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Rosemount student is all-star musician

Kevin Golla has played a lot of big concerts as a member of the Rosemount High School marching band. He's won state titles and performed in the Metrodome and in the Edward Jones Dome, home of the St. Louis Rams. But it's fair to say he's never had a musical experience quite like the one he'll have come January.

The RHS senior was one of 100 students nationwide selected in July to perform as part of the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band. Band members will attend a camp early next year in San Antonio and perform at halftime of the All-American Bowl, a high school football all-star game to be played at the Alamodome and carried live on NBC.

"This is a big deal," RHS band director John Theisen said. "This is a national event and there's a lot of qualified students from all over the country. It's pretty competitive stuff."

Band director Steve Olsen nominated Golla, who will play fourth bass drum in the band. Golla also had to submit a series of audition videos showing off his poise and his posture as well as his drumming ability.

Golla said more than 300 musicians nationwide submitted audition videos. He tried out with friend Sean Conway.

Golla got a package in late July informing him he'd been chosen. Conway, who was not selected, was one of the first people he called.

"It was really exciting," Golla said. "When I told Sean he was like, 'No way.' I had to show him."

Music has been a part of Golla's life for years. He started drumming in fifth grade. He currently plays tenor, bass and snare drums in the RHS band and is a member of the honor wind ensemble. He also plays tenor drums in the St. Paul Police Band.

"It's time consuming but fun," he said. "Band is both a challenge and rewarding. It's also a great way to meet people. I've met a lot of my friends through marching band."

Golla will take the all-expenses-paid trip to San Antonio on Dec. 29. He'll participate in a band camp there but he'll also get a chance to tour landmarks like the Alamo. He'll work with some of the best band directors in the country to perfect his performance for the Jan. 3 game. Golla expects more than 30,000 people in the stands at the game.

Golla said he's looking forward to the learning experience and to the people he will meet on his trip.

"It's very rigorous but it's also rewarding because we don't just practice, practice, practice," said Golla, whose family lived in San Antonio for a time. "Walking into the stadium with the All-American Bowl will be kind of breathtaking when I see all those eyes."

Media attention

Golla's selection will bring some attention to Rosemount High School next week. A crew will show up Oct. 22 to record a profile of Golla. Golla will have to give a two-minute speech to the students gathered in the RHS student center.