KAYSVILLE -- Tournament of Roses President Sally Bixby visited Davis High School on Saturday to present the school's marching band with an official invitation to perform in the 2013 Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif.
Bixby presented band members with the official flag of the Tournament of Roses Parade and praised their efforts in becoming such an accomplished marching band.
"We know from traveling the country that you are only in the Rose Parade if you are the best of the best," Bixby said. "Over 80 bands applied. Only 15 were chosen. ... Be very proud of your school and your band."
The band will perform on New Year's Day in the 124th annual Rose Parade in front of approximately 700,000 parade route viewers and more than 39 million television viewers.
"I'm very proud of this band. They have done a great honor for Davis High by being recognized as one of the best bands in western America," said Principal Dee Burton.
The theme for the upcoming parade is "Oh, The Places You'll Go!" based on the children's book by Dr. Seuss.
"The 2013 theme is about seizing the moment, throwing off the realistic cares of our daily lives and charging forth confidently," Bixby said.
"It is meant to encourage all to reach higher than the highest star, and to create and explore a world that is full of possibility, rich with imagination and bursting with discovery."
The band is already incorporating this theme into its performances.
While presenting a short program for Bixby and her husband, Harlan Bixby, band members quoted lines from the classic Dr. Seuss story and related them to the songs they performed.
One of the songs they performed was "Don't Stop Believin' " by Journey, as evidence of their persistence and determination to be accepted into the parade.
"It is such a great honor to march in the Rose Parade this upcoming year," said band member Justin Mckeen.
"We realize that a bunch of bands tried out for the Rose Parade, and I honestly didn't think we would be able to go. But we believed in ourselves, and we made it."
In appreciation of Bixby's visit, the band presented her with a handmade quilt depicting various famous landmarks and unique characteristics of Utah.
Sherri Chambers, deemed "band mom extraordinaire" by the group, volunteered more than 250 hours to create the quilt.
Chambers' 12 children are alumni of the Davis band program. She continues to volunteer part time for the band even though her children have all graduated.
"It's a good program, and I love the kids," Chambers said.
Bixby was also presented with a key to the cities of Kaysville and Fruit Heights by their respective mayors: Mayor Steve Hiatt and Mayor Pro Tem Craig Hill.
"It is a great honor for our students, an experience they will treasure throughout their lives," Hiatt said in presenting the key to Bixby.
"It is also an honor for our community, as our students have an opportunity to represent us on a national level."
Band director Steven Hendricks wanted to ensure Bixby's trip to Utah was memorable and enjoyable. Bixby and her husband were treated to an evening of dinner, dancing and 1940s-style entertainment Friday as part of the band's annual "Moonlight Serenade."
The Bixbys also planned to visit Park City and Temple Square before the trip was over.
Hendricks said the band is planning many fundraisers and asking for sponsors to help cover the $200,000 needed to cover trip costs.
The next fundraiser will be May 18 and 19, in which former Harlem Globetrotters players will play a basketball game against local celebrities and dignitaries, including Gov. Gary Herbert. Tickets to the event are available at Bowman's Grocery and Fresh Market in Kaysville.