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20111125_PHS_EricGomez_0112MISSION — Palmview High School trombone player Eric Gomez was honored last week for his selection to be a member of the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band.

The band will play during halftime during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 7, 2012 at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

Gomez, his family, school officials, representatives from the U.S. Army Accessions Command, friends, and classmates filled the cafeteria last week during a jacket presentation to honor Gomez. Gomez was one of 125 high school seniors selected to participate in the marching band. He was also one of eight trombone players.

The marching band will consist of 101 band and 24 color guard members that are currently seniors in high schools throughout the nation that will perform during halftime. The U.S. Army All-American Bowl also features the nation’s top 90 high school football players in an East versus West game.

20111125_PHS_EricGomez_0142Gomez had to submit videos of a solo performance, him performing a box drill while playing, and a small biography that had to be submitted by May after passing the original nomination process. His band teacher, Jacob Banda, nominated him last fall. Gomez and his family received word about his selection in July, but were not allowed to celebrate it until now.

Gomez said he would not have been able to achieve this honor if it had not been for the support from his family, band members and band directors.

Gomez’s mother, Criselda, said she didn’t have to encourage him.

“It was all him,” she said.

Gomez has been marching with his high school’s band and with the Rio Grande Valley’s own marching band, the Genesis Drum and Bugle Corp. In fact, Gomez was at camp with Genesis when he received the call from his band director that he was selected as one of the 125 selected.

“The U.S. Army All-American Bowl is a unique celebration of the American soldier and the American student,” said Erik Peterson, U.S. Army Accession Command. “Not just anyone can be a U.S. Army All-American. It takes certain strengths.”

U. S. Army Major Kenneth Wright said marching bands like the Army marching band provides young Americans with the training, discipline and experience that make them mentally, emotionally and physically strong.

“It takes a special person to be a soldier, just like it takes a special musician to be selected as U.S. Army All-American,” said Wright. “U.S. All-American not only possesses the strength of a soldier, they live the Army values – loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage. They are dedicated, motivated and know how to be a member of the team as well as a leader.

“It is these strengths that have earned them the right to wear our colors. The colors of the U.S. Army,” said Wright adding that it is also the team that helps make a great leader. “We are proud to have him on our team and have him wear the All-American colors.”

20111125_PHS_EricGomez_0040Dr. Alda T. Benavides, LJISD superintendent, said she had great pride in standing before a division one band, adding that they are the reason Gomez was nominated.

“He’s a leader, he’s very committed, he’s really dedicated to the program,” said Banda about why he nominated Gomez. “He loves marching. It’s a perfect fit. I knew he would enjoy it.”

Gomez wants to continue with marching and music education after he leaves high school as well.

“It’s going to help him in the future,” said Banda.

Banda has seen marching band interest increase within the last few years and looks forward to seeing what the interest brings to the Valley.

“If he loves something, he does real good at it,” said Criselda Gomez.

Gomez said this is what he has been working for. All that hard work has paid off, he added.

Peterson said Gomez would be arriving in San Antonio Jan. 2 to learn the show music. Gomez will be able to meet other band members with the same interests from throughout the nation that are also passionate about marching and music.

“I’m looking forward to representing my family, local band program, Palmview High School, and La Joya ISD in San Antonio,” said Gomez.

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