From Lucas Oil to the Alamodome, the All-Americans in Drum Corps

Between the 125 All-Americans, nearly every member is involved in music outside of marching band. Whether they perform in concert band, orchestra, indoor drumline, or winterguard, the All-Americans keep busy year-round. Twenty of these talented members take their dedication to music to the next level by participating in drum corps during the summer. Many of these participants perform in Drum Corps International, which is often described as marching music’s major league. We applaud the All-American’s extreme dedication to the marching arts and constant drive towards excellence. Meet some of these talented members below and see how music has affected their lives!


USAAAMB2016-Brandon Coplen

Bass Drum

Jersey Surf 2015

“Drum corps and music in general is one of the few places where I feel like I fit in. I can express myself in the way that I love and perform with some of the best people.”


JeremyCoverJeremy Cover

Baritone

Music City 2013, Spirit of Atlanta 2014, 2015, Carolina Crown 2016

“Drum corps is about pushing yourself past what you thought you could do and pursuing excellence as well as growing with the corps as a family.


David CurtisDavid Curtis

Front Ensemble

Cavaliers 2014, 2015

“To me, the marching arts are all about passion. Passion for music, passion for performing, and a passion for life.”

 


DevamDevam Dhawan

Bass Drum

Spartans 2013, 2015, 2016

“After drumming takes up a third of your life, drum corps is the only option left. Drum corps is something that has truly changed my life for the better and I don’t know where I would be without it.”


Mathew Duenas-Mathew Dueñas

Baritone

Guardians & Colts 2014

“The amazing thing about drum corps is that after that very first camp, I was no longer by myself. Later on, all of us with a similar goal in mind had the greatest summer putting our show on the field.”


Arjun DurbhakulaArjun2

Snare Drum

Blue Devils B 2013, Bluecoats 2014

“The invaluable lessons I have learned have not only helped me understand the world around me, they have helped me understand myself.”


Cari EarnhardtCariEarnhardt

Contra

Jersey Surf 2012, Academy 2013-2015

“Drum corps instilled in me an open minded attitude toward others, self awareness, and a priority of physical fitness. It has also taught me to put my everything into all that I do no matter the circumstances.”


Billy HowellBilly Howell

Trumpet

Music City 2014, Cavaliers 2015

“No matter how hot or hard the days may be there will always be 159 other people by your side fighting for the same end goal. And that to me is truly amazing.”


Brianna KelleyBrianna Kelley

Color Guard

Fusion “Core” 2010-2016

“The thrill of performing with this family is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. It pushes you past your limits and makes you a stronger person mentally and physically.”


BrianKoBrian Ko

Trumpet

Jersey Surf 2014, Phantom Regiment 2016

“Drum corps is an opportunity to not only become the best performer that you can possibly be, but also to become the best version of yourself.”


Nan Nan LiuNanNanLiu

Bass Drum

Santa Clara Vanguard Cadets 2014, 2015

“Drum corps is a unique and life changing activity. To be presented constantly with opportunities to push ourselves to and past what we had previously thought was our limits is something incredible.”


Jacob LythgoeJacob Lythgoe

Trumpet

The Academy 2014-2016

“Drum corps has taught me how to push myself beyond my limits and has given me the opportunity to experience two of the hardest but most rewarding summers.”


Zachary LythgoeZacharyLythgoe

Mellophone

The Academy 2014-2016

“Drum corps has been the hardest and most rewarding experience of my life. I’ve met great people and traveled to places I never thought I’d go. I’m grateful for everyone who has taught me to become a better person, on and off the field.”


Alison MichalkeAlison Michalke

Mellophone

Legends 2014, 2015

“When I know that I am inspiring people on a daily basis I know I have done my job on the field.”

 


Coral NavarreCoral Navarre

Trumpet

Boston Crusaders 2014, 2015

“Alongside to becoming a better musician and performer, I learned traits of leadership, teamwork, and so many others that have shaped me into who I am today.”


CaseySaitowCasey Saitow

Color Guard

Spartans 2012-2015

“Drum corps for me has been an experience and a half. The main thing it has taught me is if you want something bad enough, you have to work for it.”


Brian SpencerBrian Spencer

Snare Drum

Spartans 2013-2015

“Drum corps literally shows you what family is, how to spend all your time with others and make magic. It teaches you how to have fun, and enjoy the music you are making.”


Taylor WinklerTaylor Winkler

Baritone/Trombone

Blue Stars 2015

“No pain no gain. The dependent corps works painfully hard together to total an experience that will draw crowds in from across the nation.”


Makenzie WrightstoneMakenzie Wrightstone

Color Guard

Reading Buccaneers 2013, 2015

“I learned what it’s like to become so close to people at all ages. Being one of the youngest, they took me under their wings and guided me through my first season. Now I consider all of the members my family.”


Ian YountIanYount

Snare Drum

7th Regiment 2014, 2015

“The activity introduced me to people like myself that share a passion for what we do and a drive for perfection.”

 

To learn more about Drum Corps International or where to see the All-Americans on tour this summer, click here.

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Dillon To, A Man of Many Uniforms

DillonTo1Meet PFC Dillon To.

Not only is To a U.S. Army All-American, but he is also a U.S. Army soldier.

Before beginning his last year on tuba for the Roosevelt Rough Rider Marching Band, To spent his summer at Fort Bennington, GA beginning his career in the Army National Guard. The 18-year-old Des Moines student has his eyes set on a future in the military and wasted no time getting started.

To is in the Army National Guard Infantry, primarily working with javelin gunnery. (For those keeping score at home, Parent Unit C Co. 168th INF 34th ID, Current Unit: A Co. RSP). He graduated from basic training on August 13th and will attend a 4 week-long Advanced Individual Training (AIT) next summer to further prepare for his job in the infantry. Although he is only a year into his 6 year commitment, he says that it is a “really adventurous job,” seeing as only 4% of soldiers go into the infantry. Out of the many job options the Army provides, To pursued the infantry because “it’s both physically and mentally challenging,” which his martial arts background helped prepare him for.

As a part of his commitment to the National Guard, To dedicates one weekend a month, and two full weeks a year to drills and training. The Average National Guard Soldier works full-time in the office, the field, or classroom of their civilian job before reporting to their part-time drills on the weekends and summers. To makes the same commitment, but with a twist. The soldier-student is balancing his dedication to the military along with the usual stresses of being a high school senior. Underneath the camouflage uniform, he’s just like any other student approaching graduation. His calendar is filled with SAT dates, college application deadlines, and possibly even an upcoming prom. He makes light out of his heavy schedule though, saying, “I just like keep myself busy, I just can’t stand still.”

Military drills and lengthy trainings aside, To is presenting college application boards with an impressive resume. He holds a part-time job as a Tai Kwon Do instructor, is a 2nd degree black belt, serves as the Cadet Captain and Company Commander for his JROTC program, and participates in three music ensembles at his school including marching band, jazz band, and honor band. Although marching band is only a small sliver in the crazy schedule of To, he thanks his four years in the Rough Rider Marching Band for preparing him for his busy life. Because of the long rehearsals and extreme attention to detail required in marching band, he says he has become better at time management and has become a more adaptable person.

Although To has many influential people in his life to thank for his success so far, his band director Mr. Treg Marcellus is at the top of his list. Thanks to the help of Mr. Marcellus who pushed him beyond his limits, To now has a unique opportunity at bowl week. He says, “It is a huge honor that I could represent the Army in another way out of uniform” and combine his two passions of music and the military. He is incredibly humbled to not only be selected as an All-American, but also to be the only 2016 All-American currently serving in the Armed Forces.

After the stadium lights are turned out and the excitement of bowl week is over, To will return to business as usual. He will continue to teach Tae Kwon Do and lead his JROTC cadets up until graduation before he leaves for AIT training in the summer heat. To has not replied to any college acceptances yet but he has his eyes on a few in the Midwest area. Regardless of where he chooses to study, he plans to major in international relations and participate in the ROTC program. Once he obtains his degree, he hopes to be commissioned as an Army officer to begin yet another era of service with the Army.

To_Dillon_RooseveltHS_IA (52)

2016 Staff Announcement

The U.S. Army All-American Band is pleased to formally announce our 2016 instructional staff. Hailing from across the country, these world class educators will be instructing the All-Americans in marching, music, and performance during Bowl Week.

Kenneth Bodiford, Director

Dr. KenKen-Bodiford-Headshot1-750x511neth G. Bodiford has served as the Director of Bands and Assistant Professor of Music at Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Alabama since 1994. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education at Jacksonville State University, his Master of Music in Music Education and Wind Ensemble Conducting degree at East Carolina University and his Doctorate of Musical Arts in Instrumental Conducting degree from The University of Alabama.

Dr. Bodiford is the conductor of the Jacksonville State University Chamber Winds, which is the top performing wind ensemble at the university. This ensemble has performed for regional and national venues such as the Alabama Music Educators Conference and the Bands of America Concert Festival Regionals. The ensemble also performs on campus and throughout the northeast Alabama and Georgia regions.

Rodney Bailey, Color Guard

Bailey is cuRodney-Bailey-580x750rrently the colorguard designer/choreographer for the Jacksonville State University Marching Southerners. Bailey has been active in Drum Corps International and Winterguard International for nearly twelve years, working with units such as Spirit of JSU Drum and Bugle Corps, Southwi
nd Drum and Bugle Corps, Choctawhatchee High School Winterguard, Castle High School Winterguard and the JSU Center Stage Performance Ensemble. Bailey holds a BA degree in English and a MS degree in Education and is currently an instructor of English at Jacksonville State University.

Jennifer Leseth, Color Guard

Jennifer-Leseth

Jennifer Leseth is a Chicago native with 30-plus years of performance, instruction and design experience in color guard, drum corps and marching band. Her passion for the art grew from performing with color guards such as Destiny, Guardsmen, State Street Review, and Escapade. Naturally driven to excel she challenged herself with marching with drum corps such as Phantom Regiment and The Cadets. She travels globally to teach including England, Italy, Canada, Japan, Korea, South Africa and, Thailand. Her experience with drum corps includes serving as Color Guard Caption Head for Bluecoats, Crossmen, Phantom Regiment, Madison Scouts, Carolina Crown, and Santa Clara Vanguard. She has been involved with Marion Catholic (IL), Plymouth Canton (MI), Spring High School, Winston Churchill (TX), LD Bell (TX).  She is currently the color guard consultant and designer for the Flower Mound High School Marching Band and serves as the Michigan Color Guard Circuit Education Director.

William Martin, Color Guard

William MartinWilliam Martin has been teaching and choreographing color guards for over 10 years now. He is the currently Color Guard Director at Andy Dekaney High School in Houston, TX. He spent 6 years as the Director of Color Guards at The Woodlands High School (The 2013 BOA Grand National Champions). As an educator Mr. Martin has worked with The Troopers, The Blue Knights, and most recently The Phantom Regiment, Cypress Independent World Color Guard from Cypress, TX, the University of Houston Winterguard. William has been a clinician, consultant, and choreographer throughout the Midwest as well as Texas. As a performer he has performed throughout the U.S., Japan, and Europe. He marched with the Cavaliers for 5 years, where he served as the guard captain his last year. He also marched with The Pride of Cincinnati Winterguard, and Cypress Independent Winterguard. He received his BFA in Acting; Musical Theatre from Wright State University in Dayton, OH.

Andrew Porter, Field Percussion

Andrew-Porter-photo-2-498x750J. Andrew Porter is a percussionist in the West Point Band, serving as an active duty Army Musician at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York. Staff Sergeant Porter was appointed as a rudimental drummer in the band’s field music group, “The Hellcats”, in 2005. The West Point Band is the oldest continuously serving band in the United States Army. History of the unit dates back to the Revolutionary War period. Staff Sgt. Porter taught general music and band in his home state of Kentucky, and was a percussion specialist in the Dallas, Texas area. He holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Western Kentucky University, and a Master of Music in percussion performance from Louisiana State University. Staff Sgt. Porter has performed with the New York Philharmonic, Baton Rouge Symphony, Natchez Opera Festival Orchestra, Dallas Wind Symphony, and Brevard Music Center Orchestra, Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps and WGI Independent World Class Champion Music City Mystique. Staff Sgt. Porter has presented clinics for PASIC, KOSA, various PAS state Days of Percussion, and USARD.

Zandra Bell-McRoy, Flute/Clarinet

zandra-bell-mcroy-250Zandra Bell-McRoy is a 2002 graduate from the University of Georgia with degrees in music and music education. She began her education career immediately after graduation as a high school band director in Troup County, GA. Since 2002, she has served as a middle school and high school band director in multiple schools throughout Georgia. She currently serves as the Assistant Band Director of the Cedar Shoals High School in Athens, GA. Bell-McRoy received her Master of Music Education from the University of Georgia in 2006 and is currently a doctoral candidate there for music education. Her research interests include multi-cultural music education, gender and music education, music teacher preparation, and music teacher evaluation and supervision. She has been honored with many teaching awards and has served as the Tau Beta Sigma Women in Music Series speaker for the Southeastern Division Conference. She is currently a flutist with the Tara Winds Symphonic Band and Southern Crescent Symphony Orchestra, as well freelance performances around the Atlanta area.

Bo Sodders, Mellophone

Bo-SoddersMatthew Bo Sodders is the Director of Bands at John McEachern High School in Powder Springs, Georgia. In the past, Sodders has filled the capacity of Director of Bands at Woodland High School in Stockbridge, Georgia and the Assistant Director of Bands at Ola High School in McDonough, Georgia. Under the direction of Sodders, the band programs have received consistent superior ratings at large group performance evaluations, and the marching band has been awarded numerous Grand Champion and First in Class Honors, including a 2011 Bands of America Atlanta Super Regional Finalist. Originally from Lima, Ohio, Sodders graduated cum laude from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio with an instrumental and elementary specialist degree in Music Education. While at BGSU, Sodders studied with trumpet professor Mr. George Novak and conducting with Dr. Emily Freeman Brown. He is currently a member of the brass staff of the Blue Knights.

Ian Hale, Pit Percussion

ian-hale1Ian Hale received degrees in percussion performance from the University of Calgary and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst where his teachers included Dr. Glenn Price, Eduardo Leandro and DCI Hall of Fame member Thom Hannum.  He has studied marimba with Leigh Howard Stevens, Gordon Stout, and She-e Wu.  He was a member of the music faculty at UMass from 2007-2008 and served as the Assistant Director of Bands for the Calgary Stampede Showband from 2009-2011.  He is currently the Percussion Director for Spirit of America from Orleans, Massachusetts. Ian has worked with many fine marching music ensembles including the Calgary Stampede Showband, Spirit of America, Thomas Jefferson High School Band, Dartmouth Indoor Percussion, United Percussion, Boston University and the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band.  He was a member of the percussion staff for the Glassmen, the Magic of Orlando and the Madison Scouts and spent 9 years on the percussion staff for the Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps.  He is currently on the percussion staff for the Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps. Ian is endorsed by Vic Firth Inc., Remo Inc. and Zildjian Corporation.

Jeremy Stovall, Saxophone

Jeremy-StovallMr. Jeremy Stovall is the Assistant Director of Bands at Jacksonville State University. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Music Education and his Master of Arts degrees at Jacksonville State University. In addition to instructing the Marching Southerners, Mr. Stovall also conducts the Symphonic Band, the JSU Pep Band: Hardcorps, and the Saxophone Choir. He also serves as the Music Director and Pit Orchestra Conductor for the Drama Department’s Musicals, and was a past conductor for the Jacksonville Opera Theatre. Jeremy is the faculty sponsor for the Mu Iota chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi and the Epsilon Nu chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia at Jacksonville State University.  Mr. Stovall was a member of the Spirit Drum and Bugle Corps visual staff from 2002-2007, serving as the Visual Caption Head.  Jeremy is sought out as an adjudicator, consultant and drill designer for marching bands throughout the Southeast.  He currently lives in Jacksonville, AL with his wife Noelle Millirons Stovall.

Blair Callaway, Trombone

Blair-Callaway-498x750Blair Callaway is in his twenty-fourth year of teaching and his eighth year as director of the Heritage High School “Legion of Generals.” Blair is a 1982 graduate of Ringgold High School. He received his Masters of Arts Degree from the University of North Alabama in Florence, AL and his Bachelor of Science Degree from Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, AL. His bands have received all superior ratings at district concert festivals and marching contests for the past 17 years. He marched with the Guardsmen, Cavaliers and Suncoast Sound Drum and Bugle Corps. Blair is a member of the Music Educators National Conference, Georgia Music Educators Association, American School Band Directors Association, National Band Association, Georgia Association of Jazz Educators and the Epsilon Nu Chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. He is the 2015 Heritage High School Teacher of the Year and is a member of Phi Beta Mu. Blair is currently serving as President of the American School Band Directors Association.

Errick Prince, Trumpet

Errick-Prince-e1449093790766-194x240Errick was the Music Captionhead for the famous “Marching Southerners” of Jacksonville State University during his tenure as a Graduate Assistant under Dr. Ken Bodiford. Errick has been a Music Teacher in Georgia and Texas in addition to serving as a High School Marching/Concert/Symphonic Band Judge in the Southeast. Errick is a Park University Music Professor at Randolph and Lackland Air Force Bases. He was also appointed to the United States Air Force Reserve Band prior to serving as a Commissioned Officer in the United States Air Force. He performed as a Ceremonial Trumpeter/Honor Guard Bugler at several assigned duty stations. Errick has also worked as a Contractor for Air Force Entertainment primarily as a “Tops In Blue” Music Ensemble Instructor.
 He currently serves as the Co-Music Supervisor for Spirit of Atlanta and on the brass staff for Bluecoats. He is an alumnus of Spirit of Atlanta and Bluecoats where he was a Soloist/Rookie of the Year/Co-Horn Sergeant for both.
 Errick has performed with Wynton Marsalis, Marcus Printup, Rob McConnell, Allen Vizzutti, among many others. Errick is a graduate of Valdosta State University where he studied Trumpet and is a MBA graduate of American Intercontinental University. He is a Charter Member of the Zeta Gamma Chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity.

Josh Gall, Tuba

Josh-Gall-501x750Joshua Gall is currently the Assistant Director of the Longhorn Band at The University of Texas at Austin. Gall has served as a both a member and brass specialist for The Cadets, is currently on staff with The Bluecoats, and is a visual designer for Genesis Drum Corps. Currently, he serves in the role of guest clinician, program coordinator, mumsic composer and arranger, and drill writer for over fifteen programs annually and has written over 40 original shows receiving medal distinction in BOA, USSBA, TOB (Tournament of Bands), and WGI.  He is also frequently in demand as a guest conductor for concert ensembles around the country. As an entrepreneur, Gall actively contributes to the music industry as an owner of Ultimate Drill Book. He also has an extensive background in recording and production as he coordinated a family-owned recording and production company for 12 years that specialized in the recording of the performing arts. Gall holds the Bachelor of Music Education degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Master of Music degree in Instrumental Conducting from the University of Florida where he studied with Dr. David Waybright. He is currently completing his Doctor of Philosophy degree in Music Education with a cognate in Instrumental Conducting from the University of Florida.

Daniel Marshall, Intern/Baritone

Daniel-Marshall-500x750A native of Ellijay, Georgia, Daniel Marshall is pursuing a master’s degree in Music Education with an emphasis in Conducting at Jacksonville State University. During his undergraduate career at Jacksonville, he served as Head Drum Major of the nationally-acclaimed Marching Southerners, principal horn of the JSU Chamber Winds, and charter member of Pelham Street Brass, an all-student brass quintet on campus. Daniel is a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Omicron Delta Kappa, Kappa Kappa Psi, Alabama Winds, and the International Horn Society. He graduated summa cum laude and received the Dr. Clarence William Daugette Award for being the top graduate of his class. As a graduate student, his responsibilities include conducting the JSU Chamber Winds, organizing the JSU Contest of Champions and Jacksonville State Honor Band, and aiding in the teaching of the Marching Southerners.

Jaron Smith, Intern/Baritone

Jaron-SmithJaron Smith, a Georgia native, has studied the world of low brass for many years. During his music career, he studied Euphonium performance at Jacksonville State University and graduated Cum Laude in 2014. During his years of study, he performed as a featured soloist for the JSU Chamber Winds Ensemble, principle euphonium of the JSU Chamber Winds, a member of the Alabama Winds Ensemble, a founding member of the Pelham Street Brass Quintet, a founding member of the Low Blow Tuba Quartet, a member of the Georgia High School All-State Band, Baritone Section Leader for the JSU Marching Southerners, and has also had personal study in performance of all brass instruments including tuba, trombone, and trumpet. Jaron has also held the position of Treasurer for the JSU chapter of the International Tuba Euphonium Association for the past four years. He is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Instrumental Music Education from Jacksonville State and works as a Graduate Assistant.

 

 

USAAAMB By The Numbers

From drill spots, to yard lines, to eighth notes and count offs, marching band is all about numbers. So what numbers make up the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band?

On the most basic level, the USAAAMB is made up of 125 high school seniors from 30 different states across the country. Between them there are 77 winds, 23 percussion/auxiliary, 24 color guard members, and one drum major. That’s roughly 100 instruments, 14 flags, 10 rifles, and one set of white drum major gloves. These band members have only 24 hours worth of rehearsal to learn, clean, and perform a two-song and five-minute-long halftime show. That’s roughly half a competitive field show performance-ready in less than three days of an average band camp.

Off the field, the USAAAMB boasts some pretty impressive statistics. Of the 100 musicians, 104 members participate in their schools’ concert band. This means that multiple color guard members double as musicians in the band room. Half of the All-American musicians ranked as All-State during their junior year, putting them both top in their state, and in the country. Twenty-four members participate internationally during the summer in DCI, representing 14 different corps including Bluecoats, Cavaliers, Spirit of Atlanta, and The Academy. Nineteen All-Americans are also members of Tri-M, an international music honor society sponsored by the National Association for Music Education, which requires music and academic excellence. Overall, the USAAAMB prides an impressive average GPA of 3.75 with all members in good academic standing at school.

In the fall, 62% of the band will take the next step and pursue music in college. Band members will be majoring in fields such as music performance, music education, music business, composition, and music therapy, among others. Roughly half of the students will choose music performance or music education, with many students opting to double major with engineering, business, or science. Needless to say, being selected as an All-American is more than just being a great musician. These students are role models, both on and off the field.

Make sure to check back for more fun facts and features as we lead up to Bowl Week!