The March to San Antonio: TJ Kane and the US Army All-American Band

by Cindy McMahon

Public schools change lives, and it’s not just the core subjects. As Reynolds High School principal Doris Sellers is fond of saying, it’s the triple excellence of academics, athletics, and the arts that makes Reynolds High School stand out.

This month, Reynolds senior TJ Kane shines as an example of excellence in the arts It was recently announced that he was chosen as one of only 125 students from across the US to participate in the marching band for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

TJ is the eighth Reynolds band student to attain this honor in seven years, which attests to the excellence of the Reynolds band program. Students who are chosen for this prestigious program exhibit exceptional musicianship, marching achievement, character, and leadership. As part of his application, TJ submitted several one-minute videos: a solo on the alto saxophone, a marching and playing video, and a self-introduction video, which his mom, Lori Kane, described as “dang funny.”

TJ has come a long way to get to this point. He is a triplet, and weighed only 2 pounds and 3 ounces when he was born. Both of the other triplets are musical stars in their own right. His sister Megan is drum major with TJ in the Reynolds marching band, and all three played in the NC state honors band two years ago, the first set of triplets to make it to that level in NC.

In the official announcement ceremony for the All-American Band, TJ made a special point of thanking his siblings. With a smile, he said, “They have been there for me since I was born.” The triplets started their musical careers as 6th graders at Cane Creek, and are a familiar sight in the Asheville busking scene, playing trios on sax, flute, and tuba.

The U.S. Army All-American band will take TJ much further from home. He’ll get an all-expenses paid trip to San Antonio, Texas January 1-7, 2018, where he will have master classes with musicians from the U.S. Army Field Band, experience the chance to play with an all-star marching band staff made up of directors from the most respected high school and collegiate marching band programs in the US, and perform at halftime in front of 50,000 spectators.

At the announcement event, Band Director Sean Smith praised TJ, saying, “TJ is a talented musician, with an innate way of expressing himself through his instrument. He is one of the most musical students I have had the pleasure of teaching and is a fantastic leader as well: he has been drum major for the marching band for the past two years.”

Smith was also chosen for a free trip to San Antonio for this event, to participate in the Band Directors Academy. This is the first year that band directors could also apply, and it was a high honor to be selected. Hayley Knighton, a senior at North Buncombe High School, will be a member of the Color Guard as well. Buncombe County will be well represented!

Cindy McMahon is the Reynolds District Representative, Buncombe County School Board. Contact:

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