In January, some of the best high school musicians in the country will gather in San Antonio, Texas, to perform for a nationally televised broadcast on NBC.
Leading those students will be Nation Ford High School Drum Major Jaclyn Turner.
Turner, who just completed her junior year, was selected as the Drum Major for the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band, an honor that Turner found nearly unbelievable.
"My first reaction was, 'Are you sure?'" Turner said.
Turner auditioned for the All-American Army Band by sending in a two-minute clip of herself conducting the Nation Ford High School Marching Band during its S.C. State competition last fall. She also sent in an audition as an instrumentalist, playing the clarinet. Auditioning for the role of Drum Major was an afterthought, she said, after Nation Ford Band Director Martin Dickey encouraged her.
"I said, "Let's do it. Let's try out for drum major too. It was a whim, off to the side. It was crazy," Turner said. "Now, I'm just so excited. It's such a great start to senior year. It's my last year here I might as well go all out."
As the Drum Major for the All American Army Band, Turner will be flown to the Drum Corps International Finals in Indianapolis this summer, where she will be introduced to the crowd and receive her shaker, the hat that the All-American Army Band Drum Major wears, from the previous Drum Major.
In January, Turner will travel to San Antonio where she will rehearse with and conduct the U.S. All-American Army Band, made up of 97 musicians from high schools around the country.
"It is quite an honor for Jaclyn to be selected as the Drum Major of the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band," Dickey said. "Jaclyn has worked hard to distinguish herself as a leader, musician and performer. She has sacrificed many things to become one of the best Drum Majors in the country."
Dickey was also proud to note that Nola Jones, Director of the All-American Marching Band, said not only was Turner the top candidate, but the Nation Ford Marching Band followed her conducting and played phenomenally.
Students who auditioned for the U.S. All-American Army Band will have to wait a little longer to find out if they'll be joining Turner in Texas. Dickey said that the musicians for the All-American Army Band have not yet been chosen and will be announced later in the summer.