U.S. Army salutes Tuscola band student

By Shelby Harrell | Oct 10, 2013
Photo by: Shelby Harrell Sgt. 1st Class Jeremy Athy of the Asheville Recruiting Center congratulates Tuscola High School senior Sadie McClure on being selected to march in the 2014 All American Bowl.

For the next few months, Sadie McClure will be spending her time practicing her baritone and perfecting her marching technique to get ready for her big marching band debut.

This December, McClure, a Tuscola High School senior, will be venturing to San Antonio, Texas playing her baritone and learning how to march an entire halftime show in less than a week’s time.

McClure learned in August that she was selected as one of 125 high school band members who will form the U.S. Army Marching Band and perform at halftime on Jan. 4 during the 2014 All-American Bowl.

“I didn’t expect at all to get it,” she said. “I just heard about it and thought it would be an honor if I did get it. I’m just really excited and I feel really proud to go and represent Tuscola.”

McClure took the spotlight Wednesday morning when Sgt. 1st Class Jeremy Athy of the Asheville Recruiting Center visited Tuscola High School to formally award her the All-American Band jacket.

Athy said band members were selected not just because they excel in music and performance, but also because they embody the same values of our country’s Army Strong Soldiers like Loyalty and Integrity.

“It takes a special person to be a soldier, just like it takes a special band member to be selected to march in the All-American Bowl,” Athy said.

To apply for the All-American Bowl, McClure had to submit videos of herself playing and marching. And now that she has been selected, she has to submit “music check: videos of her playing the assigned music for the half time show.

“I’m looking forward to playing with some of the best musicians all over the country,” McClure said. “I’m just going to have to start learning the music now and start getting into shape.”

McClure said she was passionate about marching band and music in general. She hopes to pursue a career in music therapy in the future.

“I just love that in band you can take ordinary people and get together and do something really great,” she said.

Tim Wise, band director at Tuscola, said he was proud of McClure, adding that she was the fourth Tucola band student to be selected for the All American Bowl since 2006.

“I’m very proud of Sadie,” he said. “It’s a very big honor for her and for our program. It will be good for her to be around new people. All the musicians in the group are as dedicated and as talented as she is.”

Wise said he planned to help her with her music, but said McClure and the rest of the band would learn the marching drill within a few days.

“I’m not nervous — I’m excited,” McClure said. “I’m excited to do something that’s more difficult because it’s a challenge.”

Athy said it was a huge honor for McClure to selected, adding that she was one of only three candidates to be chosen in his district — which consists of Buncombe, Haywood, Transylvania, Polk, Franklin and Cherokee counties.

While she admits that preparing for the big show will be a challenge, McClure said all the hard work would be worth it.

“The performances are my favorite,” McClure said. “The way you feel when you get off the field — that’s why I do (band). I think the feeling will be 10 times better when I’m walking off the field in January.”