The Music for All Blog
The Music for All Blog

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Today’s Throwback Thursday post goes out to our most recent Grand National Champion, Tarpon Springs H.S. Last year, 2014, was a magical year for Tarpon Springs, as they won their first ever title. Their show titled, “Man vs. Machine” was full of energy, musicality and was visually engaging. While watching their Prelims, Semifinals and Finals performances, I was able to catch a new aspect within each run of the show.

Tarpon Springs H.S. has a rich history in attending Bands of America events. They first broke into Grand National Championships Finals in 1997 placing 4th and in 2000 when they placed 3rd

What I love most about this band is the interaction I’ve had with its student musicians last season. In uniform, they were all business, but underneath the shako, guard makeup, and uniforms were ordinary kids with extraordinary talents. They were humble and understood the joy they could experience performing with their friends. 

Good luck to all the bands performing at this year’s Bands of America Regional, Super Regional and Grand National Championships.

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While going through photos taken during the past 40 years of Music for All's programs, it is easy to see how our activity has evolved. One area where you can easily observe this is with the color guard. 

In the early years of Music for All/Bands of America, color guard uniforms were often identical or only a slight variation of the band uniform. However, in the late 1980's color guard uniforms became a more integral part of the visual show design. The story came to life with the uniforms, colors, flags, props, etc. This area of the marching arts has truly progressed over the years with unique and out of the box uniforms and flags. 

We dedicate this Throwback Thursday to the evolution of color guard.


TBT Centerville Band Dads

Today’s Throwback Thursday goes out to all of the band parents who have dedicated (and continue to dedicate) their time during the week to rehearsals and weekends, to lugging props and pit equipment on and off the field and to encouraging their children to do their best. The tradition continues when band parents end up becoming extended family, just as students see fellow band members as siblings. You travel together, create and build memories together, experience the ups and the downs together, and most importantly become part of the amazing performances out on the field.

One of favorite aspects of working Bands of America Championships shows during the fall is hearing the parents’ stories. My most vivid memory was the 2014 Jacksonville Regional where not just one parent, but handful of parents, came up to me saying that Bands of America and Music for All had truly changed their kids and families lives. It truly warms my heart knowing that my job and something as seemingly little as marching band has impacted so many people.

As we begin the 2015 marching band season, I would like students, directors and staff from all bands to make sure to reach out to your parents, say thank you, give them hugs, and make sure they know how truly cherished they are. 

West Genesee Band Dads

Check out the photos from the sixth day of the Music for All Summer Symposium!

If the photo stream above is not viewable for you, try this link

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There are many everyday activities that we often take advantage of being able to easily do. For some, these simple tasks are difficult challenges.

Camp Achieve is a day camp for children with autism. Founded eight years ago, Camp Achieve helps provide a safe environment and development activities for children with autism and has been in residence at Ball State for the last five years.

When Camp Achieve heard that the Music for All Summer Symposium Percussion Division campers and staff would be using Burris Hall, where they are currently located, they connected with DJ Corchin, Percussion SWAG, to see how the two organizations might work together.

On Friday, DJ and another SWAG, Keegan Ruebling, asked student camper Brianna Brodeur to help them show these students of Camp Achieve the magic of the snare drum. 

As they drummed away, they invited the kids and the Camp Achieve staff to feel the music, clap and dance away. 

I spoke with camp director Storey Snyder, who's been with the camp since its beginning, who told me that she was very anxious about putting such loud instruments in front of many children with sensory sensitivities, but because it was such a welcoming, safe environment and DJ made sure to tell the kids that there would be a beginning and end to the sound, they responded more positively than she could have hoped. 

"Many of these children are pulled into therapy sessions during school so they often miss out on music and the arts. This opportunity allows our kids to experience something new and learn how to tolerate challenges, such as loud noises, that they often struggle with."

The children were singing, laughing and the pure joy on their faces was something I had never experienced before; it was priceless.

Music for All Summer Symposium camper, Brianne Brodeur, took the time after this fun session to chat with me about her experience teaching children with autism outside of the camp.

"Society is often unaccepting of children and adults with autism because it is something that can't be seen externally," said Brianne. "People chalk up sensitivies and struggles of those with autism to bad behavior and kids are often bullied by their peers."

I could feel the passion Brianne felt for these children and was moved by the amount of compassion she had for them.

"Activities like this, using music and helping them do more "normal" things, is not only be beneficial to them, but to others who do not have autism so they can become more aware and bridge the gap of understanding that needs to be filled," Brianne concluded.

At the end of the session, the kids gave DJ a book they made based off of books of his that are in their classroom. Their funny "happy" faces and "happy cat" faces almost moved me to tears because it helped me see how these kids didn't see autism as something they should hide or be ashamed of, and neither should anyone else. 

Thanks to Camp Achieve for letting us spend time with your amazing campers and see the world just a little bit brighter, even if just for a moment!

To learn more about DJ Corchin's children's books, please visit

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Check out the photos from the fifth day of the Music for All Summer Symposium!

If the photo stream above is not viewable for you, try this link

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Congratulations to the master educators who have been selected to serve on the staff of the Bands of America Honor Band that will march in the 2017 Rose Parade in Pasadena, California. Auditions open online on July 1, 2015. Learn more about the experience – December 28, 2016 through January 4, 2017 for accepted members – and the audition process on our Roses page.

2017 Staff Bands of America Honor Band in the Rose Parade

Bob Buckner, Band Director

David Starnes, Program Director

Instrumental Staff
Bob Barfield, White Knoll HS (SC)
Greg Bimm, Marian Catholic HS (IL)
Matt Harloff, Avon HS (IN)
Jerell Horton, Vestavia Hills HS (AL)
David Lesser, Clovis North HS (CA)
Jarrett Lipman, Claudia Taylor Johnson HS (TX)
John Miller, American Fork HS (UT)
Mark Stone, Ayala HS (CA)
Frank Troyka, Berkner HS (TX) – Ret.

Drum Major Staff
Bobby Lambert, Wando HS (SC)

Percussion Staff
Matt Henley, Western Carolina University (NC)
Jon Henson, Western Carolina University (NC)

Colorguard and Dance Staff
Susie Harloff, MFA Summer Symposium Director (IN)
Betsy Heathcock, Dance Specialist (TX)
Scott Beck, Colorguard Specialist (GA)
Rhea Jeanne Starnes, Colorguard Specialist (GA)

Musical Arrangers
Thom Hannum, University of Massachusetts (MA)
Percussion Arranger

Michael Klesch, Freelance Composer (MA)
Music Arranger


Hello parents and friends! Everyone here at the Music for All Summer Symposium is looking forward to your arrival to Ball State University for tomorrow's events!

Below is a list of activities that are planned for Saturday, June 27, 2015:

Parent Breakfast
7:00 - 7:45 a.m.
Art and Journalism Building, Atrium

Complimentary breakfast for parents and family of Music for All Summer Symposium campers
- A slideshow will play highlighting the many activies, events and memories from the week.

Parent Session
8:00 - 8:45 a.m.
Pruis Hall

Attend a session that features the directors, clinicians and counselors your child interacted with and learned from during the week. You'll get information about Music for All's other annual events and be able to reserve your child's spot for the 2016 Music for All Summer Symposium.

Final Performances
9:00 - 11:30 a.m.
Music Instruction (MI) - Sursa Hall

Percussion Ensembles
Ohio Concert Band
Michigan Concert Band

Final Performances 
10:00-11:30 a.m.
Pruis Hall

Drum Set Choir 
Belck Jazz Band
Brantly Jazz Band

Family Day Picnic
11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Field Sports Building (directly south of Worthen Area)


Parents and families are invited to join us after the morning’s performances for the annual Family Day Picnic. Enjoy a meal with the full camp, families, faculty and staff with a backdrop of live music. You might even want to join in the Drum Circle!

Final Performances 
1:30 p.m.
Student Recreation Center

Color Guard
National Percussion Symposium
Marching Band
Drum Major Institute

Note: Sites may change due to weather or other circumstances so please check the Music for All Facebook page for updates.

Please download the free Guidebook App on your smartphone to find the most up-to-date schedule.


Due to severe weather conditions, the DCI Central Indiana event scheduled for Friday evening in Muncie, Indiana, will be moved inside to the Emens Auditorium at Ball State University.

The National Weather Service in Indianapolis has issued a flash flood warning for Delaware County, Indiana, and many surrounding areas until 9 p.m. ET.

The change of venue will not effect the event’s start time of 7 p.m. ET. Participating drum corps will perform a standstill exhibition inside the auditorium.

If you have questions about tickets, you need to call DCI directly at 317.275.1212

For more information from DCI visit their website here:

The Music for All Summer Symposium Marching Band division will still be performing the anthem and will perform with Carolina Crown at the end of tonight's show. The Marching Percussion division students will also still perform tonight.

Revised Schedule

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June 26, 2015 REVISED LINE UP

6:50 -­‐ National Anthem
7:00 -­‐ Crossmen 
7:20 -­‐ Boston Crusaders
7:40 -­‐ Madison Scouts
8:00 -­‐ Blue Stars 
8:20 -­‐ Cavaliers
8:40 -­‐ Carolina Crown
9:00 -­‐ Bluecoats
9:20 -­‐ Cadets 
9:40 -­‐ Carolina Crown/MFA Drumline Combined Performance
9:50 -­‐ Carolina Crown/MFA Marching Band Combined Performance 

DCI Live! Webcast

Tonight’s webcast on the DCI Live! streaming video platform will continue as scheduled. While the broadcast’s start time will remain the same, corps performance times are subject to change. More information on the webcast can be found here:


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