When Edward Protzman arrived at Mason (Ohio) High School in 2017, the band program had experienced a whirlwind of director turnovers. As director of bands, Protzman helped foster relationships to build the program back up, resulting in his receipt of the George N. Parks Leadership in Music Education Award at the Bands of America (BOA) Grand Nationals in November 2019.
The National Association for Music Education and Music for All, BOA organizer, have teamed up since 2011 to give the award to a band director who embodies the characteristics of the late George N. Parks, past director of the University of Massachusetts Minuteman Marching Band and founder of the George N. Parks Drum Major Academy. Parks was known for his enthusiasm, collaboration, perseverance, and dedication to students.
Protzman says he was surprised and humbled by the award, crediting administrators and faculty for helping him mend vital relationships in the school district and community. The award was especially memorable as it “tied together a couple of my worlds” with nominations and supporting letters from a past band director, former student, and current band parent, he says.
The Mason Band is a consistent finalist at BOA Grand Nationals, placing 7th in 2019, and the Mason Wind Symphony has been commended by The Foundation for Music Education National Wind Band Honors.
Protzman says the key is teamwork and a consistent teaching approach. For example, all of the middle school band directors help with the high school marching band.
“It’s one of the few places where we all work as one big team, so for the students, it’s a very consistent approach from 6th grade all the way through 12th grade,” Protzman says. “We all get along really well, so there’s a deep friendship and support system, and I think that helps because we’re so united.”
Learn more about George N. Parks and the legacy he left behind.