Support the news

George Parks And 'The Power And Class Of New England'02:49
Download

Play
This article is more than 9 years old.
A tribute to George Parks on the Michigan scoreboard before the start of  a football game against UMass Amherst. (AP)
A tribute to George Parks on the Michigan scoreboard before the start of a football game against UMass Amherst. (AP)

More than three decades ago, a 24-year-old drum major named George Parks took charge of the UMass Minuteman Marching Band and turned it in to what it is today: a vibrant, show-stopping troupe known as "The Power and Class of New England."

Last month, Parks' 33-year career came to end. He suffered a fatal heart attack shortly after performing at a high school football game in Ohio. Parks was 57 when he died. A memorial for him will be held Saturday at UMass Amherst, which is celebrating homecoming this weekend.

We speak to John Jenkins, a music professor at UMass Amherst and associate chair of the university's department of music and bands. In 1977, Jenkins helped select Parks to replace him — a move that, according to Jenkins, was the best decision he made in his more than 40 years at the university.

  • John Jenkins, music professor and associate chair, department of music and bands, UMass Amherst
+Join the discussion
TwitterfacebookEmail

Support the news