"Showtime" Marching Band

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School Howard University
Location Washington, DC
Conference MEAC
Members 150+
[[File:Red, White and Navy Blue

"Showtime" is the official name of the marching band at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

History & Appearances[edit]

The "Showtime" Band performs at all home football contests. In addition to performances at Howard, "Showtime" has a travel schedule that has included performances at numerous NFL games including: the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, Washington Redskins, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Baltimore Ravens, to name a few. These performances have received both national and international attention. Invitations were extended to participate in the 1990 Shrewsbury Music Festival in London, England, the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade in New York, Bermuda Day festivities in Bermuda, and the Inaugural Parade for President Barack Obama.[1]


Showtime maintains rivalries with Hampton University's "The Force" Marching Band, North Carolina A&T's "Blue and Gold Marching Machine," and Morgan State University's "Magnificent Marching Machine."

Eligibility for membership[edit]

The "Showtime" Marching Band is open to all Howard University students. Admission into the Marching Band is by audition only. Students interested in joining the Marching band should contact the Director of Bands, John E. Newson, or Associate Director of Bands, Kelvin W. Washington.

Students who are interested in becoming an Auxiliary member of the band (Dancers, Flags, Majorettes) should also contact the Director of Bands, John Newson.


Students interested in joining the Marching Band should prepare an audition which contains the following:

  • Wind Instruments

- Major Scales - Chromatic Scales - A prepared solo which exhibits your best abilities on your instrument.

  • Percussion

- 40 snare drum rudiments - A snare drum solo

  • Auxiliary

The auxiliary sections hold clinics and auditions twice a year. In the spring, current students (rising sophomores, juniors, seniors) interested in becoming a member must attend the week long clinic and audition before the directors. In the fall, only incoming freshmen and transfer students are eligible to attend the mini-clinic and audition." [2]


Scholarships are available to instrumentalists who have been auditioned by the band directors. Scholarships are also awarded on a per year basis at the discretion of the directors based on playing ability and instrumentation until funds are exhausted.

The Directors[edit]

  • John E. Newson, Sr. (Director)

John E. Newson, Sr. developed an appreciation of Marching Bands during his early years as a student in the Northeast Louisiana school system. His love of music in general, and particularly marching bands, led to his pursuit of producing successful band programs.

Mr. Newson graduated from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1969. After his graduation, he returned to Northeast Louisiana to serve as band director at Thomastown High School. He has also worked in the public school systems in Louisiana and Michigan. He later earned an advanced degree in Music Education from Northeast Louisiana University. On the collegiate level, Mr. Newson has served on the faculties at Prairie View A&M University, Albany State College (now Albany State University), and Morgan State University.

Mr. Newson is a member of several organizations such as Omega Psi Phi, The College Band Directors National Association, Kappa Kappa Psi fraternity, Tau Beta Sigma sorority, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia fraternity. He served as Governor of District IX of Kappa Kappa Psi from 1983-1986. Mr. Newson is the recipient of numerous awards and honors from such organizations as Broadcast Music, Inc. and Outstanding Young Men of America. He has been recognized by political representatives at the city and state levels for his successful achievements in the field of music and band.

Mr. Newson has worked with the Howard University band program since 1986, first as Associate Director of Bands, then as Director. In 1993, he assumed the position of Director of Bands."[3]

  • Kelvin W. Washington (Associate Director of Bands)

Kelvin W. Washington is a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He received both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in Instrumental Music Education. Currently he is a Doctoral candidate at the American Conservatory of Music in Hammond, Indiana.

Mr. Washington began his teaching career at Livonia High School in Louisiana. He later moved to Detroit, Michigan where he was appointed Director of Bands at Nolan Middle School and McKenzie High School in 1987. In 1989 he accepted the position of Chief Arranger and Assistant Director of Bands at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, where he was later appointed Director of Bands.

Now in his sixteenth year as the Conductor for the Howard University Concert Band and Associate Director of Bands, Kelvin Washington has served as clinician and adjudicator for a number of school music programs and festivals. As a professional instrumentalist, Mr. Washington has toured across the United States, Canada, Poland, England and Scotland.

In addition to his university responsibilities, Mr. Washington serves as Orchestra Director and Arranger for many church ministries within the Washington, DC metropolitan area. He is married to Dianna Washington (née Duckett) of Washington, DC. They have one daughter - SuMayah Flousell Washington."[4]