Biebel performs at U.S. Army All American Bowl
Jefferson High senior Jennifer Biebel traveled to San Antonio, Texas to be a part of the U.S. Army All American Marching Band.
Along with 124 other high school seniors from around the country, Shepherdstown’s Biebel performed during the halftime show of the All American Bowl Jan. 3.
Biebel was nominated to try out for the band by Jefferson High School band director J.P. Lynch. She had to provide three video selections as part of the audition process. One video was a song the Army provided that she had to memorize and march to while playing. A personal interview was also recorded as was a solo of her choice.
Biebel explained that there were no “routine” days during her week-long stay in Texas. With just one week to practice together, the band spent a total of only 21 hours working together as a complete group before performing on the field.
“We practiced at a variety of locations,” Biebel said, including a San Antonio high school.
“The weather was cold and rainy, not the sunny Texas I expected,” she laughed.
When the weather interfered with outdoor practice, Biebel said the entire band marched inside an airplane hangar at Lackland Air Force Base. The hangar was measured and lined to correspond with the field.
“It was really ‘echoey’ the trumpet player shared.
Throughout the week, the band members spent time meeting with various members of the U.S. Army Field Band, who served as leaders and mentors. The Army personnel shared not only experiences about their band, but their service in the military. One Army band member sat at each table at meals with the high schoolers.
“It was so cool to develop these bonds between us and the Army,” Biebel said.
The All American game was played at the Alamo Dome. The band, Biebel said, was able to practice on that field on Wednesday and again on Saturday morning before the game.
“We played the National Anthem about a half hour before the game started,” Biebel explained in describing Saturday’s event.
“When we were lined up in the tunnel, I was so nervous, but it was really exciting,” she said.
The reality of televised football was soon made clear to the band as they waited for their halftime slot.
“It was so long,” Biebel laughed. “There were so many media breaks for commercials.”
The band performed two numbers during the halftime break. Once the show was over and the band exited the field through the tunnel, Biebel said it was a very emotional time.
“It was amazing how it turned out,” she said. “We were all so emotional and happy.”
Jennifer’s mother, Teri, was in the stands watching every minute of her daughter’s performance. Communicating via social media, she kept those back home informed of timing and her excitement.
“I was a hot mess yesterday,” Teri said of Saturday’s game. “I found her early on and never took my eyes off of her.”
When we watched the whole recording last night at the wrap party,” Biebel shared, “I joked with her that I didn’t know there was a band or a guard out there, she was the only one that I saw.”
Band members traveled from around the country. Biebel, who plays trumpet, said that there were 16 total members in the trumpet section. One of those was from Hawaii. Others in her section were from Georgia, Kentucky, Florida, New York and Louisiana, to name just a few places.
The band members had very little time to visit the local area, although Beibel said that after the performance they did spend some time on the Riverwalk and sight seeing before their flights home.
Spending such a tight schedule together helped the band members form bonds with each other as well as with their military mentors.
“It was really a performance of a lifetime,” Biebel shared.
Biebel performs in Jefferson’s marching band as well as a member of the symphonic band and the second period jazz band.
The video of the All American performance can be viewed at www.banddirector.com.