By Paul Holston
Updated 12:20 PM EST, Weds. November 4, 2015
WASHINGTON — Members of the Howard University “S.H.O.W.T.I.M.E.” Marching Band have taken a soundless, but direct, stance from their well-known namesake.
It was announced Saturday that the band would be taking a stand in regards to the many, unanswered questions regarding the band’s budget and student scholarships. The action of wearing all black during Saturday’s Howard University vs. Savannah State University Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference football game at Greene Stadium became a clear message on and off the field.
Displayed through social media, a uniformed message on different Instagram accounts displayed: “The Howard University S.H.O.W.T.I.M.E Marching Band is taking a stand. We are seeking answers and a plan of action regarding the band’s budget and disbursement of student scholarships. Until we get answers, we will not support Howard University with our musicianship. #SilentSHOWTIME”
“Every year, the band is suppose to receive funding for both our organization’s budget and student scholarships, as outlined by the contacts we signed long before the semester began,” said Terrell Tiendrebeogo, senior biology major from Bowie, Md. and spokesman for the #SilentSHOWTIME movement.
“Not one single member has received any scholarship fund…and when reaching out to the administration, we have yet to receive any viable information on this status.”
Tiendrebeogo said plans of developing this act of protest began in mid-September as him, along with his band member colleagues, discussed the important matter.
“It’s not okay when you have people out here trying to simply ask for answers and are not able to receive this simple request,” he said. “We [Showtime Band members] love what we do and have been very patient [with the administration].”
When asking the Director of University Bands at Howard University, John E. Newson, Sr., who has served since 1993, Newson promptly responded Sunday morning to clarify that the actions conducted were not planned by the faculty.
“The action taken place at Saturday’s game was that of the students and not by the Directors,” said Newson.
The hashtag #SilentSHOWTIME quickly garnered attention on Twitter throughout the evening Saturday, becoming a trending topic in the Washington, D.C. area, as many Howard students and supporters expressed their solidarity regarding the band’s silence:
The disappointment from the “Showtime” Band members adds on to the growing tensions between Howard students and its administration. Along with this dismay, Howard has undergone class registration issues this past week due to its recent university-wide system and network outage caused by power instability at its data center, according an email sent by Howard’s Enterprise Technology Services.
“This [administration] issue has greatly affected our [the band’s] morale in both our [musical] performances and academically in the classroom,” Tiendrebeogo said. “I especially feel for the freshman.”
According to the band’s website, the “Showtime” band is known for its stellar stereophonic sound, kaleidoscopic precision drills, star-quality vocalists and dazzling dynamic dance routines. The “Showtime” Band is the mainstay of a diverse and ever expanding population at Howard.
Among the numerous invitations by organizations nationwide and appearances at NFL games, most recently, the highly regarded band made their first appearance at Honda’s 2015 Battle of The Bands in Atlanta, Ga. The band also was selected to play in the 56th inaugural parade in 2009 during President Barack Obama’s inauguration.
Howard University released an official statement yesterday regarding the actions from the “Showtime” Marching Band:
“Howard University strongly supports the Showtime Marching Band and Concert Band and apologizes for any inconvenience caused by the recent delay of marching band scholarship applications. The Howard University Showtime Marching Band and Concert Band both have a rich legacy at the institution and university officials met with students to understand their concerns. The University will honor all scholarship commitments made to currently enrolled participants and is actively working to apply these awards as soon as possible.”