T. André Feagin, who served as director of the 2012 U.S. Army All-American Marching Band (USAAAMB), planned a lively, focused halftime show at the Army All-American Bowl on January 7 in San Antonio, Texas.
“Programming for this event was indeed a challenge as you want to present the students with a program that was entertaining and exciting as well as educational. This year the program is titled ‘Rhapsody in RED, WHITE, and BLUE,’ and featured ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ as well as ‘Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.’
"It was my objective to bring a new style to the group that would serve our purpose of entertainment for the halftime at the Army All-American Bowl Game. Jazz is the focal point for this program as it is an American tradition,” Feagin said.
The Bowl is the premier high school football game in the nation, and features America’s top high school senior football players and 125 senior marching musicians.
The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) is the official selection partner of the USAAAMB and partners with title sponsor, the U.S. Army, along with Drum Corps International and All-American Games for the annual event.
Feagin has worked on the USAAAMB instructional staff the past three years. He said getting 125 students who have never seen each other before to march and play as a unified group is not as difficult as one might think.
“With the talent of the students that we get, it is never really a concern that they haven’t marched together before because the concepts are so clear to each and every member. They are quickly able to adapt and become a unified unit,” said Feagin, who will also lead the USAAAMB in 2013.
He is assistant professor of music, associate director of bands, and director of athletic bands at the University of Texas at El Paso. His duties include the artistic and musical guidance of the Symphony Band, conductor of the Chamber Players, and director of the Sound of the Southwest Marching Miner Regiment and Miner basketball pep bands. In addition, he teaches courses in wind literature and mentors graduate conducting students.
He said of the USAAAMB, “This event is very fast paced, and the students are amazing. They really are the best in the country, allowing us to move very quickly through rehearsals. Like all things, there is a lot of outside preparation in order for the group to be a success. Past directors were very good at time management, enabling the group to get the goals accomplished in a timely fashion. I continued that philosophy so that our final product, like in years past, would be the best that it can possibly be.”
Feagin is accustomed to working with young marching groups. He is an active program coordinator, adjudicator, clinician, and music arranger for many of the high school, drum corps, and university band programs. He has been active with a number of Drum Corps International groups, including most recently the Academy Drum and Bugle Corps from Tempe, Arizona.
Photo by CSM Loran McClung, The US Army Field Band
—Roz Fehr, January 11, 2011, © National Association for Music Education (nafme.org)