DAVIS COUNTY, Utah -- The Davis High School marching band has packed their instruments for the long trek to New York City. The band will be performing in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.
“These are incredible kids, they work hard, they have a great attitude. I tell them all the time: 'I teach the best kids in the best state in the best country in the world,'" said Steven Hendricks, the Davis High Band Director.
Hendricks called the honor something 99.9% of high school marching band students will never get to experience. His students practice two and a half hours a day three times a week, even more when preparing for a performance.
“Oh it’s really here now, so it’s like: wow!” Hendricks said.
An estimated three and a half million people watch the parade live in New York City, and as many as another 50 million watch on television. But it isn’t performing on one of the world’s biggest stages that has kept Hendricks coming back year after year. It’s been the impact he’s seen the marching band have on his students.
“From kids who are struggling with depression who’ve discovered the physical activity and making a group of friends has made such a difference in their lives," Hendricks said.
The band includes several students who have special needs.
“It’s a place where diversity is welcome and accepted," Hendricks said. "We have every ethnicity, we have kids who are gay, we have kids who are straight and they’re all welcome."
Several of his drum majors shared the impact being part of the band has had on their lives.
“Its life changing because of what you learn and what you experience with the people around you,” said Shanelle Sorensen, a senior drum major.
“It really just helps people understand what they love about life and what they can achieve,” said Madison Wolf, a senior drum major.
The band will board a plane on Monday, headed for the Big Apple. Thursday morning they rehearse at 4:30 in Herald Square, just a few hours before they hit the parade route.