OSWEGO, NY – Thomas James Jr. and Jacqueline Hondro from Oswego High School become members of a select group of All-American musicians on Friday evening.
The U.S. Army All-American Bowl Selection Tour stopped at OHS to announce the pair had been selected as new member of the 2011 U.S. Army All-American Marching Band.
This selection is a great honor â€“ only 125 high school musicians among the millions in the United States are selected each year.
Past members of the band have gone on to perform in college marching bands and elite drum corps, as well as several that have gone on to serve in the U.S. Army.
Musicians are chosen not just because of their strong musical skills, but because they embody the same values of our Army Strong Soldiers.
Thomas and Jacqueline were presented with their All-American Marching Band jacket on stage in the Faust Theater at OHS in front of friends, family and fellow band members (past and present).
â€œSome kids made it my first year when I was in band. I made it my goal then to audition and hopefully make it, too,â€ Thomas said.
He had to send in four videotapes of his (drums) performance.
â€œI was very excited and surprised when I was notified that I had actually been accepted,â€ he said. â€œItâ€™s a really big thing. So many talented students audition each year. I was really surprised that they picked me.â€
â€œWhen I was a freshman, three of our seniors (in the Marching Buccaneers) applied and they were accepted,â€ Jacqueline said. â€œThat really inspired me; so I decide to try when I was a senior, too.â€
She had to send in a marching video, a playing video and an introduction video, she said.
When she submitted her application she was thinking, â€œNo way. I am going to try really hard, but no way will I get picked.â€
â€œWhen I got the notification that I had been accepted, I screamed so loud my mother thought I was hurt. I was so excited! Iâ€™m so excited to go play in the band; Iâ€™m such a band geek, I love bands. I am so excited that I am going to be a part of this national band!â€
Stephen Defren, director of the Marching Buccaneers, congratulate the two students.
â€œI am quite certain their success is no accident,â€ he said. â€œIt is obviously the result of exceptional parenting. Congratulations Jacqueline and Thomas. Oswego is very, very proud of you!â€
â€œThe US Army has a long musical history and being an Army musician is one option the All-American Bowl showcases to young Americans,â€ said Col. Derik Crotts, director of marketing and Outreach US Army Accessions Command. â€œThe mental, emotional and physical qualities necessary to be a successful band member are the same qualities mirrored in Army Strong Soldiers. We are proud to honor all of our US Army All-American band members and congratulate them on their selection.â€
As part of the All-American Bowl, each musician selected to perform at halftime of the game as part of the All-American Band is honored at a Selection Tour event in his or her hometown.
The tour crosses the country through late fall and by its end will have selected 125 band and color guard members, in addition to 90 players, who will participate in the game on Jan. 8, 2011, in San Antonio, Texas.
Annually, the All-American Bowl is the Armyâ€™s largest public outreach effort, allowing the Army to share its story with tens of millions of people.
The U.S. Army All-American Bowl is the premier high school football game in the country held each January in the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
The game features the best high school football players in the nation, and has helped launch the careers of Adrian Peterson, Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow, Michael Oher and many other college and NFL stars since its inception in 2001.
The game also crowns the U.S. Army Player of the Year during Bowl Week in San Antonio.
To learn more about the U.S. Army All-American Bowl visit: www.goarmy.com/events/aab or www.usarmyallamericanbowl.com