BY LOUISE R. SHAW
Clipper Staff Writer
FARMINGTON – If you weren’t a fan of Eric Darius before he visited Davis County last week, you were after.
The saxophonist brought energy and enthusiasm to Farmington Junior High, where he put on a dynamic program mixing music with motivation.
“I’m going to go home and practice at least four hours,” said Jacob Christensen, a trumpet player in the school jazz band.
Darius had told the kids he started out practicing four to five hours a day. That work allowed him to develop the skills that have given him the opportunity to perform with Prince, Carlos Santana, Wyclef Jean, George Benson and Brian McKnight.
“There’s one secret that no matter what it is you want to be, there is one thing in common,” he said. That secret is hard work, or, in the case of music, practice, he said.
“I put in a lot of time and hard work early on,” he said. “That’s what it takes ... Musicians all have hard work in common.”
Darius’ love of saxophone music began when he was 9 years old.
At 10, he was part of America’s Youngest Jazz Band and traveled around the world performing.
He remembers a performance in Switzerland, where he realized that even though no one could understand his English, he could communicate with his saxophone.
“This is what I want to do for the rest of my life,” he told himself.
Music, he said, is a way of expressing himself no matter his mood. He plays all different styles, from jazz to hiphop, country to rock.
Things didn’t always go his way, he told the 400 students gathered Р 300 of them band students.
An early dream he had was to attend Juilliard, but although he made the cut from 500 to 10, he didn’t make the final cut to five.
“Many would have given up on the dream, but I didn’t,” he said. In his first year of college, he signed a record deal.
“Always follow your dreams,” he told students. “No matter what it is, stay focused. I’m living my dream.”
Besides performing his original songs and arrangements, Darius played along with the jazz band for several numbers, taking a turn with the students at improvising a solo.
“I don’t know if you realize it, but you are one of the best bands in the country,” he told them.
“They’ll remember this for the rest of their lives,” said Heath Wolf, who directs the band program along with Christine Wolf, assistant director. “It is an opportunity that is unbelievably motivational. Having an artist of this caliber is off the charts unbelievable.”