OSWEGO, NY – The 2013 U.S. Army All-American Bowl Selection Tour recruited Joseph Bertonneau to the Army All-American Marching Band.
The OHS senior said Wednesday it took a lot of hard work to make the select group of musicians from around the country.
And, he acknowledged there was more hard work ahead as he prepares to take part in the halftime performance of the 2013 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
The game will be televised live on NBC, from the Alamodome on Jan. 5, 2013.
Since 2007, Bertonneau is the 10th Marching Buccaneer to be selected for this honor.
“It’s really an honor to be part of such an elite group,” Bertonneau said. “I really hope that it is a good experience and I think it will be.”
He is the son of Susan and Thomas Bertonneau.
His family came to Oswego when he was in the first grade. He hopes to go to college as a since major next fall.
The clarinet player attended Trinity Catholic School and then Oswego Middle School before OHS.
“Gina (Bartholomew) and Jeff (Murray) were good friends of mine last year and Jackie (Hondro) and Tom (James) were pretty close, too,” he said of the students selected in 2011 and 2010, respectively. “They all told me it is a lot of work and it takes a lot of practice, a lot of memorization.”
And, he has to keep working before he heads to the Lone Star State.
He has to send in two videos proving he memorized the music and show that he memorized the drill.
To be considered for selection, he filled out “a (very) long application form and provided three audition videos (music, self introduction and marching).”
“I was psyched; I was overjoyed when I got the acceptance letter. It was so unfortunate that I couldn’t tell anyone at the time, but I was really, really happy,” he said.
He thanked all of his current and former music teachers. “Really, they are all great,” he said.
Besides Marching Band he is also a member of the Wind Ensemble.
During the ceremony, immediately following practice for the Marching Buccaneers, they officially announced the selection of Bertonneau to the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band.
He was honored before the band members, classmates, fans and family during the post-rehearsal presentation. Army representatives were on hand to conduct the official Bowl Jacket Presentation.
Oswego High School Principal Brian Hartwell congratulated him on being selected to the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band as his bandmates, family and friends seated in the bleachers cheered long and loud.
“At this point it’s just amazing, isn’t it? Every year it’s become like an annual event. I hope that people continue to appreciate how difficult it is to be named and given this recognition,” Hartwell pointed out. “Joe is just a fine representative of Oswego and his family. We’re awful proud of him as we are of the number of students that have preceded him.”
U.S. Army veteran Eric Schaerti had the honor of officially welcoming the OHS senior to the Army Band. He works as a recruiter for the Syracuse University Army ROTC.
“Thirty-five years ago, I made the decision to serve my country,” the retired major said. “The Army forges a unique strength in its soldiers; a strength that I use in my life every day. Marching band, like the Army, provides young Americans with training, discipline and experiences that make them mentally, emotionally and physically strong.”
It takes a special person to be a soldier just as it takes a special band member to be selected as a U.S. Army All-American, he added.
“We would like to honor the entire Oswego High School Band for the support and commitment that you have shown to each other and to your school. Well done!” Schaerti said.
He then welcomed Bertonneau to the podium to present him with his official Army jacket and hat.
Bertonneau thanked the Army for the recognition, his band directors (“They’ve helped me out so much and I can’t thank them enough”) and his parents.
“I would be where I am today without you. You’ve pushed me to do my best and I can’t thank you enough,” he said pointing out his parents in the large crowd seated in the bleachers.
Continuing, he thanked his friends that have helped him out during his time in high school. “It really means a lot,” he told them.
“I encourage all the juniors here to try out, especially Annie Reynolds because she told me she wouldn’t,” he added.
This season, the members of the Marching Bucs are under the direction of Scott Ciesla.
“This community has really supported music in our schools. It’s really been unbelievable,” he said. “It helps and it’s part of the family that we have here. It’s an honor to have you all as our special guests as we honor one of our students that like many are thriving in our music program here in Oswego.”
“We are ever grateful for your service and sacrifices. Thank you so much for everything,” he told the Army representatives.
He also recognized Heather Buske and Chelsea Bartlett who were present for the ceremony. Buske performed in the 2008 All-American Bowl and Bartlett in 2009.
“In meeting all nine people who have taken part in this event and hearing their stories, Joe you are in for one great time; you’re going to have a ball and learn a lot,” he added. “You’ll get to work with some of the finest musicians and staff from across this country. It’s a fantastic experience.”
Bertonneau, like the previous nine OHS students, is a perfect selection for this honor, the band director said, adding that “every endeavor he pursues, he undertakes with passion, integrity, dedication and a wonderful attitude. As an educator, I am inspired by students who can rise above everything and achieve something of this nature and truly set a fine example for what it means to persevere and strive for excellence.”
“Congratulations to the entire Bertonneau family,” he said, pointing out that the parents played a big part in the student’s success.
Bertonneau is one of the 125 high school musicians who will perform during halftime of the game.
The five U.S. Army All-American Bowl Selection Tour teams travel across the country from late-September to mid-December to announce all 90 players and 125 marching musicians to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and log a combined 30,000 miles.