UMass Global instructor joins band directors for Rose Parade appearance

January 06, 2022

We are pleased to share that UMass Global instructor Brian McDaniel, who also teaches young musicians as a band director for a Palm Springs area high school, joined nearly 300 members of his profession for the Saluting America’s Band Directors performance during the Rose Parade. Band directors from the United States and Mexico formed a Band Directors Marching Band that, accompanied by an award-winning float, completed the New Year’s Day march through Pasadena.

“It was one of the greatest experiences of my entire life,” said McDaniel, who also noted that the parade coming after months of pandemic-related stress was “a ray of sunshine at the end of a very long tunnel.”

McDaniel, one of five Golden State educators who the California Department of Education named as California Teachers of the Year in 2018, presently serves as director of bands and instrumental music for Rancho Mirage High School. In addition to his membership of UMass Global’s part-time faculty – he’s set to lead a spring session course informing teachers on how to help their future pupils learn about music and dance, he’s also a lecturer for the Teacher Education & Foundations Department at Cal State San Bernardino.

"As a professor of music, Dr. McDaniel believes in applied education,” said Melanie Borrego, the School of Arts and Sciences’ associate dean for undergraduate education. “Term after term, his students say that he is active in their discussions and has a wealth of real-world knowledge."

For the Rose Parade, members of the Band Directors Marching Band first gathered for practice as a group on Wednesday, Dec. 29. McDaniel estimated they had about 12 hours to play together before assembling early New Year’s Day to march more than five miles before the parade crowd.

The marchers’ many years’ experience playing music and leading bands proved invaluable on parade day, McDaniel recalled. A sensation like an adrenaline rush that flowed from the cheering audience – the band received a standing ovation – also boosted McDaniel’s ability to carry and play his 17-pound baritone horn.

“I was so energized by the love of everybody else,” he said. “I could have gone another four miles.”

The Michael D. Sewell Memorial Foundation, an Ohio arts and music nonprofit, organized Saluting America’s Band Directors. The band directors’ float received the parade’s Showmanship Award, which recognizes the float exhibiting the “most outstanding display of showmanship and entertainment.”

Marching band has been a part of McDaniel’s life since he was in the eighth grade, he said. He had wanted to start while he was still in elementary school, but he did not have the chance to pursue his dreams at the time since he was being raised in foster care. As an educator, he wants to make sure all students interested in band have an opportunity to participate.

“I never wanted to tell a kid they couldn’t be in band,” McDaniel said. “I raise my students as a family. We call ourselves ‘The Regiment,’ and leadership and personal responsibility are at the core of what we do to take care of each other.”

Please join us in celebrating Dr. McDaniel's success.

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