Showtime has returned to the field.
The Howard Marching Band is led by director Kelvin Washington, senior drum major Keanu Powell, and seniors Sanaa Davis-McClain and Jailen Johnson. With the return of twirlers for the first time in 15 years, the Bison have put together a quality group on the field after two years of a pandemic.
The group’s leaders spoke to rolling out after the first show at the 2022 Cricket MEAC/SWAC Challenge.
What makes this group so special?
Washington: No. 1, these kids are from 18 different countries. We represent probably 32 different states in his band program. It’s just the collaboration of bringing all these students together to have a great year for showtime.
How was the experience of rehearsing through Zoom during the pandemic?
Powell: I came to Howard when COVID wasn’t a thing. So I came out freshman year, and it was amazing. COVID hit us hard. The Zoom life is definitely not for me, and it’s not for a band, honestly.
Coming back from that, we just hit the ground running. Last year, it was tough because he was just coming from off of Zoom, and we just tried to get the band program back to where it was. Now, we see that we’re going in a different direction. We have a lot of people who stepped up to the plate, and it’s just been good.
How do you handle the responsibility and expectation that comes with attending Howard?
Davis-McClain: I think it comes full circle on the field through the Showtime Marching Band, but also when we get back to school. When we’re in our classroom, and when we’re networking. Howard University is the mecca, it brings people together. It’s this amazing place to develop. That’s the Howard University culture and especially Black culture.
The cheerleaders were cheering you on during the performance. How does that type of support feel?
Davis-McClain: Oh, it’s amazing. It makes what we do so much better. Just coming out, leaving our hearts on the field, having all of our family members, supporters, friends and classmates come out and support us. It really makes us feel good, and have that Howard University spirit.
The first show is done. How did you feel about it?
Johnson: I feel amazing. My team killed it.
What’s your favorite part of performing?
Johnson: My favorite part of performing is the fans. We see so many young Black women. It’s always so great to see how much they love us and to inspire them.
How can people support Howard’s band?
We have what’s called a Showtime Music Foundation, or you can earmark money to Howard University Showtime Marching Band.