Middle School National Music Festival

Middle School National Music Festival

part of the Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha
March 6-8, 2014

The Middle School National Music Festival at the Music for All National Festival helps plant the seeds of excellence early. Middle school concert bands, percussion ensembles and orchestras have the opportunity to experience this national stage.

“The Music for All National Festival is unique in that there is no other music festival that can provide such a life-changing experience for students and directors alike through so many different rewarding music education activities at one non-competitive event,” says Mr. Richard Crain, coordinator emeritus of the National Concert Band Festival and Chairman/President of the Midwest Clinic board of directors.

Middle school ensembles attending the Music for All National Festival can expect an exhilarating and educationally rewarding experience. Students have the opportunity to participate in a master class with a noted professional performer on their instrument and also have the opportunity to listen to other middle school and high school bands, orchestras and percussion ensembles from all over the nation. Ensembles are evaluated in a non-competitive environment. Each receives a post-concert clinic, a student social, special opening session and Gala Awards Banquet for the middle school participants. Directors who have participated in the Festival tell us how they have been inspired by the experience to take their bands to a new level of excellence.

“The inclusion of middle school ensembles into the Music for All weekend is a tremendous incentive, providing a new musical challenge without the pressure of trying to achieve a rating,” says Mr. Ray Cramer, MFA Festival evaluator and Midwest Clinic board member. “A performance at this national event would validate to students, parents and school administrators the importance of musical achievement through goal setting and the motivation to excellence.”

Each ensemble performs a program of its choice, and each ensemble has assigned audience time, creating a positive environment for students as performers and listeners. Since the competition is completed when the bands are selected through a recorded audition process before a panel of renowned music educators, the ensembles can concentrate on giving their best performance in a non-competitive atmosphere during the Festival.

“This experience was not only beneficial to my students but myself as well,” says Greg McCutcheon, director of the Waller Junior High School concert band. “Being a young director and inexperienced as far as invitational events [like the Midwest Clinic] go, I feel that I have grown and can be ready for any challenge now. As for my students, this is something they will never forget. About half of my band had never been outside of Texas prior to this event. This was the first time several of them had ever flown on a plane. Staying in a hotel of such caliber really opened my students’ eyes and let them see things they never saw before.”

       “I think the most positive aspect of the festival was the actual performance,” says McCutcheon. “To be on that stage at such a venue was an honor and a privilege that my students really enjoyed. I also think the opening session was extremely important and well done. This experience plays such an integral role in a student’s musical life. They really worked their tails off and performed well. I think after my students attended this event, many of them realized how much they really do enjoy band, as well as why they enjoy band!”


Outstanding Middle School ensembles who have performed at the Festival:
Bailey M.S., TX
Brandenburg M.S., TX
Charleston County School for the Arts M.S., SC
Clarendon Hills M.S., IL
Conner M.S., KY
Coyle M.S., TX
Dickerson M.S., GA
Durham M.S., GA
Farmington Jr. H.S., UT
First Colony M.S., TX
Fort Settlement M.S., TX
Hendrix Jr. H.S, AZ
Hightower Trail M.S., GA
Hill Country M.S., TX
Hopewell M.S., GA
Rising Starr M.S., GA
Sartartia M.S., TX
Simpson M.S., GA
Waller Jr. H.S., TX


Requirements for Application

All auditioning ensembles receive recorded and written critique from a panel of esteemed music educators on the selection/evaluation committee. The listening is “blind”– ensembles are not identified to evaluators in the listening process. Evaluators then recommend the ensembles that demonstrate an exemplary level of excellence to perform at the Festival.

Application consists of the completed Application Form submitted with the audition CD and application fee. Specific requirements for application audition recording are included on the Requirements for Application page in this packet. The application fee is $250 per ensemble, with reduced application fees for additional ensembles applying from the same school
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