McMURRAY – Peters Township High School student Richard MacKay was honored at an assembly Monday for being selected as a member of the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band. MacKay received a prestigious All-American Bowl jacket from local soldiers in front of his friends, family and band members.
He is the second Peters Township High school musician to earn the honor. Laura Bertoni was selected two years ago. The All-American Marching Band will showcase its talent during a halftime performance at the nationally broadcast U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio Jan. 5.
MacKay, a senior and percussionist, spoke about taking a chance and putting yourself out there to reach your dreams.
His mother, Suzanne MacKay, is proud of her son’s accomplishments.
“It’s amazing to have this honor, to see all of his work pay off,” she said.
He was notified of the honor at the beginning of September, but was asked by the organization to tell no one but his immediate family. He waited for the selection tour, held each year by the band, to reach Peters Township, one of the last stops.
Suzanne MacKay said her older daughter, Kimberly, is a member of the Purdue University marching band and will perform at halftime during a bowl game in Dallas. The mother and daughter will then travel together to San Antonio to watch him perform Jan. 5.
The younger MacKay, also the son of John MacKay, plans to attend Carnegie Mellon University in the fall, where he will major in musical performance.
With his selection, MacKay joins the ranks of an elite group of just 125 musicians and color guard members chosen each year. They are selected not just because they excel in music and performance, but because they embody the same values as soldiers, like loyalty and integrity.
“The U.S. Army has a distinguished musical history,” said John Myers, director of marketing, Army marketing and research group. “The skills and strengths necessary to be a successful band member are mirrored in Army strong soldiers. Only the strongest wear the Army colors, which is why we are proud to honor all of our 2013 U.S. Army All-American Band members and congratulate each of them on their selection.”