The Music for All Blog
The Music for All Blog
Emily Ambriz

Emily Ambriz is the Senior Marketing Coordinator with Music for All and has been part of the team since May 2017. She mainly focuses on all things digital including: social media management, web management, and email campaigns. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations from Ball State University in May 2017 and is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in Public Relations with a concentration in Media Analytics from Ball State University. She is well versed in the arts non-profit world as a previous Drum Corps International Intern and Music for All Administrative Assistant. When she's not chasing the latest social media trends, Ambriz can be found planning her next trip across the pond or binge listening to true crime podcasts.

It is our pleasure to announce the 2019 International Festivals & Events Association (IFEA) awards Music for All has received.

Headquartered in Boise, ID, the International Festivals & Events Association (IFEA) is The Premier Association Supporting and Enabling Festival & Event Professionals Worldwide. The 64th Annual IFEA Convention, Expo & Retreat, presented by Haas & Wilkerson Insurance was held from September 25-27, 2019 in Colonial Williamsburg, VA.

The IFEA/Haas & Wilkerson Pinnacle Awards Ceremony was held on September 25, where awards were given in 69 different categories. Music for All took home three awards in the Gold Category, five awards in the Silver Category, and eight in the Bronze Category.

Best TV Promotion - 2021 Bands of America Honor Band in the Rose Parade
Best New Promotion - Music for All Summer Symposium Community Engagement Program
Best Individual Sponsor Follow Up Report - Yamaha Corporation of America

Best Misc. Printed Material (Single Page) - 2021 Honor Band in the Rose Parade
Best Cover Design - 2019 Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha
Best Misc. Multimedia - Montage from the 2019 Music for All Summer Symposium. presented by Yamaha
Best Pin or Button - I Believe in Music
Best Give-Away Item - Bands of America folio

Best Press/Media Kit - Advocacy in Action
Best Community Outreach - Zippy Zebra
Best Event Program - 2019 Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha
Best Event/Organization E-Newsletter - Music for All Monthly E-News
Best Event/Organization E-Newsletter - 2019 Daily Buzz, part of the Music for All Summer Symposium, presented by Yamaha
Best Misc. Printed Materials (Multiple Page) - 2019 Summer Symposium Folder
Best Community Outreach - Music for All Summer Symposium Community Engagement Program
Best Sponsor Gift - Grand Nationals Plaque

ifealogo Pinnacle Logo Winner 2019

What is your hometown?
Michigantown, IN

Where did you go to high school? Where did you go to college and when did you/will you graduate?
I went to Clinton Central Jr./Sr. High School. I am currently a Senior at IUPUI, where I am studying Event Management. I will graduate in May 2020.

What is your musical background?
I was in band from 5th grade until I graduated high school, where I played percussion. I participated in concert band, pep band, and jazz band.

What are you most looking forward to with your internship experience?
I am most excited to go to the events and see how everything is done and see all of the different departments come together to create an awesome experience for the bands!

What is an interesting fact about you?
I’ve gone zip lining through the jungles in Jamaica.

Who are your top three favorite artists?
The Struts Twenty One Pilots Halsey

Would you rather have perfect pitch or be able to sight read perfectly?
I would definitely want to sight read perfectly!

What is your dream job?
My dream job is to start my own concert promotion business.

If you could switch sections in your marching band, which section would you join?
I always wanted to play the trumpet if I wasn’t a percussionist, so I would want to join the brass section in marching band.

Do you have a favorite quote?
‘I can and I will.’

What show have you binge watched recently?
I haven’t watched anything recently, but I am hoping to start Brooklyn Nine-Nine soon.

Who is your biggest role model?
My family is my biggest role model, because they are always encouraging me to do what ever makes me happy.

What is your hometown? City, State.
Frankin, OH

Where did you go to high school? Where did you go to college and when did you/will you graduate?
Franklin High School – Miami University May of ‘19


What is your musical background?
Started band in 6th grade and never stopped. I have been in an unhealthy number of ensembles since then and I loved every minute of it.

What are you most looking forward to with your internship experience?
I am most looking forward to traveling with my co-workers and creating memories while providing a positively life changing experience for students around the country.


What is an interesting fact about you?
I once put a small dollhouse in a little tub with water for my goldfish so it could live in style, but it got stuck between the counter and fridge and suffocated.

Who are your top three favorite artists?
Sara Bareilles
Kelly Clarkson
Panic! At the Disco


Would you rather have perfect pitch or be able to sight read perfectly?
Sight Read Perfectly

What is your dream job?
Manager for a major Performing Arts Center

If you could switch sections in your marching band, which section would you join?


Do you have a favorite quote?
Leonard Bernstein: “And this will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before."

What show have you binge watched recently?
Bob’s Burgers

Who is your biggest role model?
My dog Rambo

Thursday, September 05, 2019

What Does It Mean to Be Elite?


\ ā-ˈlēt  , i-, ē-\

1. The choice or best of anything
2. A group of persons exercising a major share of authority or influence

What does it mean to be ‘elite’?

Elite is a conscious effort to be better, stronger, livelier than the performer you were yesterday. It’s embodying the spirit of an organization. It’s performing harder and engaging the audience more genuinely. It’s following through on tradition and simultaneously impacting those who will follow after you have left. Elite is not a score, nor is it a ranking. It’s earned through the hearts and minds of those you impact.

Elite is not a status; it’s a mindset.

From high school marching band, to winter guard, to drum corps, to college band, DSI is dedicated to supporting a mindset of growth, spirit, and tradition. We share a joy in watching young performers bring crowds to their feet cheering, dancing, singing along, rallying a team to victory. We believe in the power of performance. We believe in Elite.

DSI understands that the most elite performers deserve the most elite equipment! That’s why we are proud to offer footwear, accessories, and color guard equipment that meet the demands of these students. No matter the crowd, it pays to look and feel your best. From Friday Night Football, to Game Day and Competition Saturdays, to indoor performances, to stadium finals, trust DSI to help you reach Elite.

HSPVA is one of the top-ranked performing arts schools in the country, whose mission is to provide a balanced program of challenging academics and rigorous training in the arts. The school focuses on six art areas: vocal music, instrumental music, dance, theatre, visual art, and creative writing.

HSPVA was originally built in 1971 and had experienced piecemeal renovations as the school aged. It was bursting at the seams with more students across the country interested in attending. After an extensive search for a new facility, school administration decided to open a new location in downtown Houston and design a building to meet the growing needs of the school.

Updated Technology

The $88 million project would ultimately feature specialized performance and fine arts spaces to enhance the artistic environment of the school. Architects created a five-story, 168,000-square-foot building featuring a dramatic front entrance with double-high glass windows and a wide stairwell, 800-seat main theater with a balcony, dance and music studios, 150-seat recital hall, 200-seat theater, 190-seat black box theater, rehearsal rooms, modern outdoor dining area, two levels of underground parking and an outdoor roof terrace.

The beautiful exterior needed to be matched with first-class music education equipment on the inside.

Band, Orchestra, and Vocal Rehearsal Spaces

For any student practicing their instrument, keeping environmental noise out is critical. A sound isolation practice room can help them fine-tune their performance and concentrate on their craft.

Administration opted for Wenger’s SoundLok® Practice Rooms with superior sound isolation. Each room is 25 percent quieter than any other practice room available. Built-in absorption and diffusion enables the musician to clearly hear the best possible sound. The rooms also have built-in virtual acoustic environment (VAE®) technology, allowing the musician to learn how to adapt to performing in different performance spaces and get immediate feedback with record/playback during the practice session.

“Our students are really enjoying the new practice rooms and experimenting with the virtual acoustics,” Orchestra Director Dr. Brad Smith says. “We also like the fact that there are glass doors on them so we can see what’s going on and potentially help them if they need assistance.”

To round out the first-rate equipment, music administrators also chose the company’s durable stands and chairs to serve a variety of performance needs. They opted for cabinets that keep instruments well organized when not in use, and a portable stage and riser system to prepare them for any number of rehearsal situations.

“I am most excited about the shelving and the music library in the new space,” Dr. Smith says. “Being able to organize all of our instruments, sheet music and other items means I can devote more time to the students, rather than searching for miscellaneous items.”

Denney Theatre

The heart and soul of the building is the 800-seat Denney Theatre, which is utilized for a variety of performance types ranging from orchestra and choral to dance, theatre, and lectures. To enhance the sound quality and ability to cater to these performers, teams installed a new custom acoustical shell, a motion control system, rigging systems and hoists and lightweight choral risers that can easily be set up or stored as needed.

“Students are getting great experience working with this cutting-edge equipment,” explains Costume Design Manager Paul Davis. “The students are very pleased with the new equipment,” says Choral Director Pat Bonner. “This is advanced equipment that they haven’t seen in other schools.”

She says it’s also a treat for the staff to have a superior shell and risers after years of making due with inferior equipment.

“We have worked so hard for so long that we have earned the right to be proud of this lovely theatre, which is the jewel of our campus,” Bonner says. “Audiences that come will enjoy it just as much as we do.”

Black Box Theatre

One of the main benefits of a Black Box Theatre is its versatility. The simplicity of the space is used to create a flexible stage and audience interaction. The use of staging and lighting in Black Box Theatres can range from extremely minimal to very elaborate, depending on the performance.

Portable audience seating and risers included in this space provided flexible configurations for the theatre’s many needs. They’re lightweight, strong, and easy and quick to set up or move.

Time to Shine

With all of the new equipment successfully installed, it was time for the school to open its doors. Everybody raved.

“HSPVA is now able to provide the best music education for our students, and to prepare them to be the best musicians they can be in the future with his new facility,” Dr. Smith says. “Our students and faculty now have access to practice and performance facilities that are some of the best in the industry. Very few high school students around the nation have access to this type of space.”

The equipment in the new facility is providing students, staff, and faculty the opportunity to improve their performances, continuing the school’s long-standing tradition and nationwide acknowledgement of excellence.

“Kinder HSPVA is truly a school like no other,” says Principal Scott Allen. “As I walk the hallways of the school and observe students studying and participating in the creative arts, I realize how fortunate they are to have a fine arts campus to attend in the Houston Independent School District.”

Get a Glimpse of HSPVA’s Rehearsal Room

For more about HSPVA, please click here. For more about Wenger’s Music Education solutions, please visit

Congratulations to the ensembles invited to perform at the 2020 Music for All National Festival, and to their directors, students, parents, and administrators.

National Choir Festival

Aledo H.S. Treble Choir, Aledo, TX; Karen Paul
Dobyns-Bennett H.S. Chamber Choir, Kingsport, TN; Patricia Denmark
Freeport H.S. Select Chorale, Freeport, NY; Monique Campbell Retzlaff
Honors Choirs of Southeast Minnesota Honors Choirs Chorale, Rochester, MN; Aaron Schumacher
Kettering Fairmont H.S. Symphonic Chorale, Kettering, OH; Brody McDonald
McMeans Junior H.S. Varsity Choir, Katy, TX; Steve Kalke
Miami Arts Studio Maverick Singers, Miami, FL; Ryan Ellis
Millbrook H.S. Madrigals, Raleigh, NC; Eddie Adams
Oswego H.S. A Cappella Choir, Oswego, IL; Frank Tieri
Pasco H.S. Chamber Choir, Pasco, WA; Wendy Newbury
Spencerville Adventist Academy Adventist Children's Choir, Spencerville, MD; Jane Lanning
Stone Bridge H.S. Mastersingers, Ashburn, VA; Daniel Jackson

Chamber Music National Festival

Carroll Senior H.S. Bassoon Trio, Southlake, TX; Ken Johnson
Carroll Senior H.S. Clarinet Ensemble, Southlake, TX; Ken Johnson
Cuthbertson H.S. Cuthbertson Chamber Winds, Waxhaw, NC; Todd Ebert
Cuthbertson H.S. Brass Choir, Waxhaw, NC; Todd Ebert
Cuthbertson H.S. Clarinet Choir, Waxhaw, NC; Todd Ebert
Cypress-Fairbanks ISD Honor Trombone Choir, Cypress, TX; Larry Brown
Klein Collins H.S. Piano Trio, Spring, TX; Carlos Lara
Lincoln-Way West H.S. Saxophone Quartet, New Lenox, IL; Justin Barnish
New West Charter New Music Ensemble, Los Angeles, CA; Joseph Cooper

Orchestra America National Festival

Atascocita H.S. Chamber Strings, Humble, TX; Colin Catoe and Guillermo Teniente
Atascocita H.S. Symphonic Strings, Humble, TX; Colin Catoe and Guillermo Teniente
Fort Collins H.S. Symphony Orchestra, Fort Collins, CO; John Hermanson
Lake Braddock H.S. Symphony Orchestra, Burke, VA; Austin Isaac
Lesher M.S. Advanced Chamber Orchestra, Fort Collins, CO; Loni Obluda
Palo Verde H.S. Philharmonic, Las Vegas, NV; David Irish

Sandy Feldstein National Percussion Festival

Bentonville H.S. Percussion Ensemble, Bentonville, AR; Nicholas Fernandez
Central H.S. Percussion Ensemble, Fresno, CA; Sarah Pearce
Cuthbertson H.S. Percussion Ensemble, Waxhaw, NC; Dylan Sims
F. W. Buchholz H.S. Percussion Ensemble, Gainesville, FL; Nestor Santiago
Lafayette H.S. Percussion Ensemble, Lafayette, LA; Andres Morales
Olathe East H.S. Percussion Ensemble, Olathe, KS; Jeff Smikahl
Salyards M.S. Percussion Ensemble, Cypress, TX; Joe Glass
William J. Brennan H.S. Percussion Ensemble, San Antonio, TX; Timothy Briones

National Concert Band Festival

Middle School Bands

Barber M.S. Wind Symphony, Acworth, GA; Robert Grogan
Burnett Junior H.S. Wind Ensemble, Wylie, TX; Ross Patterson
Carroll M.S. Wind Ensemble, Southlake, TX; Bethni Lown
Hill Country M.S. Symphonic Band, Austin, TX; Kristin Hames
Lamar Middle School and Fine Arts Academy Symphonic Winds, Austin, TX; Raul Escobedo
Ligon GT Magnet M.S. Wind Ensemble, Raleigh, NC; Renee Todd
South Forsyth M.S. Symphonic Band, Cumming, GA; Andrew Poor
Stockdick Jr H.S. Wind Ensemble, Katy, TX; George Liverman
Timberview M.S. Wind Ensemble, Fort Worth, TX; Ryan Straten
Truett Wilson M.S. Wind Ensemble, Haslet, TX; Ray Hilley
Western Middle School for the Arts Symphonic Band, Louisville, KY; Eric Allen

High School – Featured Bands

Aledo H.S. Wind Ensemble, Aledo, TX; Joey Paul
Broken Arrow H.S. Symphonic Band 1, Broken Arrow, OK; Kelli Pence
Douglas Anderson School of the Arts Wind Symphony, Jacksonville, FL; Ted Shistle
F. W. Buchholz H.S. Wind Symphony, Gainesville, FL; Shawn Barat
J. Frank Dobie H.S. Wind Ensemble, Houston, TX; Kevin Erickson
Lafayette H.S. Symphonic Winds, Lafayette, LA; Scotty Walker
McHenry H.S. Symphonic Band, McHenry, IL; Spencer Hile
North Hills H.S. Wind Ensemble, Pittsburgh, PA; Len Lavelle
Palo Verde H.S. Wind Orchestra, Las Vegas, NV; David Irish and David Maccabee
South Lakes H.S. Wind Ensemble, Reston, VA; Grayson Fore
Stratford H.S. Wind Orchestra, Goose Creek, SC; Todd Smith and Josh Artz
United H.S. Wind Ensemble, Laredo, TX; John Mallon
W.T. Woodson H.S. Wind Ensemble, Fairfax, VA; Aaron Morgan
Wheeling H.S. Wind Symphony, Wheeling, IL; Mike Malek
William J. Brennan H.S. Wind Ensemble, San Antonio, TX; Thomas Kober
Wylie H.S. Wind Symphony, Wylie, TX; Todd Dixon

High School – Invited Bands

Geneseo H.S. Honors Band, Geneseo, IL; Steve Scherer
Gulf Coast H.S. Wind Ensemble, Naples, FL; Justin Goff
Justice H.S. Wind Ensemble, Falls Church, VA; Brian Thomas
Lake Braddock Secondary School Symphonic Band, Burke, VA; Michael Luley
Norcross H.S. Wind Symphony, Norcross, GA; Lee Newman
Palm Beach Central H.S. Wind Ensemble, Wellington, FL; James Yaques
South Brunswick H.S. Wind Ensemble, South Brunswick Township, NJ; Donna Cardaneo
Timberview H.S. Wind Symphony, Arlington, TX; Eric Mullins
Victor J. Andrew H.S. Wind Symphony, Tinley Park, IL; Mark Iwinski
Viera H.S. Wind Ensemble, Viera, FL; Nick Eggen and Maria Dix
Wylie H.S. Wind Ensemble, Wylie, TX; Mark Schroeder 

What is your hometown? City, State.
Hinsdale, New Hampshire

Where did you go to high school? Where did you go to college and when did you/will you graduate?
Muldrow High School in Oklahoma! I currently go to Arkansas Tech University and plan to graduate with my Music Education degree May 2020.


What is your musical background?
I have been involved with music ever since 6th grade! I was instantly in love with the flute and continued on to hold several leadership positions in my high school band. I now serve as a 2nd year teaching assistant with the Arkansas Tech Band of Distinction and am also a 3rd year member of our Symphonic Wind Ensemble.

What has been your favorite part of this internship experience?
I’ve loved being able to contribute to something bigger than myself, but working with Music for All has also allowed me to break out of my comfort zone and shown me resources I didn’t know existed for music educators. I get to live somewhere new while experiencing a different side of music!


What is an interesting fact about you?
I am a pro Olympic player of Facebook Messenger games... including the basketball one.

Who are your top three favorite artists?
The Front Bottoms, Modern Baseball, and Nova & the Experience

Would you rather be able to talk to animals or speak all the foreign languages?
While I would like to know what’s running through my cat’s head, I think it’d be better to be able to communicate with an infinite number of people! Plus, I assume that means I would be able to read Egyptian Hieroglyphics too!

What division at camp would you want to participate in if you were still in school?
That’s so hard to choose, but I think I would lean more toward Marching Band!


What are you currently reading?
I have been pulling inspiration from a book called Words I Wish I Wrote by Robert Fulghum a lot recently!

Do you have a favorite quote?
“Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.” -Jennifer Lee

What show have you binge watched recently?
Somewhat unashamed to say I binged the Society recently on a whim.

What actor or actress would play you in a movie written about your life?
Well, this was a bit hard to figure out, but I think Awkwafina!


What is your hometown? City, State.
Madison, IN.

Where did you go to high school? Where did you go to college and when did you/will you graduate?
Madison Consolidated High School and Ball State University. I graduated from Ball State in May of this year.


What is your musical background?
I played the trumpet until high school, but I am more into music business now. Besides being the Advancement Intern at Music for All, I also work at a concert venue and had an externship with Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival this summer.


What has been your favorite part of this internship experience?
It is cool to learn about how nonprofits are funded and be a part of that process. Music for All does so much good for students and educators across the nation, and I love being a little piece that enables us to do these great things.

What is an interesting fact about you?
I recently won a regional Emmy for a documentary I produced.


Who are your top three favorite artists?
Walk the Moon, Judah and the Lion, and Vance Joy.

Would you rather be able to talk to animals or speak all the foreign languages?
I would love to speak all of the foreign languages. Communication between people of different cultures is so important for growth and learning, and language can be such a barrier.

What division at camp would you want to participate in if you were still in school?
Jazz Band for sure! That was my favorite when I played the trumpet.

What are you currently reading?
I have not had time to recently, but I love Nicholas Sparks. I will probably read his most recent novel soon..

Do you have a favorite quote?
“Life is what happens when you are outside of your comfort zone.”

What show have you binge watched recently?
I watched all of Stranger Things 3 recently. It was so good, and I sobbed like a baby. Now I am starting Queer Eye Season 4.

What actor or actress would play you in a movie written about your life?
I would say probably Jennifer Lawrence because she is goofy, tall, and loves to eat!

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Robert W. Smith

robert w smith 2011colorRobert W. Smith is one of the most popular and prolific composers in America today, with more than 800 publications. Mr. Smith’s credits include many compositions and productions in all areas of the music field. His original works for winds and percussion have been programmed by countless military, university, high school, and middle school bands throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, South America, and Asia, and have become standards for developing bands throughout the world.

Mr. Smith’s music has received extensive airplay on major network television as well as inclusion in multiple motion pictures. As a conductor, clinician, and keynote speaker, Mr. Smith has performed throughout North America, Asia, South America, Europe, and Australia. Mr. Smith is a long-time member of Music for All’s faculty at the Summer Symposium and Music for All National Festival. He serves as the Division Coordinator for the Middle School/Young Teacher track of the Directors’ Academy at the Summer Symposium.

Mr. Smith is currently teaching in the Music Industry program at Troy University in Troy, Alabama.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Gayl W. Doster


Gayl W. Doster is the retired President and Chief Operating Officer of Brooks Drug, Inc. Mr. Doster is a graduate of the Indiana University Kelley School of Business. While at Indiana University, he was a member of the Marching Hundred and numerous other musical organizations and is a life member of Kappa Kappa Psi. He serves on the boards of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music Friends of Music and the Indiana University Art Museum National Advisory Board. Mr. Doster has been inducted into the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Business and Industry Hall of Fame, is the 2009 recipient of the International Festival & Events Association Zambelli Internationale Volunteer of the Year Award, and he is Co-Treasurer of Lawrence Central Performing Arts, Chairman of Heartland Jazz Arts Group and serves on the Advisory Board of the Indiana University Eskenazi Art Museum. Gayl and his wife Beverly have two children and five grandchildren.

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