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11 months ago the George N. Parks Drum Major Academy® unexpectedly lost its founder.  Those of us here at the office, along with the rest of the world were shocked and confused.  What would happen to DMA?  With the courage of Jeanne Parks we took a deep breath, got organized and pressed on.  DMA was far too important to George for us not to push forward; DMA was far too important to the lives of young drum majors and band leaders for it to no longer exist.

And here we are.  The final DMA of the 2011 summer concluded just two days ago and it was perhaps the best one of all. DMA @ UMASS was not only a grand slam but exceeded every and all expectations of both the staff and students.  It was the icing on the cake and the cake was incredible BEFORE the icing was in place!

As I sit and look back over the past two months I begin to realize the depth of commitment of the staff, especially the folks who had to “step up” and run various locations in George’s ‘absence.”  Chris Cansler, Parker Denson, Evan Doyle, Lauren Heller, Justin McAdams, and Joe Munoz were exceptional.  Exceptional in preparation and in the dedication.  They lived “choice, love and passion” to the fullest extent and I, for one, am most grateful and humbled by their strength.

This past fall we did not have any idea where we would be as a company once we got to the end of the summer.  DMA is thriving because of the vision George had.  The philosophy and integrity of his dream is the foundation of our future–and the future looks brighter than bright.

In closing I simply quote “Hook,” one of George’s favorite movies:

“Thank you for believing.”

–heidi i. sarver

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