WEST JORDAN — Utah will be represented in the All-American Marching Band by a snare drummer from Copper Hills High School. The band presents the halftime show at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio on Jan. 8.
Brennen Davis will be one of 125 students in the band.
"It's exciting," said Brennen, who lived in Utah before moving to North Carolina for a number of years, but now is back in Utah for his senior year. "The snare drum is very cool. I love the notes we play, how cool we look."
In the short time he has been at Copper Hills, Brennen has already made an impact, says band director Jonathan Simpson. "He's a great teacher among the drum line. And he will do anything on percussion that I ask. He's an incredible musician."
Marching band requires training, discipline and experience, qualities that make participants mentally and physically strong, said Lt. Col. Grant Stanfield, an admission officer with the U.S. Army based at the University of Utah.
Those same skills and values are important in defending our country, he said. "So it is a natural for the Army, which is the embodiment of teamwork, to sponsor the All-American Marching Band, comprised of high school students from around the country."
Stanfield attended Monday's selection ceremony for Davis at Copper Hills.
Davis actually started out on the saxophone, said his father, Darrell Davis. Then he went to a summer music camp, where he could try anything. "He picked drums up right away, and made the snare line right off. His teacher said he had natural hands."
That was fun for Davis, "because I played the drums at the University of Utah."
Assistant Principle Bryan Leggat is also proud of Brennen. "It's a huge honor for our school to have one of our kids represent us at the Alamodome. He's really worked hard to achieve this. He's put in a lot of hours of work."
Playing on a national stage is not exactly new for Brennen, said his father. "In his sophomore year, he was in a percussion ensemble that went to the Bands of America National Music Festival in Indianapolis. He went to the festival again the next year with the Symphonic Band." But the whole family is excited about this latest honor, said his mother, Laura: "He's always drumming on something," it's just a part of who he is.
For the past 10 years, the U.S. Army All-American Bowl has been the nation's premiere high school football game in America, says Stanfield. Among its alumni are college and NFL stars such as Adrian Peterson, Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow, Vince Young and Percy Harvin.
For the past four years, the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band has provided an equal showcase for young musicians. Participants are chosen by the National Association for Music Education, Drum Corps International, Head Director and Show coordinator Nola Jones, and All-American Games, the New Jersey based marketing and events management company that produces the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Students are selected on the basis of audition tapes.
"These students have earned the right to wear our colors," Stanfield said as he presented Brennen with his official hat and jacket for the band at an assembly at Copper Hills. "They know, as our brave soldiers know, about loyalty, duty, respect, personal courage. They know how to be a member of a team; they know how to be leaders."