FARMINGTON — Band members at Farmington Junior High School love their band and are dedicated hard workers; but it wasn’t just the work of this year’s students that earned a prestigious award for the school’s band program.
Bands — past and present — contributed to the recent recognition of the school and director Heath Wolf and his assistant director Christine Wolf.
Heath Wolf will be presented with the Sudler Cup on Friday at the Farmington Junior High band concert, which begins at 6 p.m. in the Davis High School Auditorium, 325 S. Main, Kaysville.
According to Christine Wolf, alumni from the school are invited to attend, and a few will even be performing with the various bands.
The Sudler Cup award is made possible through the generosity of Louis and Virginia Sudler and is sponsored by the Sudler Foundation. Louis Sudler wanted to inspire and assist talented young musicians. A musician himself, Sudler was a soloist and played with orchestras and symphonic bands. He was recognized for his leadership of the Orchestral Association of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
“We were encouraged to apply (for the Sudler Cup) by the foundation,” Heath Wolf said.
Holding a thick, black binder containing the application, Christine Wolf said the application includes invitations to play at national festivals and competitions, adjudication sheets, evaluation forms, news articles, letters of recommendation from throughout the nation, recordings and the school’s Philosophy of Music Education. The information is not only from this year’s bands but from bands in prior years.
“There is a big check list of things that have to be done,” Heath Wolf said.
“This is the first band in the Western United States to win this award and the first in Utah. It puts us in the top 2 percent of bands in the United States for junior high and middle schools. It is quite an honor — I’m excited about that,” Christine Wolf said.
Heath Wolf has been the director of bands at Farmington Junior High for nearly 11 years. Ensembles under his direction have earned superior ratings at local and state-sponsored festivals and competitions.
He is also an active performer as a freelance percussionist and as a member of the Utah Chamber Orchestra, which provides musical accompaniment for Ballet West. He has written published articles and has written music for percussion ensembles.
Ninth-grade student Bryan Burbank plays a trombone in the school’s symphonic band.
“We work really hard together. We work as a team and have a lot of energy. I love it here,” Burbank said of the band.
“When I was 3, I saw someone play a flute in a band. It was the coolest thing, so I decided to be in a band,” said flutist Crystal Draper, who has played for three years.
She added that playing the flute has improved her concentration skills.
“Mr. and Mrs. Wolf definitely deserve it (the Sudler Cup). I’m really excited,” said Draper, who also plays a piccolo.
Wearing his white gloves, ninth-grader Ethan Wilkinson picked up his tuba and played with the symphonic band, but he also plays a trombone and sings in the jazz band.
“I really like low instruments. I sing bass. It’s something I love,” Wilkinson said.
He has played the tuba for only a year and a half, but he also takes private lessons.
These students and others have gained a real love for music and will be playing in high school bands next year.
Wilkinson has already auditioned for and earned a spot in the top band at Davis High School.
“Taking private lessons has really helped me,” he said. “I love band. I love music. It is such a blessing to have such great band directors and great teachers.”
As the symphonic band rehearsed this week during class, Heath Wolf told the students to play the march without him.
“I’m just for show on a march. You’re going to be on your own. You can do it without me,” Heath Wolf said as the band played John Philip Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever.”
That song and many others will be performed at the Friday concert. The public is invited.