The Press Newspaper
Kevin Rahrig began playing the trumpet in the sixth grade, and it didn’t take
“When I picked it up, it just came naturally to me,” said Rahrig, a senior at Eastwood High School.
Rahrig comes from a musical background. His father, Doug, played the trumpet in high school at Otsego, and his mother, Carla, sang in high school at Bowling Green and also in college at BGSU.
Brian Myers, who has been Eastwood’s band director for nine years, said Rahrig is not only “obviously gifted, but his dedication has been extraordinary.”
“The practice time he puts in for the extra ensembles is so far above average,” Myers said. “That’s what puts him above the rest. You name an ensemble here at Eastwood and he’s been a part of it – orchestra, pep band, Christmas ensemble, solo and ensemble adjudicated events. He’s taken private lessons for several years and he’s been a section leader since his sophomore year.”
It was no surprise, then, that Rahrig was chosen to play trumpet in the 10th annual U.S. Army All-American Bowl marching band.
The band, made up of high school musicians from around the country, performed during halftime of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 9 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Tex.
Rahrig, 18, was one of four band members from Ohio.
The U.S. Army All-American Bowl has featured the nation’s elite prep football players and honored more than 300 of the most committed soldier heroes. In addition to more than 400 NCAA athletes, the game has featured more than 90 alumni currently playing in the NFL.
The 2009 U.S. Army All-American Bowl was attended by 32,732 fans, and this year’s game was televised live on NBC.
“It was a fantastic honor,” Rahrig said. “Being able to be one of the four people from Ohio to go to San Antonio was great. Being one of 16 trumpets in the country – being one of the best of the best – was an honor.”
Myers gave Rahrig information about the All-American Bowl marching band during Rahrig’s sophomore year. Myers then filled out a nomination form on Rahrig’s behalf last year.
“I got a package saying I got nominated and I auditioned at the end of my junior year,”
Rahrig said. “I got accepted in late June and I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh, I can’t believe I got in this thing!’”
Band members arrived at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in San Antonio on Jan. 5 and stayed through Jan. 10.
“From Jan. 5 to Jan. 8 we did lots of rehearsal,” Rahrig said. “We spent the entire day rehearsing for our halftime show. We practiced in Alamo Stadium, where all the local public high schools have their football games. We had sectionals from members of the U.S. Army Field Band. They would come and review the songs we were playing and give us some tips.”
Rahrig said the band’s practice schedule was “very fast-paced,” and the halftime show was put together in three days.
“There were two songs (Buffalo Stampede/Stand Up and Be Strong and Hoedown/Rock in the USA) and they were very long,” Rahrig said. “One was three music pages long and the other one was one and a half pages.”
Rahrig has been taking music lessons from BGSU trumpet professor Charles Saenz for the past two years.
"He’s taught me a good deal about making my playing better, what to look for and how to interpret music and how to add character to the music I play,” said Rahrig, who is a member of the National Honor Society.
He is taking political science, philosophy, astronomy, and speech classes at BGSU while he still attends Eastwood.
Musically, Rahrig’s accomplishments have included recognition by several of the nation’s most well-known academic institutions. Among the honors he has received are spots in The Ohio State University High School Honors Band, the Kent State University Honors Band, and the University of Toledo Honors Band.
Rahrig was selected to participate in the Ohio Music Education Association’s Northwest Region Honors Orchestra in 2009, and he was recently chosen for the OMEA District 1 Honors Band for the third straight year.
The OMEA is the third largest of the 52 federated state affiliates of MENC, The National Association for Music Education. OMEA members are involved at all levels of music education, serving more than 1.8 million public school students in 612 public school districts and 51 colleges and universities in Ohio.
The District I Honors Band, which includes orchestra, choir and bands, will participate in an Honors Festival on Feb. 21.
“To get in at the district level, that’s a pretty decent gauge of your talent,” Myers said. “The All-American Bowl, that’s competing at the national level. Those kids who were chosen for that band came from a pool of 1,300 applicants.I don’t doubt that every one of those kids was a talented musician. Kevin was the cream of the crop, to be selected by the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.”
Rahrig said it is “a pretty big deal” to be selected to participate in the OMEA Northwest Region Honors Orchestra and District 1 Honors Band.
“The Northwest Region Orchestra deals with three districts in Ohio,” he said. “I was able to play principle trumpet for that, and that was quite an experience to play classical music. We played at Whitmer High School in November.
“The Honors Band (festival) will probably be held sometime in the spring. We will go to Swanton High School for a couple practices and then perform at the Stranahan Theatre.”
Rahrig, who plans to major in music education at BGSU, also plays in the 100-plus member Toledo Youth Orchestra, which includes musicians from Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan. He also has been inducted into the Tri-M Honor Society at Eastwood.
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