KAYSVILLE -- Davis High School has one of the most accomplished band programs in the state and can be counted among the "best of the best," as evidenced by the band's recent invitation to perform in the 2013 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif.
At the core of the program are more than 300 teenagers who dedicate many hours each week, both during and after school, toward perfecting their music and working as a team.
"(Being in the band) is about learning how to work well with people, how to be friends with others, and trying to come together with a common goal to create something great," said Jacob D. Christensen, 18, who emphasized that the "D" was important because there is another Jacob Christensen in the band.
Christensen, a senior who will attend Brigham Young University in the fall, plays the bassoon in the concert band and is one of three drum majors for the marching band.
Drum majors are student directors who lead the band from platforms at the front of the performing field. They also function as the bands' student leadership.
The various bands at Davis have received numerous accolades over the years.
The marching band has been a Bands of America regional finalist the past four years and has placed in the top five each time. In 2011 they placed third overall and won the "outstanding visual performance" caption. This score placed them in the top 25 in the nation.
In addition to an excellent marching band, Davis has received superior ratings for its concert percussion ensemble, indoor marching percussion unit, jazz ensemble, wind ensemble, and its three concert bands.
Students have also excelled in individual competitions at the state solo and ensemble festival. The school recently represented 26 percent of the superior ratings in winds and percussion with 36 superior ratings at the state competition.
Although the band has received these numerous awards, many of the students are not focused on the prestige that comes with them.
"(Our) focus has never been on the awards we are going to win, (our) goal is always to do the best possible performance we can," said senior trumpeter Kelsey Hoffman, 18. "The coolest thing is to come off the field knowing you all did your best."
Students also expressed their love for the music they play.
Christensen explained that being in band has helped him learn to convey his emotions through music.
"That is one of the key parts of great music," he said.
Megan Miller, 17 and a senior who plays the alto saxophone, agreed, saying, "We have so much connection and emotion toward the music that we are playing. We have a love and desire for the music."
At the head of this well-known program is Steven Hendricks, band director at Davis for the past 22 years.
"Mr. Hendricks ... can relate to students like none other. He cares for each one of us and our musical capabilities, and because of that we want to excel," said Miller.
Hendricks praised the individual efforts of each band member and the importance of their labors in creating his elite band.
"These are my kids and what they are accomplishing, but it still blows my mind how much they do," he said. "They just want to be the best musicians they can be."
Davis has several students go on to play in college each year, and most receive some type of music scholarship. The outgoing seniors typically receive around $150,000 in scholarship money each year, Hendricks said.
Christensen, Hoffman and Miller have all helped add to the 2012 total by receiving college scholarships.
Hoffman and Miller both plan to continue their music at the college level, while Christensen plans to major in chemical engineering with a minor in statistics.
"My viewpoint is that I have had my chance to carry the banner, and now I need to pass it on," Christensen said. "Now (future students) can add to it. (They) reap the benefits of what we have done."
For complete listings of each school's graduates see the Standard-Examiner's e-edition.