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.
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
If I had to pick one adjective to describe the Wednesday concert in the Summer Symposium evening concert series, it would be…
We welcomed to the stage The PROJECT Trio, a “passionate, high energy chamber music ensemble” from Brooklyn, New York (www.projecttrio.com). The group, comprised of Peter Seymour, double bass; Greg Pattillo, flute; and Eric Stephenson, cello, is anything but ordinary. The three met while attending the Cleveland Institute of Music together. A milestone for the group occurred in 2006 when Pattillo’s beatbox flute video went viral on YouTube. The PROJECT Trio concept stemmed from a desire to create music for the unique flue-cello-double bass combination, and these individuals’ pure love for music was evident as they performed for us last evening.
The PROJECT Trio composes and plays music in a vast array of genres. We were treated to all sorts of tunes, from Beethoven’s “5th” and the “William Tell Overture” to funky hip-hop and some sassy salsa beats. The audience even got to experience a more theatrical side of PROJECT Trio with their rendition of “Peter and the Wolf.”
The PROJECT Trio created a special opportunity for our Summer Symposium Strings Division students, who not only participated in in workshop with the Trio, but got to perform two pieces with them onstage. And what a stellar performance it was!
The PROJECT Trio giving a workshop to the Strings students
Strings students performing with PROJECT Trio in Emens Auditorium
A big congratulations to the Strings students, and a warm thank you to The PROJECT Trio for the unique blessing brought by their presence at the Summer Symposium!
Carolyn Tobin is the Marketing Intern at Music for All. Drawn to all that is digital media, she was an award-recipient of the NMU Tube Student Video Contest and was named the Outstanding Graduating Senior in the Communications and Performance Studies Department at Northern Michigan University. She is a devout runner, and has also enjoyed blogging about her adventures living in Spain and Argentina. Carolyn is a music, dance and color guard enthusiast, the former color guard section leader of Legends Drum & Bugle Corps from Kalamazoo, and she has served on the guard staff for Legends and for Marian University in Indianapolis.
If you are a band director, orchestra director or percussion ensemble director who is considering applying for the 2014 Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha, don't forget that applications and audition recordings must be received by .
Recorded and Written evaluation: All who apply receive recorded and written evaluation from the listening panel, making the audition process itself an educational resource.
A national stage: High School and Middle Schools concert bands, orchestras and percussion ensembles from all over the country are invited to apply to be a part of the Festival.
A non-competitive experience: without the worry of ratings or rankings, directors are free to explore and stretch themselves, and students can enjoy music-making without the pressure of competition.
Concert Performances and Clinics: Each ensemble performs a concert before a knowledgable audience, including the Festival evaluation panel, music educators and fellow band and orchestra members. Ensemble directors will receive recorded and written comments from evaluators and input on their conducting as well. Following the peformance, each ensemble will have a clinic providing even more educational opportunties.
Master Classes: All students participate in instrumental master classes, led by top applied faculty and professional musicians.
Social Events for Students and Directors: The Festival social gives students the chance to relax, have fun and get to know students from other programs across the country. The director and evaluator reception and hospitality opportunities offer networking and informal interaction with colleagues, guest artists and icons of music education.
Gala Awards Banquet: The "black-tie-optional" banquet for students, directors, parents, staff and evaluators culminates the Festival with first-class standards that distinguish the Music for All National Festival. The formal banquet with over 2,000 guests is sure to be unforgettable for you, your students, parents and supporters.
DVD & CD Package: Each student member and director gets a recording package of their concert, including professionaly-produced video on DVD and audio on CD.
Ensemble Hosts: Each invited ensemble will be assigned a "host" to help guide you through the Festival weekend and is committed to ensuring that you have the best possible experience before and during the Festival. Hosts are familiar with, and in most cases have had an ensemble perform at, the Festival.
Opportunities for Additional Ensembles: Many groups want to travel with all of the students in their school's band program and Music for All provides educational options to allow as many of your instrumental music students as possible to participate. Directors can choose to submit audition applications for multiple bands from one school for the Featured Band and/or Invited Band stages. Selected bands from both stages can choose to bring additional ensembles- concert bands, percussion ensembles, or orchestras- to participate in additional opportunities during the Festival.
Music for All is receiving applications and audition recordings now for the 2014 Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha, March 6-8 in Indianapolis, IN. Applications and audition recordings are due June 5, 2013. So that we can be sure to expect your application and prepare for the listening process, we invite you to submit this form indicating your intention to apply for the 2014 Festival.
All submissions are confidential and non-binding. This simply helps us to plan for the listening process and to ensure that we receive audition materials you might send (we'll be on the look out for your application).
The Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha celebrates outstanding music making by the nation's finest concert bands, orchestras and percussion ensembles. Learn more about the Festival here.
It’s hard to believe it’s already Wednesday evening of the Music for All Summer Symposium! Tonight, I had the opportunity to listen to the jazz students’ dress rehearsal with the Buselli Wallarab Jazz Orchestra/Midcoast Swing Orchestra in Emens Auditorium, prior to their performance this evening.
I was very impressed with the sheer enthusiasm of the ensemble. The combination of the Buselli Wallarab Jazz Orchestra/Midcoast Swing Orchestra and all the jazz track students on stage was definitely impressive as well – they spanned almost the entire length of the stage, creating quite an impressive sound.
As I watched Mark Buselli rehearse the ensemble, he had so much energy and enthusiasm that the students couldn’t help but be enthusiastic as well. View this video of the dress rehearsal to learn more.
After the jazz dress rehearsal, I was excited to discover I had enough time to run across the street to the Music Instruction Building to catch the last half of the orchestra students’ Chamber Orchestra Rehearsal with Time for Three’s Nick Kendall.
The groundbreaking, category-shattering trio Time for Three transcends traditional classification, with elements of classical, country western, gypsy and jazz idioms forming a blend all its own. The members -- Zachary (Zach) De Pue, violin; Nicolas (Nick) Kendall, violin; and Ranaan Meyer, double bass -- carry a passion for improvisation, composing and arranging, all prime elements of the ensemble’s playing. Tf3 sets itself apart not only with its varied repertoire performed with astonishing technical acuity, but also through its approach. Its high-energy performances are free of conventional practices, drawing instead from the members’ differing musical backgrounds. The trio also performs its own arrangements of traditional repertoire and Ranaan Meyer provides original compositions to complement the trio’s offerings.
The trio also passes along strong, positive messages to young people. Their video, Stronger, relays the following message: “Be stronger, achieve your dreams, fight against bullies or WHATEVER strong force is against you.” You can view this video here.
As Kendall worked with the orchestra students on a piece called Hymn, he instructed students to play with feeling and really try to get into it.
“You guys can really just move with the music,” Kendall said. “If musicians look like [they’re thinking] ‘why am I here,’ it’s a waste of the audience’s time…believe in the moment and enjoy the harmonies.”
The results were immediate, and I watched students incorporate movement and really get into the emotional nature of the music, which was very lyrical and expressive. View a video from rehearsal here.
As the students rehearsed the next piece, Orange Blossom Special, Kendall instructed the students to put as much enthusiasm and energy into the piece as they possibly could in order to truly get as much out of the musical experience as possible. I watched the students giving it their all, even so late in the day at almost 7:30 p.m. It was inspiring to see them working so hard to achieve a musical goal.
As rehearsal came to a close, I chatted for a second with Clarice, a student from Indiana. I asked her what it was like working with Nick Kendall.
“It was different,” she said. “A lot of new things – we learned some improv, and it was fun!”
Right now, students are enjoying the Buselli Wallarab Jazz Orchestra/Midcoast Swing Orchestra concert at Emens Auditorium, and the jazz students will be performing on stage for a couple pieces that are part of this concert. And, orchestra students have a special immersion performance on stage with Time for Three tomorrow, June 28, at 8 p.m. at Emens Auditorium.
These special immersion performances give students an opportunity to learn and absorb important musical lessons that I feel also translate to significant life lessons.
I found this text on Time for Three’s website, as part of the description for their video I described above, and I think the philosophy and thought behind it make perfect sense:
“We are Time for Three and this is our story -- the story of so many kids who every day face challenges to who they are and who they want to be: their dreams, their ambitions, their identity. This video is for you guys. Be strong. Stick with it. We did, and we are stronger for it.”
Today, Music for All published a series of interesting, often moving video stories from the 2012 Music for All National Festival and honor ensembles. During the event, we interviewed members of the honor ensembles and the conductors. Marry those interviews with behind the scenes video from rehearsals and outstanding performance footage and you have a series of compelling stories that really gives you a feel for the experience of these national honor ensembles for high school musicians.
I hope you'll take some time to watch these stories, compiled in the 2012 Festival playlist on our YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9E3C2BF94BCF2F27&;feature=plcp
Videos include of the Honor Band of America, Honor Orchestra of America and Jazz Band of America. The playlist also includes a feature on the experience for the invited ensembles, highlights from the string master class with Time for Three's Nick Kendall, the Opening Session video and the banquet keynote address from Mr. Eric L. Martin, President and CEO of Music for All.
I hope you enjoy and share!
Debbie Laferty Asbill, Music for All
I really didn’t think evening concerts could get any better than they have been already this week, but last night’s concert with Uncommon Time, featuring Time for Three’s Nick Kendall and Ranaan Meyer, and friends, blew me away.
Last night’s ensemble included Nick Kendall on violin, Ranaan Meyer on double bass, Josh Fobare on keyboards, and Matt Scarano on drums.
I had never heard of Time for Three before Summer Symposium, but I am now a huge fan. Time for Three blends jazz, funk, pop, country western and gypsy music and often quickly moves from these unique genres to a calm, deliberate classical sound. Not only are Nick and Ranaan very kind, they are incredible musicians and were a great resource to our Orchestra track students.
Music for All was very lucky to be able to have Nick and Ranaan as Artists-in-Residence at Symposium. They both worked with the Orchestra track students throughout the week.
Earlier in the week, students participated in a fiddle master class with Kendall and Meyer that helped them prepare for the unique experience of performing on stage during the evening concert.
After being at camp for 9 days, I was having a particularly long and tiring day. I went over to Emens to greet directors as they came in to watch the concert. While listening to the students and watching them do the wave, I started to get re-energized and really excited for the rest of the night.
I didn’t read up on Time for Three, and I didn’t watch any videos. I had no idea what to expect. Working for Music for All, most people assume that I’m a musician. While I play a little bit of piano, and was in choir in high school and college, I don’t classify myself as a musician, but rather more of a recreational music maker. I understand basic concepts of music, but I’m sure most of the students here at Summer Symposium could teach me a thing or two! What I liked the most about last night’s performance was that it showcases strings in a whole new and innovative way. It’s accessible and relatable to anybody, even if you don’t have an orchestra background or love of classical music. The pure talent of the performers transcends genres.
Sitting up in the balcony, I had a great vantage point of all the students down on the main floor. They were really enjoying the concert - cheering at appropriate times and just attentively listening through a lot of it.
I was enjoying the concert, and really not wanting it to end, when Nick Kendall said they would be playing their last piece with a few special guests. This was the piece that I had been waiting for all night!
As Uncommon Time started to play the beginning notes of “Ogden,” written by Ranaan Meyer and Josh Fobare, pianist; orchestra students started filling the stage one by one. After everyone was in place, the magic began with students playing fluid, powerful lines over a steady, hip-hop backbeat. The students’ playing combined with Uncommon Time was so powerful. IT WAS INCREDIBLE!
There was something extra special about this performance that really touched me. I’m still not quite sure what it was, or how to even describe it. During my short time with Music for All, there have been just a few moments that literally have taken my breath away. The first was at my first Grand National Championships during the video montage right before finale. This was the second.
I was overwhelmed with how incredibly proud I was to be part of an organization that provides these life-changing experiences to students. I can’t fully understand what it must have felt like for those students, to play with Uncommon Time on that stage in front of all their camp peers and many others. You could tell that they were connecting with the music, and therefore connecting with their audience. They were putting into use all of the lessons on movement they had received from Richard Clark earlier in the week.
As they played their last note, and the lights on stage went to black, the crowd erupted in applause that moved directly to the “Standing O” that Symposium students are known for giving to performers. Even the “adults” on the balcony joined in on this standing ovation. It was truly a remarkable performance.
As I left Emens Auditorium with one of my coworkers, I was beaming. We both could not stop saying, “wow, that was incredible.” That moment makes everything worth it. That moment is why we, at Music for All, are dedicated to these students, this camp and anyone who touches any of our programs. It is the reason why we all do what we do. I know for a fact that lives were touched last night – lives of the students who performed on stage, and for some in the audience. I know mine was.
I sincerely hope that all of the students at Summer Symposium get to experience many more moments like that one. I know I’m definitely looking forward to Saturday when we will get to see ALL of the tracks showcase what they’ve been doing at camp all week!
Yesterday, I visited the orchestra division. In their 10:10 a.m. session, the students participated in a fiddle master class with Time for Three's Nick Kendall and Ranaan Meyer. The orchestra track faculty worked with the students as well, and included conductor Richard Auldon Clark, Director of Instrumental Activities at Butler University and Artistic Director and Conductor of the Butler Symphony Orchestra.
When I walked in, a beautiful, cohesive string sound washed over me. The students were busy rehearsing a piece called "Ogden," written by Ranaan Meyer and Josh Fobare, pianist. Students played fluid, powerful lines over a steady, hip-hop backbeat - music that fits the mold of Time for Three's category-shattering style.
Time for Three blends jazz, funk, pop, country western and gypsy music and often quickly moves from these unique genres to a calm, deliberate classical sound. They transcend traditional classification, forming a musical blend all their own. The members - Zachary (Zach) De Pue, violin; Nicolas (Nick) Kendall, violin; and Ranaan Meyer, double bass -- carry a passion for improvisation, composing and arranging, all prime elements of the ensemble's playing. Two of the three members, Kendall and Meyer, are present on site at camp this week to work and perform with the students.
The orchestra ensemble was extremely cohesive after only a few days together. One major item the students were working on in yesterday's session was movement and communication.
"Can you communicate [with your audience] when you play?" Clark asked. "Don't be statues."
Clark told the students to watch Kendall and Meyer. As they played, they were moving constantly, communicating the emotions of the piece through their playing.
I couldn't help but think about one of my favorite quotes – "Music has a way of finding the big, invisible moving pieces inside our hearts and souls and helping us figure out the position of things inside us."
This quote comes from Karl Paulnack, who delivered the 2004 Welcome Address to parents of incoming music students at the Boston Conservatory. The first time I read this welcome address, it really moved me, and it has become one of my favorite passages. As a musician myself, music has always held a special place in my heart. But, this address really helped me realize that it's so much more than that.
In his speech, Paulnack says, "If we were a medical school, and you were here as a med student practicing appendectomies, you'd take your work very seriously because you would imagine that some night at 2:00 a.m. someone is going to waltz into your emergency room, and you're going to have to save their life. Well, my friends, someday at 8:00 p.m. someone is going to walk into your concert hall and bring you a mind that is confused, a heart that is overwhelmed, a soul that is weary. Whether they go out whole again will depend partly on how well you do your craft."
If you're interested in reading the full transcript of Karl Paulnack's speech on this subject, you can find it here.
Watching the orchestra students learn how to communicate emotion through music really got me thinking about this concept and the emotional importance of music. It was very interesting to see the students engaged in learning this important life and music lesson.
After a full day of sessions, students saw Jon McLaughlin in concert last night. McLaughlin, an Indiana native, is known for experimenting with different genres and styles to create a sound that is completely unique. Born and raised in Anderson, Indiana, the singer/songwriter began taking classical piano lessons at an early age and is classically trained. His song "So Close" from the "Enchanted" soundtrack was nominated for an Academy Award.
His classical training mixes in a unique style to provide piano melodies within a pop/rock framework. McLaughlin's performance got me thinking about the orchestra session. His lyrics and the energy he puts in to his performances really communicate to the audience. Again, the idea of communication through music popped into my head – that seemed to be the common theme of my day!
McLaughlin performed several of his standard, popular songs, including "Industry," "Beating My Heart," "Beautiful Disaster," and "Indiana," a track which surely resonated with his hometown audience.
McLaughlin has a new album coming out in September, and our campers had a truly special opportunity last night. McLaughlin and his band performed two completely new, never-heard-before tracks from his upcoming album.
After the concert, McLaughlin graciously stayed to meet all students and fans, pausing to shake hands and sign autographs with anyone who asked.
More exciting sessions and concerts will happen today and in the final days of Symposium. I hope to get out on campus today to visit several other student divisions and tell you more about what's happening on campus.