Greenbrier pair prepares to play in Macy’s parade

Published: Nov. 17, 2023 at 6:43 PM EST
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EVANS, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Rutledge Boykin, an assistant band director in Columbia County, 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 Nov. 23, 2023.

The Saluting America’s Band Director’s parade entry will again convey its theme, “America’s band directors: We teach music. We teach life.” to recognize the 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, but they also teach about life itself.

“I am so excited for this performance opportunity. I am one of 14 teachers from the state of Georgia who will play in this group and I feel so honored to represent our community in such a beloved tradition,” said Boykin.

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 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.

Also playing in the parade with the All-American High School Marching Band is Boykin’s student, Jordan Evans. Jordan is a junior at Greenbrier High School and plays the tuba.

“He came home with the paper and said I want to do this,” said Jordan’s parents.

It’s an emotional moment for the proud parents.

“I now get to not only see it, but my kid is in it,” said Sonia Evans, Jordan’s mom.

Not to toot his own horn, but Jordan’s parents say his dedication has gotten him this far.

“He practices it on his own. We do not need to harp on them or push him a little to practice. He is always practicing,” said Jason Evans, Jordan’s dad.

He practices at home and at school.

“You get to sit with yourself and be like, ‘Wow, 53 million people are gonna see me on TV marching with something as famous as Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade,’” said Jordan.

It’s a pretty big stage to play on.

“This is like one event that just allows me to be like, ‘Wow, this is where my future is heading,’” said Jordan.

Coming with Jordan is one instrumental figure in his musical life.

Boykin said: “It was just like, a big epic, high five. I’m going so we’ll have Thanksgiving together in the streets in New York City. Our day starts at 1:30 in the morning, once I go to bed at 1:30 that afternoon, I think that’s going to be probably the fastest 12 hours I’ve ever lived in my life.”