East Meadow High School Senior Elton Ha was one of only 125 teen musicians among the millions in the country selected to the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band. Music teacher Molly Tittler nominated the pianist for this honor because she felt that he belongs in such an elite group.
“Elton is a model student who is reliable, professional, mature and easy to work with,” she said. “He’s a wonderful musician and this could not have happened to a more deserving student.”
Tittler, East Meadow School District leaders, members of the New York State School Music Association, All-American Games representatives and U.S. servicemen were all on hand to congratulate Ha at a special ceremony on Nov. 17. After he was presented an official “Go Army” hat and band jacket, the 17-year-old said he was grateful for his teachers’ unconditional support and that he’s looking forward to the future.
The U.S. Army All-American Marching Band performs during halftime of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, which will be televised live on NBC from the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas on Saturday, Jan. 9 at 1 p.m. The bowl has been the nation’s top high school football game, serving as a preeminent launching pad for future college and National Football League stars like Andrew Luck, Odell Beckham Jr. and Jamaal Charles.
Band members are chosen not just because they excel in music, according to an Army press release, but also because they possess some of the same skills as Army soldiers: versatility and agility. Military personnel have visited schools nationwide to formally congratulate the chosen musicians.
Ha submitted a videotape of himself playing Frédéric Chopin’s “Etude Opus 10 No. 5” to the band’s selection committee in May. He said he was surprised to be named to such a small and talented ensemble, adding that he’s looking forward to meeting teen musicians from different states.
“I think it’s a great opportunity to meet with other people across the nation who also share a passion for music,” he said. “They’re all really amazing at their respective instruments.”