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It was an exciting and successful Saturday at McEachern H.S. for the Bands of America Powder Springs Regional! Music for All would like to thank all of McEachern High School volunteers, and band staff for letting us use their facility, as well as Ken Stanton Music, our official music store of the Regional.

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It was a great day with thirteen bands representing six states.. Each band performed in finals and put on an incredible show for our audience.

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We would like to congratulate and recognize some of the overall top performing bands this past Saturday. Milton H.S. from Georgia came in 3rd Place, Mill Creek H.S. from Georgia placed in 2nd with the overall Outstanding Visual Performance, and the Harrison H.S. Marching Band from Kennesaw, Georgia winning the overall Music Performance, General Effect, and being crowned the 2017 BOA Powder Springs Regional Champion.

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Music for All has wrapped up its first weekend of Bands of America Regional Championships! The Northeast Ohio Regional Championship took place at the brand-new Tom Benson Stadium at the Pro-Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Firestone High School and Canton McKinley High School hosted the regional, with 14 bands participating in the Preliminary competition. Thirteen bands went through Finals.

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At the conclusion of the Prelims, Canton McKinley H.S. Marching Band performed their show in Exhibition “24K Gold” by Bruno Mars. 

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At the conclusion of the Prelims, Canton McKinley H.S. Marching Band performed their show in Exhibition “24K Gold” by Bruno Mars. 

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Avon H.S., IN was crowned the regional champion with Lockport Township H.S., IL placing 2nd and Dublin Coffman placing 3rd.  Avon H.S. also took home caption awards for Outstanding Music Performance, Outstanding Visual Performance, and Outstanding General Effect. A great time was had by all. Thank you to our hosts, Firestone H.S. and Canton McKinely H.S., our event staff, and volunteers who made this event possible!

Check out the awards photos from the 2017 Bands of America Northeast Ohio Regional Championship!

High resolution awards photos (as well as additional action photos of each band) can be viewed and purchased on the Jolesch Enterprises website: http://www.bandgroupphotography.com/BOA/Index.html

Check out the awards photos from the 2017 Bands of America Powder Springs Regional Championship!

High resolution awards photos (as well as additional action photos of each band) can be viewed and purchased on the Jolesch Enterprises website: http://www.bandgroupphotography.com/BOA/Index.html

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Music for All Staff Spotlight: Sam Cantor

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This is the nineteenth installment of a new series that will highlight the Music for All staff members who work behind-the-scenes to make all of the positively life-changing experiences happen! Get to know each of our amazing staff members, as we learn more about who they are and what they do at Music for All. A new post will be featured every week!

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Name/Job TitleName/Job Title: Sam Cantor, Events Coordinator

Hometown: North Canton, OH

How long have you been with Music for All? 
I started as an intern in the Fall of 2014 

What is your favorite event at Music for All and why? 
I think the fall regional championships are my favorite. Getting to travel the country and take in the nuances that make each region’s marching bands unique. 

What has been your favorite part of working at Music for All? 
Just knowing the impact we have on the students on a daily basis. From reading their survey responses after our events, to the look on their faces after a culminating performance, it’s pretty special! 

Do you have a favorite memory of working an event with Music for All? 
There are so many! They all seem to have to do with weather though. Whenever mother nature throws us a curveball, we go into our best mode of problem-solving and making sure everyone still has a positively life-changing experience! If I have to narrow it down, it’s a toss up between San Antonio, 2015, and Austin 2016 regionals. 

What is your musical background? 
I started playing trombone my freshman year of high school in North Canton. (Go Vikes!) I continued to play in the marching band and concert ensemble at the University of Toledo. Along the way I learned baritone, euphonium, and most recently Tuba. Currently I play in the Pride of Indy community bands. 

One thing you couldn’t live without? 
Other people! I cannot stand sitting around by myself. Some people find it relaxing, but for me it’s a no go! 

What kind of music do you listen to? 
Everything! Some of my absolute favorites though are Neil Diamond, Journey, Simple Plan, and of course anything from a Broadway Show! 

What do you like to do in your free time? 
Being a social creature, I hang out with friends a lot. I play A LOT of darts, and other community sports. Recently, my team won a softball championship! 

What are you currently reading? 
Fall Final Packets haha

Do you have a favorite quote? 
Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future. - JFK

What's a show you've binge watched recently? 
Atypical, and Shameless

Favorite movie not many people have seen? 
To Wong Fu: Thanks for everything! Julie Newmar

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The 2017 Indiana State Fair has just come to an end and now we reflect on the Music for All Indiana State Fair Band Day presented by Music Travel Consultants, which took place on Saturday, August 5. This is the final contest of the Central Indiana Track Show Association’s (CITSA) season, where “track-style” marching bands perform and are judged by a panel of educators. CITSA has had an active season with five contests prior to State Fair Band Day that includes, Drums at Winchester, Noblesville Black & Gold Marching Invitational, Muncie Central Spirit of Muncie Contest, Jay County Fair Lions Contest, and Centerville Archway Classic.

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 In 2015 Music for All and Music Travel Consultants began a relationship with CITSA to have a five-year shared partnership of State Fair Band Day, which has been taking place since the 1940s. With our mission being “to create, provide, and expand positively life-changing experiences through music for all” this special partnership is significant, as it will provide student musicians more access and opportunity.

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The grand-stands were filled with many excited spectators, fans, and parents of the 49 participating bands, with 16 bands advancing to finals. Richmond High School who made their 58th appearance at the Indiana State Fair Band Day, earned a spot in finals. The final results were Noblesville High School placing first, Winchester Community High School placing second, and Jay County (Portland) High School placing third.

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 Tom Benson

The 2017 Fall season is approaching, with less than one month left and Music for All could not be more thrilled! There are 21 Bands of America regional championships across the country, including the Grand National Championships that will be taking place November 8-11 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN. It’s a privilege to have positively life-changing events in world-class facilities across the country, where students get the opportunity to perform in good-natured competition and where people get to witness the showcase of some of the most talented students in the nation. 

This year Music for All is excited to be holding the Bands of America Northeast Ohio Regional Championship, presented by Yamaha at the new Tom Benson Stadium in the Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village at the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, September 16. This event will bring the arts and sports together, and will give students, teachers, and spectators a unique experience. This Regional will be the first marching band competition to take place in this stadium! As Music for All’s partnership with the Pro Football Hall of Fame continues to grow, not only will students get the unique experience of performing in an incredible venue, they will get free admission to the Hall of Fame museum!  Spectators will also get to share in the excitement with 20% off admission for the museum! If you’re interested in attending the Northeast Ohio Regional be sure to check out the ticket options here: http://www.musicforall.org/what-we-do/boa-marching-championships/ticket-information

We hope both participants and fans will enjoy this unique and fun perk from the Pro Football Hall of Fame! We look forward to seeing everyone in Canton, Ohio very soon!

DCI Champs

With the marching band season approaching and summer ending, Music for All’s Strategic Partner Drum Corps International’s (DCI) 45th season came to an exciting conclusion on August 12 with the Blue Devils taking their 18th Champion title. 

As a Strategic Partner of DCI, and a fellow organization based in Indianapolis, Music for All took part in DCI World Championship week festivities. Music for All staff attended the DCI Hall of Fame event to kick off the week, participated in the Future Music Educators Experience, volunteered at events throughout the week, and hosted guests and VIPS during quarterfinals, semi-finals and finals. One-hundred and six shows took place across the country from June through August. Fans and spectators also got to enjoy the DCI Central Indiana show that took place at the Music for All Summer Symposium. DCI wrapped up their diamond anniversary with World Championships, from Thursday, August 10 through Saturday, August 12 at Lucas Oil Stadium.

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(Members of the Music for All Summer Symposium Drum Major Institute stopped by the Music for All booth during DCI week at Lucas Oil Stadium.)

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(Various members of Music for All staff volunteer at DCI Showcase, August 9.) 

DCI kicked off their Championship’s Week with Open Class Prelims and Finals in Michigan City, IN on Monday, August 7. Vanguard Cadets who are celebrating their 50th anniversary placed first, with Blue Devils B placing second. Things kicked off in Indianapolis on Wednesday with the DCI Showcase at the Indiana Convention Center and Indianapolis Arts Garden. This is an event that takes place before the Preliminary, Semifinals, and Finals performances that gives corps members the opportunity to perform in a solo and ensemble setting outside of their regular corps repertoire, with vocal and woodwind categories included as well. Forty World and Open Class Corps performed in Prelims on Thursday, with 25 corps advancing to Semifinals performances on Friday, and with 12 corps moving on to Finals on Saturday. However, it was not just all corps performances. DrumLine Battle kicked off the final day of performances at the SoundSport International Music and Food Festival at the Pan Am Plaza with drumlines from high schools, colleges, and different corps performing.   

Blue Devils took the Drum Corps International World Championship title in front of a record-breaking crowd of 23,342. Santa Clara Vanguard who is celebrating their 50th anniversary placed second. The remaining top 12 corps in placement order include, Carolina Crown, The Cavaliers, Bluecoats, Boston Crusaders, The Cadets, Blue Knights, Phantom Regiment, Blue Stars, Crossmen, and Madison Scouts. Additionally, Blue Devils took two World Class Caption awards for Best General Effect and Best Visual Performance, with Santa Clara Vanguard taking Best Percussion Performance and Best Color Guard Award, and Carolina Crown took home the Best Brass Performance Award. 

Congratulations to all of the corps, the age-out performers, and to DCI on another fantastic season! We can hardly wait for the 2018 season!

Jason Ferdinand

Music for All is proud to recognize Dr. Jason Max Ferdinand, member of the Music for All Choral Music Artistic Committee, and the Oakwood University Aeolians for their recent designations as “Choir of the World” and “Outstanding Director.” The honors were granted during the World Choral Festival during the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in Wales, Great Britain. The annual festival features thousands of singers, dancers, and instrumentalists from countries around the world.

As many of you know, we are truly becoming “music for all” as we expand our National Festival to include the National Choir Festival in 2018. The Oakwood Aeolians will be featured in performance during this premiere festival, where Dr. Ferdinand will be joined by Choral Music Artistic Committee members Dr. Kent Hatteberg, Ms. Ly Wilder, Dr. Joseph Flummerfelt, Dr. Rollo Dilworth, and Music for All Artistic Director, Mr. Henry Leck, to provide evaluation, master classes, and a massed-choir with orchestra experience to all invited choirs.

Additionally, Music for All will launch its first Affiliated Regional Choral Music Festival, The Southern Invitational, October 26 and 27, 2017, under the leadership of Dr. Shannon Jeffreys, Director of Choral Activities at Georgia Southern University. Dr. Ferdinand will serve as our “Music for All” clinician and evaluator during the Southern Invitational.

Dr. Ferdinand enjoys watching the up-and-coming composers and conductors he mentors become composers and conductors in their own right. Music for All is honored to provide further opportunity for Dr. Ferdinand to positively influence young musicians through its exciting and emerging choral programming.

Friday, May 05, 2017

Finding the Courage to Create

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Most artists follow a curve in their development that rises, peaks, plateaus, and eventually declines. The inevitable question we all face is regarding how to keep growing.

What have you done lately to be inspired and how have you followed through on that inspiration?

No matter how good you are at what you do, you’ve got to keep creating if you want to keep growing, and this requires finding courage to put yourself out there again and again, to stretch beyond what you’ve done before and continually reinvent your work. Rehashing what you’ve done before isn’t really being creative, and you’re only as relevant as your last project.

For more established artists, this means you can’t rest on your laurels. For developing artists, it’s a reason to get busy, because if you have the drive and energy to be prolific, generating a bulk of material could take you far, fast.

Supposedly, most visionaries make their greatest innovations before they become experts, i.e., when they are novices. Once recognized as experts, once we are “trained,” we become less willing to go into that vulnerable space of the “novice,” where real exploration happens. We become afraid that we will lose our status as experts and be revealed for the bumbling, fumbling human beings that we really are.

I can think of many artists who made their biggest statements at a relatively early age, when they had nothing to lose.

It could be said that each of us is at the same time both immeasurably powerful and incredibly insignificant. To focus on our “smallness” is to wallow in despair. To focus on our power is to become obsessed with delusions of grandeur. The trick is to truly accept this contradiction by both owning your power and accepting your weakness. Ride the wave! Artists who create every day
are optimistic in their ability to transcend their limits, and are at the same time able to be realistic about their limitations and constructively critical of their work, maintaining a skeptical confidence without succumbing to the uncritical denial of arrogance or
the paralysis of insecurity.

If you can’t overcome your insecurity, or if you you have trouble acknowledging any limitations, I recommend sublimating through exercise, meditation, reading, or other activities that allow you to lose yourself in something totally unrelated to your art. (One of my favorite activities that helps me sublimate my feelings is hacky sacking.)

I take inspiration from my students. They haven’t “proven” themselves yet, so they have nothing to lose. Their lack of experience is unrelated to the courage they are capable of employing to reach their goal. I must have demonstrated courage at some point when I was young, but now it’s my students that lead by their example, reminding me that I need to step up to the plate with the kind of fearlessness they demonstrate. “The curve” of development suggests that our willingness to display creative courage diminishes as we get older and more established, and I don’t want to suffer the fate of having my work become stale,
like yesterday’s news.

Many of my students are aspiring jazz violinists and cellists. I meet other jazz string players around the U.S. who complain about the difficulties of “breaking in” the jazz scene. It’s hard to gain acceptance in the jazz community for various reasons. And then there are infinite reasons that each person has for why it’s even harder for them, whether it be their training, race, gender, geography, financial position, physical handicaps, something that happened to them when they were a kid, their Zodiac sign, and so on. Today I listened to the new CD of one of my former students, Tomoko Omura, and I was humbled by the realization of what she has overcome, and the courage it must have taken to produce such a great creative work of art. She came from Japan, learned a new language, a new culture, and overcame tremendous odds to get where she is now.

I can imagine how many times she was NOT invited to play on stage at a jam session after waiting for hours just to play one song. I can imagine how many times she must have thought, “Why am I even trying to do this? It seems impossible!” And now, she’s created one of the most beautiful, important, creative and relevant works of jazz violinists in the recent past. Shu Mei Yap lives in Singapore and has worked with me now on the production of two CDs. She is another example of an artist who refused to allow barriers to get in the way.

My daughter Camille is one of the most inspiring examples to me of courage. She’s gone through her whole life with a dad who might have seemed a little bit bigger than life at times. Every year I surround her with all my favorite jazz string players at my annual “Creative Strings Workshop,” a week during which all the world’s hottest players jam and show their stuff. I’m thrilled that she’s gotten to know all these cool people and amazing artists, except that she’s also got to deal with measuring herself against that standard, and I can only imagine the kind of pressure she may feel sometimes!

Every day that she picks up her violin and keeps going for it, I feel immensely proud and take inspiration from her because that takes courage. My students make me humble. They make me remember that it’s not how much knowledge or experience you have, but whether you’re willing to keep pushing through your own fears, re-engaging continuously in the creative process, no matter what form that process takes for you, because you know that wherever you fall on life’s curve is a function of the strength of your last project.

Here are some quick tips for getting engaged creatively:

  • Narrow down/compartmentalize: Instead of writing “a song,” be specific: Write a 12-bar song, a bass line in 4/4, a song in a certain style/tempo, a melody, etc. Instead of writing “an essay,” write a “persuasive essay” about a specific subject, with a specific duration.
  • Limit the scope; write just one paragraph, one sentence, or 4 bars of a song.
  • Schedule: Schedule time in your calendar for working on your project.
  • Keep notes: Use your phone to keep voice memos or keep a journal.
  • Review: Listen back to your work at various stages – listen uncritically at first, and listen critically later, allowing for your insights to change over time.
  • Try different processes: For a musician, you may work better with pencil and paper, or improvising into a recorder, or using a different instrument, or employing software.

What is your take on “courage and the creative process?”

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