The Music for All Blog
The Music for All Blog

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Thursday, August 06, 2015

#TBT - Music for All Drum Corps Alumni

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Today's Throwback Thursday post is dedicated to Drum Corps International (DCI) in celebration of the 2015 DCI World Championships this week! We’re so honored to have a partnership with such a prestigious organization, and instead of changing our Facebook profile picture, like many Drum Corp members and alumni have been doing this week, we’d like to highlight several current Music for All staff members who have been a part of a DCI Drum Corp in the past!

Matt Mackowiak, Marketing Assistant, was Drum Major of Revolution Drum & Bugle Corps in 2009 and Drum Major of Thunder Drum & Bugle Corps in 2010.

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Jerome Horne, Participant Relations Assistant, marched Teal Sound Drum and Bugle Corps from 2007 to 2009.

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David Foth, Event Coordinator, marched Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps from 2010 to 2012.

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Good luck all those who are performing in the 2015 DCI World Championships!

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Today’s Throwback Thursday post goes out to our most recent Grand National Champion, Tarpon Springs H.S. Last year, 2014, was a magical year for Tarpon Springs, as they won their first ever title. Their show titled, “Man vs. Machine” was full of energy, musicality and was visually engaging. While watching their Prelims, Semifinals and Finals performances, I was able to catch a new aspect within each run of the show.

Tarpon Springs H.S. has a rich history in attending Bands of America events. They first broke into Grand National Championships Finals in 1997 placing 4th and in 2000 when they placed 3rd

What I love most about this band is the interaction I’ve had with its student musicians last season. In uniform, they were all business, but underneath the shako, guard makeup, and uniforms were ordinary kids with extraordinary talents. They were humble and understood the joy they could experience performing with their friends. 

Good luck to all the bands performing at this year’s Bands of America Regional, Super Regional and Grand National Championships.

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

#TBT - The Evolution of Color Guard

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While going through photos taken during the past 40 years of Music for All's programs, it is easy to see how our activity has evolved. One area where you can easily observe this is with the color guard. 

In the early years of Music for All/Bands of America, color guard uniforms were often identical or only a slight variation of the band uniform. However, in the late 1980's color guard uniforms became a more integral part of the visual show design. The story came to life with the uniforms, colors, flags, props, etc. This area of the marching arts has truly progressed over the years with unique and out of the box uniforms and flags. 

We dedicate this Throwback Thursday to the evolution of color guard.

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Thursday, July 16, 2015

#TBT - Band Parents Edition

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TBT Centerville Band Dads

Today’s Throwback Thursday goes out to all of the band parents who have dedicated (and continue to dedicate) their time during the week to rehearsals and weekends, to lugging props and pit equipment on and off the field and to encouraging their children to do their best. The tradition continues when band parents end up becoming extended family, just as students see fellow band members as siblings. You travel together, create and build memories together, experience the ups and the downs together, and most importantly become part of the amazing performances out on the field.

One of favorite aspects of working Bands of America Championships shows during the fall is hearing the parents’ stories. My most vivid memory was the 2014 Jacksonville Regional where not just one parent, but handful of parents, came up to me saying that Bands of America and Music for All had truly changed their kids and families lives. It truly warms my heart knowing that my job and something as seemingly little as marching band has impacted so many people.

As we begin the 2015 marching band season, I would like students, directors and staff from all bands to make sure to reach out to your parents, say thank you, give them hugs, and make sure they know how truly cherished they are. 

West Genesee Band Dads

Check out the photos from the first day of the Leadership Weekend Experience!

If the photo stream above is not viewable for you, try this link: http://on.fb.me/1eHXA56.

Voices from the Soul

Soul music is unique because it was formed in pop culture by the merging of other types of music such as gospel and doo-wop. When full and resounding voices of soul-style vocalists and warm-sounding instruments come together it creates an unforgettable cohesive collaboration.

Voices from the Soul, a jazzy soul group made up with musicians such as Joyce “Peaches” Faison, Mark Buselli, Kevin Anker, Joel Tucker and many more, is performing at this year’s Music for All Summer Symposium. Each musician in this group has a unique style, but all hold a level of natural-born talent that has been heard at venues across the nation.

Take Joyce “Peaches” Faison – after listening to her sing “Talkin’ bout Love” you can feel the genuinity inside her rich & smooth voice that helps you understands her emotion and the control she has with her tone is phenomenal! It's no surprise she’s headlined for many talented artists including Ray Charles, Gladys Knight and Patti LaBelle.

With someone like trumpet player Mark Buselli, his sound is light and sweet. It carries you from one musical thought in a song to the next like string tied to the notes. His precision is admired and envied. In addition to being a performer, Mark is also a composer and arranger who has written big band arrangements of several different difficulty levels. 

Overall, this interesting group of musicians has found a way to come together to make something beautiful. With a variety of these musicians being educators, they also help share their talent and knowledge by teaching students in both public and private settings. This concert will definitely see faces of many different musical tastes and should be one to remember!

I look forward to seeing you there at the Voices from the Soul concert on Wednesday, June 24, 2015 at 8:00pm in Emens Auditorium at Ball State University! 

To buy tickets to this concert, please visit http://www.bands.org/Public/TicketMerchandiseMFA/Detail.asp?ProductID=2539.

army chorus

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.

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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!

3Benefitsblog

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 

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