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