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Following its amazing inaugural appearance in the 2022 Rose Parade, the Saluting America’s Band Directors project is again bringing together band directors from across the country to New York City on November 23, 2023 under the theme, “America’s band directors: We teach music. We teach life.”
Ashley (Swigert) Walker, a former instrumental music director for Waukegan Public Schools, has been selected to join a marching band of 400 band directors from across the country in the historic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade® on November 23, 2023.
The Saluting America’s Band Directors parade entry will again convey its theme, “America’s band directors: We teach music. We teach life.” to recognize the extraordinary dedication and accomplishments of band directors and music educators everywhere. Throughout their careers, the music educators in this band have collectively mentored and taught hundreds of thousands of students. These professionals not only teach and direct music, they teach about life itself.
According to Walker,” the Rose Parade was an incredible experience I never expected to be a part of. However, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was what started the dream for me. During my senior year of high school, some classmates of mine participated in a cheer/dance group for the parade. I begged Mr. Ninmer to take our band to a large scale parade. He told me I’d have to make it on my own. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d have the opportunity 20 years later.”
The band will be directed by nationally known music educator and innovative band director Jon Waters.
The sponsoring organization behind the Saluting America’s Band Directors project is the Michael D. Sewell
Memorial Foundation, based in Pickerington, Ohio. 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 almost 40 years.