Jeff Young will join Music for All in January 2022 as Director of Camps, directing and overseeing the Music for All Summer Symposium and initiatives to expand Music for All’s camp offerings.
Mr. Young will be part of the Music for All staff in the organization’s Indianapolis headquarters. He previously taught science at Carmel HS., IN, where he was also the visual caption head for the Grand National Champion Carmel marching band.
Headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, Music for All, Inc. is a nonprofit, 501(c)3 educational organization that presents more than 60 programs and events across America annually and is a voice advocating for music and arts education in all scholastic environments. Over the past 18 months, Music for All has also launched several webinars and podcasts serving current and future music educators.
“After a long and fulfilling career working at Carmel High School, I am extremely excited to step away from full-time teaching and join the team at Music for All,” says Young. “I will work to ensure the success and sustainability of educational camps, including the Summer Symposium. I have immensely enjoyed working with the Summer Symposium staff and students, which has been arguably my favorite week of the year for more than 15 years. I’m honored to embark on this new adventure with Music for All, creating positively life-changing experiences for students and directors from all over the country.”
“Jeff Young has been a core part of Music for All’s educational team as the coordinator of our Summer Symposium marching band division and member of the Bands of America Honor Band in the Rose Parade faculty,” says James P. Stephens, Director of Education and Advocacy for Music for All. “As Director of Camps, Jeff brings his knowledge and expertise to our preparations for our flagship Summer Symposium while steering our plans for additional camp offerings in the future.”
Music for All is grateful that weather conditions allowed completion of the entirety of the Preliminary Competition at the Bands of America Regional at McAllen, TX on Saturday, September 18. Working together with the Fire Marshall to assess conditions and toensure the safety of the student performers, we suspended preliminary performance due to extreme temperatures with eight groups remaining to perform in prelims. We resumed preliminary performances at 7:30 p.m. which allowed all the bands an opportunity to perform in the event but did not allow for a competition. We would like to thank all involved in ensuring the safety of band members, spectators, and staff.
The overriding ticketing policy for Music for All/Bands of America events is that tickets are “non- refundable.” Nevertheless, where extraordinary circumstances, like severe weather, cause the cancellation of all or a substantial portion of an event, Music for All has established refund polices for that event and offered full or partial refunds as appropriate.
We request that our patrons note that the costs of the event (stadium rental, stadium personnel, judges’ fees and other expenses) were still incurred and paid by Music for All. We invite you to consider foregoing any refund, and instead donate the value of your refund in support of these expenses. Thank you in advance if you choose to donate your refund, and we will provide you with an acknowledgement of your charitable contribution.
Following are Music for All’s policies concerning ticket refunds for the 2021 Regional at McAllen, Texas:
Day-Pass – $8 refund
Unused Adult Finals Ticket - $18 refund
Unused Discount Finals Ticket - $15 refund
To request a refund, please email your name and email used to purchase ticket as well as the eight-digit purchase number to:email@example.com. Refund requests must be received by October 4, and will be processed by October 31, 2021.
Should you have any questions or concerns regarding our refund policies for the 2021 Regional at McAllen, please do not hesitate to contact us at 800.848.2263.
Music for All is excited to return to its live music performance events with the 2021 Bands of America Championship season, starting September 18. Music for All has announced it will require all salaried employees and contracted personnel to be vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to attendance at the 2021 Bands of America Championships.
“The safety and well-being of thoseattending Bands of America Championships continues to be a top priority for Music for All,” the organization says. “Getting vaccinated is one of the most important ways to keep ourselves and our communities healthy. To ensure we get back to making music and enjoying performances together safely, and based on the latest recommendations of scientists, health officials, and authorities that the COVID-19 vaccine provides the best protection against severe infection, Music for All is requiring that our employees and contractors at BOA events be fully vaccinated.”
Music for all will follow local requirements for safety and policies for event spectators. Policies and guidelines will be posted on marching.musicforall.org prior to each event.
Music for All has determined we will be unable to hold an in-person Summer Symposium in 2021 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Please watch the full statement above, or read the transcript below.
FEB. 25 2021 – INDIANAPOLIS, IN – On behalf of our Music for All staff and board of directors, I hope that you and your family are well.
We know that this continues to be a difficult time for families, students, and teachers. However, this virus will not change student ability to grow and learn. Music for All is committed to providing experiences that help build resiliency and joy.
While this pandemic crisis presents challenges, it has also reminded us of the precious gifts of family, the boundless promise of children, and provided us with the opportunity to find new ways to serve students and teachers.
Music for All places the safety and well-being of our camp community and everyone associated with our programs and events as the highest priority.
Music for All has decided not to hold our Music for All Summer Symposium in 2021. We arrived at our decision in cooperation with our camp directors and coordinators, considering, including:
We did not make this decision quickly. It is based on input from health experts, program leaders, and Music for All’s decades of experience managing a successful camp.
There is hope! The data trends, and information related to the vaccination and mitigation efforts are encouraging. At Music for All, we are busy preparing for an exciting Bands of America Championship season this fall with 24 Regionals, Super Regionals, and the Grand National Championships.
We are also working on virtual summer learning experiences that will offer engaging and meaningful earning offerings. Stay tuned for those details in the coming weeks. You can sign up for updates at camp.musicforall.org.
On behalf of all of us at Music for All, I hope you have a safe and successful finish to this school year. We hope to see you at Bands of America this fall, and at our summer offerings in a few months!
David Starnes is Director of Orchestras at Kennesaw Mountain H.S. in Kennesaw, GA, and an Educational Consultant for Music for All. As the COVID-19 pandemic spread in 2020, David worked with Music for All and co-moderator Susan Smith to develop Mind the Gap, a webinar/podcast series for young and future music educators.
With a wide and varied 32-year career as an educator, we asked David to share his thoughts on the Mind the Gap series, the topics they cover, and why he shares his time and expertise with fellow and future music educators.
What is Mind the Gap? Who is it for and what is it aiming to do?
Mind the Gap was initially created as a supplement for collegiate students who were in the midst of their student teaching during the spring of 2020 when COVID-19 interrupted their college education. With support from the Music for All Education team, Susan Smith and I recognized the “gap” and instantly went to work. Our mission was to create a program to supplement, inspire, and educate our future music educators while offering them timely information that was missed due to a shortened student teaching experience. Since the initial concept, we have broadened the offering and audience for teachers serving in their first five years of the profession. Additionally, collegiate professors are including these episodes as supplemental material to their secondary instrumental methods courses.
What is your role with Mind the Gap?
I primarily serve as a moderator for each episode while selecting our guest panelists and creating the content for each discussion. On occasion, I have served as a panelist, sharing ideas and my teaching experience on any given topic. [Co-moderator] Susan Smith and I carefully discuss and select the topics for each episode. With only a one-hour time slot, we inevitably tackle topics that could span several hours! Pinpointing the goal and desired outcome of each episode when featuring world-class names in music education presents a real challenge. It is our hope each attendee would experience a sampling of the topic at hand, which would further inspire them to seek additional knowledge of how the information can affect their situation. Programming each episode really becomes a task of satisfying the specific needs of many while offering unexpected revelations for each audience member…moderators included!
What are some of your favorite topics and guests you’ve had so far, and why?
Our goal was to provide a variety of topics to address the most pertinent issues a teacher could face in their first years of teaching. Due to the stipulations and guidelines COVID-19 created for teachers, I believe the episodes addressing technology and teaching in a virtual environment have been the most valuable. As a 32-year veteran teacher, I found myself re-tooling my own toolbox that had become tried and true. I quickly realized no blueprint to this teaching model had ever existed and while frustrating, the teaching profession was making history as we reinvented our craft. Personally, it has been a challenge as well as a reward to be able to share ideas with young teachers while actually experiencing their roadblocks on a daily basis. Having been a mentor to young teachers for several years, I am reminded daily of the importance of passing the torch as well as providing inspiration and motivation for them. While it is easy to complain about the pandemic hand we’ve been dealt, I chose to believe we can grow and rebrand music education in a way that will challenge the next generation of teachers AND students.
Why is Mind the Gap and the information it provides important?
In normal circumstances, young teachers are usually left to fend for themselves, relying only on the skills and strategies they were taught as an undergraduate student. Knowing our current teaching environment is unprecedented, young teachers need an outlet for discovery, idea-sharing, and networking within the professional teaching community. Each episode of “Mind the Gap” features leaders from the worlds of music education and the music industry. Our audience has “VIP access” and a front-row ticket to the most innovative professionals in the world. From the beginning, it was our intent to provide an experience to not only educate young teachers but connect them in the most realistic way to their profession. In doing so, we had the potential to motivate and inspire through actual association with individuals who once were only iconic names to them. “Mind the Gap” is a first-hand, relevant experience pertinent to the success of every young music educator.
Is mentorship between music educators important?
It has long been my belief that students who enter the teaching profession do so as a reaction to the inspiration they once received from a teacher in their past. Teaching is a profession that “pays it forward” on a daily basis. Naturally, teachers are mentors as it is the sheer definition of our job title and what we are charged to provide for each of our students. As music educators, our curriculum becomes an even greater inspiration. Dedicating our lives to education is only the entry point of why we chose this profession. For many of us, MUSIC allows us to share our mind and spirit with students and professionals. The intangibility of our artform connects us through emotional responses that not only trigger creativity but also provide a lifetime of memories for all who are so fortunate to experience its magic. Teaching, learning, and mentoring are all “active” forms of what we do as well as the electricity behind our passion. It’s just too powerful and special not to share it with the world. Some of my fondest mentor/mentee memories involve feeling or seeing the musical lightbulb illuminate. Whether in a student or a peer, that spark allowed someone else an experience that led us to music education.
You are an Educational Consultant for Music for All. Why have you given of your time and experience to create the Mind the Gap series, as well as to provide guidance to Music for All for all of its programs?
Speaking of a topic that could “span for several hours…” Where shall I dare begin? Music for All has been a constant motivation of excellence for me, my students, parents, and community for over 30 years. Having taught at the elementary, middle, high school, and collegiate levels in band and orchestra, I am absolutely aware of the experience students receive through their affiliation with this incredible organization. Music for All’s mission to “create, provide, and expand positively life-changing experiences through music for all” is why I have dedicated so many years as a teacher and consultant to this organization. In my opinion, Music for All is where the professional and student worlds intersect. I have been privileged to offer students associated with Music for All the opportunity to work with world-class performers, conductors, and in once-in-a-lifetime performance experiences. There is nothing more satisfying than living vicariously through a student participant at a Music for All event. To me, it’s really about living and giving through an art form that defines how music can shape the heart and soul of an individual. “Life-changing” would be a rather bold acclamation of purpose if it were not true. I am affiliated with Music for All not only because I know it can change lives, but I am living proof that it does.
Do you have any favorite or most-memorable moments from your experiences with Music for All as an educator?
Prior to my role as an Educational Consultant, I was a participating high school band director at Music for All events. As the founding director at Kennesaw Mountain High School, I witnessed the motivation and inspiration Music for All played in our program for the 11 years I served as director. This organization taught my students what was possible on a national level as a high school music education student. Through my students’ involvement, Music for All inspired teamwork, individual challenge while fostering leadership, example, and the importance of managing life skills through both success and disappointment. I believe my “favorite moment” lies under the umbrella of every Kennesaw Mountain High School or Western Carolina University band member who experienced the magic of a Bands of America Regional or Grand National Championships. Whether a competitive or exhibition performance, the goal was exactly the same. EXCEED your individual best because you knew you were performing WITH the best. Music for All continually inspires excellence and celebrates achievement, unlike any other scholastic musical organization. A Music for All “stage” invites everyone, regardless of experience or ability. Through peer support, everyone wins. Character is established. Expectations are defined. Communities unite. Barriers are removed.
Through my involvement with this organization, my students and parents quickly learned how music education was the common denominator among our love for this activity and organization. In these ever-challenging times in our world, Music for All continues to provide positive inspiration to directors, students, and parents. In a nutshell, we are teaching life skills through perseverance, resilience, and hope. Is it any coincidence that Music for All’s mission echoes these sentiments and more? Simply stated the world needs music education and music education needs Music for All!
Before becoming the renowned performing arts and STEM school that it is today, I.M. Terrell High School was a secondary school located in Fort Worth, Texas. The school opened in 1882 as the city's first public school for black students, during the era of formal segregation in the United States. The school was renamed I.M Terrell High School in 1921, in honor of the former principal. Under the legacy of G. A. Baxter, the music program in the mid-20th century produced many of the prominent jazz and rhythm and blues musicians of that era.
Since then, the school has been through extensive remodeling and expansions and is now the home of the I.M. Terrell Academy for STEM and VPA (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics and Visual and Performing Arts).
The campus combines the original historic school building with a new 65,000-square-foot performing arts center (PAC), connected by a unifying courtyard. It sits atop a hill with beautiful downtown views and is a beacon for the District and the community.
The PAC, featuring a 900-seat theatre, was a focal point, built to serve the many students focused on theatre, music, and other fine arts within the school, but to also serve the surrounding community.
The PAC expansion team included the school’s administration, Corgan Architects, WJHW Theatre Consultants, Batts Audio, Video and Lighting, Turner Construction and Wenger Corporation.
It was important to preserve the historical nature of the century-old school everywhere except the new performing arts center. The new center would house the latest technology and top-notch equipment to best serve the needs of the variety of performances held there.
“We have other performance venues in Fort Worth, but this would be the perfect size not only for the school but for the district and the community. We have various arts organizations that are always looking for affordable space,” said Christina Walk, Head of Visual and Performing Arts at I.M. Terrell. “We worked with community partners who all agreed that the acoustics were important to make every type of performance sound great.”
“We met with all of the different groups who would be using the space,” explained Jason Mellard, Architect with Corgan. “We talked with every teacher, fine arts directors, music directors and anyone to make sure we met their needs.”
WJHW recommended installing a Wenger Diva® Acoustical Shell with a maple veneer finish. The shell has ten towers and three rows of ceilings.
“We coordinated and communicated frequently with the theatre consultants and structural and mechanical engineers,” Mellard said. “We needed to make sure we supported the weight properly, provided power where it needed to be, and coordinated with the contractor to ensure conditions were correct before installing the shell. There’s always that nitty-gritty detail of the specific dimensions to ensure everything lines up perfectly.”
“The shell can be set up in any configuration very quickly and very safely,” said Director of Dance and Theatre with the Fort Worth Independent School District. He loves having a new space with the latest technology to use at the school and share with the community. “To be able to tuck those large units up into the fly loft when not in use is pretty amazing.”
As the shell was being designed, Mark Batts, CEO of Batts Audio, Video and Lighting (AVL) suggested the move away from incandescent lighting. He recommended multi-colored lighting in and around the stage area.
“Being able to bring them multi-colored LEDs made an impact, Batts said. “One of the first performances they hosted in that space was the United States Air Force Band. The combination of the color and some moving heads that we installed provided an extra bit of flare.”
Batts says they also installed accent strips that provide another unique element.
“I love having the opportunity to bring those fun things into spaces,” he said. “You want your client to say, ‘Wow, I’ve only seen this on Broadway.’ That’s your highest compliment.”
Batts also managed the theatre’s rigging, choosing J.R. Clancy products across the board. They installed three Titan® Hoists, 28 PowerLift® Hoists, a fire curtain line shaft hoist, and a SceneControl 15 with a remote operating pendant.
“We really appreciated that Wenger was very deliberate in making sure we knew how things worked,” said Tim Brendler, Head of the Visual and Performing Arts Department. “Our entire team appreciated that they walked us through every element and possible configuration. The flexibility that it affords us is wonderful.”
The stage includes a custom-designed STRATA® Orchestra Pit Filler, which can be quickly installed with only a small crew. It provides strong support above and open space below with an innovative column-beam design. The acoustically dampened decks fit snugly against the stage to create an extremely quiet, integrated surface.
A Black Box Theatre provides a separate, smaller performance space where Wenger’s StageTek® Seated Risers and Staging equipment can be configured in a variety of ways. There is also a portable sound system with different places to plug in the speakers and LED lighting with a dimmer rack to set the mood for any given performance.
“We can host a larger audience by placing seated risers around the entire room and then performing in the round,” Brendler said. They have hosted robotics competitions and small theatre productions, too. Similar to the shell in the theatre, he says the flexibility of the risers is key.
“It’s great to have so many different levels,” he said. “When hosting show choir competitions, it is great to be able to quickly and easily manipulate the configuration.”
The new wing also included band, orchestra, and choral rooms.
The band room houses Wenger Nota® chairs and Roughneck music stands, AcoustiCabinets® that line the walls for instrument storage, and four Soundlok® Sound Isolation Rooms with VAE® technology for individuals and small groups to practice.
The rooms are 25 percent quieter than others and have the correct amount of absorption and diffusion so the musician can clearly hear the best possible sound. Virtual acoustics allow students to hear themselves play in different performance spaces and get immediate feedback with record/playback during the practice session.
“When the students are in school, those rooms are used all day every day,” explained Brendler. “They give the students a safe space where they can practice in private. The record, playback, and other capabilities are fun and give them extra incentive to get their practice time in.”
There are already plans to add instrument repair and piano tuning classes which could be held in the ensemble rooms.
The nearby choral room includes a whiteboard for teacher notes, Nota chairs, StageTek risers, Rack ‘N Roll® Garment Racks, four more Soundlok Sound Isolation Rooms, and eight music library units.
Sound and video systems in the choral and band rooms have integrated processors connecting them with each other as well as the auditorium. If they host a large program or competition, the performers waiting in the band room can hear and see what’s happening in the auditorium to gauge when it’s their turn to perform.
“Everyone loves these rooms dedicated to the band, orchestra, and choir,” said Walk. “They were well designed, and the windows offer spectacular views of downtown Fort Worth.”
The new PAC is stunning and impressive by all accounts. Wide hallways lead to generous specialty classrooms with all of the latest technology and useful equipment. Everything about it is impressive.
“The community loves it. The symphony plays there, the opera plays there and the Texas Ballet Theater plans to return with their annual Nutcracker performance. When it opened, it was always packed and has made a tremendous difference for the district and the community,” said Mellard.
“The Diva shell and the variety of spaces enable us to do what we love: collaborate to a higher degree at a professional level,” said Brendler.
And the extra effort to get the sound right was well worth it.
“Everyone loves this space,” said Walk. “If it didn’t have excellent acoustics, it wouldn’t have been worth building. In this hall, everything sounds great.”
Music for All has announced that Eric L. Martin will be the first inductee into the newly-named Music for All Hall of Fame.
Providing more than 25 years of continuous service, Eric L. Martin was the Chief Executive Officer of Music for All (MFA). Mr. Martin served first on Music for All’s Board of Directors, followed by positions as MFA’s Associate Executive Director, then Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, until being appointed as CEO in 2010, a role in which he served until April 2020. He currently serves as Interim President of ScholarshipAuditions.com.
During his tenure as Music for All’s CEO, Mr. Martin championed initiatives that strengthened the organization’s fiscal position, expanded its organizational capacity, and consistently increased the number of students, teachers, and others directly served by Music for All.
Mr. Martin is a member of several Indianapolis and Indiana boards of directors. He is an honors graduate of Dartmouth College. He also holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Michigan Law School and has been admitted by exam to the District of Columbia and State of Georgia bar associations.
A Certified Festivals and Events Executive, he is Past Chairman of the Board of Directors of the International Festivals and Events Association and an inductee into the Miller Brewing Hall of Fame, the highest honor awarded by IFEA. In August, Mr. Martin received the 2020 Outstanding PAS Supporter Award from the Percussive Arts Society.
Prior to joining Music for All, Mr. Martin earned national event production credits for some of America’s largest events, including the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games, the World University Games, San Francisco’s Chinese New Year Parade, Philadelphia’s Bicentennial Parade, and the “Operation Welcome Home” Ticker Tape Parade in New York, celebrating America’s victory in the first Persian Gulf War. In 1993, Mr. Martin won a Regional Emmy® for his production of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Holiday Parade on SuperStation TBS.
A native of Greenville, MS, Mr. Martin participated instrumental music programs throughout high school and college. In 1971, he was one of the first African Americans inducted into the Greenville High School Hall of Fame.
Music for All’s Bands of America Hall of Fame debuted in 2003, recognizing individuals who have had a positively life-changing impact through Music for All and Bands of America programs, as well as in music education. With Mr. Martin’s induction on Saturday evening, November 14, the Hall of Fame will be renamed the Music for All Hall of Fame, signaling a widening to recognize leaders in all areas of scholastic music.
Mr. Martin will be recognized as an inductee during an online broadcast, All Together Now!, a live pledge event benefitting Music for All’s educational programs. The show will include the virtual induction ceremony, alongside special performances, celebrity messages of support, and awards ceremonies that typically occur during Music for All live events.
The live pledge event takes place on Saturday evening, November 14, from 6:00-9:00 PM EST, on what would have been the evening of the Bands of America Grand National Championship Finals in Lucas Oil Stadium. The broadcast will take place online at musicforall.org/alltogethernow. The Grand National Championships and all Bands of America and Music for All events were cancelled in 2020 due to pandemic health and safety concerns.
Music for All is pleased to announce the United States Marine Corps as National Presenting Sponsor for its 2020 programs and events.
“We are thrilled to have the U.S. Marine Corps join us and support our mission to create, provide, and expand positively life-changing experiences,” said Jeremy Earnhart, President and CEO of Music for All. “The U.S. Marines exemplify leadership and character. Alongside the Marines’ core values of honor, courage, and commitment, these are qualities that young people learn through their participation in school music and that Music for All instills through our educational programs.”
“The United States Marine Corps looks forward to beginning a mutually beneficial relationship with Music for All as a partner in their member programming,” said Lieutenant Colonel Christian Devine, National Director of Marketing and Communication. “We are honored to extend our support to band, orchestra, and choral music educators across the country and look forward to forming invaluable relationships throughout our engagement with the Music for All community.”
The U.S. Marines’ National Presenting Sponsorship will support Music for All and its programs and events through 2020. Music for All developed new programming to serve music educators during the time of the pandemic, including educational webinars, virtual performance opportunities, remote feedback and workshops for students and teachers. The U.S. Marines presence during the fall programming will include performances, U.S. Marines Pre-Show for the Music for All Live Showcases, and student workshops with Marines musicians.
Music for All is celebrating 45 years in 2020. The organization’s advocacy efforts help to ensure access and opportunity for music education for all children in their scholastic environment. Music for All’s programs and events include the Bands of America Grand National Championships and Regional Championships for marching bands; the Music for All Summer Symposium camp for students and teachers; the Music for All National Festival for bands, orchestras, choirs, percussion and chamber ensembles; Affiliate Regional Music Festivals held across America; and national student honor ensembles including the Bands of America Honor Band that will march for the fifth time in the Rose Parade® in 2022.
Music for All continues to assess how we can best serve the needs of school music programs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the current uncertainty of many schools’ changing learning environments plus community concerns about safety, Music for All has announced today that it will be unable to present the 2021 Music for All National Festival, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision was made after several months of consultations with music educators and our educational advisors, in the interest of the health, safety, and wellness of all associated with the Festival. The well-being of the students, teachers, volunteers, and communities associated with our programs remains our number one priority. Music for All made the decision at this time out of respect for the planning required for schools and ensembles, and the process of facility and venue preparations.
The impact of COVID-19 on Music for All was initially felt with the early conclusion of our 2020 Festival in March, followed by the subsequent cancellations of our June Summer Symposium and the Bands of America 2020 Championship season. With this decision for the 2021 Festival, we share in the deep disappointment of performing students, teachers, and boosters from schools who were aiming to apply for this prestigious event. We hope that the decision will allow directors to focus their energies on the unique task of teaching this semester and for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year.
Music for All remains committed to providing significant educational programs. We recently announced our remote learning and virtual live performance opportunities for the fall. We will continue to offer these virtual experiences in the winter and spring of 2021. Visit instruction.musicforall.org to learn more and sign up.
Music for All is launching special donation campaigns in October and November, in order to sustain the organization through the impact of the pandemic and to continue to offer our educational programs. “We hope that our followers and participants will watch for these special fundraising events, culminating with a special online event with special guests on November 14,” said Neil Larrivee, Vice President of Mission Advancement. Details will be announced soon on the upcoming donation campaigns.
Thank you to all of the music educators, clinicians, event staff, volunteers, and donors who have supported Music for All during this difficult time. We continue to work toward – and look forward to – the time when we can gather in person to make music together again.
Music for All is saddened by the passing of Dr. Karen Kennedy, a founding member of the Music for All Choral Artistic Committee. Dr. Kennedy’s insights and vibrant inspiration were instrumental in the early development of the Music for All National Choir Festival.
Dr. Kennedy was the Director of Choral Studies at the University of Miami, where she oversaw the DMA and MM programs in choral conducting. Previous to her appointment at Miami, she held positions as the Director of Choral Activities at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, Artistic Director of the Honolulu Symphony Chorus, and Director of Choral Studies at Towson University.
Outside of her work in academics, Karen enjoyed leading festival performances, most recently in notable venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Mormon Tabernacle, the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm, Sweden, St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, Canterbury Cathedral in England, and multiple venues in Austria. Off the podium, Dr. Kennedy was passionate about leading workshops on innovative rehearsal technique, vocal pedagogy and the choral classroom, and music literacy, garnering invitations nationally and internationally for teaching residencies at established festivals and retreats.
Equally at home working with orchestra, Dr. Kennedy conducted fine ensembles including the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra, the Miami Symphony, the Boca Raton Philharmonic, and the Symphony of the Americas. She prepared choruses for a wide range of events, from performances on MTV to collaborations with the Cleveland Orchestra. NAXOS released two recordings with her ensembles in spring 2017, joining her featured choir performance on the Latin Grammy-winning album Loco de Amor.v
Dr. Kennedy received numerous awards for teaching, including the University of Hawai’i Chancellor’s Citation for Meritorious Teaching, and Arizona State University’s Manzanita “Top Prof” Award and was a two-time recipient of the Lawrence Township Schools Superintendent’s Award. She was a past-president of the Hawai’i Chapter of the America Choral Directors Association (ACDA), founding member of the National Collegiate Choral Organization (NCCO), a past Repertoire and Standards Chair for Collegiate Choirs in ACDA’s Eastern Division, and maintained an active student ACDA chapter at the University of Miami.
“Karen was my student at Butler University, an esteemed colleague, and a friend,” said Henry Leck, Artistic Director of Choral Activities at Music for All. “She was beloved by her students and all those who witnessed her inspirational passion as a teacher and conductor.”