Johnny Martin | Reporter
Buchanan High School senior Collin Allen has been selected to represent his school as a band member at the 2017 U.S. Army All-American game.
Allen was presented with the honor by four members of the U.S. Army including Staff Sgt. Jonathan Crespo.
He received an honorary jacket in front of his fellow band members, his peers, and his family in a ceremony held on campus.
“I just didn’t know what to think, I didn’t think I was going to make it to be completely honest,” Allen said. “There’s just so many people in the United States and to think that I was an applicant that could actually make it, I was very surprised but very happy.”
Allen was one of 125 high school marching band members selected amongst the millions in the United States. Those 125 will participate in the halftime show of the U.S. Army All-American football game, played Jan. 7 in San Antonio.
“We’re just so proud because he works so hard, he’s so dedicated and I don’t think he realized what a good musician he was until he actually applied,” said Allen’s mother Mary. “Just like everything, he does it at 100 percent, all heart, all passion and he’s worked very hard getting to this level so it’s wonderful to see the recognition.”
When the applicants are considered for the spots on the marching band, not only are their music abilities considered, but also their agility, both mentally and physically. According to the U.S. Army, those chosen understand the importance of teamwork and they have a special ability to adapt to challenging situations just like the soldiers in the U.S. Army.
Allen was faced with a challenging experience of his own when he blew out his knee shortly before his audition. He was not sure whether or not he still wanted to audition, but he stuck with it and persevered greatly and was rewarded with an All-American selection.
“He’s a genuine boy, he has a lot of heart and I think that’s what came out when he did his interview,” said Allen’s father David. “It was all heart and it was all him and showed the real boy coming through.”
Allen’s band director at Buchanan, Jason Orchard, knew when he met Allen that he was something special.
“He’s a really hard working kid and also just one of the nicest kids that I’ve ever met,” Orchard said. “I’m really proud of him and it’s a great honor for us [Buchanan].”
Allen has had a love for band and especially the marching band. It was a love that started back in junior high, but he never knew that love would lead him to an honor like this.
“It just feels more real, it feels great,” Allen said. It’s different seeing it on an email then it is being in a presentation, putting on the jacket just cements the feeling. I made it.”
For more information on the U.S. Army All-American game and the details for the 2017 game, go to usarmyallamericanbowl.com.