GBHS Group Director walks towards Rose Parade

Great Bend High School’s group director, Grant Mathews, has been selected to join a marching band in the Pasadena Rose Parade on January 1. The group will accompany a colorful and lively float from Project Saluting America’s Band Directors along the 5.5 mile course.

This is the first known Rose Parade Marching Band in which all 270 members are Marching Band directors from the United States and Mexico. They will perform Meredith Wilson’s “Seventy-Six Trombones”, using an original arrangement by Ohio music composer Lisa Galvin.

Mathews, who will play the tenor drum, said he submitted a resume and was selected to participate in the 2021 parade before it was canceled. This year’s parade will run under coronavirus guidelines, where all ticket holders will be required to provide full proof of vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of the event.

“We’ve had the music since last summer, so I worked on it and practiced it on my own,” Mathews said.

The directors of the group will meet to rehearse for a few days in Pasadena.

“It’s been 20 years since I’ve professionally operated tenor drums, so it should be fun and interesting,” he said. “I hope I can cover five and a half miles! We’ll be on TV in the second hour of the parade on Saturday morning, so check it out if you get the chance.

“It’s a great opportunity for group directors to do what we love and what inspired us to be directors, to play with a group,” he added. “I have friends who attend as well and I hope to make new musical relationships.”

The group will be led by Jon Waters, a nationally recognized music teacher and innovative group manager, who will also lead the rehearsals and a performance of the Bandfest in Pasadena.

The theme of the project is “Directors of American Groups. We teach music. We teach life. The project was created “to recognize the dedication and extraordinary accomplishments of conductors and music teachers around the world.”

The band members range from recent music education graduates to retired veteran directors from the United States and Mexico. Collectively, group members have mentored hundreds of thousands of students and taught a total of 4,539 years, according to organizers.

Among the group are 76 Teacher of the Year as well as recipients of other distinguished state and national awards.

The sponsoring organization for the Saluting America’s Band Directors project is the Michael D. Sewell Memorial Foundation, based in Pickerington, Ohio. The foundation was established to recognize and continue the work of the late Mike Sewell, who dedicated his life to school and community music programs in Pickerington and the central Ohio area for nearly 40 years.

About Raymond Lang

Check Also

‘Mrs. Doubtfire ‘on Broadway pauses to avoid closing

McCollum’s move, which will allow production to stop paying salaries and most other expenses, is …