Prof. George W. Edwards
During the peak of his career, George "Prof" Edwards took the Marching Storm and directed them in to a his¬torical moment for all HBCU bands. On New Years Day, the Marching Storm under the direction of Prof Edwards, became the first HBCU band to perform in the Rose Parade pilot program. No one thought this would be his grand exit from a world in which he was know as The Quincy Jones of Marching Bands.
He came to Prairie View A&M University in 1978 where he was the assistant Director of the Sounds of Success (S.O.S.) Marching Band. Some years later at Prairie View he became the Head Director of The Marching Storm.
Under his tenure, the university's Marching Storm Band entertained audiences around the U.S. and the world and developed a reputation for its unique sound. Prairie View A&Ms band, once known as the Funky 50, was renamed under Edwards leadership and vision in 1984. The band program grew from what he started with (25 pieces) and grew to over 300 members strong under his reign. He developed his members into greater musicians, while instilling life lessons along the way. Make It Happen! Just one of his words to live by, that many of his students have intertwined into their everyday life! The band has been invited to several events that helped to place the small town and the University of Prairie View, TX on the map! Performances such as the Presidential Inaugural Parade in 2001, The Steve Harvey Show Drumline Exhibition 2004, The Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Day game Halftime with the Cowboy Cheerleaders 2004, The Dallas Cowboys Halftime with Destiny's Child 2005, Documentary on the Band Program by the British Broadcasting Company (BBC), and The Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational Showcase 2004-2007, TXU Power Company 2003-2007, The Angel City Classic in Los Angeles 2007 & 2008, The Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, CA 2009, and also Invitations to the Macys Thanksgiving Parade in New York, The Martin Luther King Day Celebration and Parade in Miami FL, & The London New Years Celebration Parade.
Today, the Marching Storm is now considered among the most dynamic and skilled bands in the world for its unparalleled musical artistry, and electrifying and adventurous drum line which is showcased during each performance. Many music scholars attribute the growing popularity of drum line techniques to Edwards and Prairie View A&M.
A highlight in his distinguished career, Edwards directed the Marching Storm Bands inaugural performance in the 120th Tournament of Roses Association Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calfi. on New Years Day 2009. Prairie View A&Ms band was the first band to perform in the Rose Parade pilot program to include bands from historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the parade each year. For four consecutive years, the Prairie View A&M University's Marching Storm Band performed in the Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational Showcase, which later allowed Edwards and the band to be featured in "Stompin at the Dome," a DVD band documentary, which featured PVAMU. The world was introduced to Edwards skill and the PVAMU Marching Storm during a feature in the British documentary Marching All Together, which aired on the BBC Network. In 2007, Edwards compassion and fierce dedication was captured by the New York Times in a video and article which covered the Band leading up to the annual Labor Day Classic football game between Prairie View A&M and Texas Southern University.
But every hierarchy comes to an end sooner or later. After 30 plus years of service to the Marching Storm, a tragic car accident claimed the life of Professor Edwards.
More than 3,000 mourners paid their respects to one of the giants of Black College Marching bands. Professor George Edwards was remembered for his creativity and musical genius by political leaders, colleagues, students, corporate executives and friends at his memorial service on June 5th 2009, at the Baby Dome, on the campus of Prairie View A&M University.
To honor their band director, hundreds of former and current Storm members worked together to put on one last show for their leader. While the band was without its head director, assistant directors Dr. William McQueen (Current Director of Bands), Mark Gordon, and former assistant director Dr. Mark Phillips (Current (2015) Department Head of Music & Fine Arts at Prairie View), stepped up their efforts to honor their fallen comrade.
Speakers included Dr. Margaret Penn-Sherrod, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee, and Rose Bowl Parade Executive, Brian James. Professor Edwards was laid to rest on the campus of Prairie View A&M University. Congresswoman Lee entered a resolution to have the flag flown over the capital with Professor Edwards name on it. The flag was presented to his family.
The legacy of George Prof Edwards will live on in every band member, past and present. The storm will carry on Profs traditions and his sayings. We will miss him, but he has left an everlasting mark in all of us.
Our Departed Band Family "Cloud Crew"
Cleveland Gresham • DeJuan J. Adams • Fred Player • Joseph Jackson • Robert McCreary • Happiness Emukah
Fredrick Sims • Norreice Jack • Alaric "AB" Bowens • Jacques Barber • Sharon Porter Sands • Donovan Monroe
Robert Deveaux • Tamar Degrate • Cedric Hider • Jutione Ewing • Sandra Bland • LaShumba Lavor Robinson
Joe Burleson • Taurean Branford • Elwyn D. Dillard • Demond F. Jackson • Dawson Ferugson Jr. • Mansell Fridia
LaMarcus Fields • Quinn Jenkins
*Please forgive us if we have left off anyone's name. If you know of someone who is not listed here, please email their information so that we may add them. Thank You