Kenny Quigley of New Lumpkin County High School was recently given the chance to play on a national stage this January.
After months of preparation and several audition tapes, Quigley was picked as one of 125 high school senior marching musicians to perform in the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band.
"It's basically 10 percent or less of the people who auditioned who get the opportunity to do this," Adam Liberman, a spokesperson for All American Games said.
The musicians will perform during half-time at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl Jan. 8 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. The game will be televised on NBC at 1 p.m.
New Lumpkin band director Andrew Harwood said Quigley was a clear choice for the nomination.
"Kenny has the total package. He's a solid academic student and heavily involved in ROTC leadership," Harwood said.
The band members are selected by a committee that includes the National Association for Music Education. As well as marching ability, the committee looks at community service and demonstrated leadership.
Harwood said Quigley, who plays the sousaphone, often lends his talent to the middle schools to offer them free private lessons and also works with high-schoolers.
"He's the type of kid that makes you want to be a better teacher," Harwood said. "He's a model to the other kids and they look up to him. He motivates them."
The players get their music, which includes patriotic selections, in advance to practice at home. They sent Quigley a mat that resembles the video game Dance Dance Revolution, Harwood said. The senior downloaded the show onto his computer and practices the marches on the mat.
"It will kind of be in his feet before he gets there," Harwood said.
Quigley also must send in video tapes of his progress.
The students will arrive in Texas a few days before the game to practice as a group. They will have 24 hours to learn the drill in over three days.
Harwood said Quigley hopes to pursue music in college.