SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) –
Celebrating on the UMass campus the minuteman marching band finally has a place to call home.
The band hasn’t had a building for more than a decade.
That all changed today and it happened in large part because of their late band director.
“To finally have a building, it means so much. To keep our uniforms here instead of having to bring our uniforms back and forth to our dorm rooms or apartments, especially big instruments like tuba and euphonium,” said band member Alexandria Pare.
“It’s become a gathering spot. Any day you come here you find people here an hour before practice or after just handing out,” said band director Timothy Anderson.
It’s been a long time coming. The band hasn’t had a “building” or “home” for more than 12-years.
“We used to change in the parking lot across the street. When it gets cold you don’t want to change outside,” added Pare.
It wasn’t long ago this band was in mourning, shocked by the sudden death of their band director, George Parks.
Parks died suddenly of a heart attack last September after playing with the band at an Ohio High School.
“He was an amazing man. He was a father figure to all of us,” said Pare.
He spent years working to get this building done for the band. Although he didn’t see this day, his efforts will always be remembered.
“He would have been completely blown away by this and to see his name up there,” said Parks’ wife Jeanne Parks.
She says they would go see the building as it was going up, she was there alone as the ribbon was cut.
“Enjoy it, take good care of it and think of him every once in a while when you walk inside,” concluded Parks.