(Photo By Amy Lanham, Gardner South Wilmington High School Website)

The 2021 Rose Parade on New Year’s Day in Pasadena, California will feature nearly 40 floats, 450 horses and a local band director.

Michael Leone, director for Gardner South Wilmington Area Band, will join 200 other directors as they ride or march behind a $300,000 float during the parade.

The float is made possible by the Michael D. Sewell Memorial Foundation as it seeks to recognize outstanding band directors from across the nation who go above and beyond for their students. In his 6-year tenure at Gardner South Wilmington, Leone has grown the band from 12 members to 130, all the while commuting two hours a day to get to work.

Leone will also be provided three nights lodging, local transportation to all events, a ticket to band fest, a banquet, and a tour of the float-building factory.