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Norwin, Laurel Highlands students selected to perform with Army All-American Marching Band

Jamie Martines
| Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017, 9:42 p.m.
Phil Jurkovec, Quarterback for the Pine-Richland football team, poses for a photo after being selected to play on the US Army All-American Bowl team at a school pep rally on Nov. 16, 2017.
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Phil Jurkovec, Quarterback for the Pine-Richland football team, poses for a photo after being selected to play on the US Army All-American Bowl team at a school pep rally on Nov. 16, 2017.
Colton Dietz, center, accepts a jacket from U.S. Army Major Tim Moreau (left) and Staff Sgt. China Lee (right). Dietz, a senior trombone player at Norwin High School, will play with the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band during halftime at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio in January 2018. He was honored at a ceremony at Norwin High School on Nov. 17, 2017.
Jamie Martines| Tribune-Review
Colton Dietz, center, accepts a jacket from U.S. Army Major Tim Moreau (left) and Staff Sgt. China Lee (right). Dietz, a senior trombone player at Norwin High School, will play with the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band during halftime at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio in January 2018. He was honored at a ceremony at Norwin High School on Nov. 17, 2017.
Phil Jurkovec, Quarterback for the Pine-Richland football team, gives remarks after being selected to play on the US Army All-American Bowl team at a school pep rally on Nov. 16, 2017.
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Phil Jurkovec, Quarterback for the Pine-Richland football team, gives remarks after being selected to play on the US Army All-American Bowl team at a school pep rally on Nov. 16, 2017.
Phil Jurkovec, Quarterback for the Pine-Richland football team, gives remarks after being selected to play on the US Army All-American Bowl team at a school pep rally on Nov. 16, 2017.
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Phil Jurkovec, Quarterback for the Pine-Richland football team, gives remarks after being selected to play on the US Army All-American Bowl team at a school pep rally on Nov. 16, 2017.
Colton Dietz, a senior trombone player at Norwin High School, will play with the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band during halftime at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio in January 2018. Dietz was honored at a ceremony at Norwin High School on Nov. 17, 2017.
Jamie Martines| Tribune-Review
Colton Dietz, a senior trombone player at Norwin High School, will play with the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band during halftime at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio in January 2018. Dietz was honored at a ceremony at Norwin High School on Nov. 17, 2017.
Colton Dietz, a senior trombone player at Norwin High School, will play with the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band during halftime at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio in January 2018. Dietz was honored at a ceremony at Norwin High School on Nov. 17, 2017.
Jamie Martines| Tribune-Review
Colton Dietz, a senior trombone player at Norwin High School, will play with the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band during halftime at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio in January 2018. Dietz was honored at a ceremony at Norwin High School on Nov. 17, 2017.

There's nothing like playing in an orchestra, enveloped by sound: the swell of the timpani, force of the brass and delicate precision of the strings.

“When everyone plays together, and plays as a unit, it just feels like magic to me,” said Colton Deitz, a senior trombone player at Norwin High School.

Dietz will have the chance to bring a little bit of that sonic magic from the concert hall to the football field when he plays with the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl halftime show, which will be held at San Antonio's Alamodome in January.

Dietz will be joined by Elizabeth Rockwell, a senior percussionist at Laurel Highlands High School, who will take the field as a member of the band's front ensemble.

“We get to work a lot with very experienced and capable staff members down there, people who have been involved in military and music at the same time, so it's going to be great to be able to meet those folks,” said Rockwell, who quickly ascended to All-American status after picking up percussion just four years ago as a freshman. She got her start as a musician at 5 years old with piano lessons.

“I enjoyed having to work for it,” Rockwell said. “It was something I didn't mind sitting for hours and working on stuff for.”

Dietz is similarly motivated, practicing at least three hours per day on top of ensemble rehearsals and lessons. He started playing trombone in fifth grade and has since played with elite regional and national performing groups.

The son of a Navy veteran, Dietz said the military is close to him.

“Just to get to do something like this, and wear the colors of the U.S. Army, and do something that I love it do, it makes me feel very special and honored,” Dietz said.

Pine-Richland High School quarterback Phil Jurkovec will join 100 of the top football players in the country as a member of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl East team.

“I'm really looking forward to it, I think it's a great event in that we're able to acknowledge and honor our military in the U.S. Army while competing against players from across the country,” Jurkovec said.

Jurkovec, who said he is very hopeful for the future, has committed to play for Notre Dame next year.

Rounding out the Pennsylvania delegation is defensive lineman Micah Parsons, of Harrisburg High School, who will play with Jurkovec on the East team.

Jamie Martines is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at jmartines@tribweb.com, 724-850-2867 or on Twitter @Jamie_Martines.

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