Marching Band

Army All-American Band Diary: Savannah Prosperie on living at West Point, learning to march and more

The Army All-American Bowl is about more than the football game. The top musicians from across the country have been in San Antonio all week, preparing for their performance at the Alamodome during Saturday’s game.  We also want to share some stories of the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band.

This diary entry is from Savannah Prosperie, a clarinet player from James O’Neill High in Highland Park, N.Y. Prosperie is from a military family and lives at West Point, where her father is the principal drummer for the Hellcats as part of the West Point Band. 

Savannah Prosperie receives her Army All-American Marching Band jacket during a presentation (Photo: AAG)

Savannah Prosperie receives her Army All-American Marching Band jacket during a presentation (Photo: AAG)

Living on West Point is an amazing dream. I had never really heard of West Point before we moved there from Louisiana about nine years ago. My dad enlisted at the cutoff age of 40 and is the principal drummer in the Hellcats with the West Point Band.

I had never thought of joining the military, but currently I’m applying and hoping to get in to be a cadet myself. All the cadets, all the teachers, all the generals, the colonels, it’s amazing to see all the leadership and the duty to country with the selfless service they give to this country.

I think I have a different perspective because of where we live and I’ve tried to share that about how much these soldiers really give back with their service. It really takes a special someone to serve this country and guarantee our freedoms. When we say, Hooah, it really means something to the soldiers.

I started playing in fifth grade in middle school. I was going to play percussion, but I knew my dad would be super-hard on me and there are so many things involved in percussion. I chose clarinet. My mom teaches music at the middle school on post and she is my clarinet instructor and more of my clarinet technician. My dad is more of my metronome and making sure I have all the rhythms down.

We got here, we had this amazing fitting of the uniforms and getting all the gear. It was so impressive to see all the donations here. I’ve never tried on a uniform before and I’ve never worn a uniform before for marching band so it was amazing to get that chance. Then you take the pictures in uniform and it all becomes real.

We had a dinner where we got to be introduced to some of the field band members and then we had a private concert where we all just danced and let loose to prepare for the week ahead of hard work.

On Tuesday, we started drill and it started with a marching block. Since I have never been in a marching band before that was interesting in getting used to the terminology and different footing. It was a little rough at first, but I overcame the learning curve and we started drill. It was a lot of information and getting used to. It was interesting to see people standing next to you and moving around and vocalizing my spots.

My school off-post unfortunately doesn’t have a marching band so I play in our concert band. I’ve never marched. With the aid of my mom and my dad who are both marching instructors and my dad who marches the cadets around, they were able to teach me some of the terminology and began to teach me some of the drills before I got here. I wanted to try to get a leg up on the learning curve because every All-American here is an amazing marcher.

We’ve gotten to know each other more every day and gotten to know the field band members. Any information they can give us because they’re so willing to help us.

We did the dinner with the football players on Wednesday night. It was interesting talking to them. There is sometimes a bias about football players, but since we’re all All-Americans, we all have the same values. It was amazing to know these giant football players are the same as you and me and we can all get along.

We pieced together the the final show on Thursday, which is awesome. I’ve never finished a show in my whole life. Now we’re here and we finished ahead of time.

I wouldn’t say I’m particularly nervous because I’ve performed a lot through band. I have the music down, it’s more the drills to make sure everything looks great for the soldiers and the people in the audience. So much work has been put into getting this organization together. I’m excited.