Lucy Wotell
Lucy Wotell

This is the fifth installment of a new series that will highlight the Music for All staff members who work behind-the-scenes to make all of the positively life-changing experiences happen! Get to know each of our amazing staff members, as we learn more about who they are and what they do at Music for All. A new post will be featured every week!

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Mark Sternberg/Senior Event Coordinator

Hometown: Elkhart, IN

How long have you been with Music for All?
I did some seasonal work with Music for All for a couple of falls, but started working full-time at Music for All in 2013.

What is your favorite event at Music for All and why?
I really enjoy everything we do (the variety is part of what keeps things interesting and fun), but probably the fall season. We have the opportunity to be around so many great bands every week, and work with some really wonderful volunteers and Music for All Event Staff.

Do you have a favorite memory of working an event with Music for All?
The Army Field Band and Soldiers Chorus from Washington D.C. (one of the best bands in the world) has performed at the Music for All Summer Symposium twice in the past few years. I was backstage during one of their concerts, and they were performing a piece that featured several of their low brass players, playing in front of the band. The featured members exited the stage to a RIDICULOUS round of applause and cheering. Once they were backstage, they had huge smiles, were high-fiving, and absolutely pumped from the amount of energy from the students in the crowd. A number of Field Band members said they “felt like rock stars” that night. It was amazing to see the performers, audience, and the staff all having such a positive experience.

What is your musical background?
I started as a percussionist in band when I was 10 years old, and continued throughout school. I studied Music Education at Butler University, and was a band director for 10 years. I still try to play, and love that percussion can allow such a broad spectrum of performance opportunities.

One thing you couldn’t live without?
Music, Friends & Family, and Diet Coke

What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading questions from our staff profile interviews… Also, I’ve been reading The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. The collection of short stories makes it easy to still finish something when things are busy.

Do you have a favorite quote?
“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” Yogi Berra

What's a show you've binge watched recently?
West Wing, Scandal, The Office, Lost

Favorite movie not many people have seen?
Serious movie, and a great story – The Red Violin. Completely stupid and funny movie – Army of Darkness

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This is the fourth installment of a new series that will highlight the Music for All staff members who work behind-the-scenes to make all of the positively life-changing experiences happen! Get to know each of our amazing staff members, as we learn more about who they are and what they do at Music for All. A new post will be featured every week!

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Name/Job Title
Lucy Wotell/Marketing Coordinator

Hometown: Boca Raton, FL

How long have you been with Music for All?
I started at Music for All in August, so a little over eight months!

What has been your favorite part of working at Music for All?
My favorite part of working at Music for All is working with supportive, passionate, and inspiring people! There are not many opportunities where you have an outlet to express yourself, and I feel like I am able to do that in my department and for this organization. I also love making coffee runs with my co-workers!

What is your musical background?
I played the clarinet from 6th to 12th grade in concert band, symphonic band, and marching band. I was also in the Women’s Honor Choir my sophomore year of high school.

One thing you couldn’t live without?
Coffee! And of course my family, friends, and my longtime boyfriend Tyler.

What kind of music do you listen to?
I love all sorts of music: classic rock, pop, show tunes, hip-hop, classical, etc.

What do you like to do in your free time?
In the past year and a half, I’ve gotten into photography! My focus is portrait photography.

Do you have a favorite quote?
I have two, both by Winston Churchill: “Never, never, never give up” and “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

What's a show you've binge watched recently?
Season 7 of Archer. Hilarious show!

Favorite movie not many people have seen?
What About Bob?

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This is the third installment of a new series that will highlight the Music for All staff members who work behind-the-scenes to make all of the positively life-changing experiences happen! Get to know each of our amazing staff members, as we learn more about who they are and what they do at Music for All. A new post will be featured every week!

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Name/Job Title: Elise Middleton / Advancement Coordinator

Hometown: Greenwood, IN

How long have you been with Music for All?
I started working at Music for All at the end of October 2016, so I have been here for about six months.

What has been your favorite part of working at Music for All?
I enjoy working at an organization that I have a passion for, and I love witnessing the musicality and energy of all the students and staff at our events!

What is your musical background?
I played violin and took private lessons in the Center Grove school district from sixth grade until the end of high school. I went on to play until my junior year of college at Indiana State University, and I also joined a music fraternity for women, Sigma Alpha Iota.

What kind of music do you listen to?
I listen to most types of music, except I’m not a big fan of Country music. My all time favorite artist is Florence and the Machine. I also love artists such as Saint Motel, Bastille, Kimbra, Fitz and the Tantrums, Lady Gaga, and many more.

What do you like to do in your free time?
I like to collect vintage books, watch/read Shakespeare plays, travel, hike, read, watch Netflix, go to plays and museums, and of course spend time with family and friends.

What are you currently reading?
The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson, which is a true story about a cunning serial killer that struck during the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.

Do you have a favorite quote?
“We are all stories in the end, just make it a good one, eh?”

What's a show you've binge watched recently?
There are so many! For example, I have been binge watching Shameless, The Great British Baking Show, and The OA.

Favorite movie not many people have seen?
Billy Elliot

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Music for All has added the Student Peer Teaching Program to the Music for All Summer Symposium starting this year. The Music for All Summer Symposium, presented by Yamaha is the largest national weeklong summer music camp for students and teachers, and will take place at Ball State University in Muncie from June 26-July 1 at Ball State University for its seventh summer.

The Peer Teaching Program’s primary mission will be to train student leaders on how to be a MODEL for their band program: M-Motivate, O-Observe, D-Demonstrate, E-Educate/Equip, and L-Lead. The program is designed to not only teach students leadership concepts, but also train them how to be effective leaders in their band programs, and become a valuable asset to their directors. With this training, students will be equipped with the tools to help them teach and inspire their peers, which includes being trained to help with musical and visual marching instruction, to effectively communicate with their peers, basic principles of movement, how to read and clean drill charts, and how to observe and conduct sectionals and rehearsals.

The Student Peer Teaching Program has a superb staff that includes Joel Denton, coordinator of the Peer Teaching Program and Director of Bands of Ooltewah High School, TN; Jeremy Spicer, former Director of Bands of Vandegrift High School, TX; John Howell Visual Designer for nationally acclaimed high school bands, drum and bugle corps, and winter guards; and Anna Rodriguez Assistant Director of Bands at Westlake High School, TX.

“You must train your leadership before you can empower them,” states Joel Denton, coordinator of the Peer Teaching Program. “The Peer Teaching Program is designed to produce educated and inspired student leaders, who can actively engage their peers throughout the school year in concert and marching band, and produce a dynamic impact in their entire band program.”

 This is the second installment of a new series that will highlight the Music for All staff members who work behind-the-scenes to make all of the positively life-changing experiences happen! Get to know each of our amazing staff members, as we learn more about who they are and what they do at Music for All. A new post will be featured every week!

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Name/Job Title
Jenny Fultz, Event Manager

Hometown: Indianapolis

How long have you been with Music for All?
I’ve been with Music for All about seven months (started at the end of August 2016). I’ve been blessed to be able to work in many places around the country in a variety of aspects within the Events Industry.

What is your favorite event at Music for All and why?
So far, I’ve only experienced the Bands of America season and the National Festival. I’m not sure I can answer that until making it full-circle through camp!

What has been your favorite part of working at Music for All?
The dynamic balance of the different types of people and backgrounds that make up the Music for All staff. It’s been wonderful learning everyone’s unique circumstances and experiences!

Do you have a favorite memory of working an event with Music for All?
So far, my favorite memory has been standing on the front sideline at Grand Nationals watching the bands enter the field in retreat to start the awards ceremony. It was my “this is why I do what I do” moment!

What is your musical background?
I started playing the clarinet in 5th grade and quickly fell in love with it! I picked up a few instruments along the way for fun, but stayed as a clarinet until I graduated high school. While my musical career ended with high school graduation, I was “all band” up to that point. I met my husband in Marching Band when I was 15 and most of my best friends today are those I made from band.

One thing you couldn’t live without?
Besides the obvious choices of my two beautiful children and husband, Diet Coke is what I can’t live without!

What kind of music do you listen to?
I love just about all types of music (minus the head-banging metal rock). If you checked my radio pre-sets in the car, you’d find a split between country and “today’s hits.” Most played on my Spotify currently are Ed Sheeran and Lady Gaga.

What do you like to do in your free time?
Anything with family! I’m close with my family (they live ten houses down from us!) and my husband’s family – both our parents and six sibling families live within a five-mile radius! We like to host bonfires, take long walks that usually end up at Dairy Queen, and we spend a lot of time camping/boating in the summer.

Do you have a favorite quote?
“All dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

What's a show you've binge watched recently?

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

From Music to Political Leadership

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We know that students who participate in Music for All programming have positively life-changing experiences. Many of these students will eventually graduate high school and go on to fulfill life in variety of ways. Some will become engineers, teachers, medical professionals, artists, managers, and influential leaders in a wide range of fields. One former student has done just that, becoming the mayor of Sonoma, California. Native of Charleston, South Carolina, Rachel Hundley began her musical journey at six years old playing the piano. She went on to play the clarinet from middle school through her freshman year of college. Rachel participated in the Music for All National Festival with the Wando H.S. Symphonic Band in 1998.

Ms. Hundley went on to receive her undergraduate degree in political science, and speech and communications, at the University of Georgia, graduating summa cum laude. She eventually received her J.D. from the University of North Carolina School of Law, summa cum laude. After her time as an associate at the law firm of McDermott Will & Emery LLP in New York, she relocated to Northern California and pursued her passions of food and small businesses, and opened up a southern cuisine food truck and catering business with her business partner Arthur Chang. About a year later, wanting to immerse herself into the Sonoma community, Rachel Googled “how to run a campaign” and went on to win a seat on Sonoma’s city council. During that time, Hundley was able to invoke a program that provided “safe parking” for homeless people who lived in their cars. In 2016, when the time came to elect a new mayor, Hundley was chosen. Since being elected in office, Mayor Hundley participated in the Women’s March in Sonoma, and she hopes to inspire younger people to be involved in their communities. She was recently featured on and the Washington Post as a leader on the current political landscape.

Today, Mayor Hundley talks to us about the key role music has played in her life and how she developed into the political activist and leader she is today.

How did your participation in school music impact and shape the person you are today and what lessons did you learn from being in band?
As an adult, my two biggest strengths are critical thinking and creativity. Learning and playing music helps the brain develop reasoning skills, pattern recognition, intellectual curiosity, and creative thinking. By the time I started law school after college, my brain had almost two decades of preparation for a career based in logic and problem-solving.
Participating in school music programs also helped develop self-discipline. Being accountable to a group is a great motivator to practice at home. Whether it is working at home to prepare for a trial, building my business, or keeping myself informed about everything happening in my city, it takes a lot of self-motivation to stay on top of all of the responsibilities I have today. I learned a long time ago the importance of putting in the time and effort no one sees, so that I'm ready when it is time to shine.
Being in band for 13 years also helped develop my social and leadership skills. First I was a section leader. Then I was on the band leadership council. In college, I was president of my chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota, a professional music fraternity for women. Today I'm the mayor of my city. Learning how to lead and inspire takes practice, and developing those skills within the microcosm of my band program gave me a strong foundation for the leadership positions I've had later in life.
Also, music is fun! My most cherished memories and my closest friends all came out of school music programs in middle school and high school. Even though we are scattered across the country, I still keep in touch with many of my friends from band, who are all living extraordinary lives.

What are your enduring memories you have of being in your high school and middle school band?
My clarinet section was the center of my high school universe. When I was a freshman, I thought the seniors were awe-inspiring. So grown up and smart, and so talented! When my time came to lead the section, I thought it would be fun to give everyone a different tree name. Yes, trees. Willow. Pine. Magnolia, etc. I have no idea why I went with trees. The names stuck for the entire year. My best friends came out of that clarinet section, and we spent countless hours together sweating at band camp, nervously waiting to march out on the field during a competition, riding the bus to away games, even eating lunch together in the band room during the school day. I'm thankful band and my clarinet section was my anchor throughout middle and high school.

What instrument did you play in school, when did you start playing? Do you still make music?
I started playing piano when I was six years old. In 5th grade, I joined the orchestra and played violin. In 6th grade I switched to cello, while also joining band as a clarinetist at Laing Middle School, led by Miller Asbill. After a semester of trying to do both music programs, I decided to focus on band. My high school band at Wando High School in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina was led first by Miller Asbill and later Scott Rush. I played the clarinet for 13 years, including one year with the University of Georgia concert and marching bands. Eventually I had to give up band as an extracurricular because I had three majors (political science, journalism, and speech and communications), but I stayed involved in music through Sigma Alpha Iota and two chorus classes. In law school, three female classmates and I put together a rock cover band called "Attractive Nuisance." Today, my schedule is too full for an organized group, but I do putter around on the piano and acoustic guitar every now and then.

What book did you most recently enjoy reading? What music are you listening to these days?
My brother, who played trombone in band, recently sent me a fascinating non-fiction book entitled, "If Mayors Ruled the World" by Benjamin R. Barber. Its premise is that local government is the most successful level of government because local leaders tend to focus on finding pragmatic solutions to the problems and issues at hand, rather than getting bogged down with partisan division. If the sewer needs to be fixed, then we better fix it.
Right now, my preferred genres of music are electronic (house) and hip hop (west coast).

What's an interesting fact about you not many people know?
I have terrible stage fright. Recitals, auditions and solos always terrified me when I was a student, but I did them anyway. Running for office was a hilariously terrifying experience. Sometimes when I'd walk up to the podium to speak to a large group of people my knees would be shaking, and I'd silently curse myself for getting myself into the situation. After two years of sitting in front of large groups during televised city council meetings and now running those meetings, the nervousness has faded. I'm an introvert, and extemporaneous speaking is not my strong suit, but I've been forcing myself to perform and speak in front of audiences long enough to know that I'll probably survive and the next time will probably be a little easier.

Anything else we should know or that you'd like to tell our school music student, teacher, and parent readers?
Thank you to all of the music teachers and supportive parents out there! Looking back, I can't believe all of the time and energy all of the "grown-ups" put into supporting our various programs. I wouldn't be the person I am today if it wasn't for the music programs I had when I was in school. I'd also like to thank my two biggest fans who shuttled me back and forth to practice, and dutifully attended almost every concert I had: my parents.

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This is the first installment of a new series that will highlight the Music for All staff members who work behind-the-scenes to make all of the positively life-changing experiences happen! Get to know each of our amazing staff members, as we learn more about who they are and what they do at Music for All. A new post will be featured every week!

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Hometown: Bronson, Michigan

How long have you been with Music for All?
Since August of 2012

What is your favorite event at Music for All and why?
Summer Symposium, hands down is my favorite event. As a staff member, I’m able to see the transformation and change in the participants as the week progresses. I can see the difference in their confidence level and know that the friends they’re making will be life-long; it’s a truly magical thing to be able to witness.

What has been your favorite part of working at Music for All?
Having the opportunity to work in an organization that is so mission driven is incredibly rewarding, but being able to work with people who believe wholeheartedly in what they do is equally incredible.

What is your musical background?
I started playing clarinet in the 5th grade and was involved in choir from 7th to 9th grade. My senior year of high school, I was nominated to become the first drum major that the band had had in quite some time. I went to university at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, MI for Music Industry Management, so went more to the business side of the industry rather than the performing side. I was involved in the Music Industry Management Association (Get it? Got it! Good!) which is a model music production company for the MIM students, and learned a great deal about the ins and outs of the music industry.

One thing you couldn’t live without?
I definitely couldn’t live without my family and friends.

What kind of music do you listen to?
Everything! I secretly love answering this question because I get the opportunity to possibly introduce folks to new music! Currently on repeat is Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, but some other artists I enjoy listening to are City and Colour, Paramore, Taking Back Sunday, Have Mercy, Weezer, Real Friends, Adele, James Bay, The Color Morale and many more.

What are you currently reading?
Sickened by Julie Gregory

Do you have a favorite quote?
“Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” - William Shakespeare

What's a show you've binge watched recently?
The OA

Favorite movie not many people have seen?
Across the Universe

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Congratulations to Maddie Fitzgerald on joining Music for All as a Participant Relations Coordinator! Maddie joins Music for All full-time having served previously as a Participant Relations intern.

As Participant Relations Coordinator, Maddie will provide support to Music for All’s participant relations team. The Participant Relations team serves as a first point-of-contact for directors and students involved in Music for All’s programs, attends local and national conventions on behalf of the organization, and maintains participant and event data.

"We're excited to add Maddie to our team because she brings a positive energy and commitment to building relationships," said Camilla M. Stasa, Director of Participant Relations and Special Projects. "Her internship at Music for All has certainly paved the way to make this hire a successful one for our department.”

Maddie has a strong music background, participating in various ensembles from fifth through twelfth grade. At Olathe Northwest High School, she was in the marching band, pep band, wind ensemble, full orchestra, pit orchestra, and she was involved in the Youth Symphony of Kansas City. Maddie received her bachelor's degree in Arts Administration with a concentration in music from Butler University. While at Butler, she was involved with the athletic band program, the wind ensemble, and Kappa Kappa Psi. She previously completed internships at the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, and Music for All.

Join us in congratulating Maddie on joining the Music for All Team! We look forward to seeing her strong work ethic and passion in action as she supports our mission to create, provide, and expand positively life-changing experiences!

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It’s March 8, 2017 at Broad Ripple Magnet High School. A spirited energy fills the air as 21 instrumental and choral ensembles line into the school, ready to perform at the Indianapolis School Music Festival. These ensembles from the Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS), six middle schools and five high schools, performed for evaluators and participated in clinics. This is the 2nd annual Indianapolis School Music Festival, which commences the Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha, and gives instrumental and choral ensembles from IPS the opportunity to perform for and learn from notable evaluators and clinicians.

Hosted by the Broad Ripple Magnet High School, principal W. Briant Williams expressed the importance of the relationship between IPS and Music for All, and how Broad Ripple Magnet High School can be the epicenter of these arts opportunities for these students. The participating ensembles have learned valuable lessons that not only improve the group as a whole, but the individual musicians and their directors as well.

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“One of the great things about the Indianapolis School Music Festival is that it gives the students who are in their formative years in their musical journey a chance to become part of a very important process, and be recognized and validated for the hard-work they do in the classroom,” states John Phillips clinician and evaluator.

Furthermore, for these ensembles that come from the inner-city areas of Indianapolis, this festival is the highlight of their year, with some of the ensemble directors expressing the importance of exposing their students to these types of festivals. These students are eager to learn so much from renowned clinicians who have traveled from all over to aide these students in their musical journeys. This is Northwest Community High School band director Christopher Abbey’s 15th year as an IPS band director, and the one thing that keeps bringing him and his ensemble back to the Indianapolis School Music Festival are the kids. “A lot of good kids at IPS get underserved and this is a good place to bring them,” said Abbey.

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With the success of last year’s festival, choral ensembles were introduced to participate this year. Six choral ensembles performed in front of evaluators and received a clinic immediately after. Clinics are a time when a clinician, the ensemble, and director can work together one-on-one, in order for the ensemble and director to better improve their skill-sets. Music for All Choir Coordinator and choral clinician Kim Mann was delighted to share her joy of choral singing with the young musicians and instructors. “The inclusion of choir in this year’s festival broadens the continued advocacy for music education supported by IPS, Music for All, and the Indiana Music Education Association,” said Mann.

The attitude of learning and working hard was ubiquitous. While working with Edison Middle School of the Arts Middle School Choir, clinician Jeff Vallier explained to them that taking their work to the next level was going to come with making mistakes. Aside from the hard work, the students, also had an enjoyable experience. Before each performance, and even during their clinics, there was nothing but enthusiastic attitudes. “We practice hard with our music and we just came here to have fun,” says Northwest Community High School Advanced Band senior saxophone player Jesus Franco. “We hope it goes well, but the most important thing is to have fun.”

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This is the forty-eighth installment of a new chapter in our Student Features series on the blog that we will be posting leading up to the 2017 Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha. Music for All will be featuring three honor ensembles (Honor Band of America, Honor Orchestra of America, and the Jazz Band of America) at the Music for All National Festival, March 9th through March 11th. We look forward to getting to know all of these wonderful students who have been accepted into these prestigious ensembles!


Name: Sophia Motai

Hometown: Alpine, NJ

School Name: Tenafly High School

Instrument: Violin

Which Ensemble Are You In?
Honor Orchestra of America

What made you decide to apply to be a part of the ensemble?
I applied for this wonderful opportunity to achieve two goals. One is that I would like to challenge my potential as a fine violinist by playing with other good musicians from all over the country. The other is that I would like to become an independent and responsible young adult. This is a perfect opportunity for me to open myself up to a new environment and people. I believe it will be a precious experience for me to create and share music together in the ensemble.

What are three things you've learned from being involved in band or orchestra?
1. I’ve learned that you play best when you focus and get into the music.
2. I’ve also learned that the conductor is your friend, and that they will help cue you in so watch carefully.
3. Finally, I learned that orchestra is not about you; it’s about everyone as a whole performing as one.

Most memorable moment in band or orchestra?
When Larry talked about his experience with music and life at the reception after the final concert, I was inspired and appreciated the whole experience at this national music festival.

Besides band/orchestra, what are you involved in at school?
I am involved in the chamber group and occasionally perform for elderly people at nursing homes and senior centers. I also belong to the acapella club and sing in concerts at school and outside of school. In the spring, I play softball.

What book have you read that you would recommend?
I highly recommend “1984” by George Orwell, which gave me deep insight into human beings and society.

What's your favorite song or piece of music?
Antonin Dvorak Symphony No 8. in G Major

Favorite ice cream flavor?
Green Tea

What's your favorite non-music related hobby or past time?
I enjoy reading and watching “TED Talks”. I also like to play pool and ping-pong with my family and friends.

What's one piece of advice you'd give a friend who needs some inspiration or motivation?
Just keep trying and looking forward.

What's your current plan for what you want to do after graduating high school?
I would like to study psychology at college and also study abroad to widen my views.

Have you participated in MFA/BOA events before? Which ones?

Tell us something interesting/unique about you:
I have been struggling with myself internally and find it difficult to build a good relationship with others, but this experience made me realize that I don’t have to fear starting new relationships and I can live my life with the purpose of finding true happiness.