By Jim Painter
For the Troy Daily News
PLEASANT HILL — Jackson Riffle, a senior at Newton High School here, has been chosen to be part of the United States Army All-American Band. He’s the second family member to earn the honor.
Riffle, a percussionist, was chosen from more than 1,000 students auditioning nationwide to be part of the 125-member band that will perform during halftime of the All-American Bowl football game in San Antonio, Texas, the first week of January. More than 50,000 spectators are expected at the game featuring high school seniors from across the nation.
On Monday, a full school assembly featured Army officials presenting Riffle with the award and his performance uniform.
In 2012, his cousin, Josiah Duncan, was selected into the same band. Riffle said that’s when he was introduced to the band.
Riffle said, in part, about his selection, “I proceeded to apply because I heard how hard it was to be selected, and became determined to work as hard as I could to improve my musical skills. All the hard work throughout the years is paying off.”
“We are proud to honor this year’s talented group of U.S. Army All-American Marching Band members, and we commend each of them on this accomplishment,” said Mark S. Davis, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for marketing. “Like U.S. Army soldiers, these talented individuals come together from diverse backgrounds as strangers, but through the encouragement of their Army mentors, at the end of the week perform as a cohesive and elite team.”
The 17-year-old Riffle began in music while in first grade and has grown greatly.
“I started piano lessons and found out that music was a necessity for my life. My enjoyment of music really sparked in junior high when I began to come in contact with other (high school and professional) musicians.
“I was constantly being amazed by their abilities, I always had to figure out a way to improve. My competitive nature stems from my involvement in athletics. I take this competitive nature and apply it to everything I do in music. I have stayed with music all this time because it is an activity I enjoy and it helps me get more out of life.”
Over the years, Riffle was selected as one of seven national finalists for “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band’s 2016 Concerto Competition in Washington D.C.; he performed in the 2016 Ohio Music Education Association All-State Band; was selected into the 2017 Ohio Music Education Association All-State Orchestra; and performed as a selected winner for the 2016 Dayton Classical Radio’s Young Talent Search.
He was also the winner of the David L. Pierson Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra 2016 Concerto Competition, and will perform Oct. 25 with the orchestra at the Schuster Center in Dayton.
Riffle plans to attend a four-year institution to double major in music composition and percussion performance. He hopes to also pursue a master’s and doctorate degree.
He concluded, “I really appreciate all of my teachers throughout the years that have helped me improve my musical abilities.”
Reach Jim Painter at [email protected]