Venerable Minuteman Marching Band director George N. Parks is the cover story subject in the August issue of School Band and Orchestra Magazine.
In the interview with SBO, Parks discusses the highlights of his career, the challenges of being a college band director, the role of the UMass band and his summer drum major academy and band leadership training seminar.
Parks also talks about his preparations to direct the first-ever Bands of America Honor Marching Band in the 2005 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif. on Jan. 1. The band will be comprised of 300 to 400 outstanding high school students from marching bands across the country.
“It’s a really exciting thing,” Parks tells SBO. “There are certain things everybody know about. Everybody knows about the Super Bowl, or the Final Four in basketball. In our world, everybody knows about the Rose Parade. Just to be involved in that event comes with a lot of prestige. The chance to actually conduct an all-American honor band like that is very exciting.”
As for the Minuteman Marching Band, Parks says, “Everybody knows the band is good and the band is strong. When you’re in a school band, you have a wide variety of bands and a wide variety of impressions about bands. In some high school bands, everybody loves the group. You have other high school bands where kids struggle sometimes to get a positive identity. They come to campus here and they see a band jacket and they say, ‘Oh, you’re in the Minuteman Marching Band.’ The professors comment to them, and it’s a very positive experience here. We’ll do a post-game show and you’ll generally see 75 to 90 percent of the fans have stayed to watch the show again.”