Strasburg senior selected for Army All-American Band

Strasburg High School senior Sophia Lederman, right, poses with high school band director, Chris Szuba, at her school on Thursday. Lederman was named a member of the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band, which will perform at the All-American Bowl on Jan. 3 in San Antonio, Texas. Josette Keelor/Daily

STRASBURG — Strasburg High School senior Sophia Lederman was honored Thursday in a presentation to welcome her as a member of the 2015 U.S. Army All-American Band.

The 17-year-old will perform with 124 other students from around the country at a halftime event on Jan. 3, during the Army’s All-American Bowl at the Alamo Dome in San Antonio, Texas.

Thursday’s presentation was part of a tour to welcome new members, and Sophia was honored in front of friends, family, teachers and band members in the band room at Strasburg High.

Sophia said she joined band six years ago because it sounded like it would be fun.

“I never could have imagined doing something this exciting,” she said.

After hearing about the opportunity from other band members, she said she auditioned as a way of honoring her boyfriend, Pvt. First Class Brandon Stone, a student at James Madison University and member of the Army Reserves.

“Brandon was my main motivation to audition for the band, because I wanted to support everything that he’s doing,” she said. “He really opened up my eyes to the importance of the military and I am very excited to honor them with our performance at the Army Bowl.”

She also plans to attend James Madison and study music education.

Calling Sophia “a leader with a servant’s heart,” band director Chris Szuba said she has been an inspiration not only to her fellow band members but also to him.

Two years ago she was the school’s first band student to make all-state band since 1979, and the only student ever to make all-state in consecutive years.

“She works hard and is dedicated more than almost anyone I know,” Szuba said.

Sophia is the school’s second student to make the All-American Band, which started 15 years ago. The first was percussionist Daniel Davis in 2008.

But Sophia’s recognition is especially emotional for Szuba, who also teaches at the middle school level. She was among the first students he taught in Strasburg.

“This year’s seniors were in my very first group of sixth graders when I started this job seven years ago,” he said. “… I’m going to be a wreck on graduation day.”

“I can’t even describe how proud I am of her,” Szuba said. “It’s pretty awesome.”

The U.S. Army All-American Bowl will air live on NBC at noon on Jan. 3.

Contact staff writer Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or jkeelor@nvdaily.com