Music has always been a part of my life; I don’t remember ever not doing it. I’ve played the ukulele since I was six, guitar since I was 10 and began to introduce myself in the world of orchestra by playing the viola at age 13. When I joined 7th grade band, I had my heart set on playing the bassoon, however, since my mom is an amazing sidekick parent, she forced me into playing the clarinet. I was terrible at it and hated band. At the end that year, I asked my band director if I could switch to bass clarinet. As I expected, he said no, and I tried hard to stop playing.
Luckily, things changed as I went into 8th grade. Being my second year of playing in the Oahu Band Directors Association, Central District Middle School Honor Band, I was given a solo in “Orpheus Overture.” After the performance, Moanalua High School band director, Mr. Elden T. Seta, came up to me to congratulate me on a well-done solo. This was the same man who had taught my older sister (she also played clarinet) and was currently my older brother’s band director. Little had I known that I was going be so inspired by his passion and work ethic for many years to follow. From that night on, I became inspired by his passion and work ethic. I practiced my clarinet everyday and strived to be the best person that I could possibly be.
The next year I began attending Moanalua High School. During my sophomore year I earned the title of Miss Teen Hawaii United States and, in effort to create a platform for the competition, founded a non-profit organization called “Love ME Through Music.” This organization uses music therapy the heal those who are going through emotional and physical challenges. I began to see music as more than just a common ground for a group of students, it was something to take pride in and grow with.
My junior year I began attending Kamehameha Schools Kapālama. I felt lost, sad, and by senior year, I felt as though I was no longer performing with the vigor and determination that I once did and thought about giving up on my music. Shortly before losing all hope I found out that my old ensemble, Moanalua High School Symphonic Wind Ensemble, was attending the Music for All National Festival in 2015. I suddenly felt inspired and wanted to perform at the same venue they were. Mr. Seta and my mom encouraged me to apply for the Honor Band of America, which also performs at the festival. I decided to audition, which meant practicing and videoing myself with a lot of faith and pixie dust of hopes that I would get in. Turns out, I did! It was crazy knowing that I was going to be the first student from Hawaii to be in the Music for All Honor Band of America.
Before I could blink, March and a number of financial problems appeared. I ended up buying my plane ticket to National Festival the night that I was supposed to leave, had two connecting flights (including one which was cancelled), missed my seating audition and finally arrived in Indianapolis at 2:00 a.m. on Thursday morning. There were many obstacles getting there, but every moment of National Festival made it absolutely worth it.
One of the greatest moments I had while I was there was after I performed with HBOA and the band members of the Moanalua High School Symphonic Wind Ensemble greeted me. I looked for them to thank them for coming to the performance and ask them how they enjoyed it. They paraded me with hugs and a plethora of compliments, and then out of the blue, a close friend of mine in the band began to lei me with beautiful orchid lei. It turns out that they had brought lei as a makana (a gift that a person from Hawaii brings when they travel to other places to show appreciation toward people who welcome us) and everyone in the ensemble suddenly showered me with dozens of them. I had so many they went over my heads and arms. To have people who had no idea who I was but just wanted to congratulate me was indescribable—I started to cry!
When I returned to the HBOA reception, people were staring at me. It’s not everyday you see an individual lei’d over her head in the middle of Indianapolis, IN. I had to bypass several people before I could even reach my mom. She instantly burst into tears when she saw my wide smile, and I excitedly yelled, “Hey Mom, look what I got!” Obviously I couldn’t take the lei with me on my 4,000-mile journey to get home so I followed my first instinct – to share. I started to lei other musicians, their families and all the administrators that I could find. It’s amazing how a single lei can affect such a large amount of people. A friend who I have met in HBOA even came up to me and promised that she would press every single petal and keep the lei as a memoir. People were coming up to me left and right sharing their gratitude of a touch of aloha I have given them.
Back at home, I see these orchid lei everywhere. Never had they phased me before until that night. To see these genuine smiles on my newfound friends made me love Hawaii more than ever. In fact, I have promised my fellow friends that I would come back up to watch them and bring lei for everyone in the 2016 HBOA.
Music for All and the Honor Band of America helped me realize why I love music so much and that, no matter where I am or whom I’m with, music has the ability to sustain and create lifelong friendships. It’s also shown me the magic of performing that comes from knowing that everyone in your ensemble has put in countless hours to practice and share the thing that they love. Good music comes from perfection. Great music comes from passion.
I’m so thankful for everything this organization has given me the opportunity to experience and I hope to use my knowledge and passion to obtain a doctorate in music education and teach at the primary education level. I also hope to continue to develop my family’s non-profit organization, Love ME Through Music, into a broader project so that we can help students like me go to National Festival every year.
What’s more patriotic than listening to music that is skillfully performed by the US Armed Forces? Whether it’s the Soldiers’ Chorus, Concert Band, Jazz Ambassadors or The Volunteers, the US Army Field Band & Chorus exemplifies talented musicianship from all over the nation that connects the American people with the military that fights for our saftey and rights every day.
The US Army Field Band & Soldiers' Chorus will perform on Tuesday, June 23 during the Music for All Summer Symposium. It's not everyday that you get to see musicians who are led by command sergeants and lieutenant colonels or hear such unprecedented musical talent that pays tribute to our country and people.
It's inspiring to think about how this group was created to be a connector between civilians and the military in the 1940’s when the relationship was in need of mends. It’s a great example of music bringing people together in the past and in present day.
Another remarkable thing about the US Army Field Band & Soldiers' Chorus is that, since it’s made up of multiple components, it’s eclectic and stretches across several genres. The Jazz Ambassadors might play a variety of big band, swing and Dixieland repertoire while the Concert Band might perform with one of the nation’s leading orchestras or alone with a program of marches and overtures. They really cover the spectrum.
Possibly the best thing about the US Army Field Band & Soldiers' Chorus is dedicated to music education. Many of the musicians who are enlisted in this group offer on-site and Google+ Hangout music clinics for educators and students and often appear at music events as guest conductors. In addition to an educational YouTube series, they also provide recordings and sheet music to schools so that students can learn to play repertoire of many different skill levels.
We hope to see you at Summer Symposium so you can experience this exciting concert! It wouldn’t be uncommon for US Army Field Band & Soldiers' Chorus members to chat with students about what its like to be a part of their band and how to audition after college.
For more information, please visit http://www.armyfieldband.com/index.htm.
In celebration of Music for All’s 40th Anniversary in 2015, we are featuring profiles of music educators who have made a difference in Music for All and in band and orchestra education. In this post we feature a band director who has been to every Summer Symposium since its existence.
Bob Buckner is a seasoned director and educator who dedicated his life to music education for over 45 years. Beginning his teaching career while attending college in 1966, Buckner worked as a director at Sylva Webster in Sylva, North Carolina for 13 years. He then started his own band-consulting firm, United Music Enterprises, and worked with a variety of groups throughout the U.S. and Canada such as Spirit of Atlanta, Carolina Crown, and the United States Drum and Bugle Corps. In August 1988 Buckner became Director of Bands at East Tennessee State University and taught there for three years before accepting his final full-time teaching job at Western Carolina University as Director of Athletic Bands in 1991.
Since Buckner retired in 2011 he continues to stay active as a drill writer, consultant and a conductor for Mountain Winds, a community band based out at Western Carolina University. He has also worked with VanderCook College of Music teaching an online course and hopes to work with Audition U, a music recruiting company that helps prospective high school students connect with university music programs.
Buckner received his Bachelors in Music Education from Western Carolina University. In his free time he likes to hike, golf, and spend time with his grandchildren.
I knew about BOA (then MBA) long before getting involved. I saw Larry McCormick at the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic, as well as other music competitions, and was continually intrigued by his cutting edge marketing and company. My first experience was when I was asked to judge a BOA Regional Competition at James Madison University in 1978. That weekend marked a monumental change for me professionally, meeting some of the men that would remain (even today) some of the largest influences in my career and life. My next contact with the organization was in the summer of 1979 at the National Championship show in Whitewater. That was my first trip to camp and I haven’t missed one since!
Since then I’ve judged many shows, led a band to become the winner of a Grand Nationals competition and attended numerous events only to be repeatedly amazed at the organization’s dedication to music making.
I could honestly write a book about my experiences with Music for All but my number one highlight would have to be when I was the director of the Sylva Webster High School Golden Eagle Band when they were named Grand National Champion in June 1979.
Beyond that moment (which I would never have an opportunity to repeat), almost every Bands of America event brought me new friends and connections in addition to more knowledge about the business. I also thoroughly enjoyed judging Grand Nationals at Whitewater on several occasions, being a part of the “Director’s Marching Band,” and of course being inducted into the Bands of America Hall of Fame in 2005 alongside my dear friends Greg Bimm, Richard Crain and Gayle Crain. Recently I even had the opportunity to be the director of the Honor Band of America at the Tournament of Roses Parade in 2013.
I’d ask them why he or she wants to be a band director/teacher. Is their motivation to gain recognition for themselves or to simply go wherever they get a job and do their very best to teach children to play an instrument, learn to work as a team, and enjoy music for the remainder of their life? Many seem to think that it’s about personal achievement but it’s really about the children. It’s also about teaching children “through music,” using the subject to have a positive impact on their entire lives. If one continues to grow as a musician and surround themselves with teammates and followers who can work effectively together, everything else will fall into place.
I have always dreamed that Bands of America and Music for All could do more to include bands of all levels, not just those that are elite with large budgets. The Summer Symposium addresses this, but it needs to be incorporated into the marching competitions.
I also think it would be beneficial for Music for All to create a legacy by commissioning more music and to expand partnership with interested colleges and universities to bring more of the MFA experience to other parts of the country.
For many, knowledge of classical music is limited to compositions written by historic composers such as Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert and Tchaikovsky. While these composers are pioneers who will never be forgotten, the Ahn Trio, a group performing at Music for All’s Summer Symposium, has found a new way to take classical concepts and transform them into exciting original compositions for a more mainstream and modern audience. This ensemble has found a way to reach an eclectic audience across several genres by using unique violin, viola and piano styles in addition to collaborations with an array of pop singers, DJs, electronic music artists, photographers and dancers.
As I’ve been listening to the group’s album “Lullaby for My Favorite Insomniac” all morning, I can’t help but to be thoroughly impressed by the creativity that this group exhibits. It’s no wonder they’ve been invited to play in all 50 states, over 30 countries and for some of the most influential world leaders such as President Obama and South Korean President, Lee Myung-bak. They’ve even performed as part of the TEDWomen talk series, showcasing their passion for music while exemplifying the qualities of driven, talented women.
I love how this trio’s performances take you on a musical journey as a group but each of the sisters has their own style that is distinctive and magical. It’s hard to miss how in-tune (music pun) they are with one another, but also how they play into their own strengths to create the best sound.
Professionally trained at the Julliard School of Music, Korean-born sisters Lucia (piano), Maria (cello) and Angella (violin) officially formed the Ahn Trio in 1989. Since, the group has been recognized globally by publications such as Time magazine, where they were featured as “Asian-American Whiz Kids,” in People magazine where they were named three of the “50 Most Beautiful People” and in the Los Angeles Times as a “dynamically flexible sound that gets us thinking about the bonding power of family.”
I can’t wait to listen to the Ahn Trio perform at the 2015 Summer Symposium on Thursday, June 26 in Emens Auditorium at Ball State University!
To learn more about the Music for All Summer Symposium and to register, please visit http://www.musicforall.org/what-we-do/summer-camp. Hope to see you there!
I sobbed so much the first day of high school marching band and, after an interesting three-year journey, I now know that it’s what I want to do for the rest of my life.
When summer band camp started the summer before freshman year I was the new kid – terrified and alone. Day after day it was mentally and physically exhausting, maybe one of the toughest things I’d done in my life, and I hated it. As I began to let my guard down, I grew stronger, made friends and became more excited to play.
School started in August and with the new experiences I had over the summer I now looked forward to concert band during the week and marching band with football games or competitions on the weekends. Each day I spent as a musician I learned more. Not only did I gain knowledge about playing my horn and things such as tuning and rhythm, but I also began to learn how to be a dependable and think critically. School may have taught me English and algebra, but band taught me that my actions and performance in life directly affects others.
I grew tremendously as a person from freshman to sophomore year. I became a more reliable, forward thinking team player. Sophomore year stretched me even more. I began to learn how to lead as a musician and a person. I learned respect, when to lead and when to follow through my involvement with marching band, my school’s inaugural winter guard and the principal horn spot in the wind ensemble. That winter I had my first experience with Music for All when my wind ensemble went to National Festival. It truly showed me how amazing high school concert band could be and how music could bring people together. After seeing the Honor Band of America perform, I wanted nothing more than to play at that level of excellence.
MFA President and CEO, Eric Martin and Mikaela at the Music for All National Festival
After Music for All National Festival I auditioned for drum major. I thought I had the “cat in the bag,” but that dream ended when David, my director, explained that I needed to be mellophone section leader instead. He explained that the section needed someone strong, and he needed me to be that person, but though I was honored I was also disappointed because I didn’t get to lead in the way I wanted. I didn’t know it then, but his decision would mark a monumental change in my future with music.
Overwhelmed with the thought of leading my section during the upcoming fall, I looked to my past and present band directors as well as section leaders and I observed how they led. I realized that they were all passionate about music and people. They were discerning, decisive and weren’t afraid to apologize when they were wrong. They led fearlessly and by example.
I had the passion for music (I practically lived in the band room and loved it), I always had a passion for helping people, but I had no idea how I was going to attain the many other qualities of a good leader. After expressing my concern, my band director encouraged me to attend the Music for All Summer Symposium and leadership weekend. Attending gave me the knowledge, confidence and tools I needed to lead and the tools to put these new skills into practice. I returned home invigorated and ready to make a difference.
Starting with my high school’s band camp, I led the mellophones all of junior year. We tackled after-school rehearsals, long hours at weekend competitions and the dynamic that comes with any group that spends the majority of their free time together. I got to know my section as people began to understand how they learned best. I was their friend and cared for them, which made them willing to follow me. I was fearless, decisive, passionate, discerning and unafraid to apologize. I pushed them as a section and as people. Not only was I successful, but also I had the time of my life doing it.
During the fall of 2013 I realized that I love to teach. I applied play with the Music for All Honor Band of America and was accepted that December. Time flew until the National Festival in March where I got to perform with some of the most talented people of my life and under the direction of some of the most seasoned clinicians, including our amazing director Eugene Coorporon. I made valuable connections that I will continue to cherish in my professional career and I pushed myself to perform better than ever before. Mr. Coorporon taught me how to improve a group’s performance by only saying few, but well thought out, words and to believe in myself. That weekend was the best weekend of my life.
Again, Music for All had given me the capability to go back to school and use new skills to improve personally as a musician and as a leader for my classmates. I applied again for HBOA the next fall and also joined my school’s Serenade Ensemble, which would play at the first ever Music for All Chamber Music National Festival. In addition, I applied for the William D Revelli Memorial Scholarship thinking of the great moment when the winner at the previous year’s festival had received it.
A few months later I found out that I was going to receive the scholarship. I was honored and wanted to tell everyone, but I had to keep it a secret until it was announced.
MFA Annual Fund Manager, Gregg Puls and Mikaela after she was awarded
the William D. Revelli Scholarship at the Music for All National Festival
Coming back to Indianapolis in March felt like going home. I reunited with old friends, met new ones and got excited to make some great music. Kevin Sedatole was a wonderful conductor for the Honor Band of America and my chamber ensemble performed with precision and true musicality.
All of my experiences with Music for All have confirmed my passion to become a music educator and I can’t wait to bring a band of my own to National Festival someday.
In celebration of Music for All’s 40th Anniversary in 2015, we are featuring profiles of music educators who have made a difference in Music for All and in band and orchestra education. In this post, we feature a band director who has had bands invited to five Music for All National Festivals, including the debut Festival in 1992.
This is my 37th year.
In my 28th year at the University of Washington in Seattle;1983-1987, Montana State University; 1978-1983, Herscher H.S., IL.
I hold degrees from Wheaton (IL) College (Bachelor of Music Education), and Northern Illinois University (Master of Music in low brass performance), and studied privately with Arnold Jacobs, former tubist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
If you drop a rock in the middle of the lake it takes a long time for the ripples to get to shore. Stay the course and be patient.
I was involved as the director of a competing high school marching band [while at Herscher H.S.], taught at the Summer Symposium, adjudicated both marching band Regionals and Grand Nationals and evaluated concert band festivals.
Winning the Summer National Championship in 1982 with the Herscher H.S. Marching Band. Herscher, at that time, was a town of 1,200 people, the school had about 700 students in it, 9-12. It was a lot like the basketball movie Hoosiers.
I’d like to see MFA help to prepare the next generation of music educators to be more intentional about connecting their students with deeply immersive experiences in art.
After leaving a particularly electric clinic session with Larry Livingston at the 2015 Music for All Orchestra America National Festival, I caught up with my kids at the hotel. Many were sitting in the hallway after an intense day of early-morning traveling and all-day music making. I asked them, “Okay, tell the truth: what did you think of the rehearsal?” Thinking I was going to hear gripes and groans, I was taken aback by some of the candid answers I received: “That was the most emotional rehearsal I've ever been a part of.” “It was life-changing.” “I was reminded of why I like music.” The question we as educators often ask ourselves is, “Why bother traveling?” Traveling means more work, money, time, and energy. What are the benefits, and why should our groups take part? Here are three benefits to taking the plunge and taking your orchestra on the road:
1. A Fresh Approach
The orchestra world is small, and it is often easy for students to know exactly where they stand, especially compared to other programs in the region. With repeated exposure to the same small pool of ensembles, it's understandably easy for students to gain a “big fish in a small pond” mentality to their performances. Touring drops your fishy students into a nation-sized pond to see and hear groups they have never heard before. Hearing the best ensembles in the country can help give a great boost to a students' drive to practice, to improve, and to hear new music performed at a high level.
Rehearsals can be repetitive—we've all been there: you tell the students every day, “more bow here,” “use more bow,” “use the opposite of less bow,” “free the elbow,” “imagine the upbow is like lifting dead souls by their hair out of the River Styx, and the souls are all tall spartan warriors, so you have to really pull,” etc. Nothing seems to work. Then, a guest clinician says to the students, “Hey, you should probably use more bow here,” and suddenly the students act as if they've never before heard such divine words. Something often clicks by hearing a fresh voice, and it gets results. The MFA Festival team of clinicians—some of the best professionals in the country—works with your group and gets results, and the students often get feedback from peers at meals or student socials.
2. Helping Grow the “Orchestra Nerds”
Think back to your own middle school, high school, and college music experiences. What do you remember more clearly: the detailed process of your teacher tuning an important chord in a piece's climax, or So-and-So's wacky bus antics on a trip? Or do you remember bonding with a friend, or laughing at a joke in rehearsal? Hopefully we all have some fondness of our orchestra experience, and hopefully it was a combination of both musical and social enjoyment. To help students gain a positive musical experience, we use many tools and tricks of the trade everyday in the pieces we select, our rehearsal pacing, and the way we repeatedly make sure the kids sit up straight or hold their bows correctly. What are we doing that helps kids' social needs while building orchestral musicians? How are we helping grow “orchestra nerds”—kids that are so in love with orchestra that they don't want to leave our rehearsals? We can build memories that last a lifetime and provide social experiences that gel with a top-notch performing experience by traveling—not just a “field trip,” but a play-hard, work-hard performance tour.
3. Keeping Up with Other Areas
Orchestra programs historically have had smaller numbers than other music ensembles in schools. Part of our role in educating the next generation of musicians is to reach out and recruit as many personality types as we can. Marching bands and show choirs regularly travel and compete in festivals—it's part of their culture. Their activities make them visible. We have to work harder in this regard, since traveling is often not naturally built into our programs. We typically don't have a “pep orchestra” to send out during basketball tournaments. We probably won't flaunt matching sequin dresses for our choreographed dance numbers. With visibility brings recognition; with recognition, support, and with better support usually comes more funding, more students, and better music making. So feel free to siphon that sequin budget into your travel funds and take your concert group on the road!
– Dan Whisler, Director of Orchestras, Youth Performing Arts School, Louisville, KY
The 2015 William D. Revelli Scholarship was awarded to Mikaeka Ray of Franklin High School in Franklin, Tennessee on Saturday, March 12th during the Gala Awards Banquet at the Music for All National Festival in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Music for All Annual Fund Manager Gregg Puls and scholarship winner Mikaela Ray
This annual scholarship of $1,000 was created in memory of Dr. William D. Revelli, one of America’s finest and most accomplished conductors, to help one graduating high school senior each year that is performing at the Music for All National Festival study music education at the university level. Each recipient is chosen based upon his or her academic, musical and community service accomplishments, a personal essay written about music education and a nomination from a his or her band director.
“This was my third year at the Music for All National Festival and it is an honor to receive this scholarship after witnessing several of my role models receive it in years past,” said recipient Mikaela Ray. “I look forward to the day when I can bring my own ensemble to the festival and give them the same positively life-changing experience that I’ve had.”
Ray is a two-time Honor Band of America member who has performed in the National Concert Band Festival and the Chamber Music National Festival. She is the principal horn and section leader in her high school’s band and is passionate about helping others realize their musical potential.
Since each recipient must intend to pursue a degree in music education, this scholarship has become an extension of Music for All’s mission to create, provide, and expand positively live-changing experiences through music for all. Music for All also offers opportunities for students, parents, and directors to perform and improve their musical and leadership skills through its workshops, competitions, festivals, and honor ensembles.
Music for All will continue to offer this scholarship in future years and encourages all qualifying students to apply. The application for next year’s scholarship will be released in late 2015.
Richard L. Saucedo, Mark Jolesch, Dr. Nicholas Valenziano, Remo D. Belli and MFA President and CEO, Eric Martin
Music for All inducted four industry leaders into the 2015 Bands of America Hall of Fame: Remo D. Belli, Richard Saucedo, Mark Jolesch and Dr. Nicholas Valenziano. These new members were inducted on Saturday, March 14th in a ceremony at the Gala Awards Banquet at the Music for All National Festival in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The Bands of America Hall of Fame recognizes individuals who have had a positively life-changing impact on Music for All’s Bands of America programs and music education. 2015 inductees were announced in the evening of Saturday, November 15th, during the opening ceremonies of the 2014 Bands of America Grand National Championships, presented by Yamaha, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Music for All will induct these newest members into the Bands of America Hall of Fame on Saturday, March 14, 2015. They will be permanently recognized in the Bands of America Hall of Fame at Music for All’s Indianapolis headquarters, along with all the BOA Hall of Fame members inducted since the first in 2003.
Remo D. Belli is the Founder of Remo Percussion Products and a long-time Bands of America supporter and sponsor. Belli founded Remo, Inc. in 1957 and continues to serves as its Chief Executive Officer. Remo, Inc. offers drumheads and related products. Its products include drum sets, world percussion, ergo-drum systems, educational products, kids’ instruments, sound shapes, crown percussion, and accessories. The company offers its products through dealers internationally. Remo, Inc. was founded in 1957 and is based in Valencia, California. For over 50 years, Remo has constantly and consistently broken new ground when it comes to industry firsts.
Remo, Inc. and its founder and namesake have been a sponsor and supporter of Bands of America and music education for more than two decades. Beyond creation of the world’s finest drumheads and other percussion and rhythm accessories, Mr. Belli and his company explore and lead the connection between human healing, wellness and therapeutic mind and body rhythm.
Richard L. Saucedo is Director of Bands and Department Chairman (Emeritus) at the William H. Duke Center for the Performing Arts at Carmel High School in Carmel, Indiana, having retired in 2013 after 31 years of public school teaching. Under his direction, Carmel bands received numerous state and national honors in the areas of concert band, jazz band and marching band. Under his direction, the Carmel Wind Symphony has performed three times at the Bands of America National Concert Band Festival, performed at the Midwest Clinic and was named an Indiana State Champion. The Carmel Marching Band finished in the top ten at the Bands of America Grand National Championship for 15 consecutive years and was named BOA National Champions in 2005 and 2012. His marching bands were Indiana Class A State Champions four times and he was named Indiana Bandmasters Association’s “Bandmaster of the Year” for 1999 and “Outstanding Music Educator” for the state of Indiana in 2010, by the Indiana Music Educators Association.
Mr. Saucedo remains active and engaged with Bands of America and Music for All serving as an Educational Consultant, Coordinator for MFA’s jazz programming and a Chief Judge for Bands of America fall programs.
Mark Jolesch revolutionized the art of group and candid event photography for scholastic marching bands. As founder of Jolesch Photography and its successor Jolesch Enterprises, Mark and his companies have been capturing images and providing life-long commemoratives of Bands of America events since 1982. Through the years, Mark and his organizations have captured more than a million group and candid images of Bands of America participants and events that literally “tell the story” of scholastic band in America. His success at Bands of America events was the springboard that launched and made Mark Jolesch and Jolesch Enterprises the leading national group photographer for high school bands, collegiate ensembles, colorguard, percussion and drum corps.
Mark’s contributions to Bands of America go well beyond the capturing and distribution of cherished photographic commemoratives. The Mark Jolesch Scholarship at Grand Nationals has meaningfully contributed to the education and training of young men and women who are today successful music educators. In addition to these contributions, Mark and his team have been fiscal, operational and strategic contributors to Music for All’s and Bands of America growth and development as an organization.
Dr. Nicholas Valenziano is the Former Executive Director and Director of Education for Marching Bands of America and was instrumental in developing Bands of America’s presence in its early years.
In 1978, Dr. Nicholas Valenziano succeeded Gary Beckner, becoming (Marching) Bands of America’s second Executive Director. Nick came to Marching Bands of America in 1975 as its first Educational Director and served in that role until his elevation to Executive Director, a position he held until 1981. A childhood friend and band mate of BOA founder Larry McCormick, Nick “bought into” Larry’s dream that is Bands of America. His presence and engagement provided leadership, legitimacy and character to the vision, without which foundation might call into question Bands of America’s and Music for All’s survival and evolution through the years.
Dr. Nick Valenziano received his Bachelor of Music degree from DePaul University, a Master of Music degree from Northwestern University and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Missouri. In addition to his work at Bands of America, he spent more than 35 years as a music educator at the elementary, high school, and college levels and twelve years in the music industry, before he retired in 2001. A consummate musician, Nick remains active as a professional player and conductor in his “retirement” home of Grand Rapids, Michigan.