This Throwback Thursday, I thought I would share a recent trip I made to the original home of Music for All: Whitewater, Wisconsin. While driving through a cold and snowy Wisconsin late last month, I decided to take a short detour to the quaint town of Whitewater. I can't imagine what this town looked like during the summers of the 1970s and 1980s, high school students and music educators teaching, practicing and performing. Starting in the summer of 1976, Whitewater became the center of marching music education when McCormick Enterprises took a huge risk and decided to invest in the success of young music students.
As I drove up to Perkins Stadium (originally Warhawk Stadium) in Whitewater, I was overcome by the memories made here. I could imagine the students and fans walking up the large hill to the stadium, overlooking the rolling fields of Wisconsin farmland. Bands of America Hall of Fame band directors Michael Rubino, Bob Buckner and Greg Bimm would be preparing their ensembles for a performance in the Marching Bands of America (MBA) Summer Nationals. MBA clinicians such as William D. Revelli would be providing valuable insight to young music students and band directors. If you were a music student or educator in the 1970s and 1980s, Whitewater was the place to be.
Driving through the small farm town, I wondered, "Why Whitewater?" Whitewater not only served as the home of Marching Bands of America, but also previously hosted the very first Drum Corps International Championships in 1972 and 1973. Both DCI and MFA provided placques to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater honoring the college, which still stand out today on the stadium wall. Last year, DCI providing a fascinating look at the beginnings of drum corps at Whitewater. I also looked to Music for All founder Larry McCormick's book God Is My Drum Major for more information on Whitewater: "It was a perfect location with a beautiful stadium and facility with dorm housing available at reasonable prices."
William D. Revelli, Gene Thrailkill and Mike Davis at the 1976 Summer Nationals
Participation in the Summer Nationals and music workshops grew and grew after the inaugural year. The original purpose of Marching Bands of America stands true to Music for All's mission today to create, provide and expand positively life-changing experiences through music for all. In fact, you may recognize some of the language from MBA's original purpose statement: "An individual's choice to participate in the band, and that band's participation in the broadening experience of competition, is a postive step toward becoming a winner in life." That's right, even in 1976, each of the participants was a "winner in life!"
1976 Grand National Champions, Live Oak H.S., CA and director Michael Rubino
Whitewater was home to Music for All during the formative years of the organization. From the decision to move to a fall marching band championship in 1980 to restructuring as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Whitewater was home to some of the earliest memories and first positively life-changing experiences. Still today, Perkins Stadium remains a venue for marching ensembles, including a yearly DCI show and the Wisconsin State Marching Band Championships. Although Summer Nationals ended after 1988 and the Summer Band Symposium moved to Illinois State University in 1992 to accomodate the growing camp, Whitewater remains an important part of Music for All's story. My short trip to Whitewater was well worth the detour and provided a fulfilling look into Music for All's earliest history.
Each year, arts advocates from across Indiana travel to the State Capitol in Indianapolis to participate in “Arts Day at the Statehouse,” presented by the Indiana Coalition for the Arts. Music for All is a proud member of the vibrant arts community in the state, and I was excited to represent Music for All and the arts in Indiana last month at Arts Day. I joined close to 50 other artists, teachers and arts administrators in an advocacy training session, a community arts project and most importantly, meeting with legislators to demonstrate our support for the arts in Indiana.
Because Music for All’s pinnacle programs are located in Indiana, MFA has an incredible impact on Indiana’s young people as well as the state and local tax revenue generated from tourism during MFA events. MFA also receives general operating support from the Indiana Arts Commission, partly funded by the Indiana State Legislature. I had the great fortune of sharing with legislators the important work that Music for All and other arts organizations across the state are doing: improving the quality of life, providing economic impact, and providing impactful arts education for Hoosier youth.
After a brief training session where we learned how simple it is to speak to your elected officials, we headed to the Statehouse to “storm the floor.” It was a very busy day at the Statehouse, as many important pieces of legislation were in discussion, but we were still able to meet with many elected officials. In addition to talking points from Music for All, the Indiana Coalition for the Arts also provided us with brief items to discuss with legislators, which included thanking legislators for increased funding for the Indiana Arts Commission and promoting a bill supporting ensemble music education in middle and secondary schools.
Right away, I met with Representative Eric Koch, who is an active supporter of the arts in his South Central Indiana district. While nervously ensuring that I covered all of my talking points, we had a great conversation about Rep. Koch’s passion for the arts. I also had the pleasure of meeting Senator Jean Breaux, who represents my home district in Indianapolis. “The arts have always been an important part of my life,” explained Sen. Breaux. She also represents many underserved families in Indianapolis, including some who participate in MFA’s Indianapolis Public Schools outreach programs. Sen. Breaux been an important advocate for the arts in the State Senate, and it was inspiring to speak firsthand with a legislator with so much passion for the arts.
Indiana State Senator Timothy Lanane and MFA Advocacy Coordinator Seth Williams
(Photo courtesy of Randy Orr, Indiana Coaltion for the Arts)
Later in the afternoon, I met with Senate Minority Leader Timothy Lanane, who represents East Central Indiana, including the home of the MFA Summer Symposium - Ball State University. I spoke with Sen. Lanane about the Summer Symposium and MFA’s commitment to engaging the East Central Indiana community.
Because of the busy day in the Statehouse and the large number of visitors, I was not able to meet with as many legislators as I had hoped. Instead, we had the opportunity to meet other artists, teachers and administrators from all over the state and participate in a community art project entitled Have a HeART, developed by Hoosier artist Joe LaMantia. The project helped spread a message throughout the Statehouse of passion and collaboration through the arts.
The 2014 Arts Day at the Statehouse was a simple yet effective way to meet with legislators and display the impact of the arts, including music education, on Hoosiers. You too can contact your federal, state and local elected officials and spread the message of music education’s impact on students across the U.S. The Indiana Coalition has many resources specific to Indiana elected officials here. You can also visit our partners at SupportMusic.com, including NAMM and the National Association for Music Education, for more national resources. Whether writing an email or letter, calling your representative’s office or visiting them in person, advocating for the arts is integral to ensuring public support for the arts, including music education in our nation’s schools.
2016 Music for All Summer Symposium
Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana
June 27 - July 2, 2016 • Leadership Weekend June 25-26
Everyone responsible for and/or interested in the success of your program and music education in your school and community, including Booster officers, executive committees and committee and fundraising/program chairs; teachers, instructors, boosters looking to help make their organization stronger; music education students looking to learn more. Small or large programs, strong or weak, urban, suburban or rural, developing, emerging or new programs…we promise value and valuable information for everyone.
For more than 35 years, the Music for All Summer Symposium has provided a safe and exhilarating environment for learning and personal growth. It’s the perfect setting for booster programs, officers and parents to learn and be inspired to pursue success. It’s America’s Camp, and now, once again, its opening its arms and extending support to an essential element of successful music programs, - the parent/booster. A great deal of information, networking and planning opportunities will be packed in to a one-day learning commitment from you.
When – Friday, June 26, 2015 (Plan to arrive by 8:30 a.m. or choose to come a day earlier to network, experience the evening concert and portions of the student camp. Sessions will end at 5:00 p.m. Pricing includes meals, concerts and activities through end of the student Symposium – 3:00 p.m. Saturday)
Where – Ball State University, Muncie, IN (part of the June 22-27, 2015 Music for All Summer Symposium for students, teachers and instructors)
How Much – $119/person (pricing includes tuition, the Booster Institute Work (and resource) Book, four meals - from lunch on Friday through Family Day Picnic on Saturday, admission to the Thursday evening feature concert, and special Director Viewing seating to Friday’s DCI-Central Indiana show, featuring the 2013 DCI World Champion Carolina Crown - MFA’s Summer Symposium Corps in Residence. Programs that register four or more persons can use the Group Discount Rate of $99/person. Housing is not included. Dormitory or local hotel housing is available at an additional cost.
Your students deserve the best, - from themselves, their teachers and instructors, their school and community, and most importantly, – from you. See you in Muncie, for the extraordinary student-focused environment that is the Music for All Summer Symposium!
Celebrate #GivingTuesday with Music for All!
Join others from around the world in a day of giving to kick-off the holiday season this year. Retailers have Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and we want you to help us support #GivingTuesday! #GivingTuesday was launched last year as a campaign to create a national day of giving to support charitable activities that support non-profit organizations like Music for All. Whether supporting Music for All with a donation or spreading the word about #GivingTuesday, you can make a difference for nonprofits across the world. Here's how you can make a difference:
Support Music for All's Summer Symposium Scholarships
This #GivingTuesday, you can provide positively life-changing experiences to high school students through the Music for All Scholarship Fund. The MFA Summer Symposium is a weeklong summer camp that provides world class music instruction, leadership training, immersive performance opportunities and nightly concerts. Students who attend the Summer Symposium become leaders in their band, school and community and aquire the skills necessary for success beyond high school. Camp scholarships provide valuable opportunties for underserved students and communities with limited access to high qality music and leadership training. By partnering with Music for All as a donor this #GivingTuesday, you are showing that you believe in music education, music in our schools and Music for All. Click here to make your donation today.
Spread the Word about #GivingTuesday
Even if you're unable to make a charitable gift today, you can support #GivingTuesday by spreading the word to support charitable activites all day. One unique way to support #GivingTuesday is the #unselfie. Show your support for #GivingTuesday and Music for All by uploading an #unselfie to your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages. Encourage your friends and followers to support #GivingTuesday as well. The holiday season is the perfect time to embrace giving, and what better way than with #GivingTuesday. You can visit www.givingtuesday.org for more #GivingTuesday social media resources. Don't forget to check out Music for All's social media pages all day for more #GivingTuesday information.
Question: Who was the first Grand National Champion to receive “The Eagle” Grand National Traveling Trophy?
Answer: Center Grove H.S., IN (1995)
In celebration of BOA’s 20th Anniversary, Bands of America debuted the Grand National Traveling Trophy, commonly referred to as “The Eagle.” Center Grove High School, under the direction of Thomas Dirks, was awarded the travelling trophy in 1995 for their show “A Journey into the Adventure Zone.”
The trophy quickly became the quintessential and recognizable icon of the Bands of America Fall Championships. Still today, the Eagle is kept with the reigning Grand National Champion. During this weekend’s Indianapolis Super Regional, 2012 Grand National Champion Carmel H.S. Marching Greyhounds will return the travelling trophy to Music for All in preparation for next week’s 2013 Bands of America Grand National Championships, presented by Yamaha.
Question: In our last Throwback Thursday: Color Guard Edition blog post, we mentioned that Bands of America used to present an Outstanding Auxiliary Award at its Grand National Championships. What is the last year that Bands of America awarded an award for outstanding color guard at Grand Nationals?
Answer: The 1994 Grand National Championships
Bands America awarded the last Outstanding Auxiliary Award at the 1994 Grand Finale on November 5, 1994. The Centerville Jazz Band received the award, also receiving 8th place that year with their program featuring the music of Chase. In addition to flags and weapons, the color guard utilized hula hoops to reflect the 1970s era of Chase. The Marian Catholic H.S. band was awarded their fifth Grand National Championship title in 1994 as well. Although the Oustanding Auxiliary Award ended after 1994, color guards remain an integral part of the visual design for marching bands across the U.S., and it is always exciting to observe the many innovations in color guard over the years.
When sorting through photos here at Music for All, we enjoyed looking at all of the unique color guard uniforms over the years; so much that we decided to devote an entire Throwback Thursday post to color guard!
In the early years of Bands of America, color guard (auxillary) uniforms were often varitations of the band uniform; however, in the late 1980s and 1990s, color guard uniforms became an important part of the visual show design and changed each year. Previously, Bands of America Grand Nationals even featured a Highest Achievement Award for Auxillary. We hope you enjoy this collection of interesting color guard uniforms for Throwback Thursday! Share your favorite color guard uniform in the comments below!
In honor of our very first Bands of America event in North Carolina** this weekend, we decided to honor the Tar Heel State in this edition of throwback Thursday! North Carolina has a long history of strong marching bands, and the state has produced two national champions: Sylva-Webster H.S. (1979 Summer Nationals) and Rocky Mount H.S.
At the 1986 Grand National Championships, Rocky Mount H.S., under the direction of John C. Sykes, became the first three-time national champion. The band also won in 1983 at Eastern Tennessee State University and in 1984 at the newly constructed Hoosier Dome.
Just like many of the other Grand National Champion photos we’ve shared here, the joy in the students’ faces are a perfect representation of the positively life-changing experiences that were at work in 1983 and still today.
We’re very excited to welcome bands from throughout North Carolina, as well as Virginia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia at the BOA Super Regional Championship in Winston-Salem this weekend! If you’d like to find out more about this weekend’s event at Bowman Gray Stadium, click here.