National recognition a high note for Norwin band member
Carl Kurinko’s parents are not sure how their son came by his musical talents, but when he performs during halftime at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 8 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, they will be in Texas to cheer him on.
Kurinko, 18, learned last spring that he had earned a spot in the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band, composed of 125 high school students from across the country.
On Wednesday, his classmates, teachers and family gave him a standing ovation as the Norwin High School senior was formally inducted into the 4-year-old band.
A trumpet player since the fourth grade, Kurinko has participated in the high school band for four years. He plays in jazz band, wind ensemble and the marching band.
“It’s outstanding,” band director Robert Traugh said of Kurinko’s selection. “He’s contributed a lot to the program.”
Kurinko was one of three Norwin band members who auditioned for a place in the prestigious band. He was the only one accepted.
He is already practicing the music the band will play.
“I’ve always enjoyed marching band. It’s one of my favorite things. The opportunity to go to San Antonio and play alongside some of the best musicians in the country — I thought that would be a great experience,” he said.
Kurinko smiled when he said he was a little bit nervous — and a little bit excited.
Kurinko said he is considering studying engineering in college and possibly continuing his participation in marching band.
Army 2nd Lt. Alyson Kohler said, “It takes a great team to make someone Army strong. … In the same manner, a marching band member relies on his whole band.”
Ali Bickford, a representative of All-American Games, owner and producer of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, said potential candidates are nominated in the fall of their junior year. They submit three video auditions, showing them marching, playing their instrument and participating in an interview.
Winning students are provided airfare, along with room and board for the weeklong events leading up to the game, televised live on NBC.
All-American Games teams have been traveling across the country to announce the musicians who will participate in the 2011 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
“Not just anyone can be a soldier. Not just anyone can be an All-American,” Bickford told the Norwin crowd. “Carl embodies the character and values of Army-strong soldiers.”
Kurinko was then presented an official Bowl jacket and Army Strong ball cap.
Two former Norwin students, Tim Daniels and Justin Walters, were selected in 2007-08, the band’s inaugural year, Traugh said.
“It’s a great honor for the school, and certainly for Carl. He’s a great kid and a great academic student,” Principal Ed Federinko said.
Kurinko’s mother, Doris Kurinko, participated in her high school band’s color guard, but his father is not a musician.
“I don’t know where he got his musical ability,” the senior Carl Kurinko said. “We encouraged him fully. It’s pretty exciting. We’re big football fans, but we’ve never been to a bowl game.”
Previously announced band members from Pennsylvania come from Berwick Area High School in Columbia County, Peters Township High School in Washington County, Pottsgrove High School in Montgomery County, Biglerville High School in Adams County and East Pennsboro Area High School in Cumberland County.