The Music for All Blog
The Music for All Blog
Erin Fortune
Erin Fortune is the Director of Sponsorships at Music for All and has been working with Music for All since 2010, first in the Participant Relations department, followed by the marketing department as Marketing Manager, and is now in advancement. She is a graduate of the Music Industry Management program at Ferris State University in Michigan and is a former Percussive Arts Society Intern and a Yamaha Corporation of America, Band and Orchestral Division Intern.
Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Always Remember

We're giving our enewsletter readers an advance chance to read this article from our upcoming Music for All Newsletter, "Always Remember," by Richard Floyd.


ALWAYS REMEMBER why you chose this wonderful profession in the first place. It is very likely that you were seduced into this magic world of music and music making because of the way it made you feel.

You are not in this profession because you finally learned to play the chromatic scale at MM=144. You didn’t choose music as your career path because you finally played a “high C” on your trumpet or mastered a challenging passage. You chose music because of an emotional connection. It was that defining moment or series of moments when music touched your soul and you came to the realization that you couldn’t live without it and you were consumed with the dream of sharing it with others.

Never loose sight of that reality. It will be easy to become obsessed with personal achievement, extrinsic goals, a boundless litany of suggested strategies, endless competitions and seductive peripheral activities that disguise themselves as been central to the true purpose of music education. Do not be seduced by these illusions and false values. If you remain ever mindful of those magic moments that ignited the fire for making and teaching music and you strive to create those kinds of experiences in your students then your professional life will be happy, fruitful and long.

ALWAYS REMEMBER to seek opportunities to play your instrument and personally make music. That is a major component of what brought you to this juncture in your life. It is essential that you remember what it is like to be on “both sides of the stick.”

ALWAYS REMEMBER that it is the art of making music that gives it true value. In truth, recreating the notes on a printed page of music is no more or less rewarding than solving an algebra equation. No music has been created. But when those notes and rhythms are infused with your human spirit and your passion for creating and sharing beauty the outcome has the potential to be priceless.

ALWAYS REMEMBER to maintain a musical fortress of great music that offers you inspiration, comfort and revival. There will be countless times when you will need to be reminded of the intrinsic place of music in your life and the lives of others. Your musical fortress must reflect the greatest music that mankind has to offer. Be it Mozart or Mahler or composers on the cutting edge of compositional thought make it the best of what is out there. And, it must be a compendium of great music that constantly grows and evolves.

ALWAYS REMEMBER that you will always be a student. Explore new frontiers, embrace fresh ideas and seek opportunities to collaborate with master teachers. Be on the look out for occasions to observe and be engaged with the finest teachers and conductors within you sphere. The great golf teacher Harvey Penick said it best, “If you want to be a better golfer don’t have lunch with lousy players.”

ALWAYS REMEMBER that it is perfectly OK to be pleased with your successes. To be pleased is perfectly normal and healthy. But, never, ever be satisfied. If you are satisfied you become comfortable and if you are comfortable you become complacent and if you are complacent you will cease to challenge yourself and cease to grow.

ALWAYS REMEMBER as the Chinese proverb reminds us, “It is good to have a goal to journey towards but it is the journey that matters in the end.”

And above all, ALWAYS REMEMBER …life is a “do it yourself” project.


Richard Floyd
State Director of Music Emeritus
University of Texas at Austin
Music Director – Austin Symphonic Band

Choir Header

Music for All will add programs for choir in 2018 with the premiere of the Music for All National Choir Festival, at the 2018 Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha, in Indianapolis. The Music for All National Choir Festival will be an integral part of Music for All’s ongoing mission to create, provide, and expand positively life-changing experiences through music for all. Henry Leck, Founder and Artistic Director of the famed Indianapolis Children’s Choir, has joined as Artistic Director of the Music for All National Choir Festival. Lori Lobsiger and Kim Mann, leaders in choral event programming and past producers of the World Choir Games, have joined Music for All as program consultants for the new MFA National Choir Festival.

“It’s extremely exhilarating to be involved in this new choral initiative and with an organization of such high caliber,” said Henry Leck, Artistic Director. “I look forward to bringing many talented choirs from all over the nation to the festival to further music education and help students experience the magic that Music for All offers with all of its programs.”

The new National Choir Festival is a non-competitive experience for outstanding high school and youth choirs, of both treble and mixed voices, to celebrate musical excellence and provide opportunities for growth and learning. The Festival offers an opportunity for each ensemble to receive recorded and written evaluation of its performance from a knowledgeable audience of music educators and fellow choir members. The festival also incorporates master classes led by world-renowned musicians and top applied faculty, as well as social events that give students the chance to network with colleagues, guest artists and icons of music education. At the end of the festival, students, directors, parents, staff and evaluators will attend a Gala Awards Banquet where all ensembles are recognized for their participation.

“Music for All is excited to take this next logical step in support of and advocacy for scholastic music education,” said Eric L. Martin, President and CEO of Music for All. “For 40 years we have created and provided programs supporting, elevating and advocating for the availability and excellence of instrumental music instruction in our schools and nation. Expanding our commitment to choral music fulfills requests of MFA alumni and music educators from across the nation, as well as Music for All’s vision to ensure that every child across America has access to the benefits of quality scholastic music education offerings.”

The 2018 MFA National Choir Festival will be held March 15-17. This year, 2016, marks the 25th anniversary of the Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha, which currently includes concert bands, orchestras, percussion ensembles, chamber ensembles, and three national honor ensembles – the Honor Band of America, Honor Orchestra of America, and Jazz Band of America. A full schedule of Festival ensemble concerts, times, and locations for the upcoming 2016 Festival to be held in Indianapolis, March 10-12, will be available at


Download the Music for All National Choir Festival Brochure.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

2015 Grand National Finals Review

By Michael Boo
(With assistance from bloggers Michael Reed, Megan Bonfield, and Christopher Drake.)

November 14, 2015
Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN

The Bands of America Grand National Championships Finals festivities, held inside the magnificent Lucas Oil Stadium, put a grand exclamation mark on 40 great years of spectacular events by the foremost organization of its type. Yamaha once again presented the four days of events in Indianapolis, reminding all that their mission is the same as that of Music for All.

With all the celebrating and looking back on the first 40 years, it’s important to remember there’s still much to come. The Music for All National Festival will be in Indianapolis March 9-12, 2016, followed by the Music for All Summer Symposium at Ball State University June 27-July 2, following up on the Leadership Weekend Experience June 25-27, also in Muncie. And after the 2016 Bands of America Grand National Championships November 9-12, the BOA Honor Band will march in the Tournament of Roses Parade on January 2, 2017.

In the Indianapolis Marching Band Tournament, held on Wednesday night, November 11, Arsenal Technical HS captured 1st place in the Corps Style division, and also won the caption awards for General Effect, Visual, and Music. Emmerich Manual HS took 2nd place. Broad Ripple HS took 1st place in the Show Style division, taking General Effect and Music Honors. Crispus Attucks HS captured 2nd place, Visual Honors, and a $1,000 check for being named winner of the Spirit Award.

Of special interest from Prelims is the Grand National Championships witnessed the first bands ever to compete from the distant states of Hawaii and Alaska.

After 95 bands competed in Prelims on Thursday and Friday, the following 34 bands (listed in performance order) advanced into Semi-Finals: Beechwood HS (KY), Bellbrook HS, (OH), Father Ryan HS (TN), Saint James School, (AL), Kiski Area HS (PA), Larry A. Ryle HS (KY), Jenison HS (MI), Miamisburg HS (OH), Franklin HS (TN), Ben Davis HS (IN), Lawrence Township (IN), Harrison HS (GA), Homestead HS (CA), Dobyns-Bennett HS (TN), Homestead HS (IN), Blue Springs HS (MO), Keller HS (TX), The Woodlands HS (TX), Center Grove HS (IN), Keller Central HS (TX), Broken Arrow HS (OK), Centerville HS (OH), William Mason HS (OH), Lake Central HS (IN), Avon HS (IN), Carmel HS (IN), Round Rock HS (TX), Marian Catholic HS (IL), Hebron HS (TX), Bentonville HS (AR), Adair County HS (KY), Milford HS (OH), Goshen HS (IN), and Green Hope HS (NC).

After the performances of all Semi-Finals bands and the exhibition of the Western Carolina University Pride of the Mountains Marching Band, caption highest achievement awards and caption placement awards were presented to the top bands in each of the four competitive Semi-Finals classes.

In Class AAAA, 1st place Hebron HS (TX) took the Outstanding Music Performance and Outstanding General Effect awards, and 2nd place Broken Arrow HS (OK) captured Outstanding Visual Performance. Avon HS (IN) took 3rd place. In Class AAA, 1st place Harrison HS (GA) won all caption awards, followed by 2nd place Franklin HS (TN) and 3rd place Dobyns-Bennett HS (TN). In Class AA, 1st place Marian Catholic HS (IL) won all caption awards, followed by 2nd place Kiski Area HS (PA) and 3rd place Miamisburg HS (OH). In Class A, 1st place Adair County HS (KY) won all caption awards, followed by 2nd place Beechwood HS (KY) and 3rd place St. James School (AL).

The Finalist bands were randomly announced as being The Woodlands HS (TX), Avon HS (IN), Hebron HS (TX), Broken Arrow HS (OK), Marian Catholic HS (IL), Round Rock HS (TX), Carmel HS (IN), Harrison HS (GA), Keller HS (TX), William Mason HS (OH), Homestead HS (IN), and Blue Springs HS (MO). Representatives from each band drew for their performing position in Finals. In addition, Finals performances concluded with an exhibition performance by Class A Champion Adair County HS, as Class Champions present an exhibition in Finals if they aren’t in the top-12.

After the performance of all finalist bands, Music for All presented its first Advocacy in Action Award to the Country Music Association’s Music Makes Us campaign, which has pledged $10,000,000 to school music programs. Then it was time to bring out the finalist bands and announce the placements and special awards. Once all the finalist bands were on the field and received their individual accolades, a video montage of all the bands from that participated in Grand Nationals was presented, leading into the presentation of the Semifinals Class Champion awards to the Class Champions and the finalist special awards.

The Al Castronovo Espirit de Corps Award was presented to the Colony HS (AK). Hebron HS won the Grand Finals Outstanding Music Performance Award and The Steve Brubaker Outstanding Visual Performance Award was a tie between Avon HS and Broken Arrow HS. Broken Arrow HS won the Outstanding General Effect Award.

Broken Arrow HS, 1st place, 97.50
“Wild Blue Orchid” featured the searing and soaring music of Dmitri Shostakovich, the opening blue sea of flags swallowing the field and leading one to wonder how the winds were going to swim to shore. Among intriguing visuals were horse heads on the guard, a reference to The White Stripes’ video, “Blue Orchid,” which featured a horse with raised hooves…the show and orchids both relying upon cross pollination.

Avon HS, 2nd place: 97.00
With several counterbalanced pumpjacks and oil derricks dotting the arid landscape, “Black Gold” told the story of the discovery, removal, and exploitation of oil in the developing days in the American Southwest. A huge oil-coated tarp covered much of the band as a well experienced a blowout, accompanied by the shale flags of the oil slick-costumed guard turning gold to represent the riches that were to follow.

Hebron HS, 3rd place: 96.25
In “360,” we learned that what goes around, turns and spins around…and around, and around…in ways that would make the average person dizzy. Who knew there were that many variations on curves and circles? From the mesmerizing oboe solo to the hotter-than-the-sun tenor saxophone feature, this show caught us in a circle of wonder, which unlike circles; had an end that unfortunately came about three hours too soon.

William Mason HS, 4th place: 95.35
With enough scaffolding to supply four blocks of New York City tenement fire escapes, “Somewhere” told the timeless story of doomed lovers Tony and Maria with mostly unexpected non-“West Side Story” music. Multiple Tonys and Marias tried to live their life apart from the violence and hatred surrounding them, as the outside world brutally intruded upon their dreams, ripping them (and our own emotions) apart.

Carmel HS, 5th place: 94.40
“9 Lives” was a veritable homage to our feline friends, with tall scratching posts across the field and a large ball of string tempting the curious tabbies, guard members whose hair was made up to look like cat ears. A glistening jewel was far too much a temptation to the cat burglars who clawed through the laser beams to prevent the jewel from falling into any other’s paws. A purr-fect way to enjoy 11 minutes.

The Woodlands HS, 6th place: 93.70
“TimeBenders” explored opposing elements that make up time, these two disparate elements often split from side-to-side. The representation of “mechanical time” was both musically and drill-wise rather jagged and relentlessly machine-like, and the simultaneous “body time” was curvier and far less structured. The band started and stopped at the command of the announcer, who obviously had time on his side.

Round Rock HS, 7th place: 93.00
“This is My Letter to the World” featured Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring” and the peacefully pastel vision of a 19th Century spring on the rural open prairie. Enthusiastically embracing the challenges of what could be a rugged and unforgiving life, the hard work of pioneering settlers was rewarded with the gift of a simple peace, making daily life a continuous journey offering up unending opportunities.

Marian Catholic HS, 8th place: 90.90
When Marian Catholic first made Finals for the first of 32 consecutive years, the concept of string theory was still in its infancy. Only slightly less complex than the world of quantum mechanics, “String Theory” delved into a magical world of marionettes who were first controlled by outside forces, then used their control bars to turn the tables, stringing their aggressors along in a grand act of turnabout.

Harrison HS, 9th place: 90.25
“Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary” was inspired by the story of Mary, Queen of Scots. Music and visuals were regal and demur at times, impetuous and treacherous elsewhere, (with the conflicting emotions sometimes expressed simultaneously). The show provided a Cliff Notes encapsulation of Mary’s life and aspirations; perfect for those who didn’t know how things panned out for her because they never read the book.

Blue Springs HS, 10th place: 89.10
Large digital screens amongst the pit percussion kept trying to manipulate the thoughts of the audience in “Subliminal,” with 40 television test pattern sets across the field reminding all why the great electronic babysitter is to be mistrusted as much as it is to be enjoyed. We know we should adhere to the instruction, “DO NOT LOOK AT THE TELEVISION SET,” but hey…nothing else is on and it’s too nice to go outside.

Keller HS, 11th place: 88.70
A famed Dylan Thomas poem provided the catalyst for the emotional angst that powered “do not go gentle…” Barren, snow-covered tree sets added a sense of foreboding chill. Like the poem on which it was based, the show didn’t plunge into despair, but embraced the affirmation that life is to be embraced and lived to its fullest, sensed in the victorious fanfare-like nature of the music that grew out of the darkness.

Homestead HS, 12th place: 88.25
In “Poiesis – An Act of Creation,” the art of the creative process was brought to the fore as the guard continually adjusting Tinker Toy-like poles to create whimsical assemblages that would have been right at home at a modern art gallery opening. Often, imperceptible drill forms snapped into position as some unseen artist finally experienced a Eureka moment, then sat back to admire their creative masterpiece.

For many years, Michael Boo has covered a large variety of pageantry events. He is the Staff Writer for Drum Corps International and has written for BOA and WGI for much of the existence of the two organizations. Michael Reed writes and blogs for WGI Indoor Marching Percussion and Color Guard events. Megan Bonfield and Christopher Drake are both Staff Writers for

See the list of all Grand National Finals results, as well as all 2015 BOA Championship awards results.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015



December 1, 2015 is #GivingTuesday…a global movement that celebrates and supports giving and philanthropy.

Observed on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday connects individuals, communities, and organizations around the world for one common purpose: to celebrate and encourage giving.

As you plan YOUR charitable year-end giving, please consider including Music for All!

Your gift will strengthen our ability to deliver our nationally recognized programs that support the efforts of music teachers on the high school and middle school levels, as well as provide positively life-changing experiences for students.

On #GivingTuesday please help us ensure that every child across America has access and opportunity to participate in active music making in his or her scholastic environment by making a gift to Music for All!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

GivingTuesday Donation Form

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While there are a multitude of fantastic organizations to donate to on #GivingTuesday, we ask that you consider donating to Music for All in order to help us finish the year strong. Your donation will positively impact our advocacy efforts, rural and urban school initiatives, and scholarship offerings. Through these programs, Music for All works to provide all students across America with access to participate in music, no matter their socioeconomic status.

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Check out the 2015 Grand National Championships Finals Live Blog hosted by our friends at Create your own FREE account at and join in on the conversation!



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Check out the 2015 Grand National Championships Semi Finals Live Blog hosted by our friends at Create your own FREE account at and join in on the conversation!



Finals Results

97.50 - Broken Arrow H.S., OK
97.00 - Avon H.S., IN
96.25 - Hebron H.S., TX
95.35 - William Mason H.S., OH
94.40 - Carmel H.S., IN
93.70 - The Woodlands H.S., TX
93.00 - Round Rock H.S., TX
90.90 - Marian Catholic H.S., IL
90.25 - Harrison H.S., GA
89.10 - Blue Springs H.S., MO
88.70 - Keller H.S., TX
88.25 - Homestead H.S., IN

Outstanding Music Performance - Hebron H.S., TX
Outstanding Visual Performance - Avon H.S., IN and Broken Arrow H.S., OK (TIE)
Outstanding General Effect -  Broken Arrow H.S., OK 

Finals Schedule

8:00 PM - Hebron H.S., TX
8:15 PM - Homestead H.S., IN
8:30 PM - Round Rock H.S., TX
8:45 PM - Marian Catholic H.S., IL
9:00 PM - Harrison H.S., GA
9:15 PM - William Mason H.S., OH
9:30 PM - Blue Springs H.S., MO
9:45 PM - Carmel H.S., IN
10:00 PM - Avon H.S., IN
10:15 PM - Keller H.S., TX
10:30 PM - The Woodlands H.S., TX
10:45 PM - Broken Arrow H.S., OK
11:00 PM - Class A: Adair County H.S., KY

Semi-Finals Results

Class A
1st - Adair County H.S., KY
2nd - Beechwood H.S., KY
3rd - Saint James School, AL

Outstanding Music Performance - Adair County H.S., KY
Outstanding Visual Performance - Adair County H.S., KY
Outstanding General Effect - Adair County H.S., KY

Class AA
1st - Marian Catholic H.S., IL
2nd - Kiski Area H.S., PA
3rd - Miamisburg H.S., OH

Outstanding Music Performance - Marian Catholic H.S., IL
Outstanding Visual Performance - Marian Catholic H.S., IL
Outstanding General Effect - Marian Catholic H.S., IL

Class AAA
1st - Harrison H.S., GA
2nd - Franklin H.S., TN
3rd - Dobyns-Bennett H.S., TN

Outstanding Music Performance - Harrison H.S., GA
Outstanding Visual Performance - Harrison H.S., GA
Outstanding General Effect - Harrison H.S., GA

Class AAAA
1st - Hebron H.S., TX
2nd - Broken Arrow H.S., OK
3rd - Avon H.S., IN

Outstanding Music Performance - Hebron H.S., TX
Outstanding Visual Performance - Broken Arrow H.S., OK
Outstanding General Effect - Hebron H.S., TX

2015 Semi Finals Schedule

7:00 AM –  Beechwood H.S., KY
7:15 AM –  Bellbrook H.S., OH
7:30 AM –  Father Ryan H.S., TN
7:45 AM –  Saint James School, AL
8:00 AM –  Kiski Area H.S., PA
8:15 AM –  Larry A. Ryle H.S., KY
8:30 AM –  Jenison H.S., MI
8:45 AM –  Miamisburg H.S., OH
9:00 AM –  Franklin H.S., TN
9:15 AM –  Ben Davis H.S., IN
9:30 AM –  Lawrence Township, IN
9:45 AM –  Harrison H.S., GA
10:00 AM –  Homestead H.S., CA
10:15 AM –  Dobyns-Bennett H.S., TN


11:15 AM –  Homestead H.S., IN
11:30 AM –  Blue Springs H.S., MO
11:45 AM –  Keller H.S., TX
12:00 PM –  The Woodlands H.S., TX
12:15 PM –  Center Grove H.S., IN
12:30 PM –  Keller Central H.S., TX
12:45 PM –  Broken Arrow H.S., OK
1:00 PM –  Centerville H.S., OH
1:15 PM –  William Mason H.S., OH
1:30 PM –  Lake Central H.S., IN


2:15 PM –  Avon H.S., IN
2:30 PM –  Carmel H.S., IN
2:45 PM –  Round Rock H.S., TX
3:00 PM –  Marian Catholic H.S., IL
3:15 PM –  Hebron H.S., TX
3:30 PM –  Bentonville H.S., AR
3:45 PM –  Adair County H.S., KY
4:00 PM –  Milford H.S., OH
4:15 PM –  Goshen H.S., IN
4:30 PM –  Green Hope H.S., NC
4:45 PM –  Exhibition: Western Carolina University