Army All-American Band Diary: Jordan Morack’s Inspirational Story After Hurricane Katrina Devastation


The Army All-American Bowl is more than a football game. The best musicians from across the country have been in San Antonio all week, preparing for their performance at the Alamodome in Saturday’s game. We also want to share some stories from the US Army All-American Marching Band.

This diary entry is from Jordan Morack, an alto sax player from Cookeville, Tenn., About an hour east of Nashville. Morack and his family moved from Biloxi, Mississippi, after being displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

I was the first person to come here to San Antonio so it was nice to welcome and meet all of my fellow All-Americans as they arrived here.

On Tuesday we set up three blocks of rehearsal so about eight hours of rehearsal and had the whole opener on the field and memorized everything. I think the football guys devote three hours a day on the pitch to each team and we put in eight a day. It’s a lot of work.

The whole idea of ​​being a musician is to practice perfection so I felt like I was in my natural environment. In music, there is no second rehearsal of anything on stage. The first time has to be perfect on every ride, every performance. That’s the idea here. We are all working together to achieve that perfect performance.

During my freshman year of high school, a student teacher, Ryan Ramsey, from my high school had been All-American in the saxophone section when he was in high school. He told me about it and served as a great mentor to me. From the first year, I set myself the goal of one day becoming an All-American. Since then, I have been working and training every day. It takes me four to five hours a day to train to prepare for these kinds of events. Last year we submitted our audition tapes – you had to play a solo, then scroll and play something from memory, and a little video interview. I have been blessed and honored to be accepted.

I chose the group because I was bad at sports. Like all college students, I was trying to find my place. I chose the saxophone because I loved listening to a lot of 80s jazz and rock and roll music. As soon as I started playing, I knew that was what I was going to do for it. rest of my life. We traveled a lot between Mississippi and Louisiana when I was young, so I was in this Cajun culture where there is a lot of jazz and Dixieland. It was the environment I was in.

When Hurricane Katrina hit we were living in Biloxi, Miss. I had just turned 7 a week ago. The business where my father worked was destroyed, so the business moved to Tennessee and that’s why we moved there.

I draw a lot of my inspiration from my parents. We lost our home. We have lost everything. They had four children, and seeing how they were able to recover from something so devastating through love and hard work taught me that I can go anywhere, and I did with it. the All-American Band.

Both of my parents graduated from Tennessee Tech in the last three years after we moved – my dad in IT and my mom in accounting – and they did in 2.5 years. We weren’t really comfortable and on welfare. With four children, they decided they were going to change the way we live. They graduated with honors – my mom with a 3.9 GPA. If they can do it, I can play the saxophone well sometimes.

After Hurricane Katrina, a lot of people didn’t realize that no one had anything, especially in the coastal area where we lived. Much of what happened was corruption and people doing bad things. It was sad to see. We didn’t live in a wealthy part of town. There were no successful people. My parents and I then decided that we were going to be successful. I don’t want my kids or anyone else to live by that standard. I want my kids to be proud of me, I want to be proud of me. I am proud of my parents. They put this on me. I was inspired by that and it got me where I am.


About Joan J. Hernandez

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