Debbie Laferty Asbill
Debbie Laferty Asbill

hof 2020 3photos

INDIANAPOLIS - Music for All has announced three music education leaders who will be inducted into the Bands of America Hall of Fame as the class of 2020: John Casagrande, Darrin Davis, and Philip Geiger.

The Bands of America Hall of Fame recognizes individuals who have had a positively life-changing impact on Music for All and Bands of America programs, as well as in music education. The 2020 members will be inducted at a ceremony during the Gala Awards Banquet of the Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha, on Saturday, March 14, 2020, in Indianapolis. Hall of Fame members are permanently recognized at Music for All’s Indianapolis headquarters.

low Casagrande JohnJohn Casagrande

John E. Casagrande served as Executive Administrator for the National Band Association and served as Director of Bands at W.T. Woodson High School in Fairfax County, Virginia from 1982-2000. He was also Director of Bands at Mount Vernon (VA) High School from 1978-1982, East Stroudsburg (PA) from 1968-1978, and in the Wissahickon (PA) schools from 1963-1968. He joined the faculty of George Mason University in the fall of 1997 as an adjunct professor of music and was promoted to a full-time contract as an associate professor of music in 2002 and served in that capacity until his retirement in 2010. Mr. Casagrande was a long-time clinician and evaluator for Music for All. He received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Ithaca. His honors include election to the American Bandmasters Association and the American School Band Directors Association, five “Citations of Excellence” from the National Band Association, the Sudler Flag of Honor, the “Mac Award” from First Chair of America, “Who’s Who in American Education”, five awards for “Professional Excellence” from the Fairfax County School Board, W.T. Woodson High School “Teacher of the Year” and finalist for Fairfax County “Teacher of the Year.” John Casagrande was born January 30, 1942 and passed away July 8, 2019.

low DarrinDavisDarrin Davis

Darrin Davis currently serves as the Director of Bands and Assistant Director of Fine Arts for the Broken Arrow school district. He has enjoyed teaching band in the Broken Arrow Public Schools since 1993 and is responsible for guiding the 1,500 band students and 12 band instructors within the school district during this time. Within the band program, Davis is the conductor of the nationally acclaimed Broken Arrow High School Wind Ensemble and director of the Pride of Broken Arrow Marching Band, the 2015, 2011, and 2006 Bands of America Grand National Champion. Davis’ marching bands have marched in the Tournament of Roses Parade in 2017, 2013, and 2009. On three occasions, the John Philip Sousa Foundation has presented the Broken Arrow Marching Band the prestigious Sudler Shield. Broken Arrow is a 24-time Oklahoma State Marching Band Champion, a 13-time Bands of America Grand National Finalist, and a 16-time Bands of America Regional Champion. He is a member of Music for All’s Bands of America marching advisory committee. In March of 2017, Mr. Davis was elected into the membership of the prestigious American Bandmasters Association and the Oklahoma Bandmasters Association honored Davis as their 2012 “Band Director of the Year.” At the 2015 Midwest Clinic, the National Band Association awarded Davis with a “Citation of Excellence” for an outstanding contribution to band and band music.

low PhilipGeiger IMG 0753Philip Geiger

Philip Geiger completed 23 years as Director of Bands at Westfield High School (TX) in the Spring Independent School District. While at Westfield, Mr. Geiger’s bands were recognized nationally; the marching band was the 2003 Bands of America Grand National Champion and the concert bands performed several times at the Bands of America National Concert Band Festival. The Westfield Band was a consistent finalist in the TMEA Honor Band Competition and the Symphonic Band earned the distinction of being selected as the TMEA Honor Band twice during his tenure at Westfield. Concert Bands under his direction have performed twice at The Midwest Clinic in Chicago, and while Mr. Geiger worked at Westfield, the program received both the John Philip Sousa Foundation’s Sudler Shield and Sudler Flag. Mr. Geiger is a 1975 graduate of Southern Methodist University and received post-graduate instruction from Eddie Green, Dr. Gary Garner, and Tom Bennett. Prior to his time at Spring ISD, Mr. Geiger worked for seven years in the Klein ISD both as a middle and high school director. In 2000, Mr. Geiger was recognized by the Texas Bandmasters Association with their inaugural Meritorious Achievement Award.

Music for All congratulates these 2020 Hall of Fame inductees. See the members of Music for All's Bands of America Hall of Fame here.

Music for All is grateful that weather conditions allowed completion of the entirety of the Preliminary Competition at the Bands of America Regional at Powders Springs, GA on Saturday, October 26. We were not as fortunate for Finals. Due to the steady rain during the day which grew heavier at the end of Prelims, and more rain in the evening forecast, Bands of America officials conferred with the Finalist band directors and, after considering the safety and well-being of the participants and audience members, cancelled the evening’s Finals. We would like to thank all involved in ensuring the safety of band members, spectators, and staff during the inclement weather.

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 2019 Regional at Powder Springs:
Cooperative Tickets (issued to bands) - No refund
Day-Pass – $10 refund
Adult Finals Ticket - $21 refund
Discount Finals Ticket - $16 refund

To request a refund, please send your name, address, and copy of your ticket to:
Music for All, Inc.
39 W. Jackson Place, Suite 150
Indianapolis, IN 46225

Alternatively, you may email it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or fax your request to 317.524.6200. If you choose to donate the value of your refund to Music for All, please indicate this in your request. Refund requests must be received by November 15, 2019 and will be processed by December 31, 2019.

Should you have any questions or concerns regarding our refund policies for the 2019 Regional at Powder Springs, please do not hesitate to contact us at 800.848.2263.

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Share Your Story with Music for All

Stories inspire, teach, move, and mobilize us. Were you in music when you were in school? We'd love to hear your story! We might share it to show how music makes a difference.

Share your story with us now


Win a full scholarship to the 2020 Music for All Summer Symposium and get a chance to win a VIP experience at the Bands of America Grand Nationals or a Super Regional Championship of your choice. 

Invite and get 100 of your students and parents to the BAND app to win a scholarship to the Summer Symposium for you or one of your students. The Music for All Summer Symposium is "America's Camp" for school band students and directors and orchestra students. (100 scholarships available, first-come, first-serve.) 

Invite 200 or more people to get a chance to win 1 out of 5 VIP Experience Package for the Bands of America Grand National Championship or a Super Regional Championship of your choice (VIP Experience BAND promotion package includes tickets and hotel for two people – 2 nights hotel if you choose the San Antonio and St. Louis Super Regional, 3 nights for Grand Nationals).

How Can You Earn Your Free Summer Symposium 2020 scholarship? I am new to the BAND app:
1. Download the app (if you use the link the promotion registration form should popup after registration, link works best on mobile)
2. Register before September 30th (click this link on your smartphone after signing up)
3. Create a group or more on the BAND app (see here how)
4. Create an invite link (see here how)
5. Share the link with your students/parents or staff via text, email, Whatsapp or Remind101
6. Make sure that at least a total of 100 new users sign up between August 1st and October 15th by using one of your invite links.

I am already using the BAND app:
1. Register before September 30th (click this link on your smartphone after signing up)
2. Create an invite link (see here how)
3. Share the link with your students/parents or staff via text, email, Whatsapp or Remind101
4. Make sure that at least a total of 100 new users sign up between August 1st and September 30th by using one of your invite links.

Bonus Reward:
Invite 200 or more new users to qualify for the chance to win the VIP Experiences package.

Do you have questions about how to use the BAND app?
Join our band director community on BAND! or check out the BAND app Learning Center


  • A FREE communication platform for  and any type of group
  • Used by more than 70,000 marching band directors and students every week
  • Email, chat, calendar, cloud storage – all in one app! 
  • Directors tell us they save up to 10 hours per week

This promotion extended and will end on October 15.

This promotion is a BAND program being offered and connected to their sponsorship investment. Music for All will be a significant part of the delivery of the prize, but not the operation of the promotion.

Contest Rules

After more than eleven years of great impact at Music for All, our Chief Financial Officer Nancy Carlson will be stepping down from that role, and Music for All invites you to participate in our search for our next CFO.

When Nancy Carlson joined Music for All as Chief Financial Officer in 2008, the organization was in need of expert financial guidance to recover from recent years’ losses. Along with the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer Eric Martin, Carlson immediately got to work and implemented a fiscally-responsible cost structure for the organization, strengthened internal controls, and made tough decisions in order to reduce expenses. Thanks to these efforts, Music for All recovered, allowing us to continue serving the mission to create, provide, and expand positively life-changing experiences through music for all.

As to the future of the Music for All finance team, while Ms. Carlson has elected to step down from her role as CFO, she will remain with Music for All as Senior Financial Analyst and a source of institutional knowledge for our next CFO. Our Controller, Sarah Loughery, who has made a significant positive impact at Music for All since joining us in 2018, has accepted another position. We congratulate Ms. Loughery and thank her for her service. We now ask for your help in spreading the word and helping identify the next leader of our finance team. This is an exciting time of transition, and our next CFO will have significant influence on the future of Music for All.

Since our merger with Bands of America in 2006, the past decade has been one of growth and maturity for Music for All. We are so much more today than an organization providing positively life-changing experiences to students through events. As we prepare to enter the next stage of the organization’s life, we are working hard to achieve our vision of providing access and opportunity to music-making and addressing issues of equity.

“I am grateful for having had the opportunity to serve through Music for All for many years,” says Eric L. Martin, President and CEO. “As we draw nearer to our half century mark, we are looking for people for not only their skill sets, but also to play a role in serving our mission and vision to provide equity and opportunity for all Americans.”

Music for All exists because of students, teachers, schools, and communities who, with support from our donors and sponsors, choose to participate in our educational programming. This is your organization and you are included every time we use the pronoun our. We have a duty to inform you of major staffing changes, and we ask that you join us in celebrating the 11+ years of dedicated service of Nancy Carlson as our CFO. Frankly, no position at Music for All is easy, but the rewards of servant leadership (and witnessing the successful outcomes achieved thanks to a laser focus on mission and vision) are worth the effort. With every vacancy we are looking for an expert in his or her field who is also fully committed to Music for All’s mission and vision. Perhaps one of our 1.7 million alumni will become our next CFO. Application information and job description for Music for All Chief Financial Officer can be viewed at

We look forward to seeing over 1,700 of you at the Summer Symposium in a few days, and well over 120,000 of you this Fall! Thank you for being part of the Music for All family.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Student Success From Day One

Vandoren Editorial Image JUNOVandoren has been the preferred reed of professionals since 1905. However, during much of this time beginning students have often had to resort to inexpensive, lower quality reeds to save money. With Vandoren’s introduction of JUNO reeds in recent years, beginning students are finally able to enjoy that trademark, unparalleled Vandoren quality from their first note at an affordable student price.

Designed specifically for beginners, Vandoren JUNO reeds are designed with a special cut that provides young players with everything they need to hit the ground running – immediate response, easy articulation, and a warm, round sound right from the start. Instead of fighting against their reeds, JUNO allows kids to do what they want to do most – PLAY!

“My students have been very successful on JUNO reeds!  The ease of playing with these reeds allows students to focus on other concepts that we're building upon in rehearsal, without sacrificing quality of sound.” – Chris DiMassimo, beginning and Middle School Band Director

Vandoren is keenly aware of the musical needs of young musicians, and is extremely proud to offer a variety of products appropriate for each stage of their development. Most students who begin with JUNO will move to professional Vandoren reeds as they develop.

JUNO reeds are available for Eb, Bb and bass clarinet as well as soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones.

Learn more

Wenger Editorial Band Room after 1   Wenger Editorial Band Room after 2

Above: the "after" photos. See the "before" photos at the bottom of the story.

When Wenger Corporation got the call from a producer at The Ellen DeGeneres Show about participating in a music room makeover to help two local drummers at a Baltimore High School, they simply had to say yes.

The Ellen DeGeneres Show introduced Baltimore drummers Timothy Fletcher and Malik Perry, better known as A1 Chops, to the world. The duo began drumming in high school and decided to take their talents to the streets of Baltimore performing songs with complex drum tricks and popular dance moves. Ellen brought them on her show to perform and show how the two have been giving back to their community along the way.

Wenger partnered with their team to supply a roomful of equipment that converted an old, outdated and disorganized music room into a beautiful, orderly, acoustically superior space. Wenger items now installed include acoustic wall treatments, music chairs, music stands, instrument storage cabinets and conductor’s equipment.

Watch the series and the students’ emotional reactions to the stunning new space on ellentube. The music room makeover portion airs during episodes three and four.

Wenger Editorial band room before 2  Wenger Editorial band room before 2

"Before" the music room makeover.

The I-65 Corridor Collaborative

A Program of Music for All


About the I-65 Corridor Collaborative

Music for All has broadened and modified its approach to expanding scholastic music education opportunities, refining and opening new pathways for student and music program participation. This approach is best demonstrated by our 2018 launch of Music for All’s I-65 Corridor Collaborative - a program designed to create and implement sustainable student-teacher driven collaboration and tools intended to increase participation and reduce barriers to scholastic music-making within coreurban school communities along the I-65 corridor (from Gary, Indiana to Mobile, Alabama).

The collaborative envisions, develops, and implements “self-help” strategies supporting music education. The focus is to provide students and teachers with a forum and the collaborative planning resources and skills that encourage and are necessary to help them (acting alone and independent of challenges posed by lack of program support from administrators, policy decision-makers, and the community) address everyday challenges and the systemic inequities and disparities facing urban scholastic music programs. The goal is to create small steps (and appreciation and recognition of them) that move the needle in favor of securing an ultimate outcome of increased program support from administrators, policy decision-makers, and the community. Schools from Gary (Region 1), Muncie (Region 5), and IPS (Region 7), are directly engaged in this program, with Muncie serving as an “I-65 Corridor spur,” capitalizing on and levering our existing Summer Symposium programming in and commitment to ensuring access and delivery of quality scholastic music making and education in Muncie/Delaware County.

Why I-65?

For nearly two decades, Music for All has maintained a commitment to diligent, hands-on engagement with the scholastic music programs of Indianapolis Public Schools. These efforts have sparked research into “peer” communities in hopes of finding new strategies to address barriers and threats to sequential music education, such as frequent administrative or faculty turnover, financial struggle, and state-imposed solutions. In the course of this research, MFA found many parallels in the challenges and concerns faced by communities along the corridor, with most schools facing challenges characteristic of threatened and traditionally underserved schools and populations. Inspired by this observation, the I-65 Corridor collaborative was established with the goal of forging and implementing new strategies that address possibilities for growth and increased achievement within these underserved communities. In the first year of the I-65 Collaborative, Music for All developed ongoing partnerships with 11 schools in eight communities along the I-65 corridor: Gary, IN; Indianapolis, IN; Louisville, KY; Nashville, TN; Huntsville, AL; Birmingham, AL; Montgomery, AL; and Mobile, AL.

Urban Education Advisory Committee

In order to develop and execute the I-65 Corridor Collaborative, Music for All has assembled the Urban Education Advisory Committee, a team of educators and administrators with extensive knowledge of the strategic planning process and experience working with core urban school districts. Committee members William Earvin, Zachary Harris, Tim Linley, Myran Parker-Brass, Dee Dee Pitts, and Ayatey Shabazz oversee all aspects of the collaborative, from the development of relationships with corridor teachers and administrators to the creation of content and curriculum for collaborative participants. Committee members serve as liaisons to participating teachers in each community, providing mentorship and guidance as teachers develop and implement strategic plans to maximize local investment and elevate community recognition of their programs. The Committee is also responsible for executing one specially-designed professional development session or “engagement opportunity” per academic school year in each of the corridor communities.

Urban Music Advisory Commitee

Harris Zachary Feb. 20 smol         Zachary Harris, Chair
Adjunct Professor of Music
William Carey University
Earvin William Feb. 20 web smol         William Earvin
Director of Bands
Baker High School
AyateyShabazz         Ayatey Shabazz
Chief Operating Officer
The DevMusic Company
TimLinley         Tim Linley
Executive Director for Visual and Performing Arts
Dallas ISD
MyranParkerBrass         Myran Parker-Brass
Executive Director for the Arts
Boston Public Schools
DeeDeePitts         Dee Dee Pitts
Assistant Director of Bands
Gulfport H.S., MS

The I-65 Corridor Summit at the Music for All Summer SymposiumEach teacher who participates in the I-65 Corridor Collaborative is invited to attend the I-65 Corridor Summit, which takes place during the Music for All Summer Symposium each June. Music for All provides full-ride scholarships for one teacher and two students from each community to attend this experience. During the I-65 Corridor Summit, participants have the opportunity to network with each other and share their experiences, gaining valuable insight from the successes and challenges of their peers. Participating teachers have access to the full offerings of the Summer Symposium Directors’ Academy, as well as a specialized curriculum for music teachers in core urban environments, which is curated by our Urban Education Advisory Committee.Student attendees of the I-65 Corridor Summit elect one of ten divisions of study that serves as their primary focus for the week. In addition to rehearsals, master classes, leadership sessions, and performances, I-65 Corridor students also participate in collaborative discussions with their teachers, during which they develop a strategic plan to support the growth and sustainability of their music program during the following academic year. The curriculum for the I-65 Corridor Summit is guided by the belief that collaboration between students and teachers is the best method for creating and developing a comprehensive music program that can sustain itself through the support and investment of its most important groups of constituents.

What Comes Next?In 2019, Music for All’s commitment to the I-65 Corridor Collaborative is expanding to include a second school in each of the original eight communities, as well as three new “spur” communities located in districts adjacent to the I-65 Corridor. By expanding this network of similarly-resourced schools, Music for All hopes to continue to inspire productive and engaging communication between participants that will lead to mutual support, actionable strategies, and an extensive anthology of resources for demographically similar communities. Through the I-65 Corridor Collaborative, Music for All aims to identify strategies for the advancement of music education that can be adapted and replicated by programs in core urban school districts across the United States.

Jason Max Ferdinand, Conductor of the Oakwood Aeolians has been named Associate Artistic Director of the Music for All National Choir Festival. “I am filled with joy that Jason has accepted this position,” stated Henry Leck, Founding Artistic Director of Music for All Choral Activities. “Jason has a magnificent sense of artistry. His affirming and inspiring heart is truly aligned with the Music for All philosophy of positively life-changing experiences through music.”

Ferdinand, known for his focus to “Execute the all-important crescendo…the crescendo of the human heart,” serves as Chair of the Music Department and Director of Choral Activities at Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama. A native of Trinidad & Tobago, Ferdinand received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Oakwood University in Piano, the Master of Arts in Choral Conducting from Morgan State University and the Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting with a minor in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Maryland.

Under the baton of Dr. Ferdinand, the Oakwood Aeolians have won numerous gold medals at the World Choir Games in the United States and South Africa; were named “Choir of the World” at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in Wales, and were the featured choir in Russia as part of the Russia-US Bilateral Presidential Commission on development of cooperation between Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama. During the recent American Choral Directors Conference, the Oakwood Aeolians became a popular featured choir by presenting a program of international music ranging from Bach to Ken Burton’s “Promised Land.”

The Music for All National Choir Festival is for advanced High School and Middle School Choirs who audition for invitation. Held annually in Indianapolis Indiana, the Festival is part of the bigger Music for All National Festival that includes Concert Band, Orchestra, Percussion Ensemble and Chamber Ensembles.

marlasmithMusic for All is mourning the loss of Marla D. Smith, a member of our Board of Directors, who passed away February 19, 2019. Born in Ft. Wayne, Indiana on January 3, 1946, Marla brought to Music for All not only her expertise as an Executive Assistant and Office Manager, but her lifetime of passion as a featured and state champion twirler and a Westfield High School Marching Band (IN) Band Parent.

Marla will be greatly missed. She is survived by her husband, Tony Smith, daughter, Dede (Felice) Panarisi, grandson, Robert Panarisi, granddaughter, Megan Panarisi, other relatives and many friends.

Celebration of Life Services and Obituary.