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Davis Journal

Bountiful High band director lays down his baton

May 27, 2022 10:57AM ● By Becky Ginos

Danny Turnblom and the Bountiful High jazz band perform at ‘Fools for Jazz’ a popular annual event at the school. Turnblom is retiring after 25 years as band director.

BOUNTIFUL—It’s been 25 years since Danny Turnblom became the band director at Bountiful High School and developed an award winning program. Now with his retirement at the end of this month he’ll be turning his baton over to someone new.

“It’s a former student who is taking over,” he said. “He graduated in 2011. His roots are here and he knows the community. We’re just thrilled. He’s outstanding in every way. It’s nice to hand over the steering wheel to him.”

Turnblom’s love for music started at a young age. “I was raised in a family of eight children and we were all musical,” he said. “My mother was an excellent pianist so we all played or sang, and I got that itch when I was a senior in high school that I needed to do music.”

He got his start teaching band, choir and directing musicals in 1986 in St. Anthony, Idaho, then got a master’s in musical education at BYU. In 1992 he taught for two years at Bingham High then went to Rexburg in 1994 where he taught a mix of junior high and high school students. 

“I came to Bountiful High in 1997,” said Turnblom. “I taught some history of filmmaking, music, AP music theory but mostly band. I’ve also taught two levels of guitar classes since 2005.”

Turnblom has five groups: two concert bands, a percussion ensemble, two jazz ensembles and the pep band plays at games. 

The jazz band just finished “Fools for Jazz,” a popular annual event. “We did our 17th show,” he said. “I’m sure it will continue because it’s become a great community event. There were two sessions so we probably had about 400 people.”

It’s a band fundraiser, but that’s not the focus, said Turnblom. “If it makes a little money that’s great but it’s really about keeping the period music alive. I enjoy seeing the student body dance all night and to hear the music. They love it. It’s good, clean fun.”

Kids who are in the jazz band put in a lot of time and effort, coming to early morning practices before school. “It’s hard work,” he said. “It takes commitment but I make the kids a priority. I make it about them.”

It gives them a place to belong and feel safe, said Turnblom. “It’s a little family. I try to create that environment and then we make music together. That’s what I’ve always wanted to do. If you make great music connections everything works out.”

It goes back to giving students a comfortable place to be where they feel valued and appreciated, he said. “If you give them someplace they look forward to coming, where they feel challenged and have something worthwhile to aim for, they’ll come.”

Turnblom said he’s not into awards. “I focus on quality and their musical journey. Our group goes to the state level every year. If we aim for that quality level everything else works. The highlight for me is seeing them grow as a group. That’s what’s in it for me.”

Many of his students have gone on to musical careers. “Easily more than a dozen have played professionally or are teaching,” said Turnblom. “It’s fun to see. They had the passion for music. I’m glad I got to be a part of that and take that journey with them. I’m like a proud papa.”λ