While most high school students are spending winter break relaxing at home, Olathe North senior Spencer Buff is hard at work preparing for a nationally televised band performance: Buff has been selected as a member of the 2012 U.S. Army All-American Marching Band.
Buff will perform with the group during the halftime show of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl at the Alamodome in San Antonio. The game, which features the best of high school football players nationwide, will take place Saturday.
Buff is the only student from Johnson County and only one of two students from Kansas to be invited. A member of the bass drum line, Buff will be part of an elite group of 125 seniors nationwide to perform at the event. For someone who once considered not participating in band, this honor is especially satisfying.
“I love marching band,” Buff said. “This is the highest point of my marching band career. I did not like band when I first started. I even thought about quitting when I was a sophomore. But I gave it a try and I ended up loving it.”
To be considered, Buff had to undergo a rigorous application process that included learning and performing assigned music and conducting an interview.
When it came time for representatives from the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band to notify Buff of his inclusion in the group, they did it in a big way. U.S. Army soldiers representing the Army recruiter station in Olathe and the ROTC program at the University of Kansas went to Olathe North and announced the honor during a senior class assembly, where they presented him with a hat and jacket.
The band, along with corporate sponsors, paid for all transportation and lodging costs for Buff to travel to San Antonio. “We will have 24 hours total of rehearsal time within six days,” Buff said before he left Sunday.
This isn’t the first time an Olathe North band student has been singled out for this prestigious honor. Last year, Olathe North graduate Forrest Goyer was selected to perform with the band. Olathe North band director Justin Love said that at his school, individual honors like this are looked at as a success for the entire band program.
“Any time that we have a student that is selected for something like this, it is a pat on the back for us,” Love said. “It is unique to have the program put in the spotlight. Spencer knows that his entire band helped, too. We are happy for the whole program.”
Love believes humility helped set Buff apart from other applicants.
“I think he comes across as a very humble and sincere person,” Love said. “I believe that the judges realized that this is a very hardworking and quality young man.”
Buff knows he will have a large cheering section of family and friends back home watching when he takes to the field in San Antonio. Many are looking forward to tuning into the halftime show on NBC.