King and Parker were selected from among 1,300 applicants to join the 125-member All-American marching band that will perform during halftime of the Jan. 4 game in San Antonio, Texas.
“This is the first time anyone in the (Chandler Unified) district has been selected for this. That says a lot about these two students,” said Perry band director Brandon Kiesgen.
Six students from Arizona were chosen, three from Glendale Mountain Ridge and another from Casa Grande.
“It’s a huge honor,” said King, a self-described band geek who plays the clarinet. “I’ve always wanted to represent Chandler, Perry and the band, of course. It’s a testament. It shows others, the underclassmen, how far you can go with marching band. It puts the spotlight on it.”
Kiesgen nominated King and Kauffman, as well as four other students. From there, they submitted an application that included videos of them playing solo and marching.
“We didn’t know what to expect,” said Kauffman, who plays the mellophone in the marching band as well as French horn. “It’s a good, final thing to be able to achieve in high school.”
The pair receives an all-expenses paid trip to San Antonio next month. Once there, they’ll receive instruction from top collegiate, high school and drum and bugle corps instructors from across the country leading up to the game, as well as educational sessions with members of the U.S. Army Field Band.
The U.S. Army All-American Marching Band has been a part of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl since 2008. Selected by the National Association for Music Education in cooperation with All American Games and Drum Corps International, the band features the 125 top marching band members from across the country.
“Gabrielle and Parker were chosen for their leadership, talent, skill, personality and attitude,” said Kiesgen, in his sixth year in the Chandler district and second at Perry.
For King, it is a chance to return to her roots, so to speak, after she served as Perry’s drum major the past two years.
“It’s coming back to something that got me started in the first place,” King said. “Band has made me the person I am today.”
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