Strike Up The Band: UMass Minuteman Marching Band Featured on Patriotic CD Being Sold Nationwide

AMHERST, Mass. - The University of Massachusetts Minuteman Marching Band is prominently featured on a new recording of patriotic music to raise money for the Salvation Army in light of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The "Marching for Freedom: Music of the American Spirit" series includes two compilation compact discs of patriotic and high-spirited American music. The UMass Minuteman Marching Band is the only collegiate band selected to be on both CDs. The ensemble plays "God Bless the U.S.A" on Volume 1 and Tchaikovsky''s "1812 Overture" on Volume 2.

Band director George Parks wrote a letter selected to be printed in the liner notes for the first volume. Parks wrote, "American bands have been inspiring our country for two centuries. The magic, the power and class that marching bands and drum corps provide brings us together, helps us ahead, and inspires us to do our very best, even in the most challenging of times." Keith Paul, a University employee and an alumnus of the band, took the photograph of the band that appears on the publicity poster and in the Volume 1 liner.

Jeff Harvey, who operates Emphatic Music, the Internet-based, independent record label in Valley Forge, Pa., that is producing the CD series, conceived of the project as a way a small company could help raise funds for charity at a "critical time in our nation''s history." The Salvation Army will receive 100 percent of the net profit of the sale of the CDs.

The recordings are being sold primarily online and through the mail. Efforts are under way to place the series at historical sites throughout the country. The first volume went on sale in May, and Volume 2 will be available Aug. 1. Each CD can be purchased for $14.50 plus $3.50 for shipping and handling. To order, contact Emphatic at 610/935-2575 or info@emphaticmusic.com, or go to www.MarchingForFreedom.com.

The UMass band includes 320 students from 174 Massachusetts cities and towns and 17 other states. The band has performed for Presidential Inaugural Ceremonies in 1981, 1985, and 2001. The band has also made many guest appearances throughout the region including half-time shows at New England Patriots and New York Giants football games. In 1998, the band captured the Louis C. Sudler Trophy, the highest national honor a university marching band can receive.

For more information, contact George N. Parks at 413/575-7863 or gnp@music.umass.edu.