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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

You're in the Army now (for the week)...

This post is one I published exactly a year ago about 18's experience in San Antonio. If you're an old friend, please enjoy it all over again with me. If you're a new friend, this is why I am so proud of my kids:


On July 21, 2014 my oldest received a letter from the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) which stated that she was accepted as a member of the 2015 U.S. Army All-American Marching Band. Over 2000 high school seniors auditioned for this prestigious honor and only 125 were selected to march in the band. And my kid was one of them.

Overwhelming? You betcha! Even HARDER to believe? We couldn't tell anyone publicly until the members of the U.S. Army's Bowl Selection Tour came to her high school to make the announcement.....on November 21. Did you happen to catch that we found out in July and had to wait 4 full months before we were allowed to discuss it? Yeah, that was easy. (NOT)

No FB announcements, no Tweeting it, no posting it in an Instagram story (whatever that is). Nope, close friends and family only. Do you KNOW how badly I wanted to shout it from the rooftops to everyone I've ever met in my whole life? I don't know who had a harder time keeping it a secret, Jenn or me. Anyway, the day came and with tremendous fanfare and media presence, the announcement was made and we could FINALLY tell everyone.

She received an all-expenses paid trip to San Antonio, Texas. They made all the travel arrangements, picked them up from the airport and once there, put them up in the Grand Hyatt Hotel, had them on a regimented schedule (as the Army will do), fed them, clothed them, provided them with beautiful instruments, fed them some more, transported them to and from rehearsals, had members of the U.S. Army Field band not only play FOR them but play WITH them, speak with them, mentor them. They were busy from morning wake up until evening bed-check. I missed her terribly, but knew that she was safe, in good hands and being well-taken care of where she was. We texted a bit when she had (some) downtime. I think she was sick and tired of hearing how proud of her I was.

My girl, second ginger pony-tailed girl from the left with the unzipped jacket. 
They had 4 full days to learn their drills and perfect their music. If you know anything about marching band, it takes nearly a full semester to perfect a halftime show. This band had 4 days. The band director told us parents that they initially blocked out 24 hours over the course of those 4 days for rehearsal. Then they cut it back to 23, then 22.5 and finally, they PERFECTED their show in 21 hours. THAT is nothing short of amazing. Everything about the week was amazing.

She's in the lower left part of the star, right around the 40 yard line. Can you see her?
And then it was Saturday and time for the game. We sat in our seats and watched the band march onto the field and play the National Anthem. Chills. We watched the game and when the band marched out onto the field for the halftime show, my youngest daughter Amanda found Jenn and pointed her out to me. I never took my eyes off of her from that point on. And I cried. And cried. I didn't WANT to cry, I wanted to watch the whole band perform. But I couldn't stop watching my daughter. Thank God the Army was filming it and we could watch the whole performance later at the wrap party. For me, there weren't 124 other band members out there. There was only one. She was awesome.

When I did watch the whole performance at the wrap party, I was blown away. The show was flawless. Visually perfect, musically stunning. Those kids, I can't say enough about them. The Army gave them the week of a lifetime. The staff from All-American Games arranged everything, the Army gave these kids the guidance, Jupiter, Mapex and Majestic provided the instruments, Adidas and DeMoulin provided every piece of clothing the kids wore including the band uniforms. NAfME made it all possible. The kids just brought their talent, their enthusiasm, their personalities and their joy and they shared it with 30,000 people that day in the Alamodome in San Antonio.

EDITED TO ADD THIS! If you want to see all the highlights from the week AND watch the actual video of their performance on Saturday go here for all the fun!


  1. Magnificent! They looked and sounded amazing! I can't wait to see what life event tops this one for her.

  2. OMG what an honor!!!
    I played clarinet in band/marching band all through high school, so it is fun to read about her accomplishments!
    Great job!

  3. Huge congratulations a) for being accepted & b) for keeping it a secret for 4 MONTHS!! I wouldn't have lasted 4 seconds :) they all did brilliantly, I'm sure Jenn is as proud of herself as you are. WTG Jenn, you rocked <3

    1. Tessa that was probably the hardest part of this whole process, not telling everyone we met on the street about it!!

  4. Truly outstanding, Jennifer!

    I'm sure San Antone treated y'all right. It's a great city. Oh, yeah....Alamo.

    1. Toby, San Antonio was fantastic! What a beautiful city! And the Alamo was very moving, except for the assbags who didn't follow ANY of the rules. They are clearly posted outside the door: Keep a quite tone, hats off, don't touch the walls. This one couple broke all three within the first 3 minutes that we were inside.

  5. Replies
    1. Stay tuned, if you're crying now, you ain't seen nothing yet.

  6. Massive congratulations!!
    You can feel the proud pouring out of every pore of you reading this :)

  7. Wow!! How proud are you?? That's fantastic! Congratulations!

  8. I think I see her in the photo! What I want to know is did they have to scrub the latrines? Just kidding. Sounds like a truly wonderful experience. Congrats!

  9. Sounds like a truly amazing event. My Son wants to join the Army, he is in the Marching Band here at home and he has asked his Director to look into what is needed to get nominated so he can work on any skills he needs to get a nomination.

  10. I remember seeing this on social media, but didn't have a chance to read it until now. It's something else to see your child achieve something like this, and have this sort of experience, isn't it?

    It's better than if it was happening to us ourselves.


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