The Music for All Blog
The Music for All Blog

Macys---Parade-JPEGPhoto credit: Macy's, Inc.

We hope that everyone will be joining us tomorrow in starting off Thanksgiving day by watching the 2014 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade! We cannot wait to watch all of the amazing marching bands!

Our friends at are providing AMAZING coverage of these bands in New York City! You can follow along with the action on Facebook and Twitter or head over to the website!

So make sure you are watching the parade tomorrow and cheering on the fantastic bands! Below is a list of all of the marching bands you will see in the parade!

American Fork, UT
Band Director: John Miller
Band Size: 250
Herald Square Performance: Can Can

Nassau, Bahamas
Band Director: Yonell Justilien
Band Size: 125
Herald Square Performance: Medley of Sloop John B, Bagalee & Funky Nassau

Baldwinsville, NY
Band Director: Casey Vanderstouw
Band Size: 162
Herald Square Performance: Medley of Daft Punk songs

Greenwood, IN
Band Director: Kevin Schuessler
Band Size: 160
Herald Square Performance: Journey to the Center of the Earth

Henderson, NV
Band Director: Travis Pardee
Band Size: 300
Herald Square Performance: Music from The Nutcracker

Atlanta, GA
Band Director: Chester Phillips
Band Size: 225
Herald Square Performance: Bohemian Rhapsody

United States
Band Director: Dr. Rick Good
Band Size: 250
Herald Square Performance: Taylor Swift’s Shake it Off

Madison, WI Corps Directors: Chris Komnick & James Mason
Corps Size: 450
Herald Square Performance: Happy Christmas

New York, NY
Band Director: Lt. Tony Giorgio
Band Size: 50
Herald Square Performance: National Emblem March

Lexington, KY
Band Director: Jeff Hood
Band Size: 162
Herald Square Performance: Unbridled 

Cullowhee, NC
Band Director: David Starnes
Band Size: 510
Herald Square Performance: I’ve Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway

San Antonio, TX
Band Director: Tony Ruiz
Band Size: 220 
Herald Square Performance: Troika Theme


Don't miss these awesome marching bands on national television! The parade kicks off at 9am and you can watch on NBC!

The Music for All Foundation awards several scholarships annually. During the Grand National Championships, Finals Opening Ceremonies several students were presented with college tuition scholarship awards. These scholarships were established to contribute to the future of music and music education by honoring the achievements of outstanding graduating seniors who intend to pursue collegiate study as a music major.

Congratulations to Craig Hatter, Lake Park High School in Roselle, Illinois who was awarded the $1,000 Yamaha Scholarship. The scholarship was presented by John Wittmann, Director of Artist Relations and Education at Yamaha Corporation of Ameria Band and Orchestra Division.

Yamaha Scholarship

Congratulations to Grace Schebler, Davenport Central High School in Davenport, Iowa who was awarded the $2,000 Fred J. Miller Memorial Music Education scholarship. The scholarship was presented by Marlene Miller, President and CEO of Fred J. Miller, Incorporated

FJM 2k Scholarship

Congratulations to Melissa O'Hara, Bellbrook High School in Dayton, Ohio who was awarded the $1,000 Fred J. Miller Family Scholarship. The scholarship was presented by Marlene Miller, President and CEO of Fred J. Miller, Incorporated

FJM 1K Scholarshio

Music for All’s efforts to create, provide, and expand positively life-changing experiences include awarding a number of scholarships each year. For more information about MFA’s scholarships click here.

The Patrick John Hughes Parent/Booster Award annually recognizes the extraordinary commitment, dedication, support and sacrifice of music parents and boosters around the world by shining a spotlight on an individual who exemplifies these qualities.

The award is named in honor of Patrick John Hughes, the father of Patrick Henry Hughes. Patrick Henry is a remarkable young man who, despite physical challenges that would seem overwhelming to many, has excelled as a musician and student, singing and playing piano and trumpet with the Louisville Marching and Pep Bands, with the help of his father, who tirelessly maneuvers his son’s wheelchair through the formations with the other 220+ members of the Cardinal Marching Band

On Friday night during Grand Nationals the 2014 Patrick John Hughes Parent Booster award was awarded to Tom Meyer, of Blue Springs, Missouri.

Meyer Stephens JR1 4243 editedPictured left to right: James Stephens, Director of Advocacy and Educational Resources at Music for All; Mr. Tom Meyer, 2014 Parent/Booster Award Winner

Mr. Meyer’s affiliation with the Blue Springs, Missouri band program began as a student member in the 1980s. In 2000 he returned as a booster, beginning his extraordinary run as a fixture in the band and community.

“Tom Meyer wakes up in the morning pondering what he can do to help the band program,”said Dr. Tim J. Allhouse, the Blue Springs High School Director of Bands.

This devotion has included an incredible level of creativity and above and beyond gestures. He’s donated parking cones to increase the safety of the marching band’s parking lot rehearsal space. He’s provided transportation to the winter guard and assisted with all ensembles--not just those in which his daughters have been involved. And he even got up on a Saturday morning to pitch a tent on the roof of the school so the directors could have shade when observing the band at rehearsal.

His fundraising ideas, efforts, and execution have helped the program fundraise an incredible $50,000 in just one year. From raffles to trivia nights to transforming the marching band festival’s program from a four-page handout to an impressive 44 page professional publication with national sponsors, his ideas have made a direct, visible impact. One of those ideas, a “Drive for UR School”event with a local Ford Dealership, raised $6,000 in one day.

“Mr. Meyer has the ability to unify a group of people and to put teams together quickly to accomplish incredible projects,” said Dr. Allhouse. That ability has won him admiration with his fellow parents and boosters, who praise his enthusiasm and interest in nurturing music programs not just at the high school but the elementary and middle school levels, as well.

MeyerWifeDr.AllshousePictured left to right: Dr. Tim J. Allshouse, Blue Springs H.S. Director of Bands; Mrs. Susan Meyer and Mr. Tom Meyer

“He believes that this support encourages student participation in the arts and helps to make them more active and good at their craft by the time they are in high school,”said Lee Ann Rothmier, who coordinates the school’s annual marching band festival and has worked with Mr. Meyer as he chaired the festival’s fundraising committee.

Even more impressive than the countless hours he spends working with the band program is that he does it while juggling the family business, Meyer Music, a three-store chain his parents opened in Blue Springs in the 1960s that he now owns with his two siblings. He has utilized the music store as a way to further aid music students and families through Band of Angels, a program that refurbishes donated instruments and matches them with students in need who otherwise could not participate in band. In the program’s first year over 300 instruments were collected and matched, and applications continue to pour in from parents and band directors.

all winners mfa staffPictured left to right: Eric Martin, President and CEO of Music for All; Dr. Tim J. Allshouse, Blue Springs HS Director of Bands;  Charlie Broach, 2010 Parent/Booster Award Winner; Tom Meyer, 2014 Parent/Booster Award Recipient; Susan Meyer; Dick Zentner, 2013 Parent/Booster Award Winner; PJ Littleton, 2012 Parent/Booster Award Winner; James Stephens, Director of Advocacy and Educational Resources at Music for All

But it doesn’t stop there.“Not only has he helped to supply every brass member with a professional quality horn to use in the past 5 years, but he also helps the program by fixing them,”said fellow parent Matt McMahill.“He sacrifices time away from his business every week to selflessly help to keep the band going in the right direction. Plus, in spite of the many, many time consuming things he does for the band program he still keeps the right attitude.”
That attitude and drive is perhaps what individuals admire the most.“It is the extra effort provided by individuals such as Tom Meyer who separates our program from others,”said Mr.
Dave Adams, principal of the Blue Springs High School.“He is willing to do whatever job, no matter how big or small. He is vital as a main organizer of our Band of America Marching Band Festival that is one of the largest and most successful in this region. All this extra work and effort is done with such a positive attitude and goodness because he loves what our music program provides for our students. He believes fervently that the benefits of being involved are the best for our kids and he wants to provide an outstanding opportunity for everyone involved.”

“Tom Meyer is the real deal,”said Dr. Allhouse.“ He is one in a million, has a heart of gold and truly exemplifies the servant heart. The Blue Springs Golden Regiment is a better organization because of his influence and we will be forever grateful for all he has selflessly given to the band. Generations to come will benefit from Mr. Meyer’s kindness.”

 View Parent/Booster Ceremony Video

Read more about Patrick John Hughes and his family and the Parent/Booster Award and find out how to nominate the exceptional parent or booster in your music program here.

George Parks Blog Post1Pictured left to right: Ms. Cynthia Napierkowski, Award Recipient, Ms. Nancy Ditmer, Immediate Past President of the National Association for Music Education

Congratulations to Ms. Cynthia Napierkowski, Director of Bands at Salem High School in Salem, Massachusetts, who is the 2014 recipient of the George N. Parks Leadership in Music Education award. Ms. Napierkowski received the award during the opening finals ceremonies at the 2014 Grand National Championships, presented by Yamaha on November 15.

Developed by NAfME, the National Association for Music Education and Music for All, the award is named for George N. Parks (1953–2010), director of the University of Massachusetts Minuteman Marching Band at the University of Massachusetts Amherst from 1977 until his death, and honors an exemplary music educator who embodies the characteristics and leadership that Mr. Parks personified.

Learn more about the George N. Parks Leadership in Education Award

About Ms. Cynthia Napierkowski

GeorgeparksAwardBlog2Ms. Cynthia Napierkowski and her family, with Ms. Nancy Ditmer, Immediate Past President of the National Association for Music Education

Ms. Cynthia Napierkowski has been a tireless devotee to her students and music arts for 28 years, creating a lasting impact as an outstanding educator in the Salem, Mass. community and garnering national attention as one of School Band and Orchestra magazine’s 2013 50 Directors
Who Make a Difference.

While her focus lies in band and instrumental music, she has been a champion for all music students and programs. She is known for her tireless fundraising efforts to support music arts in the district, and she works to ensure the accessibility of music in all forms to students, even when scheduling conflicts might otherwise keep them out of music activities. Her belief in shaping well-rounded students means it’s not a rare sight to see football players marching in the half-time show or choir members also playing in the band.

But the accessibility doesn’t stop at scheduling. As a bluecollar community with a significant free and reduced lunch rate, not all of Salem’s students are able to cover expenses. Ms. Napierkowski has been known to contribute out of pocket to help students make ends meet and attend trips they weren’t able to fundraise on their own. She’s given music lessons for free and makes sure her students are taken care of outside the classroom.

“She knows where the kids live and what their home situations are like to know when they may need extra help, not only with getting to or from music practice but also every-day issues like needing a pair of gloves in the winter,” said parent Christine MacTaylor, whose two children have both been impacted by Ms. Napierkowski.

“While Cyndi encourages students to always improve musically, I do not see this as her main focus with the students at all,” Ms. MacTaylor said. “For my daughter, who was insecure, Cyndi helped to push beyond her comfort zone where she could discover how introverts can still be leaders. For my son, who is not shy but has a muscle disorder, she helps encourage him to vary his skill set since his technical skills are being challenged enough just to participate.”

Ms. Napierkowski aims to instill in students that giving their best is what is important, encouraging them to grow not just as musicians but as individuals. Service is encouraged in her
classroom, whether service leadership to fellow students or throughout the community.

It’s no surprise that Ms. Napierkowski has been described as full of energy – no easy feat for an educator with an extensive schedule. She’s often found at school well into the evening and for hours on Saturday, taking one-on-one meetings with students and working with the various band ensembles. She still finds time for additional obligations, including parades, competitions, concerts and trips.

Her personal philosophy toward teaching further illustrates just how dedicated she is not just to music education but to her students. “I believe in the Three Ps: Patience, Perseverance, and Passion,” she said. “A former superintendent once called me ‘fiercely loyal’ to my students
and I guess that about sums it up. It’s always about the kids and that’s the way it should be. It’s the only reason to be a teacher; it’s too much work otherwise.”

Official Press Release

Learn more about the George N. Parks Leadership in Education Award

Get the Recognition Your Music Program Deserves

Monday, 24 November 2014 00:00 Written by Erin Fortune

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Music Teachers, school administrators and board members can complete the updated and refined 2015 Best Communities for Music Education (BCME) survey now through Friday, January 30, 2015.

Throughout the survey’s 15-year history, many districts have reported that making the “Best Communities” list supports efforts to preserve and advance their music education programs. "As our school district has just undergone one of the largest mergers in the history of U.S. public education, this designation helped us to protect the quality music programs and teachers in our community,” said Dr. Dru Davison, fine arts advisor for Shelby County Schools in Tennessee. “It was extremely valuable.”

In 2014, more than 2000 schools and districts participated resulting in a record number of designees. The NAMM Foundation designated 376 school districts as Best Communities for Music Education, while 96 individual schools earned the SupportMusic Merit Award for their commitment to providing students with access to comprehensive music education.
The surveys gauge funding, participation, facilities, and other factors that affect access to comprehensive music education. The responses are verified, then the Institute for Educational Research and Public Service of Lawrence, Kansas (an affiliate of the University of Kansas) reviews the data. Districts and schools must demonstrate an exceptionally high commitment to comprehensive music education for all.

Individual Schools - Download the 2015 SupportMusic Merit Award Survey
School Districts - Download the 2015 Best Communities for Music Education Survey

Next spring, 2015 BCME designees will be invited to participate in the second-annual, ‘What Makes Music Education Great in My School’ video contest, sponsored by the NAMM Foundation. Winning schools and districts will be awarded a two-day residency with the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, and the opportunity to host a SupportMusic Community Forum that is webcast nationally. The residency provides music students with the chance to write and record an original song aboard this high-tech mobile recording studio, while the forum brings national recognition to communities that support outstanding music programs.

Celebrate your music program with this national recognition! Learn more and take the survey here.

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Congratulations to all of the bands who participated in the 2014 Bands of America Grand National Championships, presented by Yamaha!

Here are awards photos, behind-the-scenes photos and selected action shots from all 94 of our bands!

Looking for more action photos of your band? Jolesch Enterprises has you covered - so make sure you check here for group photos as well as action shots that they took at the event.

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

Music for All released corrected scoring and placement results for its October 31- November 1 Bands of America Super Regional at San Antonio. Shortly after the event, we found and recognized that an error had been made in transferring and tabulating a judge’s scoring during the Preliminary Competition. Following investigation and conference with all the affected bands, the organization and participants agreed to correct the scores and outcome to reflect the intent of the affected judge. As a result of this correction, Music for All announces the following corrected results related to its Class 4A competition:

First Place – Claudia Taylor Johnson H.S.
Second Place – Marcus H.S.
Third Place – The Woodlands H.S.

Highest General Effect in Class 4A – Claudia Taylor Johnson H.S.

Corrected recaps for the San Antonio Regional can be found online at

Music for All apologizes to all the bands and band families affected by this error in tabulation. It also expresses gratitude to the directors of the affected bands and sincere appreciation for their commitment to ensuring and validating the integrity of Bands of America results and their commitment to full and complete disclosure.

Music for All remains committed to its mission to create, provide and expand positively life-changing experiences for all participants and has taken steps necessary to amend its protocols to prevent this type of error in the future.

Congratulations to all the participating bands and to all those in attendance at the Super Regional.

The 2014 Bands of America Grand National Championships kicked off in beautiful Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Indianapolis this evening with the annual Indianapolis Marching Band Tournament. The event has become a full-scale community gala, with students and boosters cheering on their hometown favorites.

The fans play an important role in the competition, as they are judged on their enthusiasm by a panel of local celebrities in the quest to win the coveted Spirit Award, which provides the winning school with a $1,000.00 scholarship. This year there was a tie, so both Broad Ripple Magnet High School and Crispus Attucks High School will get scholarships.

Fans were treated to special exhibition performances by the Marian University and Tennessee State University Marching Bands. Theodore Roosevelt College and Career Academy from Gary, IN also joined us for an exhibition performance, becoming the first non-Indianapolis high school to perform at this event.

Crispus Attucks HS struck gold with the choreography of their dance line, sweeping all captions to take the Class A Championship with the chart topping sounds of Earth, Wind, and Fire. Giving off an aura of an uptown dance club, Class A Runner-up Northwest HS made us want to move to the rhythms of contemporary artists Pharrell, Daft Punk, and Macklemore.

Class B winner Arsenal Technical HS presented sounds of the heartland, playing music of Aaron Copland. The toe-tapping “Hoedown” made us feel like we were enjoying a good, old-fashioned barn dance. The martial pounding of war drums propelled Emmerich Manual HS to Class B 2nd place and the award for Best Music, playing selections from “World of Warcraft.”

Shortridge Magnet HS had us smiling with their fun rendition of the classic pop tune “Louie, Louie.” With only 10 winds, Washington Community HS challenged their students with mysterious harmonies from “Cirque du Soleil,” while Broad Ripple Magnet HS honored our 16th President with “A Lincoln Tribute.” Key Learning Center brought a sense of foreboding and danger with “World of Warcraft,” and John Marshall HS drew “oohs” and “aahs” from the crowd with a trio of high-stepping dancers.

Two action-filled days of preliminary performances by ninety-four of the finest Bands of America begin Thursday morning, with the highest scoring bands moving on to Saturday morning’s Semi Finals competition. The top 12 scoring bands will compete in Saturday night’s Grand National Finals, where the 2014 Bands of America Grand National Champion will take home the traveling Eagle trophy.

Tickets are still available for all performances. We invite you to join us in person at Lucas Oil Stadium, via the live webcast available at, or through our interactive blog covering all the action as it happens. Let’s break ranks and join together as we endeavor to bring these young Winners in Life to the next level! Go for it!

Photo Recap

Check out the awards photos from the 2014 Bands of America Regional Championship at Long Beach!


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

LIVE BLOG: Grand National Championships – Finals

Friday, 07 November 2014 00:00 Written by Erin Fortune

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Live Blogs for the 2014 Grand National Championships

2014 Grand National Championships, presented by Yamaha – Finals

Live Blog 2014 Grand National Championships – Finals

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