2015 MFA Summer Symposium

2015 MFA Summer Symposium

Today I come home, my home away from home. Ball State is where I spent four years of my academic career and it was the best experience of my life. Flash forward a few years from graduation and I work for Music for All. Today my staff and I are gearing up for the 2015 Music for All Summer Symposium.

The drive up from Indianapolis to Muncie I had this feeling of reuniting with an old friend. Something is special about Ball State and it is rather hard to describe. It is as if I am reuniting with an old friend; however, they have had many changes as have I.

Making the turn down University and then McKinley I was hit with a flood of memories. From living in the AJ building with my PR friends to endless nights in Bracken and walks around the Quad to going to football games at Scheumann Stadium. I was like a little kid preparing to go to Disney World. The biggest smile and all excited.


It is a bittersweet reunion back on campus as all my friends are gone, there are new buildings up and I am now here for work. This will be my first Music for All Summer Symposium and I couldn’t be any more excited. I am ready to see students and directors from all over the country arrive on campus and create memories. Just as I created my own the four years of college, I know get to create a new chapter of memories in a familiar location. Being able to create these life-changing experiences for students will be the highlight of my camp experience. Hearing their stories, capturing the moments and getting to know as many of them as possible!


Stay in touch with myself and other Music for All staff members as we write, tweet, Facebook and share not only our experiences at camp, but the people who truly matter… the students! We are here to brighten their musical education experience and push their passion of music and the arts!

Matt Mackowiak
Marketing Assistant
Twitter: @MFAmatt

Check out the photos from the sixth day of the Music for All Summer Symposium!

If the photo stream above is not viewable for you, try this link http://on.fb.me/1BNKaOW.

IMG 17842

There are many everyday activities that we often take advantage of being able to easily do. For some, these simple tasks are difficult challenges.

Camp Achieve is a day camp for children with autism. Founded eight years ago, Camp Achieve helps provide a safe environment and development activities for children with autism and has been in residence at Ball State for the last five years.

When Camp Achieve heard that the Music for All Summer Symposium Percussion Division campers and staff would be using Burris Hall, where they are currently located, they connected with DJ Corchin, Percussion SWAG, to see how the two organizations might work together.

On Friday, DJ and another SWAG, Keegan Ruebling, asked student camper Brianna Brodeur to help them show these students of Camp Achieve the magic of the snare drum. 

As they drummed away, they invited the kids and the Camp Achieve staff to feel the music, clap and dance away. 

I spoke with camp director Storey Snyder, who's been with the camp since its beginning, who told me that she was very anxious about putting such loud instruments in front of many children with sensory sensitivities, but because it was such a welcoming, safe environment and DJ made sure to tell the kids that there would be a beginning and end to the sound, they responded more positively than she could have hoped. 

"Many of these children are pulled into therapy sessions during school so they often miss out on music and the arts. This opportunity allows our kids to experience something new and learn how to tolerate challenges, such as loud noises, that they often struggle with."

The children were singing, laughing and the pure joy on their faces was something I had never experienced before; it was priceless.

Music for All Summer Symposium camper, Brianne Brodeur, took the time after this fun session to chat with me about her experience teaching children with autism outside of the camp.

"Society is often unaccepting of children and adults with autism because it is something that can't be seen externally," said Brianne. "People chalk up sensitivies and struggles of those with autism to bad behavior and kids are often bullied by their peers."

I could feel the passion Brianne felt for these children and was moved by the amount of compassion she had for them.

"Activities like this, using music and helping them do more "normal" things, is not only be beneficial to them, but to others who do not have autism so they can become more aware and bridge the gap of understanding that needs to be filled," Brianne concluded.

At the end of the session, the kids gave DJ a book they made based off of books of his that are in their classroom. Their funny "happy" faces and "happy cat" faces almost moved me to tears because it helped me see how these kids didn't see autism as something they should hide or be ashamed of, and neither should anyone else. 

Thanks to Camp Achieve for letting us spend time with your amazing campers and see the world just a little bit brighter, even if just for a moment!

To learn more about DJ Corchin's children's books, please visit http://www.djcorchin.com/.

IMG 1785q

Check out the photos from the fifth day of the Music for All Summer Symposium!

If the photo stream above is not viewable for you, try this link http://on.fb.me/1IjZMLA.


Hello parents and friends! Everyone here at the Music for All Summer Symposium is looking forward to your arrival to Ball State University for tomorrow's events!

Below is a list of activities that are planned for Saturday, June 27, 2015:

Parent Breakfast
7:00 - 7:45 a.m.
Art and Journalism Building, Atrium

Complimentary breakfast for parents and family of Music for All Summer Symposium campers
- A slideshow will play highlighting the many activies, events and memories from the week.

Parent Session
8:00 - 8:45 a.m.
Pruis Hall

Attend a session that features the directors, clinicians and counselors your child interacted with and learned from during the week. You'll get information about Music for All's other annual events and be able to reserve your child's spot for the 2016 Music for All Summer Symposium.

Final Performances
9:00 - 11:30 a.m.
Music Instruction (MI) - Sursa Hall

Percussion Ensembles
Ohio Concert Band
Michigan Concert Band

Final Performances 
10:00-11:30 a.m.
Pruis Hall

Drum Set Choir 
Belck Jazz Band
Brantly Jazz Band

Family Day Picnic
11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Field Sports Building (directly south of Worthen Area)


Parents and families are invited to join us after the morning’s performances for the annual Family Day Picnic. Enjoy a meal with the full camp, families, faculty and staff with a backdrop of live music. You might even want to join in the Drum Circle!

Final Performances 
1:30 p.m.
Student Recreation Center

Color Guard
National Percussion Symposium
Marching Band
Drum Major Institute

Note: Sites may change due to weather or other circumstances so please check the Music for All Facebook page for updates.

Please download the free Guidebook App on your smartphone to find the most up-to-date schedule.


Due to severe weather conditions, the DCI Central Indiana event scheduled for Friday evening in Muncie, Indiana, will be moved inside to the Emens Auditorium at Ball State University.

The National Weather Service in Indianapolis has issued a flash flood warning for Delaware County, Indiana, and many surrounding areas until 9 p.m. ET.

The change of venue will not effect the event’s start time of 7 p.m. ET. Participating drum corps will perform a standstill exhibition inside the auditorium.

If you have questions about tickets, you need to call DCI directly at 317.275.1212

For more information from DCI visit their website here: http://www.dci.org/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=33500&ATCLID=210170790

The Music for All Summer Symposium Marching Band division will still be performing the anthem and will perform with Carolina Crown at the end of tonight's show. The Marching Percussion division students will also still perform tonight.

Revised Schedule

DCI Central lndiana
June 26, 2015 REVISED LINE UP

6:50 -­‐ National Anthem
7:00 -­‐ Crossmen 
7:20 -­‐ Boston Crusaders
7:40 -­‐ Madison Scouts
8:00 -­‐ Blue Stars 
8:20 -­‐ Cavaliers
8:40 -­‐ Carolina Crown
9:00 -­‐ Bluecoats
9:20 -­‐ Cadets 
9:40 -­‐ Carolina Crown/MFA Drumline Combined Performance
9:50 -­‐ Carolina Crown/MFA Marching Band Combined Performance 

DCI Live! Webcast

Tonight’s webcast on the DCI Live! streaming video platform will continue as scheduled. While the broadcast’s start time will remain the same, corps performance times are subject to change. More information on the webcast can be found here: http://www.dci.org/liveEvents/liveEvents.dbml?DB_LANG=C&DB_OEM_ID=33500&KEY=


TRV 2690

Yesterday I attended the Music for All's Concert Band Division's Chamber Recital in Sursa Hall and I could not be more impressed with the amount of budding talent I heard.

Nine different groups of varied instruments performed many different classic and contemporary selections of reperitore in front of their peers.

I thought it was fun that each group got to pick out their ensemble's name, such as "No Reeds Necessary," "The Claricorns," and "#girlpower."

TRV 2643

Several Ball State music professors and Yamaha Performing Artists such as Shawn Goodman and Sophia Tegart, served as clinicians for the Concert Band Division this week and worked to help each ensemble perform together as a collaborative sound. Each student received individual instruction and got to work with educators who directly studied their instruements. 

Another unique thing about this concert was how much these students accomplished in such a short amount of time. In only three days, these campers had learned music that it might take other students weeks to learn. They listened closely, practiced vigiously, and deveoped a pattern that they will take back with them to school this upcoming year. 

TRV 2630

I really hope that these kids understand how lucky they are to be at this camp, and I'm not just saying that because I work at Music for All. As a musician who struggled greatly in the beginning of my collegiate music experience, I know that if I had the opportunity to attend Music for All Summer Symposium at least once in high school I could have advanced so much faster and excelled to a greater level by graduation. If I had participated in the Summer Symposium for multiple years, I know that I could have taken my performance endeavors further than I could have ever imagined.

Check out the photos from the fourth day of the Music for All Summer Symposium!

If the photo stream above is not viewable for you, try this link http://on.fb.me/1NjVhQt.


The Thursday night concert at the Music for All Summer Symposium brought a special treat, the Ahn Trio. I have to say, I do have a soft spot for strings, but this group had a unique sound that created a powerful mood.

The Ahn Trio brought a different vibe to Emens Auditorium, as their music was expressive and animated. Sitting there it was easy to just close your eyes and let the music paint in your mind. Their use of different sounds and bowing created a clear muscial story, but one that was unique to each and every person. That’s one thing I love about string and non-lyrical pieces -- you get to interpret and decipher the piece in your own way. 

During the concert I hope the kids took time not only to listen to and create their own story in their head, but also reflect on everything they accomplished so far here at camp. For many, they get to take this excess of knowledge and share it with their peers. I know for a fact that all campers created new friends from different schools.

The music the Ahn Trio played at the concert felt like it was supposed to be the soundtrack to a giant slideshow of these kids memories of the 2015 Summer Symposium. 

After the concert, the three sisters of the trio met students in the lobby of Emens Auditorium to sign CDs and other memoribilia and answer questions about being a musician. They were lively with personality and gave advice that expanded on more than just music, but also on life. Those three phenomenally talented women put on a show that was not only musically inclined, but also emotionally. That is true art. 


IMG 3533

Every year our Marching Band Division campers have the opportunity to march side-by-side with our drum corps in residence. This week our campers have the experience of a lifetime as they got to rehearse and perform with Carolina Crown during a small section of their 2015 show “Inferno”. 

Yes, some of these kids might go on and march with Carolina Crown or another drum corps in the future; however, for a high school student to learn from some of the best in their activity is something they will always hold close to their hearts.

This part of camp is always special for both Crown members and campers. As I overheard Matt Harloff talk to Crown staff members, it was easy to see that this week was not about cleaning their show, adding on choreography or progressing along the summer tour season, but connecting with these high school students.

IMG 3534

Students timidly walked into Scheumann Stadium as they saw Crown members and staff talking on the front sideline. Students quickly put on gigantic grins and their eye grew big, as they knew they were about to do what most high school marching band members only dream of doing.

These talented campers quickly caught on to Crown’s rehearsal etiquette and morphed into mini drum corps member. These skills and techniques they learned in such a short rehearsal will translate immensely to their programs back home. The seed was planted in their heads and now it will be the students’ responsibility to make it grow.

After running the show portion they will be performing after the DCI Central Indiana show the kids were introduced to the sacred circle. The “Inside the Circle” tradition at Crown started in 2003 and this is where the corps creates a circle instead of the traditional arch. To sit inside this circle is a top honor and only open to Crown staff members, Crown age-outs and special guests. Today, our marching band track had that special honor. The students were even allowed to play with Crown in the circle. 


Then the magic truly started to happen as Matt Harloff addressed both students and corps. He said that today we aren’t two separate groups, but one. The kids melted as they received this special honor. 

It got even better as Crown was asked to sit in the circle as the students played their show portion of “Inferno”. Once completed all of corps, both members and staff, erupted with applaud and hi-fives. Then it was Crown’s turn to return the favor. Instead of playing their opener from “Inferno” they played their ever so emotional ballad. You could tell in the campers’ eyes that this was something they never would forget. I overheard students after and they almost looked like they were about to cry and they said that this is the reason why they come back, why they love band, why they have their passion in music.

A huge thanks to Carolina Crown not only for involving our the Marching Band Division, but also for all the other involvement here at the 2015 Summer Symposium. The members, staff and administration truly embody what this activity is about. At the end of the day, it is just marching, spinning and drumming. 

Page 1 of 3