The Honda BOTB (aka ‘Da Honda’ or ‘The Bandhead Turn-up’) is back for 2020 and I’m pretty excited to see it. Of course, we gotta have some stuff to talk about for the remaining two weeks leading up to the festivities, so I decided to kick off the new year with a series of moments in HBCU bandom that I’ve coined, Legendary Forgotten 5th’s.

For those of you that aren’t new to this blog (or if you’re a bandhead), you know what I’m talking about; That paragon of musicianship after a game called the 5th Quarter. In Big Ten circles it’s something completely different, but that’s neither here nor there. If you’ve gone to ANY sort of HBCU gameday where there are two bands present, odds are you’re going to encounter an HBCU-Style 5th Quarter. For fans, it’s an opportunity for more cranking, more watts, more creasage, well…You get the picture. Either way, The 5th Quarter has provided some of the most entertaining moments for folks (band heads and regular fans alike) that love and appreciate the culture surrounding our performance craft. The very FIRST installment of this series involves two band programs that really haven’t been on the scene in recent years. Howard University’s “Showtime” Marching Band and The “Brown Sound” of Morris Brown College’s “Marching Wolverines” matched up in 2002 to create one of these Legendary moments. Needless to say, I had to DITC a bit to find a whole clip of the 5th quarter in its entirety. After a myriad of searches and mouse clicks on youtube, I found it.

Check it out:

Now, Showtime and the Brown Sound during this period of time were still really enjoying the fruits of a renaissance of sorts when it comes to the overall re-emergence of the craft during this period of time. HBCU band culture, in general, was still basking in the bright afterglow of an unprecedented level of POSITIVE media exposure for the craft.

Yeah…That means Drumline amongst other things…smh LOL

At any rate, Morris Brown had a pretty impressive regional following at the time, and the match-up was on their turf at venerable Herndon Stadium. If you weren’t from the DMV or associated with the MEAC, you really didn’t have too much exposure to Showtime on a consistent basis. This was the scenario going into this match-up and BOTH bands put on a show. In a 5th quarter that lasted the better part of 45 minutes, Showtime wowed a substantial crowd on Morris Brown’s home turf with a diverse repertoire and an intensity that belied their actual size. Of course, who actually won that 5th depends on who you ask…In my honest assessment, Showtime was splitting wigs and creasing hairlines with their sound. Morris Brown wasn’t anybody’s slouch, but the diversity in repertoires made the difference in a match-up that was about as even as you’re gonna see in these circles.

Since this match-up went down, both Morris Brown and Showtime have seen better days, with Morris Brown suffering through the tragedy of accreditation and financial woes that resulted in the shelving of their program. the good news is that visibility for the craft is at it’s highest in a LONG time. Morris Brown has gotten to the end of the tunnel financially and there’s the real possibility that we’ll see and hear “The Brown Sound” re-born and re-claiming their rightful place among every other band program in the culture a lot sooner than later.

I, for one, am looking forward to the day where BOTH of these programs are flourishing.

Until the next entry…

Article Courtesy of


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