Following its inaugural appearance in the 2022 Rose Parade,® Saluting America’s Band Directors project is again bringing together band directors from across the country to New York City in November 2023.
Sara Webb, Hammond Creek Middle School band director, has been selected to participate in the 2023 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade®.
“Being in band has opened so many opportunities for me throughout my life,” Webb said. “I have always had this bucket-list item of getting to participate in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. When I saw an announcement that the organization Saluting America's Band Directors was accepting applications for members to march in the parade for 2023, I knew that this might be my last chance, and I submitted my application immediately. With over 800 applications, I was shocked and incredibly humbled to be offered a spot. Now, I just need some support to get there!”
This year, Webb is in her 7th year of teaching, now serving her second year as the director of bands at Hammond Creek Middle School. Her band has over 350 students involved.
She previously taught at Dalton Middle School and Calhoun Middle School. Other previous experience includes teaching throughout the Metro-Atlanta area, including serving as an intern with the Youth Bands of Atlanta. She also spent the summer of 2015 teaching music in the Galapagos Islands.
“I really love my job,” Webb said. “I am extremely blessed to be in my position. I have the incredible opportunity to teach my students for two years, and I take pride in getting to know each of them as individuals.”
The Saluting America’s Band Directors parade entry will again convey its theme, “America’s band directors: We teach music. We teach life.” to recognize the extraordinary dedication and accomplishments of band directors and music educators everywhere.
“By being chosen as a member of this ensemble, I am again provided with an amazing opportunity thanks to band,” Webb said. “I am honored to represent Georgia, Dalton, and Dalton Public Schools. I'm excited to meet 400 other members of the group and spend a week learning from them, as we spend our time rehearsing and performing in New York City.”
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, they teach about life itself.
“Music education was highly supported in my communities growing up, both in Watertown, CT and McDonough, GA,” Webb said. “I am thankful to have had the best music teachers along the way, those that were constantly fighting for all of the resources our band programs needed to be successful and to provide as many opportunities as possible for us as students. Now, as an adult and music educator myself, I'm blessed beyond measure to serve in a community that holds music education as a priority.”
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 Pickerington, 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.
“I'm thankful for Dalton Public Schools and their continued commitment to make participation in band a reality for any student, regardless of their financial status,” Webb said. “Music education is present and thriving in DPS. Our elementary schools are putting on wonderful programs, and our choral and band programs can be seen throughout the community. Personally, I am humbled that the support goes beyond our students and to our educators themselves. Thank you to all who make music happen in our community and for supporting me in my opportunity to represent our community at the national level.”
Webb is currently raising funds for the trip. The total cost, not including transportation, is $4,360. To contribute to her directly, Venmo @sknapp2.