2017: 10 Years of Marching Music

The Army Bowl enters its 17th year this coming week in San Antonio, TX. It wasn’t until 2007 that it was determined that a traditional halftime show was exactly what the Army Bowl needed. To provide the CliffsNotes version of the story, the 2008 USAAAMB was formed. After all, what football game doesn’t involve a marching band? 2017 also marks the 10th anniversary of the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band. In many conversations with USAAAMB Program Manager, Brian Prato, he always mentioned simply hoping for a year two after year one. He also mentions keeping a trashcan nearby and during that first performance, just in case. After many challenges and proud moments, 2017 brings a whole new light to the program.

Each year has brought fond – but different – memories for the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band members. Thinking back to 2009, I distinctly remember the Crossmen food truck meals and over-sized rehearsal tees and wind suits. 2015 was the year of wind and rain…oh and yellow rehearsal outfits – like, REALLY yellow. While many things have changed the All-American experience, a few things remain – the lasting impressions of the U.S. Army and the memories shared by long-time friends.

Over 1200 band and colorguard students have walked through the tunnel of the Alamodome, donned in a DeMoulin uniform, show makeup and hair, and united by the common love of performance. It is the involvement of the U.S. Army that makes the experience of the USAAAMB truly unique.

Increased media presence, the switch to adidas branded gear, and a growing operations team are things that come to mind when thinking of the changes the USAAAMB experienced. The list could go on and on. The band has rehearsed at Lackland Air Force Base, Fort Sam Houston, and many more pins on the map. An experience such as the one provided by the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band simply stands alone.

Years have gone by and many alumni have married, had children, and are exploring a degree or career. A group of alumni will be reuniting in San Antonio this year to celebrate the incoming 2017 class and share the common thread of the marching arts once again.

On behalf of all the alumni, thank you to the U.S. Army and the U.S. Army Field Band, the National Association for Music Education, Drum Corps International (DCI), Jupiter Band InstrumentsDeMoulin Brothers Uniforms and a crowd of additional supporters that grant this opportunity to young musicians and colorguard members each year. A short trip to San Antonio leaves a lasting impression on all of us!

**ALUMNI – share your memories in the comments below! What stands out from your year in San Antonio?

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6 thoughts on “2017: 10 Years of Marching Music

  1. 2014-
    An extreme winter storm caused flights at the end of the trip to be canceled, so Christine Norton had to (got to?) babysit the handful of us who couldn’t leave for a few more days. We watched a movie at the mall, went shopping, went to a jungle themed restaurant, and it was all pretty great! She made a stressful situation super chill for us 🙂

    I also remember walking around the hotel (for a reason I’ve forgotten) with a friend and stumbling upon a large conference-type room that contained Prato. He let us look at the beautiful view and fireworks from the balcony for a bit.

    And I’ll never forget how amazingly well we (the USAAAMB 2014 front ensemble) clicked instantly. We played and moved as if we had been together for years! I wish we could have joined a DCI/WGI group together.

  2. Oh the memories…I have so many inside jokes and memories. A few notable ones:

    -At the DC airport, one of the band members was booted out of his seat on the airplane, and DM Blake Morgan got up on a chair and yelled to the entire gate to ask somebody to give up their seat so the whole band could arrive that day. It was an act of leadership that I’ll never forget.
    -Peaches, bread (bread hype), and “gatorade.”
    -Brass bus shenanigans (I’m not even going to list them…those who know what I’m talking about will know what I mean)
    -Playing Heads Up (that phone game by Ellen DeGeneres) in the lounge with as many people as we could find
    -The time when Feagin walked right up to Mike Roberts, took his sunglasses and gave him his own, and walked away

    On a more personal note, I grew up in a small town where very, very few of my peers took music seriously or had a legitimate passion for the arts. When I arrived in San Antonio, I was surrounded by 124 people who “got it.” We all loved what we did and created a beautiful sense of camaraderie that was sustained across sections in the band. USAAAMB was the first time I discovered a real music community and, incidentally, the first time I truly felt that I belonged.

  3. 2015-
    One of the best things about USAAAMB was how well everyone seemed to click together, as if we had all been marching together for years. It was that instant camaraderie that I hadn’t been a part of really prior to USAAAMB and one of the reasons why the group is so important to me.

    I also remember T. Andre Feagin doing a back flip in the middle of the field after rehearsal one day. That was really memorable!!

  4. Well for me, the 2016 USAAAMB really started hopefully a long path of excellence in the marching arts. My favorite memory is just the people. Everybody made it so enjoyable. The staff, fellow band members, people that were watching. It changed my life. Thanks again for all the memories.

  5. Man, do I feel old reading these memories from 2-3 years ago. Let’s throw it back 8 years to 2009.

    One word. RAMROD.
    Anybody else from ’09 who knows what I’m talking about, please help me out so I don’t look silly writing this here!

    No, but really, I will cherish every moment of that bowl week and all the memories with the staff and my fellow band members. I remember having my flight from Hawaii canceled and missing the group visit to The Alamo (I’m still upset about it), but there were more than enough memories to make up for it the rest of the week. Shout out to the awesome trumpet section that year! Thanks to everyone that made bowl week such an unforgettable experience.

    Oh, and the unlimited ice cream was pretty great 😉

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