PFC Tim Yao recognizes the immense impact being in the All-American Marching Band has had on his life. However, when asked what skills he learned from the experience, he said, “Being a member of this group didn’t shape the individuals into who they are; they became members BECAUSE of who they are and the leadership skills they demonstrated back home in their respective bands.”
Yao has certainly shown impressive leadership abilities in the marching band setting; in addition to being the 2011 All-American Drum Major, he was the Pacific Crest Drum and Bugle Corps Drum Major for two years.
Thinking back on these experiences, he said the toughest aspect of being the All-American was “trying to do what Dr. Nola Jones wanted me to do as the Drum Major, as well as not messing up in front of the band members (since a lot of them were drum majors too and understood my role).” As Head DM for Pacific Crest, his most stressful experience was performing with Santa Clara Vanguard and the LA Philharmonic. He had to jump in to conduct the final two minutes of a twenty minute performance while fighting to ignore the intense sound delay in the Hollywood Bowl.
Through these experiences, Yao has developed a strong sense of perseverance. He believes that marching band is one of the most “delayed gratification” activities.
He explained, “Living in a time where many of the youth are so used to the idea of instant gratification, participating in this activity has showed me how hard work, even when you can’t always see the results right away, will pay off in the end.” He claims the ability to persevere has helped him through many difficult situations in his life.
The similarities between Yao’s personal values and the principles of the U.S. Army are what compelled him to join. Going into Bowl Week, Yao knew that he wanted to join the military, but after being exposed to “the high-speed and like-minded officers and soldiers [he] met from the Army Field Band,” he was certain that the Army was the route he wanted to pursue.
Since making that decision, Yao has studied degrees in Film, Music, and a minor in Bible at The Master’s College, where he plans to graduate next May. He would like to find opportunities to expand his film network by working on sets as well as continue teaching marching band and potentially work with another drum corps in the summer. He also hopes to become further involved with the All-American Marching Band.
Yao likewise recognizes several different options for his military career. If the opportunity arises, he would like to become a Psychological Operations specialist or an Adjutant General officer.
Regardless of where Yao’s life takes him, he will inevitably tackle all challenges with the strong perseverance and natural leadership that make him a true All-American.