FREDERICK, MD - One teenager has a lot to brag about. He's one of 125 musicians from across the nation to make it into the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band.
Governor Thomas Johnson High School students got quite a surprise in their auditorium Wednesday morning.
Senior Ryan Kieft, who plays the euphonium, will head to San Antonio, Texas in January for the 2013 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
"The first thing that went through my mind was no way! I honestly couldn't believe that I got into this band," says Ryan Kieft.
Thousands of high school students applied for the honor, but only 125 were selected. The county's top 90 football players will join the musicians.
"It's nice to see the balance that our school is multi-talented. We have outstanding musicians like Ryan, and we also have outstanding athletes," says Marlene Tarr, principal at Governor Thomas Johnson High School.
Ryan has been playing music since 4th grade. He plans to practice several hours each day to prepare for the Bowl and also for college auditions.
"I have to prepare both pieces of music that I'm playing, and I have to learn drills," he said. "That involves going out, memorizing all my dots, learning all of my notes, just how to play the music correctly."
Those two pieces are about two and a half minutes each.
"We're very proud of him, and it's nice to see all the hard work has resulted in a great opportunity like this. It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and we couldn't be happier," said Dennis and Terri Kieft, Ryan's parents.
Ryan joined the marching band as a freshman. Now he'll join more than a hundred other talented musicians and hopes to end his high school career on the right note.
"I think representing Frederick and my high school, TJ, is an amazing feat. TJ has an amazing marching band program, and I think this will bring a lot of light onto just what we do," Ryan Kieft said.
Ryan plans to double major in music education and cellular biology. He'd like to become a high school band director after getting both of his degrees.
You can watch him play at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on NBC. That will air on January 5, 2013, at 1 p.m.
Some notable NFL alumni of the Bowl include Baltimore Ravens players Haloti Ngata and Michael Oher; Pittsburgh Steelers' running back Rashard Mendenhall; and Philadelphia Eagles players DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy.