The annual U.S. Army All-American Bowl shines the spotlight on the country’s star football players, but those donning helmets and pads are not alone in reach such a grand stage. The U.S. Army All-American Marching Band has also been adding band and color guard members from across the country to participate in the Jan. 7 event at San Antonio’s Alamodome.
In September, the color guard Selection Tour presented by American Family Insurance stopped in Lake Orion, Mich., welcoming Lake Orion senior color guard member Emily Granzow.
“I’m so incredibly honored to be given this opportunity,” Granzow said. “I can’t wait to meet everyone once we get there.”
Granzow has a strong connection with the military – her grandfather, Norman Rossnagel, served in the Army. At Granzow’s official selection ceremony, Rossnagel was in attendance as were her parents, Linda and Paul, and her 13-year-old sister, Molly.
In April, Granzow not only submitted an application and an essay, but also an audition tape. In addition to the required minute-long flag choreography, she also submitted the optional minute-long rifle choreography. Granzow got the good news she was hoping for in August, and says she “screamed in excitement.”
“There have been two other members of color guard from my school that have made it, so I figured I’ll have a shot,” Granzow said. “When I made it, I was over the moon.”
Granzow has been performing in color guard since the fifth grade. Having danced since she was 2 years old, the transition to her new activity was a natural one.
“I just kind of grew up in this activity and loving it and being the best I could be at it,” Granzow said. “My mom has made sure I have all my fees paid, that I get to where I have to be on time, that I have show makeup. I wouldn’t have gotten this without her.”
Granzow’s parents divorced when she was in seventh grade, so she has split time between both houses in middle school and high school.
It hasn’t always been easy, but a strong support system has helped ease the transition.
“It can be difficult because being in color guard, you always have to have a lot of things, so it’s not easy living out of a suitcase switching houses,” she said. “My friends, they help keep me going.”
Granzow is planning to attend Grand Valley State University, where she hopes to earn a bachelor of science in nursing while also performing for the color guard.
In a Lake Orion band of “about 150 people” that includes a color guard of 20, Granzow compares it to a big family.
“If someone’s struggling with something, we help each other out,” she said. “Just like anything in life. I love color guard because it’s our mini family.”
On Jan. 7, Granzow’s family – and her mini family – will be surely be cheering her on.