Frequently asked questions

What is the Saluting America’s Band Directors project?

This special appearance in the 2021 Rose Parade® is a way to recognize and salute the extraordinary dedication and accomplishments of band directors everywhere—public and private schools at all levels, colleges and universities, the military, community bands­. 

How will this be accomplished?

A spectacular animated float will lead up to 300 band directors from all over the country forming an unprecedented marching band of band directors that will play and march in the 2021 Rose Parade in Pasadena, California. The music for the New Year’s Day 5.5-mile parade route will be directed by well-known music educator and innovative band director Jon Waters, who will also direct rehearsals in Pasadena. The music arrangement is being done by Bob Thurston, a published composer, former band director and retired Air Force staff arranger.


Why the theme, “We teach music. We teach life.”?

Ask almost any person who has been led by a band director and you will hear that their life was positively changed by a motivational leader who taught, inspired and mentored. 

Who is organizing this effort?

The Michael D. Sewell Memorial Foundation, based in Pickerington, Ohio, is spearheading this effort. The Foundation was created to recognize and carry on the work of Mike Sewell, who dedicated his life to the music programs in Pickerington and the Columbus/Central Ohio area for more than 38 years. 

What is included in the travel package?

Three or four nights’ lodging at a Pasadena-area hotel, local bus transportation to all events, breakfast at the hotel, an evening banquet, a ticket to Bandfest, a tour of a float-building factory, music arrangement, direction and rehearsal for the parade, and a commemorative parade blazer. Optional seminars for CEU credits are planned.

What is the cost for a participant?

Trip costs vary depending on length of stay and other variables. Please see for complete pricing information. A portion of the marchers’ trip fee goes toward the construction and operation of the float.

I live in the LA area. Do you offer a package for commuters to eliminate the hotel cost?

We do not offer a commuter package. It is the intent of the planners that the entire trip will be hotel-centric, with all ground transportation to events departing and returning to the hotel. Traffic and parking logistics for commuters would be extremely challenging. In addition, many meals, programming and events will be taking place at the hotel, 

How will participants be selected?

Qualified individuals will be chosen nationally based on our required band instrumentation, the geographic location of the applicant and the date of receipt of the application by a committee of the Michael D. Sewell Memorial Foundation.