The UMass Band Director passed away last night after a performance in Ohio as the band was enroute to Ann Arbor.
George N. Parks, for 33 years the director of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Minuteman Marching Band, died suddenly Thursday at age 57 while traveling with the band in Ohio.
Parks and the 350-member band were staying overnight in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, en route to Ann Arbor, Mich., where the University football team was scheduled to play the University of Michigan on Saturday.
Band members reported that Parks died following a band performance Thursday night.
Besides serving as director of the band known as The Power and Class of New England, Parks was professor of music at UMass. He received the university's Distinguished Teacher Award and the Chancellor's Medal for Distinguished Service. He was named an Honorary Alumnus of the University of Massachusetts.
After serving as drum major for the West Chester University Golden Rams Marching Band, graduating from West Chester University, and receiving his graduate degree from Northwestern University in tuba performance, Parks became director of the University of Massachusetts band in 1977 at the age of 24.
A tireless fund-raiser, Parks was the driving force behind the $5.7 million Minuteman Marching Band Building, currently under construction. The new building is named in his honor.
Under Parks, the band became one of only 27 collegiate marching bands nationally to receive the Sudler Trophy given by the John Philip Sousa Foundation.
I do not know if the UMass band is still coming for tomorrow's game. It would be great if everyone kept the Parks family in their thoughts and prayers