Michael Embrey, former NIU Band Director was selected to join current and former band directors from across the country to be part of the first All-American Band Director’s Band. The first appearance of this Band Director Band will be next January 1 in the annual Pasadena Tournament of Roses Rose Parade. Embrey was selected to join other band directors from across the country to march in unprecedented marching band.
A custom-designed animated float will lead a “marching band of band directors” up to 300 strong from across the country. The Michael D. Sewell Memorial Foundation, based in Pickerington, Ohio, is the sponsoring organization behind the project. The foundation was created to recognize and carry on the work of the late Mike Sewell, who dedicated his life to the school and community music programs in Pickerington and the Central Ohio area for more than 38 years.
Saluting America’s Band Directors will include approximately 275 fellow band directors from across the continent. These select directors will be coming from all 50 states, including Canada and Mexico. The band will be playing the following three pieces of music for the parade and other performances: “Seventy-Six Trombones,” “Stars and Stripes Forever,” and “The Gift of Time”—an original piece written for our band.
“I am both honored and humbled to be selected to be part of this special organization,” commented Michael Embrey. “The Tournament of Roses Parade is the world’s most-watched parade.”
Michael Embrey is a former member of the USAF Band/Drum & Bugle Corps. After his military duty, he played professionally before accepting the position as Marching Band Director at Northern Illinois University. He continues to work in the music field as an arranger, show designer, and producer. His company hosts a variety of student music festivals and competitions in the United States.
In addition to his current music status, he also performs at a variety of military events including military funerals and civic events. On November 7, Embrey will be part of special Bugle detail playing TAPS at the 100th Anniversary of the “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier”. Having performed TAPS over 1,000 times, Embrey was honored to play TAPS at the American Cemetery in Normandy Beach, France in 2016.
The Rose Parade entry will convey the theme, “We teach music. We teach life.” The extraordinary dedication and accomplishments of band directors are well known to their students, to parents, and to school teachers and administrators. No matter where they teach and work—public and private schools, colleges and universities, the military, community bands—dedicated music educators and leaders work long hours to not only teach and direct music, but to teach life itself. Students’ lives in particular are positively changed by a motivational leader who taught, inspired, and mentored them.
Complete details on the project are available on the Saluting America’s Band Directors website.
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