After several days of intense rehearsal, on January 8 members of the 2011 U.S Army All American Marching Band performed the halftime show at the U.S. Army All American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas. Overall, students said the trip was a positive, unique experience.
The high school seniors performed alongside other outstanding high school marching musicians. Band members worked with a seasoned music staff to prepare their performance material.
Nola Jones, director of bands at the University of Tennessee at Martin, led the 2011 USAAAMB. The drum major was Tim Yao of Thousand Oaks (California) High School.
Of Bowl Week, one student said, “My experience with the [USAAAMB] was incredible. Everything went well and I returned home with unforgettable memories and stories.”
MENC partners with Drum Corps International, the U.S. Army, and All-American Games to present the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band. The band performs every year during the bowl game. In recognition of their musical accomplishments, All-American marching musicians received an all-expenses-paid trip to San Antonio.
Jupiter Band Instruments and Mapex Drums provide instruments for the band, while DeMoulin supplies USAAAMB uniforms.
After Bowl Week, students described the week as “amazing” and “incredible.” Among the comments:
- “I’ve done three years of drum corps, and I can honestly say that this was the best experience I’ve ever had. The selection of the group was phenomenal, the staff was amazing, and I have fantastic memories I will never forget.”
- “It was the best week of my life.”
- “The treatment we received during Bowl Week was outstanding.”
- “It was a very well-written show and I enjoyed it greatly.”
- “For 22 hours of rehearsal, the demands of the show were just right.”
- “The length and difficulty of the show was perfect for the amount of time we were given to learn it. I felt confident about the show at the beginning of Friday’s dress rehearsal and used the day to perfect my performance.”
For the first time, All American Games provided a Facebook page that allowed students and others to communicate before, during, and after Bowl week. When asked about the opportunity to use social media, 93% of students said they were aware of the Facebook page, and 100% said they liked having their announcement ceremonies posted on the Website. (A selection tour announced band members last fall.)
When asked how the Bowl experience could be improved for 2012, students suggested starting Bowl Week a day earlier, and carving out more time to study for schoolwork due after Bowl Week. However, there are always different viewpoints. One student suggested more tourist time in San Antonio, while another said there was too much sightseeing.
MENC’s 2012 USAAAMB audition site is open for 2011-2012 high school seniors. The audition deadline is April 15.
Visit the MENC Band site for forums and other band news.
All photos by Command Sergeant Major Loran McClung, U.S. Army Field Band
—Roz Fehr, January 20, 2011. © MENC: The National Association for Music Education