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Jared McFarlin the sole Oregon band director joins 280 others from across the country

COURTESY JEFF MCFARLIN - Jared McFarlin will march with 280 band directors in the Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year's Day. The MHS band director says this is something he's always wanted to do.

Jared McFarlin, band director at Madras High School, will join other band directors from across the country Jan. 1 in the Rose Parade at the annual Tournament of Roses in Pasadena. McFarlin will be the sole representative from Oregon.

"It's always been a dream of mine to do this," says McFarlin, who went to high school in Sumner, Washington. "They got to march in the Rose Parade in 1998. Next to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, this is probably one of the biggest honors for a school band to march in."

A custom-designed animated float will lead a "marching band of band directors" with 280 members from all 50 states.

The Michael D. Sewell Memorial Foundation, based in Pickerington, Ohio, is the sponsoring organization behind the project. 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 more than 38 years.

McFarlin says their entry includes a float so the band leaders could enter the parade without taking a slot from a school band.

"When officials judge the float, the entire band has to be there to perform," says McFarlin, "because we're part of the float entry."

The parade entry will convey the theme, "America's band directors: We teach music. We teach life."

Jared McFarlin has been a high school band director for nine years, seven of which have been at Madras High School. McFarlin brought the marching band back to MHS after a decades-long hiatus.

During his time at MHS, Jared has led the Music Department to success, including a championship win at the 2017 WorldStrides Heritage Festival in San Diego, CA.

"I want you to know I'm marching because of you," McFarlin tells his students. "If you weren't here, I wouldn't be a director."

In case you're watching, McFarlin will be playing the alto sax. "I will be marching in the third row on the far right," he says. "It's called the 'right guide' position."

McFarlin would love to have the Madras band march in the Rose Parade someday. "It's an application process several years in the making," he says. "We'd want to develop our marching group, which is still in its early stages."

Prior to coming to Madras, Jared taught at Lone Peak High School in Big Sky, Montana, after relocating from Washington state. He is excited to represent the state of Oregon in the Rose Parade.

Complete details on the project are available on the Saluting America's Band Directors website, BandDirectorSalute.org.


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