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!
Another Thursday, another throwback post! This week, we decided to crowd-source Throwback Thursday and give you a few memorable moments from our staff. While many of our staff members (including myself) are alumni of Music for All programs, we do have several staff members who participated in other musical outlets and some who were not involved in music. Here are a few musical moments from our devoted staff members. Enjoy!
Memorable Moment: I completely own that I grew up as a marching band junky! So when I say that my most memorable experience wasn't marching related, some who know me well may gasp. A truly defining moment was performing at the National Concert Band Festival. It was one of the only noncompetitive experiences I had in high school. There is an exhilaration that comes from preparing and performing some of the hardest music written for that medium. You rehearse and prepare and with such a small group you really have to own your part, your notes, your emotional investment in the process. Then you are ushered into a grand hall and have the performance of a lifetime, followed by music giants taking time and working with you, it's an unprecedented experience for most high school students, it certainly was for me. There are no trophies, no high distinctions or even discussion of who gave a better performance. Your thinking, where's the reward? Trust me, there is a moment. It's one that will never be replicated, but will stay with you forever.
Seasonal Marketing Assistant
Memorable Moment: I was playing in a cover band during my Junior year of college, and we got offered a gig at a house party on campus. We decided to go for a whole new set, and play nothing we had before. Believe it or not, I can still remember the entire set list (Money - B. Gordy, Mary Jane's Last Dance - T. Petty, Stuck in the Middle with You - Stealers Wheel, The Weight - The Band, I Second That Emotion - S. Robinson, Like a Rolling Stone - B. Dylan, Helter Sketler - The Beatles, and Jumpin' Jack Flash - Rolling Stones). Anyway, everything was going pretty well and I was having a great time getting to play music by virtually all of my favorite artists. That was, until we got to "Helter Skelter." The song started out rocking, and I was screaming the lyrics in my best McCartney impression. Then, somehow, we fell apart. I'm not sure who's fault it was (probably all of ours for not practicing enough) but our drummer and lead guitar player switched to a bridge unexpectedly in the middle of the song, as our bass player and I jumped into another verse. Needless to say it did not sound too great, but we recovered, had a laugh, and I tossed my guitar to the side to belt out our last tune, "Jumpin' Jack Flash", while channeling my inner Mick Jagger. Even though we had a little flub, the night was still great. Any time that I'm able to play music I love, with great friends is a good time.
Events & Participant Relations Administrative Assistant
Memorable Moment: While I never had the opportunity to perform in a Bands of America Regional with my high school band, I did have the honor of performing in exhibition with the UMass Minuteman Marching Band at the 2011 Grand Nationals. I had many memorable performances with the UMMB, but that one was definitely in the top 3. Towards the end of our show, we "crashed the stands," meaning the entire band ran past the front sideline, and we formed a giant "wall of sound." Watching the positive reactions of everyone sitting in the first few rows of the stands was priceless. Even better was the huge standing ovation we received afterwards. It's a memory I definitely won't ever forget!
Instrument: Flute/Drum Major
Memorable Moment: In 2004 my band traveled from Kentucky to Indianapolis to compete in Grand Nationals. It was my sophomore year and I’ll be honest- I was a little overwhelmed by the magnitude of it all. As we took the field in Finals competition, all of that anxiety melted away. Looking up from your first set to realize you’re about to perform in front of tens of thousands of people is an incredible feeling. Now, every year that I stand on the front sideline during our GN awards ceremony, I’m reminded of that feeling and am so thankful we are providing that life-changing experience to another group of students. My ‘tied-for-first’ memorable moment (is this cheating?) was winning our state competition my senior year. This photo is from that night- can you tell I was excited?
Can you tell we have some pretty passionate and awesome staff members? It is such an honor to be able to work with each of them every day. If you enjoyed this post, stay tuned! We'll have more staff profiles and Throwback Thursday staff posts soon. If you have an idea or story for Throwback Thursday, we'd love to hear it! Just fill out our online "Share Your Story" form and it could be featured in an upcoming post.
One of the most entertaining parts of the Music for All National Festival each year is the Jazz Band of America concert on Friday evening. Since it's creation in 2007, jazz greats such as Patti Austin, Shelly Berg, Wayne Bergeron, Ndugu Chancler, John Clayton, Dr. Lou Fischer, Luke Gillespie, Wycliffe Gordon, Ron McCurdy, Jeff Rupert, Stan Smith and Phil Woods have jammed alongside some of the most talented high school jazz musicians in the country. Today, we're looking back to that very first Jazz Band of America concert in 2007, which featured the legendary Wynton Marsalis.
Wynton Marsalis with the 2007 Jazz Band of America
The 2007 Festival marked the first year the event was named the "Music for All National Festival," combining the honor ensembles, National Concert Band Festival, National Percussion Festival and Orchestra America National Festival under one spectacular and educational experience for thousands of students. To celebrate the creation of the Jazz Band of America, Music for All welcomed conductor Ron McCurdy and jazz legend Wynton Marsalis to lead the ensemble at Clowes Memorial Hall. The talented young musicians also had the unique opportunity of opening for the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. You can watch a clip from the 2007 performance of the Jazz Band of America below.
The experience of performing with Wynton Marsalis and witnessing the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra firsthand had a lasting and life-changing experience for the participants. Many of the young musicians of the 2007 Jazz Band of America have gone on to study jazz in college and perform on some of the greatest stages for jazz. Last month, the tenor saxophone soloist in the above video, Paul Melhus, appeared on an episode of NPR Music.
This year, Music for All welcomes Yamaha Artist and music educator, producer and author Caleb Chapman to lead the Jazz Band of America. Trombonist Robin Eubanks will be the featured soloist for the Friday evening concert. Click here to learn more about the 2014 MFA National Festival and purchase tickets. On March 29, Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra will return to Clowes Memorial Hall with the rest of the Marsalis family for a special Clowes Hall 50th Anniversary event. You can visit cloweshall.org for more information.
Seth Williams is the Advocacy Coordinator at Music for All. Seth is no stranger to Music for All and Bands of America – first as a participant and as an intern in Development and Participant Relations. He is a graduate of Butler University and previously worked in the Broadway theatre industry in New York. A proud alumnus of “The Centerville Jazz Band,” Seth is likely the biggest band nerd he knows.
At the 2014 Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha, Eugene Migliaro Corporon will not only be honored as a Bands of America Hall of Fame inductee, but he will also become the first to conduct the Honor Band of America three times in its 23-year history. Today, we're looking back at Maestro Corporon's first Honor Band of America at the 1995 National Concert Band Festival in Chicago, Illinois.
The 1995 National Concert Band Festival was the first since the death of bandmaster Dr. William D. Revelli, who was instrumental in the educational foundation of Music for All and whose vision helped create the National Concert Band Festival just four years earlier. Mr. Corporon, who just took over the baton for the University of North Texas' Wind Symphony, conducted the Honor Band of America at the historic Medinah Temple in Chicago. Like today, the 1995 Honor Band of America was comprised of talented young musicians from across the country. 16 accomplished concert bands also performed as part of the National Concert Band Festival.
1995 Honor Band of America, Medina Temple, Chicago, Illinois
The Honor Band of America performance featured a composition commissioned by Bands of America for the 1995 National Concert Band Festival. The piece, American Faces by David Holsinger, was a musical tribute to the diversity of America and is still frequently performed by high school and collegiate ensembles today. The concert also featured prominent clarinetist Eddie Jones, performing a transcription of Carl Maria von Weber's Second Concert for Clarinet.
Mr. Corporon also conducted the Honor Band of America in 2004 and will return to the Clowes Memorial Hall stage to conduct the 2014 ensemble in a sold out concert. He has been a long-serving member for Music for All's evaluator and clinician team since the early years of the National Concert Band Festival. Mr. Corporon is Conductor of the Wind Symphony and Regents Professor of Music at the University of North Texas. He is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach and Claremont Graduate University. Mr. Corporon, a frequent guest conductor at the Showa University of Music in Kawasaki City, Japan, has also served as a visiting conductor at the Julliard School, the Interlochen World Center for Arts Education and the Aspen Music Festival and School. He is also the principal conductor of the Lone Star Wind Orchestra, a professional group made up of musicians from the Dallas and Fort Worth metroplex.
To learn more about the 2014 Music for All National Festival and the Honor Band of America, click here.
Today's guest post is from Caleb Chapman, award-winning performer, author, music educator and producer and the 2014 Conductor of the Jazz Band of America, part of the Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha.
I have been blessed to have many fantastic mentors in my path to become the musician and educator I am today. Two of my absolute favorites are the legendary John Clayton and Dr. Lou Fischer. So, you can imagine how much of an honor it was when I was invited to follow both of them as director of MFA’s Jazz Band of America!
MFA has asked for me to describe a bit about my approach to directing a big band. While there are dozens of philosophies I espouse, there are two that immediately jump to mind.
Improvisation Defines Even Big Band Jazz
It is becoming harder and harder to identify what styles of music fall under the umbrella of jazz. But to me, the one constant is the element of improvisation. While many people associate this strictly with soloists, I love to carry it over into the actual performance by the big band as a whole.
As a matter of fact, as a director, I love to “play” the band like an instrument. I actually practice directing in the same way I do my sax, and take it just as seriously. Changing the dynamics of a section or the form of a chart on the spot creates a spontaneous excitement that the audience can feel. Altering the feel or texture behind a soloist creates new sonic environments to explore. The musicians become engaged at a much higher level than simply playing notes on a page.
While not squarely in the jazz wheelhouse, I had the opportunity to see this in action with a different type of band last week when I got to hang with Dave Matthews and my very good friend, GRAMMY-winning saxophonist, Jeff Coffin, at the Dave Matthews Band’s Utah concert. As I was watching the show from backstage, I was given in-ear monitors that allowed for a unique concert experience as I could hear everything the band said to one another during the show.
It was exciting to watch as Dave would change the form of the tunes on the spot, stretching solos or vamping. Drummer Carter Beauford would frequently give audible cues on how many hits the band would play. And the horn section of Jeff and Rashawn Ross would improvise backing figures for the soloists.
All of these elements kept the musicians on stage focused and playing at their highest level, creating a performance for the audience that night that will never be replicated in exactly the same way – a gift to the 17,000+ plus in attendance. That is the beauty of improvised music!
Chasing the Perfect Performance
One of my musical heroes, saxophonist Branford Marsalis said, “Humans are imperfect… We’re on the quest for the perfect performance and every note has to be right. Man, every note is not right in life.” While I agree that there will never be a perfect performance, I don’t think that should keep us from trying! I think because of its perceived loose nature, too often big band music doesn’t receive the diligent attention its classical big brother does. In actuality, there is absolutely nothing casual about a big band performance!
We all want to have the treasured “tight” band. One challenge has been that there is currently no universally accepted method to approaching the notated jazz language. I'm sure other big band directors can agree: it is critical that every musician on the bandstand interpret the charts the exact same way. Over the years, I collected some standard practices to approaching articulation, which has helped my students become unified while playing. This has made a huge difference because it allowed my students follow some key rules so that we can afford the space to improvise and play "within the lines" (Jeff Coffin and I recently published these methods in our book, "The Articulate Jazz Musician").
Once the language is defined, the other aspects of the music can be tackled. As they say, the devil IS in the details. Polishing dynamics, intonation, and groove allow the music to be played as the composers were envisioning. THAT is the difference between a pro band and a student ensemble, not the age level of the musicians. Is it possible to have high school aged musicians play like pros? Absolutely! Our Crescent Super Band here in Utah made up entirely of musicians ages 15-18 has been named Utah’s “Best Professional Band” in any style for 8 years running.
Directing a big band is one of the most fulfilling challenges in music education and getting the students motivated, challenged, and consistent is truly the best part. One of my favorite moments during a show is when the set is coming to a close and the band is at its peak energy. There really is no other experience in my life that quite compares with it! I am excited to be part MFA’s Jazz Band of America and can't wait to work with the talented musicians in this amazing ensemble. See you in Indianapolis!
Caleb Chapman is an award-winning performer, author, music educator and producer. For more information on Caleb's projects and educational innovations visit CalebChapmanMusic.com.
When I was in high school, I always looked forward to the beginning of a new school year. There were pristine pads of paper, a Technicolor rainbow of brand new pens and fresh folders just begging for a doodle or two. There were new things to learn and a locker to decorate and fill with books. All of my color guard friends and I were still excited about what we had learned at band camp, knowing we would get the opportunity to show off soon. The year was filled with possibility and it was mine to shape.
With all the hustle and bustle that accompanies the start of school, it can be easy to get caught up in what needs to be done NOW. The marching season looms large for many of us and concert band season can seem like a distant dream. But it’s not too early to plan. Planning starts today for tomorrow's experiences.
You’re on stage, squinting past the lights to see if you recognize anyone in the audience. Your instrument is tuned, your music is open and you are ready. People who’ve become lifelong friends in the span of 5 days surround you and the nervous energy sounds like an electric buzz. The hours you have spent in sectionals, master classes and full rehearsals have all led to this moment. The conductor enters to applause, you sit up a little bit straighter, the baton raises and it begins.
That is the experience of participating in a Music for All Honor Ensemble, and that kind of life-changing experience really begins long before you set foot in the J.W. Marriott hotel in Indianapolis in March 2014. It begins long before the acceptance letters are put in the mail in November. It even begins before the September 15 application deadline. That experience starts TODAY. It starts when you fill out an application to be part of one of the Music for All National Honor Ensembles.
So as you crack open that new bottle of valve oil, restring your bow, pick up some fresh reeds; enjoy it. Savor this time when possibilities abound. But also take the time to learn more about the Music for All Honor Ensemble experience. Once you know more, the next step will be clear. Don't put off till tomorrow what can be done today. Apply for the Honor Band, Honor Orchestra or Jazz Band of America. Start making memories.
Music for All is proud to announce that Caleb Chapman will be the 2014 Jazz Band of America conductor! Caleb's incredibly unique combination of skills as a producer, educator, author, and performer have marked him as a rising star in the music industry. We are very excited that Caleb will be sharing his talents with the 2014 Jazz Band of America this March in Indianapolis.
Already know about Caleb Chapman and can't wait for the opportunity to work with him this March? Don't wait! Send your application in today to be a part of the 2014 Jazz Band of America. You can find the application and audition requirements here on the Music for All website.
Want to know more about Caleb? Read on!
As the President of Caleb Chapman Music, Caleb oversees nearly 200 of Utah’s most talented musicians in thirteen elite ensembles, including the Crescent Super Band, which has frequently been hailed as one of the best professional bands in the world to be comprised entirely of young talent.
Caleb’s groups have been featured at many of the world’s most prestigious music festivals including appearances in The Netherlands, Mexico, Switzerland, France, Sweden, and Italy. Caleb’s bands are so well recognized, the Crescent Super Band easily filled the world's most famous concert venue - Carnegie Hall - in their debut performance there in May of 2013. The bands have also performed with nearly 200 guest artists, including Grammy-winners David Sanborn, Randy Brecker, Joe Lovano, Peter Erskine, Kurt Elling, Gordon Goodwin, Wayne Bergeron, Dave Weckl, Nicholas Payton, Jeff Coffin, Eric Marienthal, Ernie Watts, and Bob Mintzer. They have been featured with musicians from such recognizable bands as Journey, Dave Matthews Band, the Neon Trees, Steve Miller Band, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Tower of Power, Genesis, the Saturday Night Live Band, and many others. Additionally, his bands have received national airplay on Sirius XM.
In the last 8 years Caleb’s bands have been honored with 22 DownBeat Awards. The Crescent Super Band has also won eight consecutive “Best of State” awards for Utah and twice won the prestigious Best of State Statue Award identifying Caleb’s program as the top organization in Arts and Entertainment in Utah, beating out every other professional music, arts, and film organization in the state for the honor.
Utah Governor Gary Herbert presented Caleb with the prestigious 2013 “Governor’s Performing Artist Award”, given to one artist annually for significant contributions to art in Utah.
In 2011, Caleb was named the “John LaPorta International Jazz Educator of the Year”, one of the highest honors in music education. Age 37 at the time, he was by far the youngest to ever receive this honor. Additionally, Caleb has been named Utah’s “Best Educator” (2011) and “Best Music Educator” (2012) by Utah Best of State.
Caleb is a finalist for the first ever "GRAMMY Music Educator Award" which will be presented in 2014. In 2007 he was honored as the inaugural inductee into the Horne School of Music Hall of Fame and received the “Superior Accomplishment in Music Award” from the Utah Music Educators Association. He is the 2006 recipient of the KUER FM90 “Voice of Jazz Award”. He currently serves as Vice President on the Board of the Jazz Education Network (JEN), the world's leading organization for jazz education and advocacy.
Caleb has been invited to direct several All State Jazz Bands and will be conducting the prestigious Jazz Band of America at the Music for All National Festival in March of 2014. He has performed and presented at the famed Midwest Clinic. He has presented clinics at music festivals accross the country and is in high demand as a guest speaker and presenter.
In addition to his position at Caleb Chapman Music, Caleb serves as Music Academy Director at the innovative Pioneer High School for the Performing Arts, one of the nation's leading charter schools dedicated to the arts.
Caleb's book, "The Articulate Jazz Musician", written with Dave Matthews Band saxophonist and multi-GRAMMY winner, Jeff Coffin, was released by Alfred Publishing in January of 2013. He has also written for Hal Leonard Publishing and JAZZed Magazine, and has a regular column, "Sound Thinking" which is published monthly by the Daily Herald newspaper.
Caleb is an active saxophonist. He is a fixture in the Utah scene and has appeared with artists as varied as GRAMMY-winning bassist, Christian McBride and Neon Trees frontman, Tyler Glenn. He has performed the National Anthem on solo saxophone at NBA games for the Boston Celtics, the Miami Heat, the Denver Nuggets, and the Utah Jazz. His playing is featured on recordings by dozens of artists, including the GRAMMY-winning DJ, Kaskade.
Caleb is a featured clinician and sponsored performer for Yamaha Saxophones.
Check out this video where Caleb describes his style as a music educator and why he believes music education is important!
Learn more about the Jazz Band of America here. The Jazz Band of America is one of three prestigious honor ensembles that are a part of the Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha. The 2014 festival will take place March 6-8 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
High School Concert Bands: Featured Stage
Cherry Creek High School Wind Ensemble, Greenwood Village, CO
Tim Libby, Director
Cypress Ranch High School Symphonic Band, Cypress, TX
Russell Holcombe, Director
Eden Prairie High School Wind Ensemble, Eden Prairie, MN
Elizabeth Jackson Kirchhoff, Director
Fort Mill High School Wind Symphony, Fort Mill, SC
John Pruitt, Director
Hickory High School Wind Ensemble, Chesapeake, VA
David Enloe, Director
James W. Robinson Secondary Symphonic Band, Fairfax, VA
Andrew E. Loft, Director
Kempner High School Wind Ensemble, Sugar Land, TX
Branden L. Hill, Director
Lafayette High School Wind Ensemble, Lafayette, LA
Scotty Walker, Director
Legacy High School Wind Symphony, Mansfield, TX
Glenn Fugett, Director
Mountain View High School Wind Ensemble, Vancouver, WA
Sam Ormson and Eric Smedsrud, Co-Directors
Mt. Eden High School Wind Ensemble, Hayward, CA
Kevin Cato, Director
Orange County School of the Arts Frederick Fennell Wind Ensemble, Santa Ana, CA
Teren Shaffer, Director
Warren Township High School Symphonic Band, Gurnee, IL
Kurt Gros, Director
William Mason High School Wind Symphony, Mason, OH
Robert Bass, Director
William S. Hart High School Wind Ensemble, Newhall, CA
Anthony H. Bailey, Director
Wylie High School Wind Symphony, Wylie, TX
Todd Dixon, Director
High School Concert Bands: Invited Stage
Benjamin E. Mays High School Wind Symphony, Atlanta, GA
William Oliver, Director
Bothell High School Wind Ensemble, Bothell, WA
Philip Dean, Director
Hanford High School Wind Ensemble, Richland, WA
Kevin Swisher and Chris Newbury, Co-Directors
J. E. B. Stuart High School Wind Ensemble, Falls Church, VA
Brian Thomas, Director
Lafayette High School Symphonic Band, Lafayette, LA
William R. Gleason, Director
Stillwater Area High School Wind Symphony, Stillwater, MN
Dennis R. Lindsay, Director
Warren Central High School Honors Band, Indianapolis, IN
John Hilmer, Director
William Mason H.S. Symphonic Band, Mason, OH
Robert Bass, Director
Mt. Eden High School Strings Ensemble, Hayward, CA
E. Ronnie Cato, Director
Middle School Concert Bands
Bumpus Middle School Symphonic Band, Hoover, AL
Josh Lynch, Director
Dickerson Middle School Symphonic Band, Marietta, GA
John Palmer, Director
Griffin Middle School Wind Ensemble, The Colony, TX
Leigh Ann McClain, Director
Mason Middle School Symphonic Winds, Mason, OH
Susan Bass, Director
Cypress Ranch High School Percussion Ensemble, Cypress, TX
Kyle Stahl, Director
Dickerson Middle School Percussion Ensemble, Marietta, GA
Scott Brown, Director
Eden Prairie High School Percussion Ensemble, Eden Prairie, MN
Scott Palmer, Director
Lafayette High School Percussion Ensemble, Lafayette, LA
Scotty Walker, Director
Mt. Eden High School Percussion Ensemble, Hayward, CA
Kevin Cato, Director
Orange County School for the Arts Percussion Ensemble, Santa Ana, CA
Axel Clarke, Director
San Marcos High School Percussion Ensemble, San Marcos, CA
Matthew Armstrong, Director