It’s an honor reserved for just 125 high school senior band musicians once a year. They’re chosen from across the nation (there were 1,234 nominations this year). They’re flown to San Antonio for an all-expenses paid week of rehearsals and whatever fun and tourism can be squeezed in between. And on Jan. 7, the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band performs before a national television audience (intrusive ads notwithstanding) during the half-time show of the annual U.S. Army All-American Bowl, which puts the nation’s best high school football players, east versus west.
This year, Flagler Palm Coast High School’s Frankie Garcia, a piccolo and flute player (he was chosen for the piccolo) was one of the 125—a first for the high school or the county in the bowl’s decade history. The school announced the honor in a celebratory ceremony this morning at the Flagler Auditorium.
“We were on vacation in Virginia in a little cabin with hardly any service for the computer,” Garcia’s mother, Rebecca O’Shane, said of the day in mid-July when the family found out he’d been chosen. “We kept trying to find it and trying to find it, messing with the service. This was in July. We finally opened got the email on a Friday. I was like, what, do you want to open it? And he just pushed the button and we started screaming, because he was accepted.” Shane Wood, Garcia’s stepfather, was outside the cabin and worried something had gone drastically wrong when he first heard the screaming.
It was all good.
“My main inspiration, how I went to strive for it,” Garcia said, “was like, freshman and sophomore year, a couple of upper-classmen would always say that I wouldn’t make it. That I’m not good enough. I don’t know, that’s just how people were. They were like, ‘No, no, no, you’re not going to do this.’ So I was, like, OK, tell me I’m not, and I’m going to. And I did. Every time somebody tells me I can’t do something, I do it.” He credits his teachers—primarily John Seth, his band teacher at the high school, who nominated him for the all-American band, but also Steve Knob, the band teacher who resigned at Matanzas High School and Indian Trails Middle School (where he taught Garcia) last month over a policy breach. Garcia had nothing but raves for Knob as a teacher.
“I have a long line of family members who have served in the military including two great-grandfathers, a grandfather, two uncles, a cousin and my brother,” Garcia said in one of the audition recordings he sent the army. His brother, Gabriel Garcia, 21, has been deployed in Iraq since May with the famed 82nd Airborne. He was due back by Christmas, part of the withdrawal from Iraq promised by Barack Obama, but his return is delayed until January.
Frankie will be off to San Antonio immediately after New Year’s, though he’ll most likely travel by himself, a first so far away from home for so long. His family isn’t in a position to splurge for the costly stay. He has a sister, Sabrina, a junior and clarinetist in the same band at Flagler Palm Coast High School (she’ll be trying out for the all-American band when she’s a senior), and Sydney Wood, in elementary school.
Frankie Garcia Video Introduction to the All-American Band[media id=259 width=350 height=250]
Speak to him just a few moments about his music and you discover that it’s not a hobby or an afterschool thing: it’s who he is, what he wants to do and be. He describes music as “a way of life, it shows them there’s more to life than just being there. Like, most high school students who aren’t in sports and are in music are just kind of there and haven’t yet found their path. This is a path of life you can do more than just be a person.” He’s expressive when he plays, too—or composes, though he hasn’t done much of that. His “Aztec Rain,” written several years ago, a short piece he composed in eighth grade, manages to be surprisingly lyrical for the work of a young adolescent. He also plays every Saturday with the Volusia Community Symphony in DeLand and performs periodically with the Flagler Youth Orchestra.
He wants to be a band teacher in high school—specifically, he wants to return to Flagler Palm Coast High School and teach there (hear that John?) for 10 or 15 years, earn his master’s and doctorate along the way, and eventually graduate to band leader in college. Meanwhile, he’ll try to get into the Army—but only if he’s accepted in the Army band. If the Army tells him he has to do something else for a while, he’ll opt for college in Florida instead.
He now has the credentials to attract the attention of any college band. He also made the All-State symphonic band playing the flute last year. Oh, yes: the piccolo is just one of his two instruments.
Going from fifth grade to sixth grade, Garcia remembers, one of his teachers had done “Stomp” at his elementary school and caught his interest in music. “I started playing flute because that’s what Shane played in high school,” he says of Shane Wood, his step-father. “He didn’t make me. He inspired me.”
Just as his step-father inspired him, he now inspires Sabrina. “If you ever watch him play he plays with so much emotion, and he just knows how to read his music and know what to play and know how to make it come to life,” she says. “He basically hounded me until I got everything right.” But there’s no rivalry between the two. “He’s basically my best friend. We’re really close, and people always like are, I can never be that close to my brother, how are you guys that close, I’m like, because we understand each other.”
“We’ve gone through so much together,” Frankie says.
“We have this understanding, and we’ve always been there for each other and we’re basically each other’s rock,” Sabrina says, words that amount to a different sort of music to their parents’ ears, those veteran ears that have heard a few million notes in Frankie’s years.
“I’m excited, I’m so proud. It’s really hard being a parent listening to flute and piccolo in a tile-floored house,” his mother said. “It takes a lot of patience. I’ve told everybody I’m so glad to have that patience to let him practice so he can get to this point, because I know a lot of parents don’t have that patience and it holds the kids down.”
barbara haspiel says
Congratulations. How proud we all are of your talent.
Frankie Garcia says
Thank you all so much for your support! It’s a huge honor to live in a community full of such caring people!
Sabrina G says
This is very well put! Very proud of you Frankie ( But i’m a Junior, not a sophomore)
Sherry Melendez says
Even from GA!! Frankie G, I’m so proud of you. Love u
Palm Coasts’ own Festival Park March:
Perhaps this will provide even more inspiration both musically and academically:
DBCC relives 30 years in pictures
By: Jim Miskelly
PALM COAST – Daytona Beach Community College celebrated its 30th Anniversary, complete with an art exhibit, historic photos depicting the 30 years of growth of the college and a concert by the DBCC Concert Band under the direction of Douglas Peterson.
The Art exhibit included 186 paintings and pencil drawing by DBCC students of art instructors Pam Greisenger and Barbara Craig. Many of the paintings were for sale. Dr Paul Thompson, vice president in charge of all DBCC Campuses, displayed a framed sketch on napkins, with the inscription : “Flagler Palm Coast Center” Original Plan, approved in concept by Dr. Charles H. Polk, Pine Lakes Country Club. Nov. 1982. by Paul Thompson, DBCC, Jerry Full, ITT, Gary Walters, ITT.” Thompson said the original plan followed the concept of Merriweather Post’s ‘Wolftrap’ open air theater in Virginia.
Attendance at the evening holiday concert was quite sparse, due to the cold weather. The band’s opening number was Leroy Andersons’ ‘Sleigh Ride.” Charles T. Gabriele conducted the band during the performance of his composition originally played at the dedication of the Flagler Campus,
“Palm Coast Festival Park March.”
Several Christmas numbers and a sing-along entertained the audience, Sharon Crow, alumni affairs director representing the DBCC Foundation and Alumni Association, and vice president Dr. Len O’Hara presented two full art scholachips to the DBCC campus. Contact Larry Goodemote at 445.4030.
Guest Conductor – Professor Charles T. Gabriele conducts his own composition.
Flagler Palm Coast News, Wednesday, December 23, 1987.
Navy Band Orlando Thrills Capacity Crowd at Center
By Jim Miskelly
PALM COAST – It was a first for Palm Coast. In and ideal setting for a Sunday afternoon band concert, an overflow crowd estimated at nearly 1,000 packed the Daytona Beach Community College Flagler Center’s new outdoor theater for the performing arts for a performance by the Navy Band Orland, under the direction of Lt. William D. Myers.
Palm Coast Professor Charles T. Gabriele conducted the band in playing his own composition ” Naval Training Center March,” and the premier performance of his “Palm Coasts Festival Park March.” commemorating the opening of the Cultural Arts Pavilion. Gabriele, former composer in residence of the Naval Academy Band, earned a standing ovation from the audience and the band alike. Gabrielle dedicated the march to ICDC President Alan Smolen, who in turn shared the honor with ICDC Executives Gary Walters and Vince Viscomi for their part in planning the center.
The program opened with the ‘Star Spangled Banner,” setting the pace for a patriotic afternoon. Center Director Larry Goodemote welcomed the audience and County Commission Merle Shoemaker read a Flagler County Commission resolution proclaiming May 20, 1981 as “American Legion Flagler Post 115 Day.”
The American Legion Post, chartered in 19919 is the oldest veterans ‘ organization in Flagler County and was a sponsor of the concert with the cooperation of DBCC’s Flagler Center and ICDC Shoemaker noted this was the first event at which all local veterans’ organizations were represented and welcomed . American Legion Flagler Post 115. Palm Coast VFW Post 8696 , Flagler County FW Post 5213. DAV Chapter MOWW. Shoemaker presented a copy of the resolutions to the American Legion Post Adjutant Cora Buckles.
Rear Adm. Pauline M. Hartington, USN, congratulated Professor Gabriele for his years of service in the Navy and cited him for his compositions.
The concert concluded with ‘Servicemen on Parade,” a medley of familiar service songs with an invitation for former veterans to stand when their service connected song was played.
Wednesday May 23, 1984 – Flagler Palm Coast News Tribune
Monica Campana says
So nice to see a positive story about a great kid! We need more of these!
Congrats Frankie! We are very proud of you and your accomplishments. Many more to come!
Such a great story!! Thank you Frankie for inspiring the rest of us!!
Jim Guines says
This article about Frankie Garcia and his accomplishment reminds me of how excellence in schools can be measured in so many ways other than FCAT, SAT, PSAT and other types of test scores. It is evident that the music education that Frankie received is one of excellence and he has demonstrated it.
A HUGE APPLAUSSE to Frankie Garcia!!
Anthony Powell says
Nice job Frankie! I always envied your musicianship. :) So proud of you man.
Someone who once knew Frankie and Sabrina! says
Awesome job, Congrats for all your hard work it payed off! Sabrina I hope you will get this oppertunity too, to go in the All-American marching band, just like your brother did! Once again, Congrats Frankie!