Kaysville • It is 80 degrees outside, but huge snowflakes fly across the field and Christmas carols are being performed.
It's all part of Davis High School Marching Band's preparation for its upcoming performance at the 124th Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif., on New Year's Day.
It sounds as if band director Steven Hendricks' voice is coming from the clouds as he stands perched high in a boom lift. He looks down on his band, offering encouragement and direction as his voice carries across the field via speaker. Hendricks has exceptional vision identifying students so far away. He calls out band members individually, their names echoed from high above: "Joey, make sure you have your dinkles [band shoes] on; it's dinkle day. Trevor, stay on your dot."
Hendricks also speaks to the group. "There is only one acceptable result," he yells.
"Perfection!" the band responds in unison.
"Make this final run awesome, toes up, feet up, fantastic music, blow me away," he says.
Three hours into practice, the students are going strong. They are getting lots of feedback and have direction coming from the band director, assistant directors, drum majors, choreographers and section leaders.
There is symmetry in the 300 students on the field. They march forward, backward, sideways; they bend, straighten and bend again; they weave among one another. The drill team moves among musicians carrying snowflakes; they wave flags and throw rifles and sabres.
The marching band is a well-organized group moving individually but performing as one. Students practice three hours a day, four days a week. Perfection is indeed their goal.
Being in the marching band is a workout for the mind and body. A healthy dose of coordination is helpful as well. The drums band members carry weigh anywhere between 15 and 45 pounds.
"You have to have a work ethic. You have to be able to adapt correctly, or you're not going to be able to play clean with the rest of the line," said drum-line leader Brendan Child, 18.
Davis High last went to the Rose Bowl Parade in 2003. The school was selected to attend again this year based on an application that included video of the band performing.
Getting 300 band and flag-team members to the Tournament of Roses Parade is no easy task. Band leaders, band members, parents and the community are all working to support the trip.
Fundraising activities have been in full swing since April. A minimum of $191,000 is needed to get students to the parade. The cost for each student is $1,100. School policy mandates that only $800 can be assessed to each student. This leaves raising money on the shoulders of the band, and an impressive amount is left to individual members and their families.
Those interested in making a donation to help students go to the Rose Bowl can do so online at http://www.davisbands.org.
Money doesn't stand in the way of the band's enthusiasm.
Sarah Goodrich, 18-year-old senior and flag captain, smiles when she talks about the Tournament of Roses Parade.
"Oh my gosh, I love parades. People get so excited, and there is such a spirit there. People get pumped, and this is the coolest parade ever!" she said.
Band members won't be ushering in the new year like most kids their age. They plan to party with a band from New York City and be in bed by 9 p.m. so they can be up and ready to head out for their performance by 4 a.m.
All four drum majors are excited to be headed to the parade. Because Davis High is a huge school, they know that students can get lost in the shuffle. But they said they feel that the band gives members a family within the school. They all feel that the band influences how they perform in other aspect of their lives.
"You are being pushed to excel in band, and it spills over into other parts of your life," said senior Alecia Southwick, 17.
Everyone looks forward to the parade, but senior Chase Blackwell, 17, is already thinking about looking backward.
"When I'm older and watching the Tournament of Roses Parade on television, I will be able to say, 'I remember when I did that,' " he said.
The drum majors all have one goal in mind: "To make our mothers proud!"
Jan. 1 at 9 a.m. MST
Airs on ABC, NBC and Univision
Features marching bands, parades and equestrian groups