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The UMass Community Loses An Icon

I wasn’t planning on posting while in Ann Arbor due to feasibility reasons, but there are times when you find a way.

It was shocking to awake this morning to the news that UMass Marching Band Director George N. Parks passed away while en route to one of his band’s biggest performances. And when I say his band I mean HIS band. He was the embodiment of the band program and all it represented to the UMass community. And on top of that he was a mentor, an inspiration, and a friend to countless students who came through UMass’ classrooms.

People who read FTT and know me personally are aware that George and I disagreed on the need and feasibility of a hockey band. But I will always remember the graciousness and understanding he displayed during the couple times I spoke to him about it. However, the different point of view on the subject did not diminish the tremendous respect I had for him and for what he accomplished with the band, making it a huge point of pride for the university.

UMass has lost one of it’s greatest representatives and the band’s presence tomorrow at one of college football’s cathedrals is a tribute to him and all that he accomplished.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot
Massachusetts, yours and mine.

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5 Comments

  1. jjmc85

     /  September 17, 2010

    Classy post.

    Like

  2. ganderson

     /  September 17, 2010

    My heart goes out to the Parks family. I recall many Saturday and Sunday mornings standing with George in one chilly rink or another watching our boys play hockey. We all know what George did for UMASS- but what’s more important he was a great guy- one of Nature’s noblemen . RIP George!

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  3. Chuck

     /  September 18, 2010

    Your band looked and sounded great. I stayed for the postgame show and it was definitely worth it. The flags all started crying during “My Way” — must have been a tribute to their director.

    Best of luck going forward — I hope you all make it to the championship and justify the scare you just gave us.

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    • Thanks Chuck. Excellent time had by us UMass fans in the Big House. Thanks to all you Michigan fans for being such welcoming hosts. Definitely a once in a lifetime moment us Minuteman fans won’t soon forget.

      I’ll definitely be watching Shoelace from here on out.

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  4. idrivethebus

     /  September 19, 2010

    Chuck-

    “My Way” is the band’s song. It is played at the end of every show, it is sung at banquet, it is what binds the band through the generations. “My Way” makes some of us teary, especially after we left, maybe during home coming, but suddenly the song has even stronger meaning (if that was possible).

    Parks could not of been more proud how the band pulled it together, put an amazing show, and cheered on the football team to a very close game in the Big House. It was one of his dreams to bring the band to Michigan and play in front of the largest crowd in college football. I have never been prouder to consider myself part of “The Power and Class of New England” and the band has never proved that statement truer than this weekend.

    While the rest of the season will have its dark moments, from the out pouring of support, and all the people who’s lives he has touched, I am certain his legacy, his lessons, and just a little bit of wacky will carry on in all of us.

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