by Scott Casagrande
Director of Bands, John Hersey H.S., Arlington Heights, IL
and Music for All Educational Consultant
The Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha, is the most prestigious festival of its kind in the United States and it continues to improve and grow each and every year.
As a conductor that has had four ensembles perform at the National Concert Band Festival since it's inception in 1992, I can safely say that the experience changed our band program positively each time we performed. In the 24 years of the festival's existence, I have attended all but two of the festivals. Recently, it has been a privilege and honor to be a part of the National Festival and contribute to its growth and impact on scholastic music-making.
Here is "top-ten" list of reasons to consider applying to the National Festival:
10. Your application recording will receive written and recorded feedback from leaders in our profession. Regardless of whether your ensemble is accepted into the National Festival, your application recording will receive taped and written feedback from the best in our business.
9. Indianapolis "rolls out the red carpet" for participating bands. The Music for All National Festival takes over downtown Indianapolis during the week of the event. Several hotels are utilized and music students, as well as their family and friends, fill the beautiful and safe downtown area.
8. A world-class recording of your performance will be provided. Professional recording engineers and producers work tirelessly to produce beautiful keepsakes of this memorable event. The highest quality professional equipment is used to produce these items that are included in your entry fee.
7. This festival is non-competitive once you are accepted. When you arrive in Indianapolis for the National Festival, the atmosphere is immediately supportive of students, conductors and the music-making of each performing ensemble. The competition is to be accepted and that is where the competition ends. There are no ratings or rankings.
6. Master classes with the best performers in the United States are a highlight of the festival. Every student participating in the festival will receive a master class from a world-class performer on their instrument with all of the other students that play their instrument in the festival.
5. All of the performance spaces are world class. Clowes Memorial Hall, Schrott Performing Arts Center, Hilbert Circle Theatre, Warren Center for the Performing Arts, and the Glick Indiana History Center are acoustically wonderful and beautiful spaces for the ensembles that perform.
4. The Opening Session and the Closing Gala Banquet are events that your students will never forget. Sharing the National Festival experience with the best scholastic performing ensembles in the United States will instill a sense of pride and confidence in your students like no other event. All students and directors in the festival, as well as the evaluators and clinicians, come together in one enormous banquet hall for these two events and the energy created in this room is palpable.
3. All of the ensemble evaluators and clinicians are the absolute best in our business. The panel of conductors and educators that contribute to this event are a veritable "who's who" of the music world. They are carefully chosen for their expertise and ability to connect with students and conductors. They travel from all over the United States to be a part of this event. The list of past clinicians and evaluators are indicated on the application.
2. This festival is all about your STUDENTS. The National Festival is 100% focused on creating an environment that inspires your students to love the art of music and to continue music-making when they leave your program. This is not a convention of band directors, orchestra directors, percussionists, etc. It's not a theme-park trip either. This is an event totally devoted and focused on student growth and the development of musical maturity. A secondary (and VERY important) focus of the festival is the growth of directors/conductors through the one-on-one mentoring session following your performance, the Meet the Masters dinner, director social events, and many other opportunities.
1. Your journey to perform the greatest music written will create a musically artistic experience like no other. That's what this festival is about. Enabling your students to create an amazing artistic performance that they will remember for a lifetime with other like-minded students and directors in a nurturing and supportive environment. There is no other event like this in the United States.
If you are interested, go here for more information and the application.
The application deadline for the 2017 Music for All National Festival is June 6, 2016.
We hope that you are interested in becoming a part of the living legacy of the Music for All National Festival.
Feel free to call the Music for All office with any questions regarding this application or event at 800.848.2263.