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.

Join us at the 2018 Bands of America Championships

From the first step on the field with the BOA event environment for performers and spectators to the excitement of the awards ceremonies, Bands of America Championships create an aura of excellence that fosters healthy competition and student and professional development, all in an atmosphere of celebration for the entire band program.

We provide the finest venues, quality evaluation, and opportunities to observe other bands, all in a positive, affirming, and celebratory atmosphere. Participating bands receive commentary from the most skilled judges and educators in the nation. For the band director, Bands of America Championships are an opportunity to demonstrate excellence, and to evaluate the achievement of your students, as well as the progress of your program on a national level.

Bands of America fall programs are just one of the many ways Music for All works year-round to support and advance music education for everyone. Whether our programming for marching band, concert band, orchestra, or choir; our professional, leadership, and musical development for directors and students; or our national leadership role in promoting and defending music and arts education through advocacy efforts – Music for All is here for you.

Event Overview

Regional Championships

Bands of America Regional Championships are complete championships and educational events in their own right, not qualifying events for the Grand National Championships. Up to 34 bands perform in preliminary competition with 10 bands advancing to the evening Finals. Events that do not have 18 bands enrolled by May 15 are subject to cancellation by BOA. Some Fall Regional Championships will have a parking fee of up to $30 per bus/truck. Amounts will be communicated in your Acknowledgement Mailing. With your enrollment in a BOA Regional Championship, your participation includes:

Early Season Regional: $700 per band 

  • 25 Field Passes* for Preliminaries, with an option to purchase more
  • 15 Day Passes* (Day Pass includes one general admission Prelims and Finals ticket.) (Minimum face value $345)
  • 6 Director / Staff Badges good for admission to Prelims and Finals, with an option to purchase more
  • Each student from a non-finalist band will receive a complimentary Finals ticket
  • All bands will receive an educational videographer pass at band check-in
  • Face value of tickets and passes: at least $858

Regular Season Regional: $875 per band

  • 25 Field Passes* for Preliminaries, with an option to purchase more
  • 20 Day Passes* Day Pass includes one general admission Prelims and Finals ticket. (Minimum face value $460)
  • 6 Director / Staff Badges good for admission to Prelims and Finals, with an option to purchase more
  • Each student from a non-finalist band will receive a complimentary Finals ticket
  • All bands will receive an educational videographer pass at band check-in
  • *Face Value of tickets and passes: at least $973

Super Regional Championships: $875 per band

Bands of America Super Regionals offer enhanced two-day regional events at world-class venues, second only to the Grand Nationals experience. 

NEW IN 2018! Expanded Prelim and Judging Format Change for Super Regionals

Bands of America Super Regionals offer enhanced two-day regional events at world-class venues, second only to the Grand Nationals experience. For the last several years, Music for All has experienced an increased demand for participation in our Super Regional Championships, particularly the San Antonio Super Regional. We have a responsibility to provide access for as many bands as possible to our Bands of America Championships.

In order to provide the opportunity for more bands to participate, an updated format for 2018 will allow for an increased maximum of 80 bands at the Super Regionals, utilizing two judging panels for preliminary competition. Prelims will take place over two days, with a maximum of 50 bands on Friday, 30 bands on Saturday, and Finals Saturday evening.

The judging responsibilities for Super Regionals will be divided into A and B panels, alternating between blocks. (See BOA Official Procedures and Adjudication Handbook for specifics. The 2018 Handbook will be released by May 2018.) If there are 45 or more bands enrolled at a Super Regional, 14 bands regardless of classification will advance to finals. If there are less than 45 bands, 12 bands regardless of classification will advance to finals.

All Super Regional events will have a parking fee of up to $30 per bus/truck. With your enrollment in a BOA Super Regional Championship, your participation includes: 

  • 25 Field Passes* for Preliminaries, with an option to purchase more
  • 20 Combo Tickets* (Combo ticket includes general admission to each session – Friday Prelims, Saturday Prelims and Saturday Finals.)
  • All bands will receive an educational videographer pass at band check-in
  • 6 Director / Staff Badges* good for admission to Prelims and Finals, with an option to purchase more
  • *Face value of tickets and passes: at least $2,198

Grand National Championships: $975 per band

NEW IN 2018! Judging Format Change for Grand Nationals

The Grand National Championships is a three-day, Preliminary, Semi-Finals, Finals event. Fifty bands perform in each of the two separate Prelims contests (Thursday and Friday), balanced with like numbers of bands from each class. For fall 2018, judging responsibilities will be divided into A and B panels, alternating between blocks, per day. A minimum of 30 bands then advance to Semi-Finals with a formula that ensures inclusion of representatives of each of the four classes and the top scoring bands from the two separate Prelims contests and the overall event. (See BOA Official Procedures and Adjudication Handbook for specifics. The 2018 Handbook will be released by May 2018.) The top 12 scoring bands from Semi-Finals, regardless of class, advance to Saturday evening’s Finals.

  • 25 Field Passes* for Preliminaries, with an option to purchase more (on the day your band performs)
  • 20 Semi-Finals Tickets*
  • 6 Director / Staff Badges* good for admission to Prelims, Semi-Finals, and Finals, with an option to purchase more
  • All bands will receive an educational videographer pass at band check-in
  • *Face value of tickets and passes: at least $1,839

Eligibility and How to Apply

All high school bands are eligible to enroll in BOA Regional or Super Regional, and Grand National marching band championships. Bands do not have to enroll in a Regional Championship to enroll in Grand Nationals. All events are open on a first-come, first-served basis. Bands may choose competitive or input only participation. Applications must be signed by both the director and the school principal or superintendent, and must be accompanied by the Participation Cooperative Fee to be considered a complete registration. 

Registration Requirements

Registration is complete once an application form has been submitted, a consent form signed and submitted by the band director and school principal, and the Participation Cooperative (enrollment) Fee has been paid.

How to Apply

You can complete your application online, with the option to pay online with a credit card, or offline with a check. Regardless of payment method, payment MUST be postmarked by the January 31 deadline for your application to be considered complete and eligible for the initial random draw. Online applications will still require a consent form. Your administrator indicated in your online application will receive an online consent form by email immediately upon submission of your online application.

A complete registration consists of an application, a consent form, and payment. A Purchase Order UNFULFILLED or NOT PAID by January 31 will NOT be considered a registration complete by the postmark deadline of January 31, therefore not eligible for the random draw.  Payment – either deposit option OR full amount – must be postmarked or submitted, online or by mail, with a completed application including administrator signature, by January 31 for a band to be considered for the initial draw for performance times.

Paper applications must include the signed consent form on page 1 of the paper application and payment (credit card or check only) to be considered complete. No purchase orders will be accepted as a method of payment to complete registrations.


Complete registrations received on or before the designated postmark date of January 31 are eligible for the initial random draw. After January 31, performance times, if available, will be based on the postmark of application, with the earlier postmark receiving the later performance time. A complete registration consists of an application, a signed consent form, and payment. 

Regional Championships

Any 2017 Regional Champion (with complete registration submitted on or before January 31) is given its choice of prelim performance time at the event they won the previous year.

Super Regionals Championships

The structure/procedure (in order of consideration) for Day of Performance is as follows:

  • Any 2017 Bands of America (BOA) Regional Champion, the 2017 Grand National Champion or the 2017 Grand National Class Champion enrolled in the event may choose its day of performance (Friday or Saturday). 
  • Bands that request a Friday performance draw slot on their enrollment application will be assigned to perform on Friday. 
  • The 30 bands that are the farthest distance from the performance venue will be given priority for a Saturday Prelim performance time. After Saturday slots have been filled, the remaining participating bands (those geographically closest to the performance venue), will have a Prelim performance time on Friday. 
  • Distance is determined by using mileage information from school street address to stadium street address obtained from Google Maps.
  • In the event that performance spots remain in the show, bands that apply after the postmarked date of Jan. 31 will be placed in the earliest prelim times on Friday.

Grand National Championships

All Bands 325 Miles or Further from Indianapolis

There will be two preliminary events–Thursday Prelims and Friday Prelims–with up to 50 bands each. Bands of America recognizes that the travel distance for some bands will necessitate missing one to two days of school just for travel time. In order to retain the integrity of Grand Nationals as a national championship and enable bands from across the nation to participate, BOA will allow bands traveling from schools located more than 325 miles (one way) from Indianapolis to choose to either be part of the regular performance time draw OR choose to participate in a special draw for the first block of times in the Prelims 2 contest. Bands from schools more than 325 miles (one way) from Indianapolis must select their preference on the application form.

Thursday Prelims Volunteer Opportunity

It is feasible for groups within an approximate 200 mile radius of Indianapolis to perform on Thursday, return home for a full day of school on Friday, then return to Indianapolis. Bands that volunteer will be assured performance times prior to 8:30 p.m. Bands can select this option on the application form.

Point System

If more applications are received by the designated postmark date than spots in a show, a Bands of America point system is used to determine which bands are eligible for the initial draw. Points are allotted based on band participation in BOA events over the previous four years. The 2018 BOA Point System will incorporate a band’s participation from the 2014 through 2017 fall marching band seasons. Bands can earn a maximum of 12 points, with a maximum of three points earned per year. For each year, 1 point is awarded for total Regional and Super Regional participation, and 2 points awarded for Grand Nationals participation. The point system does not affect performance times in any other way.

Important Event Information

Band Classification

Per our commitment to re-evaluate the classification system, classification numbers are re-evaluated every three years and have been updated for 2018. Bands are classified by school enrollment, grades 10-12 only. Under our four-class system, Class A is up to 600 students, Class AA is 601-1250, Class AAA is 1251-1750, and Class AAAA is 1751 and above. For purposes of determining enrollment, your principal must certify enrollment and consider all those students in the grades 10-12 population as reported on fall State and/or FTE funding reports.

Copyright Documentation

Music for All takes care to comply with copyright laws and requires compliance by those who participate in our events. Music for All insists that its participants demonstrate that they have complied with the law by providing evidence of written permission from copyright owners to perform custom musical arrangements. By doing so, we can also meet our own obligations to acquire live performance, mechanical, and synchronization rights. Musical arrangements may not be duplicated or recorded in any form by the user, without permission from the copyright owner.

Event Date Changes and Refund Policy

Because Bands of America uses a large number of collegiate facilities, certain dates on this schedule cannot be finalized until affected conferences issue final fall football and television schedules. Any schedule changes will be communicated to all participating bands. “Postmark” dates and Participation Cooperative Fees will be “protected” should a site or date change require you to transfer to another BOA Regional date/site, or withdraw. Participation Cooperative Fees are not otherwise refundable or transferable from one event to another. We reserve the right to cancel a Regional if 18 bands are not registered by May 15, 2018.

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Music for All is proud to be a part of this global celebration of giving. 
Join us in supporting The Sophie Rinehart Fund on #GivingTuesday 2017!


Created by New York’s 92nd Street Y and United Nations Foundation in 2012, #GivingTuesday is a global holiday that celebrates generosity and kindness by giving to nonprofit organizations all around the world. While Black Friday and Cyber Monday start off the buying season, #GivingTuesday starts off the giving season. 

Please consider joining Music for All this year on #GivingTuesday, November 28, with a donation to The Sophie Rinehart Fund.


The Sophie Rinehart Fund (“The Sophie Fund”) was established in memory of Sophie Grace Rinehart (1999-2016). The Sophie Fund is an endowed fund of the Music for All Foundation, administered by the Castle High School Music Department of Newburgh, Indiana, and awards funds to further and promote music education for students in Warrick County and Southern Indiana.

The Sophie Rinehart Fund celebrates Sophie’s passion for music and the gift of her talent and kindness to the world. We hope this fund will provide new opportunities for generations of students to come. This permanently endowed fund will provide “forever dollars,” helping to continue Sophie’s passion for music and expanding possibilities for students.

Thank you for considering a contribution this #GivingTuesday as we promote opportunities that were so close to the vision and dreams of the Rinehart family in regards to music and its positive impact on the life of individuals and our nation. 

FlowerMound RoseParadePictured: Flower Mound H.S., TX Drum Majors, and Color Guard captains with Tournament of Roses Representatives: Jim Hahn, Music Advisor and Missy Baiunco-Augustyn, Music Chair.

Music for All was honored to have guests from the Tournament of Roses® with us at the 2017 Grand National Championships, presented by Yamaha.

Through our unique partnership, each fall a Bands of America Grand National Semi-Finalist band is selected to receive an invitation to perform in an upcoming Rose Parade.

Congratulations to Flower Mound H.S., TX who was selected during the 2017 Grand National Championships! We’ll be cheering you on in the 2019 Rose Parade!


Grand National Invited Bands in the Rose Parade

2016 Grand Nationals, an invitation for
2018 Rose Parade
Ronald Reagan H.S., TX

2015 Grand Nationals, an invitation for
2017 Rose Parade
Broken Arrow H.S., OK

2014 Grand Nationals, an invitation for 
2016 Rose Parade
William Mason H.S., OH

2013 Grand Nationals, an invitation for
2015 Rose Parade
Round Rock H.S., TX

2012 Grand Nationals, an invitation for
2014 Rose Parade
Carmel H.S., IN

2011 Grand Nationals, an invitation for
2013 Rose Parade
Broken Arrow H.S., OK

2010 Grand Nationals, an invitation for 
2012 Rose Parade
Avon H.S., IN



The Music for All Foundation awards several scholarships annually. During the Grand National Championships, Finals Opening Ceremonies several students were presented with college tuition scholarship awards. These scholarships were established to contribute to the future of music and music education by honoring the achievements of outstanding graduating seniors who intend to pursue collegiate study as a music major.

Congratulations to Claire Wilcox, O'Fallon Township High School in O'Fallon, Illinois who was awarded the $1,000 Yamaha Scholarship. The scholarship was presented by John Wittmann, Director of Artist Relations and Education at Yamaha Corporation of America Band and Orchestra Division. 

YamahaScholarship ClaireWilcox

Congratulations to Alexis Kilgore, Ooltewah High School in Ooltewah, Tennessee who was awarded the $1,000 Fred J. Miller Family Scholarship. The scholarship was presented by Marlene Miller, President and CEO of Fred J. Miller, Incorporated

FJM Family Scholarship Alexis Kilgore

Congratulations to Matthew Waggoner, Castle High School in Newburgh, Indiana who was awarded the $2,000 Fred J. Miller Memorial Music Education scholarship. The scholarship was presented by Marlene Miller, President and CEO of Fred J. Miller, Incorporated

FJM Memorial Scholarship Matthew Waggoner

Music for All’s efforts to create, provide, and expand positively life-changing experiences include awarding a number of scholarships each year. For more information about Music for All's scholarships click here.

To support future scholarships with a donation click here.


Congratulations to Ms. Marisa Weinstein, Director of Bands, Warsaw Middle School, Pittsfield, ME, the 2017 recipient of the George N. Parks Leadership in Music Education award. Ms. Weinstein received the award during the opening finals ceremonies at the 2017 Grand National Championships, presented by Yamaha on November 11.

Developed by NAfME, the National Association for Music Education and Music for All, the award is named for George N. Parks (1953–2010), director of the University of Massachusetts Minuteman Marching Band at the University of Massachusetts Amherst from 1977 until his death, and honors an exemplary music educator who embodies the characteristics and leadership that Mr. Parks personified.

Learn more about the George N. Parks Leadership in Education Award


Marisa Weinstein began teaching at Warsaw Middle School in Pittsfield, Maine nearly three decades ago, and in that time, she has had an immeasurable impact on the students, parents, and community in Pittsfield. In addition to teaching three concert bands, two jazz bands, two general music classes, and two choruses, Ms. Weinstein also facilitates musical performances at several community events throughout the year.

A native of Merritt Island, Florida, Ms. Weinstein began her career at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where she received both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Music Education. While at UMass, she studied conducting with Malcom W. Rowell and percussion with Dr. Peter Tanner. She served ten years as the Associate Conductor for the Casco Bay Wind Symphony in Portland, ME (1990-2000), and she continues to actively perform, evaluate, and guest conduct throughout the New England area today.

Beyond the classroom, Ms. Weinstein demonstrates her commitment to her school and community in a variety of ways. She has coached multiple middle school sports teams for the last 15 years, she has facilitated student performances at several parades and festivals in Pittsfield, and she volunteers to DJ once a month at every Warsaw Middle School dance throughout the school year. Sharon Littlefield, the principal of Warsaw Middle School, said of Ms. Weinstein: “I would like to say that this ‘music family feeling’ she creates is due to the time she spends instructing her students as musicians, but as you can see her connections extend far beyond her program.”

Ms. Weinstein is an active member of the Maine Music Educators Association, and she has served four terms as the District chairperson. She was presented with the Association’s “Educator of the Year” award in 2013, demonstrating the visibility of her commitment to her students and her community. Both former and current students of Weinstein’s said that not only does she connect with students on a personal level, but she also holds them to high standards of excellence. When asked about how she defines success in her programs, Ms. Weinstein emphasized the importance of taking risks and standing up for what you believe in: “When students are willing to risk failure, they learn more about themselves and develop a greater overall appreciation of and for each other.”

Prior recipients:

2016 Thom Hannum
Associate Director, Minutemen Marching Band, the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA

2015 Patrick M. Erwin
Director of Bands at Hillgrove High School in Powder Springs, GA

2014 Cynthia Napierkowski
Director of Bands at Salem High School in Salem, MA

2013 Dr. Barry Shepherd
Superintendent of Cabarrus County Schools, NC

2012 Daniel Kirk
Blue Valley West, KS

2011 Dr. Peter Boonshaft
Hofstra University


The Patrick John Hughes Parent Booster Award recognizes the extraordinary commitment, dedication, support, and sacrifice of music parents and boosters across the nation by shining a spotlight on a recipient who exemplifies these qualities.

The award is named in honor of Patrick John Hughes, the father of Patrick Henry Hughes. Patrick Henry is a remarkable young man who, despite physical challenges that would seem overwhelming to many, has excelled as a musician and student, singing and playing piano and trumpet with the Louisville Marching and Pep Bands, with the help of his father, who tirelessly maneuvers his son’s wheelchair through the formations with the other 220+ members of the Cardinal Marching Band.

On Friday night during the Grand National Championships, the 2017 Patrick John Hughes Parent Booster award was awarded to Greg Hooper of Powder Springs, Georgia.

Greg Hooper ParentBooster

Successful band programs are made of driven students, passionate teachers, and committed parents and boosters (with those adjectives applying to all). Since 2008, the Patrick John Hughes Parent/Booster Award annually honors a parent, booster, or volunteer who selflessly gives their support and dedication to a band program. The recipients of this award come from different backgrounds, yet are revered as heroes by their programs and make a commitment to keeping the students a priority. That’s 2017 Parent/Booster recipient Greg Hooper’s ideology: “the kids come first.”

A former band member of McEachern High School in Powder Springs, Georgia, Greg has been an active member of the McEachern High School Band Booster Club since 1993 when his first child became a member of the band. As all four of his children were active members of the band, Greg served in a variety of positions such as Co-President and Co-Vice President for the McEachern Band Parent Association and chairing different committees including Equipment, Props, Field Crew/Truck Crew, and Fundraising. He was also McEachern’s trip organizer, heading a trip for the Lord Mayor’s Parade in London. Even long after his children graduated from the band program, he continues to serve as a Props Engineer as he builds and designs the vision of each show. For the past 22 years, Mr. Hooper has served the Cobb County School District as head of the staging crew for the Cobb County High School and Middle School Band and Orchestra Large Group Performance Evaluation. He is also a part of logistical services for the Cobb County Marching Band Exhibition.

Jeff Harper, former Associate Director of Bands at McEachern, says Greg is “thoughtful, helpful, and remarkably selfless with his time.” He commends Greg’s passion for music advocacy and unwavering support for the arts in the Cobb Country School District. Most recently Greg has spent time volunteering as part of the stage crew for Music for All’s Affiliate Southeastern Regional Concert Festival at Georgia State University. He also was an attendee of Music for All’s Summer Symposium Parent Booster Institute, while his daughter attended the Summer Symposium as a student.

Highly regarded in his community and band family, Greg is a strong and inspiring figure to everyone around him. He truly personifies Music for All’s mission “to create, provide, and expand positively life-changing experiences through music for all” through his selfless actions of ensuring that students are provided the best musical experiences. To Mr. Greg Hooper, thank you for your dedication to the students.

2017 Past Parent Booster WinnersMr. Hooper pictured with past Parent/Booster Award Winners

Read more about Patrick John Hughes and his family and the Parent/Booster Award and find out how to nominate the exceptional parent or booster in your music program here.


We hope that everyone will be joining us on Thanksgiving day by watching the 2017 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade! We cannot wait to watch and support all of the amazing marching bands that will be featured throughout the parade. We are especially excited this year to say that all of the high school bands that will be marching in the parade are in the Bands of America family! Congratulations to all of you on being selected for the 91st Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade!

So make sure you tune in and join us in supporting these incredible ensembles as they perform for nearly 50 million television viewers nationwide! We know they will make us proud! The parade steps off at 9:00 AM on Thursday, November 23rd. You can watch the parade live on NBC. The telecast will air from 9:00 AM to 12 Noon in all time zones.

Below is a list of all of the marching bands you will see in the parade!

Colony High School Marching Band
Palmer, Alaska

Davis High School Marching Band
Kaysville, Utah

Nation Ford High School Marching Band
Fort Mill, South Carolina

Ohio University Marching 110
Athens, Ohio

Prairie View A&M University Marching Storm
Prairie View, Texas

Rockford High School Marching Band
Rockford, Michigan

Rosemount High School Marching Band
Rosemount, Minnesota

Trumbull High School Golden Eagle Marching Band
Trumbull, Connecticut

The United States Air Force Band
Washington, DC

West Harrison High School Marching Band
Gulfport, Mississippi

Macy's Great American Marching Band

NYPD Marching Band
New York

For great Macy's coverage (including a list of what these bands will be performing!) visit our friends at

For more information about the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade visit

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