published Thursday, May 1st, 2014

Motown Downtown - May 3

Dinner/dance to help outfit Howard band

The Howard School marching band entertains parade watchers in front of Finley Stadium in this 2000 file photo.
The Howard School marching band entertains parade watchers in front of Finley Stadium in this 2000 file photo.
Photo by Staff File Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
  • photo
    Willie Kitchens and his band will provide dance music following the Motown Downtown dinner Saturday at the Bessie Smith Cultural Center.
    Photo by Staff File Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Anyone who's seen them dominate a parade route knows the style Howard School's marching band brings to the streets. On Saturday, May 3, two community groups hope to give them a little extra flair with a fundraiser to buy the student musicians new uniforms.

Dubbed Motown Downtown, the event is presented by the Performing Arts League Inc. and Friends of Howard High School. It will start at 4:30 p.m. with a display of Motown-era muscle cars in front of Bessie Smith Cultural Center. The band will perform at 6 p.m., then doors to the event hall will open at 6:30 p.m. for a social hour preceding a buffet dinner.

Speakers during the evening will include recent Howard alumni now on musical scholarships to Tennessee State University who will tell what the HHS band has meant to them. Director Dexter Bell will talk about ongoing efforts to bring the band, once known as the Marching 100, back to its former glory with new instruments and uniforms.

At 9 p.m., guests can dance to the music of the Willie Kitchens Band. Kitchens is the former lead singer of The Impressions.

Dress for the evening is casual chic, and those attending dinner must be at least 21 years old. All tickets must be purchased in advance. Cost is $60 for general admission, which includes a reserved table for dinner and entertainment. Preferred seating is $1,000 for a table for eight, which adds on preferred parking for two cars, listing on the Sponsors Roll and the sponsor's embroidered name on a uniform.

Uniforms purchased during the evening will have the donor's name embroidered on a label in the jacket as well.

Tickets may be purchased in person at the center, 200 E. M.L. King Blvd., or by calling 423-266-8658.

Questions? Call 423-622-2425 or email

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