George Edwards (marching band director)
Professor George W. Edwards (1948–2009) was the Nationally Renowned Director of Bands for Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU), Prairie View, Texas until his death on 28 May 2009 resulting from an automobile accident that took place on 10 May 2009 in Houston, Texas.
Professor Edwards hailed from Chattanooga, Tennessee and completed his undergraduate studies at Florida A&M University, (FAMU) Tallahassee, Florida. While at FAMU, he played as part of famed Marching 100, performing under the legendary Dr. William P. Foster, where he received a number of distinctive awards and opportunities; some of which were his selection as Student Arranger, the Outstanding Senior Award, and having his arrangements played by the Marching 100 at Super Bowl III. Mr. Edwards went on to complete his Master's Degree at Michigan State University with many of his marching band arrangements performed and recorded by the Michigan State University Spartan Marching Band.
Director of Bands at Prairie View A&M University
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After joining PVAMU in 1978 and becoming its Director of Bands, Professor Edwards took the struggling marching band of 25 known as the "Marching Storm", and helped them become a world-renowned, first-class composition of musical athletes. Through Professor Edwards direction, the Marching Storm became the first marching band to debut its drumline, known as the McFunk B.O.X., in a showstyle half-time event at the football games. Professor Edwards incorporated some of the FAMU concepts of innovative formations and fast-stepping, while adding unique framing, drum routines, and their majorettes, the Black Foxes, to create a half-time show that provided the "Storm" with national recognition and their pick of the best of the best high school band members from across the nation.
Skyrocketing to national acclaim, the Storm performed, appeared, or were featured as part of the following activities:
- 2001 - Performed in President George W. Bush's Inaugural Parade in Washington, D.C.
- 2004 - The Marching Storm Band and the Black Foxes were featured in the Black College Band Exhibition, "And the Band Played On," which was seen by more than 30,000 at the Dallas Museum of African-American History
- 2004 - The PVAMU Drum Line, "The Box" and the "Black Foxes," were featured performers with Beyoncé at the Dallas Cowboys' Thanksgiving Day game
- 2004 - 2007 - Featured in the Dallas Weekly; Urban Sports News
- 2004 - Featured on numerous occasions in The Dallas Morning News
- 2005 - Featured in British Broadcasting New Radio Special, "Marching All Together"
- 2005 - Featured in The Times
- 2006 - The band performed at the Essence Music Festival in Houston
- 2006 - Invited to perform at the Macy's Day Parade (a lifelong goal of Professor Edwards), but were unable to raise the $400,000 necessary for the trip to New York City
- 2007 - Featured article and video in The New York Times
- 2008 - The Marching Storm Band and the Black Foxes performed at the Texas A&M University-University of Miami football game at Kyle Field in College Station and received overwhelming accolades from ESPN television commentators
- 2009 - George Edwards led the "Storm" in the 120th Tournament of Roses Association Rose Parade in Pasadena, CA where they were the first Black College Band to perform in the Rose Bowl's Parade pilot program to include bands from historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the parade each year
Prof Edward's Influence on the Marching Storm
Professor Edwards was an innovator who was dedicated, committed, and passionate about music and its performance. He was demanding of his band members to ensure they achieved their maximum potential as performers, students, and as people; was a surrogate parent to many of his students; and will remain in history as one of the top college band directors.