Howard vs. Eastern Michigan football game. “This upcoming season, we’re going to surprise a lot of people,” Clayton said. 

Copy edited by Whitney Meritus

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