Music for All President and CEO, Eric L. Martin, John Miller, Bruce Burritt. Not pictured: Michael Cesario.
Music for All inducted three new members into the Bands of America Hall of Fame: Bruce Burritt, Michael J. Cesario, and John Miller. These new members were inducted on Saturday, March 11th 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. 2017 inductees were announced during the opening ceremonies of the 2016 Bands of America Grand National Championships, presented by Yamaha, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. 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.
Longtime Bands of America adjudicator Bruce Burritt began his career as an elementary band director before becoming a high school band director in the West Genesee (NY) Central Schools in 1964. Under his direction, the marching band, symphonic band, and wind ensemble thrived for the next 16 years. As District Supervisor of Music, beginning in 1968, he spearheaded the growth of not only the band program, but also orchestra and chorus. He credits his success to a supportive administration and community.
In 1982, he made the leap to the administrative side of education. He served as assistant principal, high school principal, and finally superintendent of schools before his retirement in 1998 from the Avon School District in New York.
Despite his retirement, his influence continues to reverberate across the nation. Every five years, a call goes out to West Genesee alumni. They converge back on their hometown over Memorial Day weekend to reminisce, rehearse, and perform in the Memorial Day Parade. In 2016, 643 West Genesee High School band alumni converged to celebrate the 50-year anniversary of their first competition by organizing what they believe to be the largest high school alumni performance ever. The alumni band was a quarter-mile long—nearly four and a half football fields in length.
“We’ve had wonderful memories and not so wonderful memories,” said Burritt. “That’s what life is. Each year, you come back. You keep going. Now we have a history and a legacy. That’s incredible.”
When asked for advice for his former students, he replied, “Always believe in yourself and what you can do. And no matter how tough it gets, never give up. Absolutely never give up.”
Michael J. Cesario
Michael Cesario is widely known and respected in the world of the marching arts. His uniform designs outfit thousands of ensembles nationwide, including many of the top marching bands, drum corps, and colorguards in the world. Joining his first drum corps at the age of nine in Wisconsin, he grew up in the performing arts, was active in marching band, and trained in theater. He majored in directing, and did graduate work in costume design. Upon aging out of the drum corps activity, he continued to work with corps like Phantom Regiment, the Garfield Cadets, Dutch Boy, the Madison Scouts, and many others.
In the world of theater, his work has appeared on Broadway, television, and on stages nationwide. He has been a member of the Costume Society of America, the Costume Society of England, United States Institute for Theatre Technology, and United Scenic Artists Local 829, where he was instrumental in contributing to the evaluations for their certification. Purchase College (NY) named Cesario a professor emeritus for heading their graduate programs in design and serving as director of design/technology for the conservatory of theater arts in film. His work appears in textbooks for costume design students: The Magic Garment by Rebecca Cunningham and Costumer’s Handbook by Rosemary Ingham and Liz Covey. The Julliard School, School of Visual Arts (NYC), Bennington College, Dartmouth College, and the University of Illinois have welcomed him as a lecturer and teacher.
His work with Fred J. Miller, Inc. continues to delineate the cutting edge of uniforms in the pageantry arts, and he’s largely responsible for modernizing the look of the marching arts for the 21st century. Michael serves as DCI’s artistic director, is an active adjudicator, consultant and clinician nationwide, and a member of the DCI Hall of Fame.
John Miller retired as the 30-year director of bands at American Fork High School in Utah in 2016. Under his direction, the band performed at the Utah Music Educators State Conference, the Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival, the Peaks Jazz Festival, the Fiesta Bowl, the Tournament of Roses Parade, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the 2005 Presidential Inaugural Parade in Washington, D.C., as well as regular appearances at Bands of America National Concert Band Festival, Regionals, and Grand National Championships. Miller has been widely lauded at the district, state, regional and national levels, and in 2016 was awarded the Sorenson “Lifetime Achievement in Arts Education” Award by the Utah State Board of Education.
Miller believes strongly in the development of student leaders and the growth of the students in all areas of their lives, and believes that every student should experience the joy of music performance and continues to serve as a mentor to many younger teachers—including over 30 of his own former students.
Miller, who holds a master’s degree in music education from Brigham Young University, is an adjudicator and clinician throughout the United States. He serves on the Advisory Board of the Midwest Clinic and is the founding director of the Wasatch Winds Symphonic Band, an adult community band with over 85 members and an established concert series in the community.
Outside of music, he is active in the Boy Scouts of America, having received advanced Wood Badge training, and has received the prestigious Silver Beaver Award for long-term commitment to scouting.