Park City High School Senior Dymalski brings home Maestro Award |

Park City High School Senior Dymalski brings home Maestro Award

Park City High School Senior Derrick Dymalski smiles as he walks to his seat during the World Strides Heritage Festival in Topsfield, Mass., last week. The young saxophoneist was given the Maestro Award (Photo by Jon Henry, courtesy of Jon Henry)

When Park City High School senior and saxophonist Derrick Dymalski took off to Topsfield, Mass., for the World Strides Heritage Festival with the PCHS band department, last week, he just expected to have fun with his friends.

On Saturday night, April 20, he was given the Maestro Award, one of the most prestigious awards of the festival.

"It’s handed out to 19 musicians and soloists for excellent performance," Dymalski told The Park Record. "I felt really excited and fortunate to have received it, because a lot of people say good things about how I play, but personally, I see all the flaws. So, it was reassuring to me and it let me know that I am headed in the right direction with my music."

However, the young musician was quick to say that he wasn’t the only one who deserved the award.

"I don’t think music is just about individuals," he said. "I think it’s more about the group you play with. So, seeing how our bands did at the festival’s competition (see accompanying story), I have to say the musicians in those groups that I played with had a big part to play in what the judges heard."

Chris Taylor, director of bands for Park City High School, laughed and said that’s a typical Dymalski response.

"He’s very humble," Taylor said after a chuckle. "Every once in a while you get that one student who is brilliant, and Derrick is that student. He hears music on a different level and performs on a different level."

This isn’t the first Maestro Award for Dymalski, who plays in the PCHS Wind Ensemble and Jazz Band, Taylor said.

"He won one in New York when he was a sophomore, so it was exciting for him to get one this year," he said.

Dymalski began playing music on the piano when he was five, and in the late 2000s, he began playing saxophone.

"I saw a concert at Park City High School band when I was in sixth grade and it was an incredible experience," he remembered. "I got goose bumps."

Then he saw a local saxophonist named David Halliday play a solo.

"That made me want to play saxophone more," Dymalski said. "But in addition to him, there have been so many other musical influences in my life.

"I love jazz and love all the jazz greats, but at the same time, there is such a diverse range of musicians, dead and alive," he said.

Dymalski credits his music teachers who include Brigham Young University’s Director of Jazz Studies and Professor of Saxophone Ray Smith, former Utah Symphony clarinetist Russell Harlow and Lois Kannurlscher, who is a private teacher for Summerhays music.

"They’ve all be incredible mentors who have helped me," he said. "But there are so many others that it is impossible to name all of them."

However, he wanted to make special mention of Taylor and PCHS assistant director of bands Bret Hughes.

"We an incredible program and Mr. Hughes and Mr. Taylor are great directors," Dymalski said. "When I first got into the school, Mr. Taylor set me up to audition for an all-state jazz program that has allowed me to further better myself.

"But even for the people who aren’t serious about going into music, he and Mr. Hughes both instill a sense of professionalism in their groups," Dymalski said. "I feel like even if some of my friends don’t plan to become professional musicians, Mr. Taylor and Mr. Hughes have still taught them the essentials of how to act and behave in the real world."

Dymalski said while music adds so much to his life, the hardest part of playing balancing it with all his other demands.

"I have a goal of practicing a minimum of three hours a day outside of school, which means I don’t count the band classes and lessons," he said. "Because of school and a social life, there are some days I don’t meet that, but it’s fun to try and improve whenever I can.

"I would love to pursue music as a profession for sure and be a performer," Dymalski said. "Hopefully, that will work out, but if it doesn’t, I would like to go into a profession that is related to the music business."

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