The Music for All Blog
The Music for All Blog

Staff Spotlight (25)

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Music for All Intern Spotlight: Sarah Keck

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This is the thirteenth installment of the Intern Spotlight series that will highlight the Music for All interns who work behind-the-scenes to make all of the positively life-changing experiences happen! Get to know each of our amazing summer interns, as we learn more about who they are and what they do at Music for All.

Sarah Keck header

What is your hometown? Altamont, MO

Where did you go to high school? Where did you go to college and when did you/will you graduate?
South Harrison High School in Bethany, MO; graduated from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in May 2017

What is your major/degree?
Music Education

What is your musical background? This could be instruments you play and involvement in musical activities such as choir, DCI, theatre, winter guard, etc. 
I grew up in a musical family with my mother as a guard instructor, and father and sister as band directors. Choir and band were a large part of my life during high school. I went on to study instrumental music education in Kansas City with my main instrument being tuba. College gave me an opportunity to play in chamber groups and solo competitions, as well as perform in the wind bands. I loved the variety of teaching experiences I received in the metro area as I worked with musicians ranging from young children to senior citizens learning how to play an instrument for the first time. During the summers, I got to be a member of the SWAG Team at the Music for All Summer Symposium for four years. 

What are you most looking forward to in your internship this spring?
I am looking forward to learning strategies that I can take back and implement in my community to create events that help facilitate more positively life-changing experiences through music education. 

What is an interesting fact about you?
I am learning to speak Italian with my roommate and fellow intern, Tori.

Who are your top three favorite artists? This could be any genre of music.
Sarah Vaughan, Michael Buble, and Ingrid Michaelson

Keck photo 2Keck photo 3

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Music for All Intern Spotlight: Tori Bingham

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This is the twelfth installment of the Intern Spotlight series that will highlight the Music for All interns who work behind-the-scenes to make all of the positively life-changing experiences happen! Get to know each of our amazing summer interns, as we learn more about who they are and what they do at Music for All.

Tori Bingham header

What is your hometown? City, State.
Tulsa, Oklahoma 

Where did you go to high school? Where did you go to college and when did you/will you graduate?
Bixby High School in Bixby, Oklahoma. University of Arkansas, graduated Spring 2017 

What is your major/degree?
Bachelors in Music Education

What is your musical background? This could be instruments you play and involvement in musical activities such as choir, DCI, theatre, winter guard, etc. 
My main instrument is oboe, and I played in the UofA Wind Ensemble, University Symphony Orchestra, and chamber ensembles. I played flute with the Pride of Bixby, and saxophone in the Razorback Marching Band at the University of Arkansas. Last summer, I got the opportunity to travel to Schladming, Austria and perform with the World Youth Wind Orchestra Project! 

What are you most looking forward to in your internship this spring?
I’m looking forward to growing more with Music for All. Having spent four years as part of the SWAG Team at Summer Symposium, I am excited about learning a new aspect of the organization. This fall, I’m looking forward to working with so many incredible people to provide “positively life-changing experiences” for so many students! 

What is an interesting fact about you?
I hope to be the proud mother of a beautiful, fluffy Pomeranian one-day. 

Who are your top three favorite artists?
Frank Sinatra 
Snarky Puppy 
Beyoncé

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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 Title: Debbie Laferty Asbill/Vice President of Marketing and Communications

Hometown: I grew up in the Air Force, so no hometown, but I did go to high school and college in Morehead, Kentucky (Rowan County High School and Morehead State University).

How long have you been with Music for All?
Since 1985, started as Promotions Coordinator with Bands of America.

What is your favorite event at Music for All and why?
All :)

What has been your favorite part of working at Music for All?
I’ve been able to combine the passion of my youth with a career; that, and the great people I get to meet and the friendships both inside the office and outside. 

Do you have a favorite memory of working an event with Music for All?
There are many, but being at the first Bands of America Honor Band experience in the 2005 Tournament of Roses Parade stands out in particular, seeing and hearing the band turn the famous “TV corner.”

What is your musical background?
Played flute in school and drum major in high school, music minor for a short time in college (flag in Morehead State University marching band and ’84 Garfield Cadets). Learning lately to play ukulele. Now, I’m a band mom of an incoming 6th grade bassoon player. I grew up in a musical family: my mom plays piano and sings, my dad played guitar, and both of my brothers are kick-butt guitar players that regularly gig in and around Chicago and beyond.

One thing you couldn’t live without?
Oxygen.

What kind of music do you listen to?
Some of my favorites are Kirtan artists (Nirinjan Kaur, Jai Uttal, Ben Leinbach, Sean Johnson, and the Wild Lotus Band), Bach, Stravinsky, John Adams, Nine Inch Nails, Radiohead.

What do you like to do in your free time?
Yoga, hike, meditate, boulder (mostly inside lately), reading.

What are you currently reading?
Just finished “The Push: A Climber's Journey of Endurance, Risk, and Going Beyond Limits” by Tommy Caldwell and just started “The Other Shore” by Thich Nhat Hanh.

What's a show you've binge watched recently?
I binged watched Game of Thrones recently again to catch new things before Season 7; now watching The Americans on Amazon Prime.

Favorite movie not many people have seen?
Meru. I am obsessed with documentaries about big wall/big Alpine climbing.

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Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Music for All Staff Spotlight: Kim Mann

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This is the eighteenth 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 Title:  Kim Mann, Program Coordinator for the National Choir Festival

Hometown: I grew up in a little town called Bluffton, Indiana, but now I call Cincinnati home.

How long have you been with Music for All?
My choral “side-kick” Lori Lobsiger, and I started talking with Music for All while producing the 2012 World Choir Games in Cincinnati, and have been actively working to incorporate CHOIR into the Music for All family of student musicians for the last two years.

What is your favorite event at Music for All and why?
The premiere National Choir Festival, March 15-17, 2018!!!! This is when we truly become Music for ALL!!!

What has been your favorite part of working at Music for All?
Working with my mentor, Henry Leck, artistic director for the National Choir Festival, and choral conductors & singers across the nation in hopes thst they too can enjoy “positively life-changing” experiences through Music for All, just like instrumentalists have for so many years.

Do you have a favorite memory of working an event with Music for All?
While presenting at Leadership Weekend during Summer Symposium, it was thrilling to lead all the participants in singing while they performed movement they had just learned from Vincent Thomas.

What is your musical background?
I started by singing Goldfinger on the fireplace hearth and tap dancing with Mary Lynn Lautzenheiser, fell in love with singing when elementary music teacher, Miss Sellers, taught us Little Red Caboose, The Muffin Man, and Valderie, Valdera, and was deeply inspired by my Norwell High School choral director, David Jordan. I received my undergrad and masters of choral music education from Indiana University, where I was introduced to opera by Joseph Myers, and have continued to teach pre-schoolers through adults ever since.

One thing you couldn’t live without?
CHOCOLATE! I mean MUSIC! Nope….CHOCOLATE!

What kind of music do you listen to?
My car radio is set on Mo-Town, I listen to every choral post on social media, clean the house with Broadway, and chill out with jazz. I’m listening to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons right now.

What do you like to do in your free time?
Water the flowers, dig in the dirt, create something…in the kitchen, in the garage, at the studio.

What are you currently reading?
I’m currently reading Devil’s Bargain by Joshua Green, re-reading Orwell’s 1984, and will continue to reference Make Your Bed by Admiral Wm. McRaven, probably forever.

Do you have a favorite quote?
“It’s not what happens that matters, it’s how you handle whatever happens!”

What's a show you've binge watched recently?
“Julie’s Greenroom!” It’s terrific…meant for kids, but I was mesmerized and watched the entire series on a Sunday afternoon. Great lessons presented by the Jim Henson Company and the legendary Julie Andrews with amazing weekly guest artists.

Favorite movie not many people have seen?
If you’re lucky, you’ve seen Bob Fosse’s All That Jazz as many times as I have. “It’s show time, folks!”

Kim surrounded by VOULeadership weekend SS17

This is the eleventh installment of the Intern Spotlight series that will highlight the Music for All interns who work behind-the-scenes to make all of the positively life-changing experiences happen! Get to know each of our amazing summer interns, as we learn more about who they are and what they do at Music for All.

MJ header

What is your hometown? City, State.
Carmel, IN

Where did you go to high school? Where did you go to college and when did you/will you graduate?
I went to Carmel High School before going to Hanover College, where I graduated this past May.

What is your major/degree?
I majored in International Studies with various minors including Philosophy, Theology, Sociology, and Anthropology.

What is your musical background? This could be instruments you play and involvement in musical activities such as choir, DCI, theatre, winter guard, etc.
I participated in the band and marching band program for all four years as a percussionist.

What are you most looking forward to in your internship this spring?
I chose the advancement department because I believe it is the backbone of every nonprofit. If there is no money coming in, then there is no organization. I would like to learn as much as I can about how this department runs before switching to another department in order to have a full appreciation of where the funds are coming from.

What is an interesting fact about you?
I have been to five of the seven continents, most of which I was traveling to volunteer or lead service groups on construction projects.

Who are your top three favorite artists? This could be any genre of music.
Dave Matthews Band
The Beatles
Unknown Mortal Orchestra

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This is the seventeenth 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!

 Maddie Fitzgerald header

Name/Job Title: Maddie Fitzgerald, Participant Relations Coordinator

Hometown: Lenexa, KS

How long have you been with Music for All?
On August 1, I will have been with Music for All for a full year!

What is your favorite event at Music for All and why?
The Bands of America Championships during the fall are definitely my favorite events. It’s challenging to be on the road during those nine weeks, but I’ve loved the opportunity to see some new places in the country and meet some great people.

What has been your favorite part of working at Music for All?
Music defined my educational experience from 5th grade until I graduated from college. Although it is different to not be playing my horn every day, Music for All still keeps me connected to the musical community now that I am not actively playing in school.  

Do you have a favorite memory of working an event with Music for All?
One of my favorite memories is from the first BOA Regional I ever attended in McAllen, TX. It was probably 1 a.m. and we had finally finished loading our truck and moving out of the stadium. The Music for All team went to Whataburger when we were finished. (Which was great, by the way. I’m a fan now.) There is nothing specific about the memory that makes it my favorite, but everyone was exhausted, sweaty, and slap-happy while we sat in this Whataburger and laughed about the craziness of the day. It was a great bonding experience with my coworkers.

What is your musical background?
Like many kids, I started playing in band in 5th grade and started studying privately shortly thereafter. During high school, I was regularly participating in concert band, marching band, pit orchestra, solo and ensemble, honor ensembles, and the Youth Symphony of Kansas City. In college, I had a concentration in music that kept me playing daily. I also joined Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Fraternity and was inducted into Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society during my senior year.

One thing you couldn’t live without?
Diet Mountain Dew. I’m not kidding.

What kind of music do you listen to?
It definitely depends on the setting, but I listen to a lot of Top 40 radio in my car. Some of my favorite artists and bands are Bastille, Sara Bareilles, Walk the Moon, Jukebox the Ghost, and Taylor Swift.

What do you like to do in your free time?
In the past year I have taken up indoor rock climbing, which is so much fun. I also love reading and knitting.

What are you currently reading?
A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin (book #4 in the Game of Thrones series)

What's a show you've binge watched recently?
I’m really ashamed to say this, but I’ve been binging on Dance Moms recently. I completely recognize that this is not quality television, and I could be spending my time finishing the Game of Thrones books so that I can watch that instead. But sometimes I just need my semi-reality TV. I also thoroughly enjoy Parks and Recreation, The Office, The Bachelor(ette), and So You Think You Can Dance.

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This is the tenth installment of the Intern Spotlight series that will highlight the Music for All interns who work behind-the-scenes to make all of the positively life-changing experiences happen! Get to know each of our amazing summer interns, as we learn more about who they are and what they do at Music for All.

 Maxwell Cathala header

What is your hometown? City, State.
Avon, IN

Where did you go to high school? Where did you go to college and when did you/will you graduate?
Avon High School
IUPUI 2018

What is your major/degree?
Computer Science and Computer Graphics Technologies

What is your musical background? This could be instruments you play and involvement in musical activities such as choir, DCI, theatre, winter guard, etc.
I played trumpet at Avon before becoming the drum major. After that I toured with the Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corp. as a conductor in their 2014 show, Tilt.

What are you most looking forward to in your internship this summer?
Gaining experience in a professional environment, while helping to create positively life-changing experiences that Music For All is known for.

What is an interesting fact about you?
I am one of two sets of twins in my family.

Who are your top three favorite artists? This could be any genre of music.
Caleb Hyles, Imagine Dragons, and Thomas Rhett

This is the sixteenth 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 Title: Erin Fortune/Marketing Manager

Hometown: Yale, Michigan (if you could see me right now I’m holding up my hand map, and showing you it’s in the thumb!)

How long have you been with Music for All?
8 magical years on August 23rd!

What is your favorite event at Music for All and why?
This is tough. I truly do love all of our events and here’s why:

BOA Marching Season: I really love traveling all over the country. I get to see so many directors and students from all over, I get to hang out with our AMAZING event staff that volunteer their time with us on weekends, I get to spend a ton of time on the road with my work friends who are like another family to me. I love it. I’m in my element when I’m on the road with Music for All.

Festival: It’s such a classy event. Everyone is dressed up, and it’s polished and professional, and I love that. I love seeing students both making, but also enjoying music at a really high level.

Camp: It’s so much fun! Because of the length of camp, I have much more time to really get out there and see sessions, and interact with directors and students; and that’s awesome. We do A LOT of video at camp and that’s honestly one of my favorite parts of my job.

BOA Honor Band in the Rose Parade®: I’ve been lucky enough to be able to be one of the staff members who travels with this group, for both the 2013 and 2017 bands. In 2013 I went as an event coordinator helping our event team with logistics. In 2017 I got to do what I love, and did extensive interviews and video work. It’s such a cool trip because, hello California, but also to see the growth in students during that trip…to see them come together as one band, and form these friendships – it’s incredible. I hope I’m lucky enough to be able to go on the 2021 trip because it’s such a unique experience and I love every minute of it. Also, In & Out Burger.

With Brian for Video at TORTOR TripTOR Trip with our Media Credentials

What has been your favorite part of working at Music for All?
This is the easiest question anyone could ever ask me. It’s the relationships I’ve formed.

Music for All staff, past and present have become a second family to me. I love them in a way I have a very hard time explaining to people who don’t do this type of work.

I’ve also been able to meet other amazing people from all over the country who volunteer their time to join us in 23-hour days, to put on marching band competitions, or to go to band camp – simply because they believe in the mission. There are SO MANY of these people who I’ve become close to in the eight years I’ve been at Music for All. I again think of them as my extended family.

In addition to that, there are music educators who I’ve met from all across the country who have become my friends even outside of the work that we do through Music for All and BOA.

Then there are students and their parents that I end up forming special bonds with because of how often I see some of them, or because I worked with them on a particular project. Being here for the length of time I have been now there are students who I remember lining up as Drum Majors my first two years at Music for All and now they are college graduates or will soon be. As much as this makes me feel like I’m getting old, it’s a really cool thing to see. Some of them have even come to work at Music for All as interns and they too, have become great friends.

I don’t know if I could go anywhere else and have all of these deep connections with people that all happened through my work here. I love it, and that is part of what keeps me here when the days get long and the “work” seems never-ending.

Friendships Section Erin Debbie CamErins First Midwest December 2010Tacoma Dome with my work BFF Seth

Do you have a favorite memory of working an event with Music for All?
I have SO many memories. But here’s just two quick ones.

1. I have a photo at my desk, of my very first Super Regional championship with Music for All. It’s a photo of Laura Blake (our Director of Events), Me, Larry Harper, Jr (Seasonal Event Coordinator at that time), and Ashley Rogers (my very first intern!) and we have strips of field tape all over our pant legs. This was at St. Louis, and that year there was only one Texas band…and there weren’t Texas hash marks on the field. So in the short time between bands, we had to run our on the field (both times they performed) and lay down these hash marks, but do it really fast, hence the pre-cut tape that was prepped and ready on our legs. At this time, I didn’t even know what a hash mark was three months prior…so it’s a memory that makes me smile every time I see that photo.

2. I have a selfie collage currently on one of the cabinets on my desk that I see every day, of me with a few of the members of the 2017 BOA Honor Band in the Rose Parade. For this trip I worked on a special documentary project, and these members were chosen by video submission to be subjects for the project. During the trip, we chatted SO MUCH, as we talked every single day, sometimes multiple times a day about their experience and what was going on. I had such a great time, and every single one of them are amazing young adults. I can’t wait to see what they do in the future. It’s another little display in my office that reminds me of why I love my job when I’m having a tough day.

I also have a selfie collage in another place in my office, with event staff, Music for All full-time staff, band directors, clinicians, Eric Whitacre, John Mackey, etc. that I’ve met through Music for All. Selfies are kind of my thing. I used to get teased about it by my co-workers, but now people seek me out, for the selfies…so now I just embrace it as part of me. 

Hash Marks StoryErins Office when talking about the selfies memories

What is your musical background?
Well I think I’ve fooled quite a few people over the years because I believe in the “fake it until you make it” adage…but I was never in band!

I was however, in choir. I LOVED choir… and went to a fairly small, rural school so my choir director, Ms. Oneil, was actually one of my general music teachers since Kindergarten through elementary school. From there, I of course chose choir as my elective and was with her from 6th grade until I graduated high school. Proud to say when I graduated I received an award for being the top vocal student of my class! I’d say I cherish that distinction more than any other I received that year. I’m 100% sure Ms. Oneil contributed to why I am so passionate about music and music education, and without her, I would certainly not be where I am right now.

I also played piano for a little while, though I didn’t practice as much as I should have (sorry, Mr. Willenburg!!) But I can still play a few things without music, so I’ve retained what I did learn!

And then I dabble in guitar once every three months haha, but struggle to nail the F chord. One day I’ll take lessons again.

One thing you couldn’t live without?
I’m sure this is cliché since you’re reading this profile about me on the Music for All website…but music! I can’t imagine my life without it.

What kind of music do you listen to?
I listen to a little bit of everything and it depends on what mood I’m in. But I MOST OFTEN listen to acoustic singer-songwriter type music. Sara Bareilles, Ingrid Michaelson, Joshua Radin, Joni Mitchell, Sheryl Crow, Damien Rice-you get the idea. I also have a deep love for Jimmy Eat World and the Goo Goo Dolls that just never ends. And then of course the Hamilton, Come from Away, and Dear Evan Hansen original Broadway cast recordings are on repeat, constantly.

What do you like to do in your free time?
I karaoke as much as possible. It’s fun, it’s social, and singing is a release for me…so when someone asks me if I want to go, the answer is yes 9 times out of 10. I also like to travel, I specifically like to use any airline points I have to book trips to NYC to see Broadway shows.

What are you currently reading?
This year I have a goal to read at least 26 books. I’m also focusing on some professional development by reading on how to be a better manager. I’m in the middle of three different books right now. The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy, Bridging the Soft Skills Gap by Bruce Tulgan, and for fun I’m reading A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin (Game of Thrones Book #2!!)

Do you have a favorite quote?
I’m an unapologetic lover of inspirational quotes…so yes, yes I do.

This week’s quote is: “You can anything. But you can’t do everything.” That one is supposed to help me to remember to not take on too much because you can probably guess from everything else I’ve told you, I’m a little type A.

One of my all time favorite quotes is:

“It is our choices that show us what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” – Dumbledore (I may also be a Harry Potter nerd… #SlytherinForLife)

What's a show you've binge watched recently?
I’m currently binge-watching season three of Madame Secretary.

Favorite movie not many people have seen?
Earlier this year when I was recovering from tonsil surgery I rented the remake of Annie, with Quvenzhane Wallis, Cameron Diaz and Jamie Foxx. I became OBSESSED with that movie and had to buy it, I watched it five times that week, and then even ordered the DVD to put in my mom’s Mother’s Day gift box because I wanted her to see it too. I wouldn’t say it’s my all-time favorite movie, but I’m pretty into it right now

This is the ninth installment of the Intern Spotlight series that will highlight the Music for All interns who work behind-the-scenes to make all of the positively life-changing experiences happen! Get to know each of our amazing summer interns, as we learn more about who they are and what they do at Music for All.

Rachel Drake header

What is your hometown? City, State.
Greenwood, IN

Where did you go to high school? Where did you go to college and when did you/will you graduate?
Center Grove High School; Capital University (OH), graduating in Spring 2018.

What is your major/degree?
Double major in Communications and Business Management

What is your musical background? This could be instruments you play and involvement in musical activities such as choir, DCI, theatre, winter guard, etc.
Played flute for seven years, participating in my high school concert band, marching band, and pep band programs.

What are you most looking forward to in your internship this spring?
Taking part at the Summer Symposium.

What is an interesting fact about you?
Favorite super hero group is the X-Men.

Who are your top three favorite artists? This could be any genre of music.
Panic! At the Disco, Regina Spektor, and The Beatles.

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This is the fifteenth 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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Lori Smith/Accounts Receivable Clerk

Hometown: Indianapolis, IN

How long have you been with Music for All?
10 months

What is your favorite event at Music for All and why?
Grand Nationals. The enthusiasm and excitement from the bands; how they pull together as a team and give their all during their performances.

What has been your favorite part of working at Music for All?
The staff! How we all come together to make an event happen and provide an amazing experience for all involved.

Do you have a favorite memory of working an event with Music for All?
Absolutely! Being on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium during Avon High School’s performance at the 2016 Grand Nationals. Being that up-close, it was sensational!

One thing you couldn’t live without?
My husband and family

What kind of music do you listen to?
Pop, Rock, and 80’s music

What do you like to do in your free time?
Spend time with my husband and little girl watch Netflix, read, and do word search puzzles.

What are you currently reading?
Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

Do you have a favorite quote?
“Love the life you live; live the life you love.” ~Bob Marley

What's a show you've binge watched recently?
Orange is the New Black

Favorite movie not many people have seen?
Four Weddings and a Funeral

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