A Necessary Honor – Dominic Schneider of FHN named to US Army All-American Band

Posted on 11/01/2017
Dominic Schneider (center) with members of FHN Band.

Dominic Schneider, a senior at Francis Howell North, is exactly what his team needs. There is no bigger high school football game than the U.S. Army All-American Bowl (Jan. 6, 2018), where the best football players in the nation square off against each other. It’s a great honor to be selected to play … in the band. Schneider, a member of the FHN band, has a new team – the U.S. Army All-American Band, comprised of 150 of the best marching band members in the U.S.

The U.S. Army recons the country to find the best musicians, and Army Staff Sergeant China Lee covers the Midwest. “Dominic was chosen to join the All-American Bowl Marching Band,” Lee said, “and he is the only one in this state to be chosen.” To be one of 150 is amazing, but Dominic was selected from a pool of thousands. “We found Dominic to have those leadership abilities that we really do look for – to not only stand out in school but also in the community. Dominic has definitely shown that he wants to stand up and do more than the regular student.”

Every branch of the U.S. military puts an emphasis on leadership and character, which Dominic displays. “Everything is about character,” she said. “We have the Army Values (Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage), and these students embody those qualities. That’s what we look for.”

Dominic Schneider dons his US Army All-American Band jacket.“It feels great,” Dominic said. “I’ve obviously worked really hard for this, so I’m really glad.” After all those long nights of practicing when he could have been playing video games or binge-watching some TV show, the recognition is rewarding. “It’s just a lot of time and a lot of practice to get this good. So it’s gratifying.”

Dominic started playing tuba when he was in seventh grade. “It was just the need for it, I guess,” he said. “Not a lot of people want to play such a big instrument.” It may be large and a bit heavy, but the tuba is truly necessary to modern bands and orchestras. “It’s the base of the music, the low voice that every band really needs.”

His band teacher, Rob Stegeman, said, “I think Dominic is an easy choice for this. He’s one of those kids who’s constantly pushing himself to be the absolute best, and he’s meticulous in his practice. He’s been taking private lessons for a very long time, and so he’s very focused on his goals as a musician, as well. He always shows up prepared, and is always giving his best.”

Dominic explained, “Mr. (Paul) Ahlemeyer has been my lesson instructor for a really long time, and built me up into the (musician) I am now.”

The young man also credited his parents, Mark and Janet Schneider. “My parents really pushed me,” he said, “especially when I didn’t want to practice or work on something. They were the ones to say you need to get better. And it was very much worth it.”

All that diligence and encouragement has paid off, as Dominic will represent FHN and the state of Missouri at the All-American Bowl. He said, “Playing with really great musicians will be a fantastic experience. It will just be an honor.”

It may be an honor for him, but the young man with the tuba is exactly what his team needs.

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