Music for All has added a new professional, James P. Stephens, to its Indianapolis staff, as Director of Advocacy and Educational Resources. Stephens joins Music for All having most recently served as a music educator for one of the nation’s most respected scholastic music programs, at Broken Arrow High School in Oklahoma.
Music for All uniquely combines regional and national music-event programming with awareness and advocacy efforts aimed at expanding access to music in schools and communities, including Indianapolis.
The Director of Advocacy and Educational Resources is a new position created to meet key organizational objectives and initiatives. This high-level management position will develop and implement the organization’s existing and new scholastic music-related arts advocacy initiatives. The position will also work with and assist the organization’s educational team as it develops, recommends and crafts organizational initiatives, ensuring the organization’s events and programs support and reflect its high educational standards and commitment.
“As the Music for All vision continues to broaden, Mr. Stephens will be a wonderful and valued asset to the staff. Advocacy is paramount to music education and he will provide needed insight and direction,” stated Gary Markham, Senior Music for All Educational Consultant. “Additionally, he has the background, energy and experience to help facilitate and expand all of MFA’s educational initiatives. The Education Team and I are tremendously excited to work with him for a bright future.”
As an educator, Stephens worked closely and passionately with Music for All at various programs and events and has served on the faculty at the Music for All Summer Symposium.
Prior to joining Music for All, Stephens was the former Associate Director of Bands at Broken Arrow High School where he taught since 2006. Stephens’ teaching responsibilities included three concert bands, music theory and assistant marching band director for the Pride of Broken Arrow. While at Broken Arrow, the marching band was named the Bands of America Grand National Champion twice (in 2011 and 2006), was a seven-time national finalist at the Bands of America Grand National Championships, and was presented with the prestigious Sudler Shield of Excellence by the John Philip Sousa Foundation. The marching band performed by invitation in the 2009 and 2013 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California.
Under the direction of Stephens, the Broken Arrow Wind Bands have performed multiple times at the Oklahoma Music Educators Association state conventions and most recently in New York City's renowned Carnegie Hall.
Stephens brings both large and small band program experience, prior to his appointment at Broken Arrow, Stephens taught at Jamestown High School (NY), Marion Local High School (OH) and Mad River Middle School (OH). Bands under Stephens' direction have performed in venues across the United States and have consistently received superior ratings and have been awarded numerous honors in concert and marching venues.
Photo used by permission of University of South Carolina School of Music.
The application/audition packet for Music for All’s new Chamber Music National Festival, part of the Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha, is now available for download at www.musicforall.org/chamber-festival.
The 2015 festival will be March 12-14th in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Music for All is proud to be again expanding the MFA National Festival to provide performance opportunities for students in chamber ensembles. The Chamber Festival is made possible by the commitment and generous lead donor support of Vandoren.
The non-competitive Chamber Music National Festival will offer wind and string chamber ensemble players the opportunity to perform on a national stage and experience professional coaching and instrument-specific master classes.
Michael Skinner, President of DANSR, Inc. (Vandoren) says, “Having students perform in a smaller chamber music size group improves listening skills and the ability to balance and blend. The independence you develop by playing in groups of this size simply makes you a stronger musician. When you consider that some of the greatest works we have were written for chamber groups, then pedagogically it’s clear that adding a chamber music component to Music for All makes sense both educationally and artistically. We are excited to be part of it!”
“Yamaha is very excited to join Music for All and DANSR in the forming of Music for All’s Chamber Music Festival,” says John Wittmann, Director of Artist Relations, Yamaha Corporation of America. “This effort will serve such an important group of students who otherwise might never have gotten an opportunity to grow from this crucial and underserved genre of music. We at Yamaha are honored to be a part of this initiative!”
Ensembles from four to 16 member can apply/audition. The final deadline for chamber ensembles to apply is September 15, 2014. See the application packet for details on this memorable experience and audition requirements.
We hope to see you in Indianapolis in 2015 at the inaugural Chamber Music National Festival!