One South Lakes High School student will remember the Alamo — and the Alamodome — for a long time after this week.
David Clark, a saxophone player in the SLHS band, is representing the school, Fairfax County and the state this weekend as part of the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band. The band, made up of 125 top high school marching band performers from across the nation, will play at halftime of the 2017 U.S. Army All-American Bowl football game Saturday at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
Clark told Reston Now this week that he is ecstatic for the opportunity to play on the big stage.
“I can’t wait,” he said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
The member of the SLHS Class of 2017 has been in San Antonio all week preparing for the performance. He said Army Field Band members are acting as mentors for the high schoolers. His mentor is Staff Sgt. Daniel Goff, a saxophone player from Morgantown, West Virginia. (Clark said Reston native Staff Sgt. Pamela Daniels – a flute player in the Army Field Band – is also at the event working with another performer.)
Clark is the son of John and Mary Nell Clark of Reston. His participation in the event makes him the third South Lakes senior in the past three years to be so honored. In 2015, Samantha Gifford (trombone) was part of the show; in 2016, Brandon Coplen (percussion) made the trip.
Clark, who has been playing the sax since the fifth grade, is involved in a number of SLHS musical groups, including the wind ensemble, jazz band and pit orchestra, in addition to the marching band.
“I’ve (always) just really liked playing saxophone,” he said. “It’s a really awesome instrument; I think you can do a lot with it.”
According to information provided by the South Lakes Band Boosters, members of the band are “selected by the National Association for Music Education and the US Army from more than 2,000 applicants [and] the rigorous application process includes essays, recommendation letters, audition videos and academic records.” Clark said he was honored to be nominated by SLHS Band Director Grayson Fore.
“I wanted to take advantage of such an amazing opportunity where I could play with such elite, talented and motivated players,” Clark said. “I love taking advantage of all these opportunities.”
It hasn’t been all hard work in San Antonio this week for Clark and the rest of the band. He said they’ve had the chance to explore the city’s well-known attractions including the Riverwalk and the Alamo.
“My family is from Texas, so I’ve been (here) a few times,” Clark said. “We saw the Alamo (on Wednesday); I took a bunch of pictures there.”
The football game, showcasing top high school players from across the country, will air at 1 p.m. Saturday on NBC. The halftime show, featuring Clark and the other members of the All-American Marching Band, will be shown live and in its entirety at www.banddirector.com.
Photos courtesy David Clark and the South Lake Band Boosters