For Howard’s Band, Showtime Is Here

BY Arts Desk  January 19, 2009 at 1:01 PM EST

It’s been downright cold the last couple of weeks here in Washington, D.C. The Potomac River is iced over and the ground on the Mall is frozen hard. But just about every night at a football field in Northwest, Howard University’s Showtime Marching Band has been spending hours rehearsing around the track, bundled up and carrying cold instruments, preparing for its biggest event ever: Tuesday’s inauguration parade.

The Showtime Marching Band has played some pretty big events: NFL regular season and playoff halftime shows up and down the East Coast and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York. But to hear it from band members and director John Newson, playing for the Obama family on Inauguration Day will top all of that.

The historical significance, of course, has a lot to do with it: Howard is one of the top historically black universities, located in a majority African-American city, welcoming the country’s first black soon-to-be president, Barack Obama. In fact, the Showtime Marching Band has never before taken part in an inaugural parade.

We talked to Newson, Associate Director Kelvin Washington, piccolo player Shantel Washington, saxophonist Krista Wallace and trumpet player D’Angelo Woods about their excitement and preparations for Tuesday.

Watch and listen to them play in this narrated slide show.