The Music for All Blog
The Music for All Blog

melissa thompson

 

Mrs. Thompson’s son, Jack, was a camper at last summer’s Middle School Concert Band Camp at the Music for All Summer Symposium, presented by Yamaha. Jack was one of 115 middle school students – part of the total camp community of more than 1,700 students, band directors, faculty members, staff and volunteers. We talked with Mrs. Thompson about Jack’s Summer Symposium experience – and hers.

How did you hear about the MFA Summer Symposium?

We live in a music-friendly city with passionate and talented music teachers. Our schools provide our children with exposure to professional educators who demonstrate what it takes to make music: hard work, grit, courage and even a sense of humor. My son, Jack, was reluctant to go to band camp in 7th grade, even after his director suggested it. Luckily, Jack attended the following year as an 8th grade student. We had heard of many music camps, but his director shared how much he thought Music for All would be a good fit for Jack.

What did your son like most about camp?

As parents, we were very encouraged not to hear from Jack too often - a good sign that all is well. All parents should be told that when they drop their child off at camp. When we did hear from him, we received brief messages like, “I loved hearing Black Violin!”, “Best food ever!”, and “I’m learning so much from the oboe teacher! This is amazing!”. If you asked Jack what he liked most about his experience, he would share: that is was the music he played, working with the oboe clinician, the people that were present, and the evening concerts he attended.

What were your initial expectations of camp?

Of course we expected Jack to grow as a musician and learn new music skills by going to camp. We also hoped that he would learn or solidify social and emotional skills like setting an alarm to get up on time, meeting new friends, and speaking up if he needed help during a lesson or rehearsal. And he did! Such great development to have happen before starting high school.

What parts of camp were you most impressed with?

The most impactful was summed up in the presentation to the parents on the last day of camp. The Music for All staff discussed, what I like to call, the cycle of work ethic. We learned about three points that motivate musicians, or anyone working towards something they enjoy. Practice...success...fun. That “camp circle” is discussed often in our home.

 The idea of deliberate practice taught by Jack’s oboe clinician can be applied with any skill or goal any of us are trying to reach. Jack also learned about flow or being in the zone as he played.

 Can you imagine your child being conducted by one of the best band instructors in the country? Or having a composer come and speak to the ensemble so that they understand why the music was written the emotion behind the piece? How about the opportunity to play with master musicians? Music for All offers these opportunities at the right time for young musicians when their brains and abilities are soaring.

What would you tell another parent who is thinking about sending their child to camp?

It can be so challenging to send your child away to camp. For many it is also costly. But for our family, it was one of the best things we’ve had the opportunity to provide for our child. Jack’s future with the oboe looks bright, and the Music for All Summer Symposium has inspired skills that translate to all aspects of his life. Seeing our child grow as a result of his experiences at camp reminds us that band camp holds many more gifts and experiences than music. Is the musical training extraordinary? Yes! Is camp fun? Yes! Was it hard to send him? Yes! But the experience was positively life-changing, and one we are so glad our child had.

 

For more information about the Middle School division vist http://camp.musicforall.org/middleschool/

 

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Music for All’s efforts to create, provide, and expand positively life-changing experiences include awarding a number of scholarships each year. Check out the criteria for one of our scholarships below and apply by May 20, 2018.

 

Instrumental Merit Scholarships

Instrumental Merit scholarships for members of honor ensembles are now available for eligible students enrolling in the Concert Band, Orchestra, Jazz Band, or Concert Percussion divisions of the Summer Symposium. 

National Honor Ensemble Instrumental Scholarship
$200 Scholarship

For members of the 2017 or 2018 national honor ensembles, including the Music for All Honor Ensembles and ensembles like the GRAMMY Jazz Band, ASTA’s National Honor Orchestra, or NAfME’s All-National Honor Ensembles. Applies to registration for the following divisions ONLY:

  • Concert Band
  • Jazz Band
  • Orchestra
  • Concert Immersion Track of the Percussion Division

All-State Instrumental Scholarship
$150 Scholarship

For members of 2017 or 2018 All-State Band or Orchestra. Applies to registration for the following divisions ONLY:

  • Concert Band
  • Jazz Band
  • Orchestra
  • Concert Immersion Track of the Percussion Division

All-City/District Instrumental Scholarship
$75 Scholarship

For members of 2017 or 2018 All-City or All-District Band or Orchestra. Applies to registration for the following divisions ONLY:

  • Concert Band
  • Jazz Band
  • Orchestra
  • Concert Immersion Track of the Percussion Division

How to register with an Instrumental Scholarship

To receive the Instrumental Scholarships for the eligible divisions, certification of honor ensemble membership must be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or mailed to the Music for All office. Certification can include a letter of acceptance into honor ensemble, certificate of membership, or letter from your music director certifying membership.

 

L.J. Hancock Summer Symposium Scholarships

Honoring the life and work of L.J. Hancock (1952-2002), these scholarships benefit individual students with financial need who are interested in attending the Music for All Summer Symposium. It is the intent of The Music for All Foundation to provide scholarships of at least $100, but not more than $270. 

Download Application

 

The Tang Family Scholarship Fund

Created by Anthony and Megan Tang and is open to any student that will be attending the Music for All Summer Symposium. The scholarship selection committee will provide three full residential scholarships to high school and/or middle school students based upon an essay and director recommendation.

Download Application

 

Indianapolis Public Schools Summer Symposium Scholarships

Each year the generosity of individual and corporate donors allows Music for All to extend the opportunity to attend Music for All's Summer Symposium to IPS students through full scholarships. Recipients are chosen by the staff and faculty of IPS Instrumental Music Programs. Contact David Newman, Indianapolis Public Schools, for more information. 

Learn More

 

Mark Williams Memorial Scholarship for Collegiates

The Mark Williams Memorial Scholarship Fund for Educators was created in honor of Mark Williams (1955-2008) to celebrate his life and work as a great educator, composer, and a beloved friend. The scholarship fund benefits music educators who are interested in attending the Music for All Summer Symposium but, due to financial hardship, cannot afford to pay the tuition and fees needed to attend this annual summer music camp. Scholarships are awarded on the basis of financial need. It is the intent of the Music for All Foundation to provide a full-tuition scholarship, plus a travel stipend of up to $500, to ONE collegiate interested in attending the Directors’Academy. Our hope is the scholarship program will help to ensure that the Summer Symposium is financially accessible for all participants.

Download Application

 

Mark Williams Memorial Scholarship Fund for Educators

The Music for All Foundation is grateful to the family of Mark Williams (1955-2008), educator, composer and beloved friend, for their generous gift to endow five scholarships each year for the Music for All Summer Symposium. The scholarships were created to honor Mark's life and legacy and to provide a positively life-changing opportunity to educators who demonstrate financial need and wish to attend the Symposium to gain valuable professional development experiences. Scholarships are awarded on the basis of financial need. It is the intent of the Music for All Foundation to provide a full-tuition scholarship, plus a travel stipend up to $500, to FOUR directors interested in attending the Directors’ Academy. Only director’s at Title I schools (schools with an enrolled population of 40% or more students on free and reduced lunch) will be considered. Our hope is the scholarship program will help to ensure that the Summer Symposium is financially accessible for all participants.

Download Application

 

All application materials are due May 20.

 

We look forward to seeing you at camp!

Published in Stories
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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!

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Returning students to the Bands of America Drum Major Institute put their leadership skills to the test today with a new challenge: The Marble Exercise. In addition to conducting and score study classes at the Symposium, drum major participants build and improve leadership qualities important to marching band leaders. Teambuilding exercises that expose leaders and move them outside their comfort zone are important in ensuring that drum majors can lead and empower in almost any situation.

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IMG 2156In a group of 20, students received a piece of paper folded in half and one marble, which they were required to roll from one point, 25 feet out and around back to the original point using only the folded sheets of paper. Group members lined up their folded paper and attempted to move the marble down the line. After the marble passed through their paper, the participant would then have to move to the end of the line, helping the marble advance further. At first, the marble moved very quickly, students were unable to react in time and the marble fell soon after. Participants then realized that they would need to carefully control the pace of the marble, especially when it reached a curve in the track.

Throughout the exercise, some students because visibly frustrated, while others keep encouraging and supporting others. Many had simple phrases to help their fellow participants remember tactics they had agreed on, such as “Stay with your partner,” or “Keep your shoulders out.” After several tries and some discussion, the group was able to successfully roll the marble through the entire track. While many cheered at the distance they achieved, several even wanted to go further and keep improving.

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IMG 2150Like the brick exercise and other leadership activities that the drum majors participate in, the Marble Exercise is applicable to their own program. The marble, like their band, does not stop rolling. Leadership must utilize control, make adjustments along the way and communicate constantly to ensure that the ensemble does not falter and fall. When the marble fell and the participants failed, they had to get up and try again, and keep encouraging the others in their group. While applicable to a lot in life, the nonstop rolling reflects the fast-paced nature of marching band. From band camp to daily rehearsals to competitions, you cannot allow yourself or fellow members fall off the wagon. If so, they’ll not only be behind, but also be discouraged.

“When you go back to your own program, I charge you to find a way to make a flame,” said DMI faculty member Kim Shuttlesworth. Drum majors must empower their band members to be passionate about the ensemble. They must create a supporting family environment, where students can be honest, caring and respectful of each other. Just one of many exercises throughout the week, the Marble Exercise helped students realize the importance of group encouragement and teamwork in a larger group. At the end of the day, the marble keeps rolling, and you must adjust.

Published in Stories

"Fanfare: The Week in Music Education" is a weekly collection of news and stories about the latest in music education and music advocacy. Get your week started right with the latest news in music education, as well as timely music advocacy resources so that you may promote music education in your community. If you would like to share a story or announcement in "Fanfare," feel free to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and it could be featured in an upcoming post.

Greetings from the Music for All Summer Symposium! After a successful Leadership Weekend Experience, all 1,200 students and directors are now on campus to begin the weeklong summer music camp at Ball State University. Like we have covered in this blog previously, demonstrating examples of music's impact on children through "advocacy in action" is a great way to support your music program and ensure that music education remains a core component of scholastic education. We'll be sharing inspiring stories all week on the MFA Blog and MFA social media pages, so stay connected! And now back to this week's news in music education and advocacy:

National Association for Music Education advocates for music education, STEAM on Capitol Hill this week

NAfME members will be in Washington, D.C. later this week advocating for federal support of music education and STEAM. On June 26, NAfME, in cooperation with the Congressional STEAM Caucus, will host "Music Education Powers STEAM." The STEAM Caucus was created by Rep. Susan Bonamici (D-OR) and Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) last year to promote the arts as an integral part of scholastic education, alongside science, technology, engineering and math.

STEM to STEAM: Guitar-building program inspires at-risk students

At the John K. Lazares Alternative School near Lebanon, Ohio, had the unique opportunity to fuse music and science instruction by learning how to build an electric guitar. Local college, Sinclair Community College, participated in a National Science Foundation-funded project that encourages science study through music. “Students relate to guitars, and they see the relevance of their STEM education classes as they get real, hands-on experience," said Thomas Singer, head of the STEM Guitar Project. By providing the project in a school with at-risk students, the program not only provided excitement for music and science, but also exposed students to new careers involving science and the arts.

Marching Band Matters: High schools move to non-competitive format

As a former participant in both a competitive and a non-competitive marching band, I found myself at the middle of many arguments on competitive philosophies. This article takes an interesting look in the transition from competitive marching band to non-competitive. Either way, marching bands are often the most visible group in the music program, sometimes even the school. They represent the school in parades, at games, and at band events. It will be fascinating to watch these schools and see how the non-competitive environment affects performance, student success and student interest.

5 reasons why music classes are the best test prep

List-based articles have become quite common in the past year, but this is one I can advocate for. "Dad's Roundtable" is a popular parenting blog that posted an article supporting music classes in the spring. The list provides a fun perspective on how music can help our students do better in school.
 

MFA Summer Symposium Leadership Weekend students hone servant leadership principles

The best way to advocate for music education is the lead by example. At the Leadership Weekend Experience this weekend, close to 500 student leaders learned how to better serve their own music programs and inspire their fellow musicians to work harder through that same servant leadership model. In each session that I attended, I was blown away by the intensity, passion and leadership potential that so many of the students embodied. I'm much more confident in the success of our world with these kids at the helm. Read this blog post from fellow MFA staffer Mackenzie Ziegler about her very first Leadership Weekend Experience!

Published in Advocacy in Action

On Saturday, close to 500 hundred students arrived at Ball State University to begin the Leadership Weekend Experience! Students began with an opening session featuring Fran Kick, moved on to break-out sessions and small group sessions and finished the evening with a rousing keynote from Dr. Tim. Following the keynote, students were treated to a surprise party to cap off an exciting day! 

Students received Leadership Weekend T-Shirts and markers and began signing each other's shirts while dancing to tunes spun by DJ Blitz (aka MFA Senior Marketing Coordinator Erin Fortune). By signing these T-shirts, students are commemorating their Leadership Weekend experience and creating lasting connections with fellow campers. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Leadership Weekend Party is a long tradition at the Summer Symposium, and while the returning Leadership students likely remember the party from previous years, it was a complete surprise to first-year attendees. The SWAG Team and DTAs (Directors' Track Assistants) chaperoned the party, and even got in on some of the dancing! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the end of the party, campers left to their dorms for the evening with new leadership skills, t-shirts full of signatures and inspiring notes and memories that the students will keep for a long time.

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Are you still debating whether or not you should attend the the Music for All Summer Symposium, presented by Yamaha in June? Here are the top 10 reasons why you should consider it!

10. Awesome Evening Concerts!

Each night after a day full of track intensive work (and fun!), the WHOLE camp comes together for an evening of inspiring music! Whether your favorite is an evening of jazz, virtuosic soloists or some of the world’s best drum corps, there will be at least one night you can’t wait to tell your friends back home about!

9. There’s something for everyone

Whether you are a jazz cat, guard diva, marching band buff, orchestra nut, concert band wiz, or drum guru, there’s a division and a place for you at the Music for All Summer Symposium.

8. Leadership is the theme

At the Music for All Summer Symposium we don’t believe that only drum majors or section leaders benefit from leadership. We believe that EVERY student benefits from leadership training and that’s why it is incorporated in EVERY division of the Summer Symposium. Anyone who is willing to pay attention, respond and get involved has the potential to positively lead others.

7. Learn from the best

Where else would you get to go to be instructed by so many of the top music educators and clinicians from across the country?

6. Create life-long friends

At camp you will be with over 1,000 other students from all across the country. You will not only have the opportunity to make friends within your own track, but you will make friends with other students in your dorm, your swags, and faculty! These are relationships that can last you a lifetime; just think of the instagram followers you will have when you get home!

5. Take music & performance skills to the next level

This IS the Music for All Summer Symposium, so first and foremost you will be getting top-notch performance instruction from our outstanding faculty!

4. Get energized for next school year

There is no doubt about it that you will take things that you learn at Music for All Summer Symposium back to your own band, orchestra or guard program back home, not only music or performance skills, but attitude, energy, and a new outlook. Imagine how much stronger of a performer and leader you’ll be and how it could positively impact your school ensemble!

3. Get the away from home “college experience”

You’re probably already thinking leaving home to go to college and into the broader world in the next 1-4 years. Heading away from home can be pretty nerve wrecking. Going to a week long summer camp on a college campus is a great way of getting the experience of being away from home, navigating around a campus and having a roommate! It’s a week of learning about yourself in a new environment.

2. It’s more fun than a summer job!

This one is pretty self-explanatory. What would you rather do? Come to camp, make music and hang out with awesome people or go to work everyday? (p.s. you have the rest of your life to work, spend this summer at camp!) Plus, we know that a large percentage of Fortune 500 CEOs participated in their school music programs, so think of it as an investment in your future!

1. Surrounded by students from across the country who are different – but also JUST LIKE YOU!

At school you probably are in a band with anywhere from 50-350 students (give or take) who have similar interests as you, and maybe half who are as PASSIONATE about music making as you are. Can you imagine being in one place, where the focus is music making and you are surrounded by over 1,000 people who are just as passionate as you are about band, orchestra or guard? Well, you can stop dreaming because that place exists, and it’s in Muncie, Indiana at Ball State University this June.


So what are you waiting for? If these reasons didn't convince you that the Symposium is the right place for you, check out our videos on YouTube from last year's camp as well as the extended online coverage!

Ready to dive in and have the best summer of your life? Register for the MFA Summer Symposium here!

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As a brass player myself, I love playing with other brass players in small ensembles. It is in those small ensembles where you are able to fully expereince the versatility of brass instruments. This is exactly why I am very excited for the Atlantic Brass Quintet’s (ABQ) performance at the Music for All Summer Symposium, presented by Yamaha in June. I’ve been listening to their recordings all morning and can’t wait to hear them fill up Emens Auditorium with some outstanding music!

The Atlantic Brass Quintet will be performing Tuesday evening (June 24) at the Symposium. The ABQ is a group of five virtuosic musicians from across the country who have played together for many years. From Brazil to Carnegie Hall to the White House, the Quintet has performed across the globe since its founding in 1985. The group performs a wide variety of music, from Monteverdi to Stravinsky and jazz standards to brass street music. Listen below to their most recent album, “Crossover,” just released this year:

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The Atlantic Brass Quintet began in 1985 in Boston as a competition brass quintet, winning awards across the world for their performances. Current tuba player John Manning was a founding member of the Quintet. Since 1985, the group has been comprised of some of the country’s foremost brass players. Currently the group includes founding member John Manning (tuba), Tim Albright (trombone), Seth Orgel (horn), Andrew Sorg (trumpet) and Tom Bergeron (trumpet).

The Quintet has been the resident brass quintet of Boston University, the Boston University Tanglewood Institute, and the Boston Conservatory. Over the past 30 years of music making, the group has become known for their emphasis on music from across the world. The regularly perform ethnic music from the streets of Brazil, Cuba, the Balkans, and New Orleans. In 2012, the Atlantic Brass Quintet partnered with kerPlunk Dance to present a unique dance and brass piece entitled “Music in Motion.” You can watch selections of the piece in the video below:

 

I think The Boston Globe put it best of the Atlantic Brass Quintet: “They kick butt.” I'm looking forward most to hearing one of my favorite pieces, Franz Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, which also happens to be an audience favorite for the group. For anyone thinking about attending the Symposium, don’t miss the opportunity to see the Atlantic Brass Quintet live! I certainly can’t wait to see what the group comes up with for their performance at the Summer Symposium!

Click here to learn more and to register for the Music for All Summer Symposium, presented by Yamaha, held June 23-28, 2014 at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.

Published in Stories
Monday, April 21, 2014

Why Kids Need Camp?

Why should students and directors attend the Music for All Summer Symposium this June? Check out the infographic from MFA Summer Symposium Marching Band Division Coordinator, Jeff Young of Dynamic Marching, and see the ways that camp can be life changing!
 
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Published in Stories
Thursday, February 13, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Whitewater, WI

This Throwback Thursday, I thought I would share a recent trip I made to the original home of Music for All: Whitewater, Wisconsin. While driving through a cold and snowy Wisconsin late last month, I decided to take a short detour to the quaint town of Whitewater. I can't imagine what this town looked like during the summers of the 1970s and 1980s, high school students and music educators teaching, practicing and performing. Starting in the summer of 1976, Whitewater became the center of marching music education when McCormick Enterprises took a huge risk and decided to invest in the success of young music students.

As I drove up to Perkins Stadium (originally Warhawk Stadium) in Whitewater, I was overcome by the memories made here. I could imagine the students and fans walking up the large hill to the stadium, overlooking the rolling fields of Wisconsin farmland. Bands of America Hall of Fame band directors Michael Rubino, Bob Buckner and Greg Bimm would be preparing their ensembles for a performance in the Marching Bands of America (MBA) Summer Nationals. MBA clinicians such as William D. Revelli would be providing valuable insight to young music students and band directors. If you were a music student or educator in the 1970s and 1980s, Whitewater was the place to be.

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Driving through the small farm town, I wondered, "Why Whitewater?" Whitewater not only served as the home of Marching Bands of America, but also previously hosted the very first Drum Corps International Championships in 1972 and 1973. Both DCI and MFA provided placques to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater honoring the college, which still stand out today on the stadium wall. Last year, DCI providing a fascinating look at the beginnings of drum corps at Whitewater. I also looked to Music for All founder Larry McCormick's book God Is My Drum Major for more information on Whitewater: "It was a perfect location with a beautiful stadium and facility with dorm housing available at reasonable prices."

Whitewater2William D. Revelli, Gene Thrailkill and Mike Davis at the 1976 Summer Nationals

Participation in the Summer Nationals and music workshops grew and grew after the inaugural year. The original purpose of Marching Bands of America stands true to Music for All's mission today to create, provide and expand positively life-changing experiences through music for all. In fact, you may recognize some of the language from MBA's original purpose statement: "An individual's choice to participate in the band, and that band's participation in the broadening experience of competition, is a postive step toward becoming a winner in life." That's right, even in 1976, each of the participants was a "winner in life!"

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1976 Grand National Champions, Live Oak H.S., CA and director Michael Rubino

Whitewater3Whitewater was home to Music for All during the formative years of the organization. From the decision to move to a fall marching band championship in 1980 to restructuring as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Whitewater was home to some of the earliest memories and first positively life-changing experiences. Still today, Perkins Stadium remains a venue for marching ensembles, including a yearly DCI show and the Wisconsin State Marching Band Championships. Although Summer Nationals ended after 1988 and the Summer Band Symposium moved to Illinois State University in 1992 to accomodate the growing camp, Whitewater remains an important part of Music for All's story. My short trip to Whitewater was well worth the detour and provided a fulfilling look into Music for All's earliest history.

 

--Seth

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.

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