Darryl Leung: His Talent is ALTO This World


Emma Padelford

Strong passion and dedication can help push a person into glorious amounts of success. However none of this success can come without the willpower to achieve it. One extraordinary student has recently demonstrated this strong passion, dedication, and willpower to hold the position he currently finds himself in.


Darryl Leung was raised in a home that was filled with passion for music. It filled the lives of the loved ones around him, so naturally, he was drawn to it.


“When I was five, my mother had been playing piano for about 35 years, and my brother had been playing the violin for roughly five years,” Leung stated.  “I decided to follow in their footsteps and started violin in Kindergarten.”


From this early age to current times, Leung has been heavily involved in his music. In the third grade, he was a part of the West Valley Cadets Orchestra on the violin. Then, in fifth grade, he was a part of the Phoenix Youth Symphony Strings Ensemble. In fifth grade, he also started his journey with band at Terramar Elementary School. He began with the clarinet, but when his instructor expressed the need for more saxophone players to him, he kindly made the switch.


“I’ve always liked the sound of the saxophone- I listened to many jazz and sax covers during my elementary school years. I fell in love with the instrument instantly since picking it up when I was just 10 years old,” states Leung.


Leung considers the alto saxophone to be his main instrument, but he also plays the other three core saxophones which include the soprano, tenor, and baritone.

In the eighth grade, Leung decided to wrap up his violin career, and shift his music career focus strictly on his saxophone.


This focus on the saxophone has brought him many opportunities to grow in his music talent. Leung has participated in a variety of ensembles in the course of his life. Throughout his elementary and middle school years, he participated in many honor ensembles, such as the DVUSD HonorBand in eighth grade, and All-State Band in sixth, seventh, and eighth grade, During his career at Terramar, which spans from fifth grade to eighth grade, he participated in concert band and jazz ensemble.


Jumping forward to today, Leung is a member of the Mountain Ridge Pride of the West Marching Band, wind ensemble, jazz ensemble 1, and saxophone orchestra. He also mentioned that he occasionally participates in ensembles such as Woodwind Octet and Saxophone Quartet with his close friends Tony Ruan, Max Strong, and Sean Collins. Aside from his wonderful musical achievements, he is also a very dedicated student. As a junior, Leung has a pretty heavy schedule including four AP classes, a dual class, and concert band. His schedule consists of lots of studying, and participating in clubs such as the Mentor Program and NHS. But with such a full schedule, he still manages to find time to hangout with friends.


“This [schedule] makes finding time to practice a challenge, creating lots of frustration and stress. I hope to find a good balance soon,” Leung stated.


Out of everything he has gotten the opportunity to be a part of, he considers his most recent achievement to be the most extraordinary.


“The biggest honor band I’ve been chosen to be a part of was my recent accomplishment of getting into the All-Nation Band,” stated Leung.


Leung has been chosen to be in the All-National Band. This wonderful achievement was accomplished through various auditions, acceptances, and prerequisites. To start, Leung had to get accepted into the All-Region Ensemble, which includes eight regions in Arizona. After that acceptance, he moved forward to the All-State ensemble tryout. This one had many musicians from all over Arizona coming together to play. After All-State, Leung moves on to All-National ensemble. Next, he, along with students from the other 49 states will soon head to Orlando, Florida to compete. Each level of this competition only accepts the top six alto saxophone players. Leung currently sits at the number one ranked position out of the top three chosen for alto sax.


Through these achievements, Leung states that he has many role models to thank for his success. A few of them include his parents; his brother, Devin Leung; his violin teacher, Carter Pendell; his saxophone teacher and formal fine arts specialist, David Duarte; and his saxophone inspiration, Tanner Bayles.


“They all contributed to my success, being huge influences and role models during my musical journey,” Leung said.


As time goes on, Leung hopes to study electrical engineering at Arizona State University, and plans to tryout for their Wind Ensemble. Further on into the urute, he sees himself working at a high paying job while maintaining his passion for music. With his drive for success, it is evident that he will get very far in life and in his music career.