George Nathan Parks is the Director of the University of Massachusetts Minuteman Marching Band and Professor of Music at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He has been recipient of the university's Distinguished Teacher Award and the Chancellor's Medal for Distinguished Service. He has been named an Honorary Alumnus of the University of Massachusetts.
After serving as drum major for the West Chester University Golden Rams Marching Band, graduating from West Chester University, and receiving his graduate degree from Northwestern University in tuba performance, Parks became director of the University of Massachusetts band in 1977 at the age of 24. He continued to build upon the band left by former director John Jenkins in the final days of 1976. Parks made some additional changes, including transitioning from high step to roll step marching. Through his efforts, the University of Massachusetts Minuteman Marching Band won the prestigious Sudler Trophy in 1998, cementing its place as one of the best college marching bands in the nation. He also wrote The Dynamic Drum Major, a guide for drum majors' technique and leadership.
In addition, he holds the George N. Parks Drum Major Academy every summer in sixteen locations. The academy trains thousands of high school drum majors from across the United States. The Drum Major Academy at the University of Massachusetts also holds a band leadership program and the Thom Hannum Mobile Percussion Seminar. The academy celebrated its 30th Anniversary in 2008.
George Parks served as Drum Major for the DCA World Champion Reading Buccaneers for 13 years. He won the DCA Championship Drum Major award 8 times, and helped lead the Buccaneers to two DCA Championships (1979 & 1980).
In addition to his work at UMass Amherst and the Drum Major Academy, he works regularly with Bowl Games of America, where he assists in the production of Massed Band Halftime Shows. He has conducted BGA Halftime shows at the Sugar Bowl, Orange Bowl, Gator Bowl, and the BCS National Championship Game. In 2005 and 2009 he was the director of the Bands of America Honor Band in the Rose Parade. He has been inducted into the Massachusetts Instrumental Conductor's Association Hall of Fame, the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame, The Bands of America Hall of Fame, and the Buccaneers Hall of Fame. He received the Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Fraternity Distinguished Service to Music Medal, in the field of marching band, in October 2008.
More than three decades after Parks assumed directorship of the Power and Class of New England, he continues to strive for excellence, originiality and excitement, and remains as committed as ever to employ new ideas and concepts.