Mackenzie Ziegler
Mackenzie Ziegler
Mackenzie Ziegler is the Summer Marketing Intern, helping out wherever she can within the marketing department at Music for All. She is a Senior at Butler University and pursuing a Bachelor's of Science in Arts Administration - Music with a minor in Strategic Communications.
On Thursday night Christian Howes and Southern Exposure joined us at Emens Auditorium for the fourth night in the Summer Symposium evening concert series. Christian Howes is a jazz violinist, educator, and producer from Columbus, OH. Christian Howes began working with Southern Exposure to create a style that combines modern jazz with Latin musical influences. This concert included a good mix of different types of music that surely did not disappoint.
The concert began with a more classical style mixed with jazz. Each instrumentalist had the opportunity to take a solo as Christian Howes played the melodies. One unique aspect to this group was the accordion player. This was definitely something that students had not been exposed to before and a great experience for them to have!

As the concert progressed, the group did something really unexpected. They went from a classical jazz ensemble to a rock band. Christian Howes whipped out his electric violin, changed some settings on his soundboard, and made the violin sound like an electric guitar! The students in the audience were in awe of this and immediately began cheering and clapping along. This sure was a unique aspect to the concert and something that many had never heard before.

About halfway through the concert, Christian Howes asked all the students to get out their phones and tweet about something in music that has inspired them. It was so amazing to see the different responses that the students came up with!
The final number of the concert featured some very special guest artists, the orchestra division students participating the Summer Symposium! Christian Howes wrote the piece for an orchestra accompaniment to play with the group. This sure was a once in a lifetime opportunity for these students.
For the third performance in the MFA Evening Concert Series, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy was in Emens Auditorium! BBVD is a contemporary swing revival band from Southern California. They have produced several records and even performed at the 1999 Superbowl. They lit up the auditorium with their upbeat jazz charts and had the crowd dancing, clapping, and singing along with them.
The students at the Summer Symposium fell in love with this group from the very first note played. Every time one of the instrumentalists took a solo, the students went crazy with applause. They were so awed by the range of the trumpet players and the talent of the saxophone and trombone players.
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy was even generous enough to set up a meet and greet after the concert so that the students had the opportunity to get souvenirs signed. They absolutely loved this once in a lifetime experience!
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The students have the opportunity to see a wide variety of professionals perform at the Summer Symposium and having BBVD here is such a special experience for them to have. With every performance, they are inspired to continue striving towards the best in music in hopes that one day, they will be able to perform on stage for other aspiring musicians.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014

First Day of Camp

The first day began at 8am as the hundreds of campers arrived for registration! Camp SWAGs and MFA Staff worked together to ensure that the over 1,000 campers had all that they needed to make the week a success. Leadership Weekend students continued the MFA tradition of welcoming campers with a tunnel of raucous applause and camp spirit.
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After registration and placement auditions were over, the students headed over to Emens Auditorium for the opening session. The opening session featured the color guard staff performing a routine to the hit song “Let It Go.” The students cheered them on as they tossed rifles, sabers, and flags and successfully caught them. Norm Reubling, camp director, then came on stage to give the students information they needed and to get them excited for the week ahead.
The day ended with the Yamaha Young Performing Artists Competition winners giving an incredible performance back on the Emens Auditorium stage. The students were awed by the amazing performers that are just a couple of years older than they are.
As the day came to a close the students made their way back to their dorms tired, but excited for what lies ahead of them for the rest of the week!
The first event in the Evening Concert Series at the MFA Summer Symposium was the Yamaha Young Performing Artists (YYPA). This concert featured seven young performers from ages 18 to 21 that played both jazz and classical music.
The performers included a jazz saxophonist, jazz trumpet player, clarinetist, tuba player, jazz vibraphone player, pianist, and a violinist. The wide variety of instruments and types of music played made the concert appeal to all the different tracks that students are participating in at the Summer Symposium.
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This concert also featured guest artist Dana Leong, a well known composer, cellist, and trombonist. He was so thrilled by the amount of energy the students brought forth throughout the concert and he stated, “I love the energy that you are bringing! It shows how much passion you have for this art.” Dana was able to really light up the audience with his upbeat playing. He had the audience clapping, snapping, cheering, and dancing along to his compositions.
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The Summer Symposium students had such a positive experience at this concert and were really blown away by the amount of talent these young musicians possess. They have been inspired to continue working hard in music so that one day, they could be up on that stage performing!
Being new to the MFA team, this was the first time I have had the opportunity to experience anything at the Summer Symposium. To me, Leadership Weekend Experience is something that any musician can benefit from. The students had the opportunity to learn about leadership, teamwork, cooperation, strategy, and communication through the various activities they participated in throughout the weekend.
On the first night of Leadership Weekend Experience, I went to a breakout session that was taught by Frank Crockett. In this session, Crockett focused a lot around trust and safety. They began by doing simple trust falls in groups of threes and progressed into more complex trust exercises. In the most complex exercise, they had groups of twelve students in a circle with one person in the middle. The students in the circle passed around the person in the middle as they held a very stiff stance. Eventually, the student in the middle was easily dropped down to the ground and lifted up in the air.
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Throughout this exercise, Crockett really emphasized the fact that the person in the middle needed to feel safe. “Trust is not easy,” he said, “so it is the job of the team to make that person feel safe.” To make the environment feel even safer, the students had a call and response system that needed to be followed before the activity could begin. This is how it went:

“Spotters ready?”
“Permission to fall?”
“Fall on.”

This system ensured that everyone in the group was ready and focused on the task at hand.
After this activity was completed, the students moved to a new area with an even bigger task at hand. This activity was called the Spider Web and, basically, the students had to get everyone in their group through a section of the web without knocking the spider on top to the ground. They could only use each hole once and were not allowed to alter the size of the holes in any way. Some of those holes were six feet up in the air! The students began by strategizing and coming up with a plan of action, then began attempting to finish the task.
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I was seriously amazed with what these students were able to accomplish. They listened attentively, followed all instructions, and worked together to complete the task, which I found to be extremely difficult.

On the second day of Leadership Weekend Experience, I hit the road and traveled to Taylor University where veteran students were visiting to take the plunge into the high and low ropes challenge course.
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Here, the students had the opportunity to take part in the high ropes course of obstacles, a zip line, the flying squirrel, and many stations of activities throughout the campus. As I watched a group of students tackle the high ropes course, I was pleased to see how encouraging everyone was. When anyone was struggling in the course, there were five people on the ground shouting words of encouragement and advice to help them complete the task. Many students expressed once they finished how scary it was, but all the encouragement kept them going.
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After I watched students tackle the high ropes for a while, I ventured around campus to see what types of other activities were going on. Many of the students were doing team-building activities together, but one station that really stuck out to me was the workshop with Tom Pompei. Tom Pompei is a band director and horse rancher from Centerville, OH. In his workshop, he used his horse, Spark, to teach the students about love, language, and leadership.
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During this session Pompei stated, “A good teacher gives you information you need, but an outstanding teacher will let you figure out the rest on your own.” I think this is a very important part of education because so many students rely on the teacher to tell them everything. This doesn’t set up students for success in their future endeavors, so I found this statement to be extremely valid in teaching.
Leadership Weekend Experience really is a great opportunity for all musicians to take advantage of. I know that every single participant will take so much information back to their high schools and help their music programs grown even stronger than they already are.