By Sgt. 1st Class Lisa LitchfieldJanuary 2, 2014
SAN ANTONIO (Jan. 2, 2014) -- "High school football is more than just football." With these words Douglas Berman, chairman of All-American Bands, welcomed 125 of the nation's top high school marching musicians and performers to the 2014 U.S. Army All-American Bowl week in San Antonio, Texas.
More than just a showcase of elite athleticism, the All-American Bowl welcomes students who have exhibited not only superior musicianship, but also combined that talent with achievement in marching skills, leadership, community service, grade-point average and overall character throughout their high school career.
The National Association for Music Education selects these world-class musicians in cooperation with Drum Corps International, and All-American Games, after rigorous nomination and audition processes.
Following nomination, students are selected to apply and must submit videos showcasing not only their skills and musical abilities, but a second video detailing why they feel they should be selected and what they hope to learn from the experience. If selected to perform, students are notified of their selection during a press conference at their respective school.
Jessica Dillingham, senior and member of the color guard at Castle High School in Newburgh, Ind., is proud to have a chance to fly the Army colors during the event.
"I'm surprised I made it," she said. "I'm usually not that outgoing person because I live in a small town, but everyone's been so great. I can just do what I love, make everyone happy -- like the veterans. I can give them a great show. They deserve it."
Although the students expressed honor at being chosen, Col. Jim Iacocca, deputy commander of Army Recruiting Command, was quick to turn the praise back to the selectees.
"You should be justifiably proud of your selection to be an All-American," Iacocca detailed. "You earned it. Remember your team back home that helped you get here and your new team here that will help you succeed on Saturday. We are very much looking forward to seeing your immense talents firsthand."