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Two DGS High School students will represent U.S. Army All-American Marching Band

Two Downers Grove South High School students will represent the 2018 U.S. Army All-American Marching Band in San Antonio, Texas in January 2018.

Seniors Jake Burrows and Danny King celebrated the news of their selection with classmates during an Oct. 11 national tour stop put on by the U.S. Army and Bowl Games of America.

“I’m truly proud to be an All-American because I get to go to Texas and the Alamo Dome and perform something that shows my love and support for the army,” King said. “It’s a really unique way that I can use something that I love, that is music, and to perform it shows how much dedication that we put toward [our work.]”

Burrows shared that sentiment.

“It is a completely humbling experience,” he said. “I’m really honored to represent DGS, especially because we’ve had people continuously for the past four years go to the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band. I feel honored to first of all be part of it with Danny. He’s an amazing musician. I’m excited to honor the army through music and through our leadership experiences that we’re going to learn from the army.”

The band is comprised 125 of the nation’s top marching musicians, and students received honors after being chosen from more than 1,300 applicants.

At Downers Grove South High School, King is trained as a clarinet player and Burrows prefers the trumpet. The two students were chosen to perform based on their submission of three audition videos, in which they both marched, performed and articulated their desire to participate.

“There was a lot of thought debating what piece I would like to play, and that means even marching, as well,” King said. “There are thousands of people [who try out] and I had to make sure I was at the best of my best for these auditions.”

Burrows agreed.

“A lot of time outside of school was taken to do all these videos,” he said.

King said the level at which he prepares will need to change as the day of the performance gets closer.

“I feel like focus and energy has to go up a lot more because there are so many great people, and I feel like I have to be at the best that I can and have the most focus, so we can get an entire show done in less than a week,” King said.

Burrows does not intend to change his approach in the weeks leading up to the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band performance, however.

“To be honest, I’m just going to take it how I’ve been doing it [and] how I’ve been practicing all my other music,” he said. “I’ll break it apart and start memorizing it. I want it memorized a month before, so I can polish it off [and] be ready. I want to be accountable for my part in the band.”

King has some goals in mind as he prepares for his trip to Texas in January.

“I really hope to achieve just, in general, being a better musician, better marcher and knowing this is going to be my last show before I go off to college, I hope to create friendships and just enjoy a different feel of marching band that I experienced in high school.”

Burrows shared that sentiment.

“It’s going to be huge,” he said. “I’m real excited, but it’s the idea of just breaking it down and really getting into the music and enjoying it. I think that’s what’s important about it—enjoying it.”

With the selection of Burrows and King, this year makes the fifth time in six years in which a Downers Grove South High School student has earned a spot to participate in the program. The experience culminates with a performance at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, an annual East versus West high school game, that brings together 90 of the best football players in the nation. Students bestowed with this honor in the past included Josiah Williams (2013); Sam Tedeschi (2015); Larissa Gurnic (2016) ; and Noah Tunney (2017).

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