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George N. ParksAs I scan through years and years of posts to this blog I see that I (and now Jen Ables) have kept our posts to business: leadership, drum majoring, band, etc. I noticed that at no point was the passing of George N. Parks noted in this blog beyond the announcement that his legacy would continue [and continue, it has….with a vengeance!], and the creation of a memorial page.   It is past time to rectify that.

Within my personal blog  and my personal Facebook page I have numerous posts, notes, clippings, photos, etc., of the man who started the Drum Major Academy®. Should you wish to read more feel free to rummage though those sites. 

George wanted one thing for all his students, whether they were in his band, DMA vets, members of honor bands, or whatever manner in which he crossed paths with you: he wanted you to LIVE LOUD. He loved the word passion. There was little the man did that he wasn’t passionate about. Whether it was playing a card game, skiing,  drum corps, playing with his children, teaching music, teaching leadership–it was all or nothing for him. He drove through life with his foot on the pedal and the pedal THROUGH the floorboards.

BUT THE KEY: George never left anyone behind. He grabbed your hand, strapped his arms around you and took you with him…even when you didn’t want to go because he know you HAD to go! George recognized that life was far more fun when you shared the journey with others. George recognized what most self-proclaimed leaders never do: if you want people to keep up with you then you must help and teach them how. Encourage them; push them to achieve greatness.  And then the ultimate lesson of all–once they taste success, help them understand there’s so much more left to do and to keep going.

Five years ago people murmured “What’s going to happen to DMA? How will DMA survive?”

George taught me many things…I’ve tasted success many times, in many forms. I recognize what it is to help people and teach people how to keep up with me. I want people to keep up with me and then I want them to surpass me.  Isn’t that the whole point of being a teacher? And the ultimate lesson is pretty obvious to those who believe–he taught me this in more ways than I can count. The ultimate lesson of helping people to understand there’s so much more left to do and to keep going can be summed up as follows:

Close your eyes. Think about the people who made band (life) special for you. Open your eyes. Did you find some? And they’re gone now. You miss them don’t you? But folks, while you’re looking around for the people who made band (life) special for YOU, there’s a whole new crop coming in! Three years from now I’ll be standing in this very room asking them to close their eyes and think of the people who made band (life) special for them. …and they’ll close their eyes…and they’ll see…YOU.

George made life special for tens of thousands of people. It is a privilege and an honor beyond measure to recognize that there’s so much more left to do and to keep going. Take a moment to remember the man…take a lifetime to LIVE LOUD.

Can’t wait to “get back at it” with DMA this coming summer!

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