Marching orders: Calvert Hall drummer tabbed to play at U.S. Army All-American Bowl game

David Lovette has faced his share of problems in the last two years, primarily because of health issues facing his father, David Lovette Sr., and the death of his grandmother a couple of years ago.

With that in mind, it would have been easy for the Calvert Hall senior to forget about reaching a musical goal he set for himself by earning a spot in the elite marching band that will play at halftime of the nationally televised U.S. Army All-American Bowl football game in San Antonio in January.


Instead, Lovette plunged full speed ahead toward becoming a U.S. Army All-American band member, one of just 125 selectees from across the United States from thousands of applicants.

The process began late last fall when Lovette submitted the first of three videos that showcased his skills as a drummer in the Calvert Hall Marching Band.


Applications were processed by the National Association for Music Education to choose the top 99 musicians, 25 color guard performers and a drum major.

It took until mid-July for Lovette to hear that he had been picked — the only such honor for a Maryland musician this year.

"It means a lot to me," Lovette said. "Ever since I was a toddler, I played drums to (the 2002 movie) 'Drumline.' Then when I was older, I heard about the Calvert Hall (Instrumental) Music Program."

Now in his fourth year with the band, Lovette has taken a leadership role in the percussion section of the band.

Although he plays tenor drums in the Calvert Hall band, Lovette will man the bass drum as a U.S. Army All-American band member.

He was recognized for his achievement at a special ceremony in Calvert Hall's John Noppinger Jr. Commons on Oct. 19.

Lovette received an honorary jacket in front of family, friends, faculty members, fellow band members and U.S. Army personnel in dress uniforms.

Selectees, who hail from 25 states, will arrive a week before the Jan 17 game and will have between 20-24 hours of practice time together in hopes of becoming a cohesive unit.


At halftime of the 17th edition of the game pitting 100 of the nation's best high school football players playing in an East All-Stars against the West All-Stars format, the band will perform for up to 10 minutes on the field in front of an expected 40,000 fans at the Alamodome.

"It's pretty amazing what they can do in just one week," said Mike Ulatoski, a spokesman for All American Games, which produces the event, who noted that the selectees will be mentored by members of the U.S. Army Field Band.

Former football stars who participated in the game include New York Giants wideout Odell Beckham Jr., Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and Stanford University all-purpose threat Christian McCaffrey.

Ulotoski said that the football players and band members often become lifelong friends through the experience.

As the leader of the Calvert Hall band's drumline, Lovette has earned the respect of his fellow band members.

"He's always there to help his teammates," said Sarah Fabian, an assistant band director.


She said that Lovette's talent has aided his rise through the band's ranks of top musicians.

"David has come so far from when he first came here," Fabian said. "He's a versatile percussionist — the top of the top."

Yet Lovette does not allow his family situation affect his passion for music and marching.

"Even though his dad is very ill, you'd never know how much it is affecting David by looking at him," the school's director of instrumental music Brian Ecton said. "He just doesn't show it."

David Lovette Sr. said that his son was "very concerned" when the elder Lovette was first diagnosed with kidney disease that forced him to shuffle in and out of the hospital for over a year.

"David really helped me during that time," his dad said, revealing that he still receives dialysis treatment three times per week. "He thought he was going to lose me. He stepped up to the plate, but he still kept up with the band and his schoolwork."


His mother, Lynda Lovette, said that her son is a "go-getter who, once he gets something in his mind, really goes after it."

According to Ecton and Fabian, that's the kind of mindset that has inspired the talented teen to excel in all aspects of his life.

They both point to the stamina and strength needed to lug 40-pound tenor drums while executing a variety of marching routines.

"It's physically and mentally demanding," Ecton said. "It's a heavy instrument."

"And David makes it look so easy," added Fabian.

As the consummate team player, Lovette is willing and able to do anything the coaches ask.


"Even if you ask him to do something like pick up uniforms and hang them up, David is always there to help," she said.

And teamwork is one of the attributes that selectees for the prestigious honor have displayed on their respective bands.

"They have to be dedicated and motivated," said Sgt. Justin Arrant, one of the U.S. Army personnel on hand for the event. "And they have to know how to be part of the team as well as being a leader. David embodies all of the best characteristics of the U.S. Army."

An earlier version of this story misidentified Sarah Fabian. She is an assistant band director for Calvert Hall.