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River Hill High senior and tuba player Mitchell Evans was one of 125 musicians selected from around the country to perform with the United States Army All-American Marching Band in January. He started playing the tuba in the fourth grade. "I started playing and I fell in love with it and I just haven’t stopped since," he said.

Mitchell Evans started playing tuba nine years ago, in the fourth grade.

"My father had always played an instrument and he was going to get me into an instrument, I'm pretty sure," he said. Evans is now a senior at River Hill High School. "He was going to at least make me try it."

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He decided he wanted to play a low brass instrument, like the trombone, euphonium or tuba.

"My band director tried me on the tuba first because I was the biggest kid and I was the only one that could hold the tuba," said Evans, who is now six feet tall. Tubas usually stand more than three feet high and weigh about 20 pounds. "So I started playing and I fell in love with it and I just haven't stopped."

This Friday, Evans will be recognized during a ceremony at his school for his acceptance into the 2016 United States Army All-American Marching Band. He was nominated by his former band director for the honor and is one of 125 high school musicians selected from thousands of applicants around the country.

Mitchell Evans in his River Hill High School marching band uniform. Mitchell was recently accepted into the 2016 United States Army All-American Marching Band.
Mitchell Evans in his River Hill High School marching band uniform. Mitchell was recently accepted into the 2016 United States Army All-American Marching Band. (Submitted photo)

As part of the application process, Evans had to send in "several audition videos, a letter from my band director and a music resume," he said.

The band will perform at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, a nationally televised high school football game, in San Antonio on Jan. 9.

"It's kind of impressive that they managed to audition some of the best musicians from all over the nation to play in this one ensemble," Evans said. "I'm really excited to play with some of the greatest musicians from around the country."

He will be in San Antonio for a week before the game to receive instruction from "top collegiate, high school and drum and bugle corps instructors from across the country as well as educational sessions with members of the U.S. Army Field Band," according to the band's website.

During the ceremony at his school, which begins at 9:40 a.m. on Friday, representatives from the Army will present Evans with an All-American Marching Band jacket. Howard County Superintendent Renee Foose plans to attend to celebrate Mitchell's accomplishment.

"Mitchell's father and I are extremely proud of him," said Evans' mother, Esther. "Mitchell has always loved playing the tuba and participating in marching band. Seeing his hard work recognized by the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band is a huge accomplishment and a great honor. We can't wait to travel to Texas to see him perform at the Alamodome with all the other talented musicians that were chosen for this band."

Evans' father first inspired him to join marching band.

"My dad is a big marching band nerd," he said. "He'd share all his crazy stories and the good times he had."

That made Evans want to join and experience marching band for himself.

"It's kind of scary going into it as a freshman because it's before school actually starts," he said. "So they stick you in two weeks before with kids who have been in high school for a while. And you're a scared freshman. But I made friends really fast, after the first couple of days. Now it's my favorite thing to do."

Evans has not missed a football game during his three-plus years at River Hill and plays tuba for about three to four hours a day.

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"Between band class and after-school rehearsals and practicing, it all adds up," he said.

In addition to playing in marching band, Evans plays trombone in his school's jazz band and leads a school club of student musicians who perform at senior centers around the county. And he is a member of the county schools' gifted and talented band.

"I like sharing the music with other people," he said, "and playing with my friends."

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