Matt Mackowiak
Matt Mackowiak

Matt Mackowiak is the Marketing Assistant at Music for All. Matt has been involved in the performing arts since a young age as a percussionist, and throughout his life has performed on the field as a snare drummer, at the podium as a drum major and in the gym as a winter guard member. He graduated from Ball State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Public Relations. Before Music for All, Matt worked as a staff member for several marching band and color guard programs across Indiana.

March Madness just wrapped up with the men’s and women’s title games. Congratulations to Villanova and UConn. It is a national phenomenon that grabs hold of sports fans as they try to determine who is win and who is out, filling out the perfect bracket, and of course always cheering for the underdog.

There is always a sense of hype and buildup for the NCAA brackets to be announced. The same could be said when we (Music for All) release the Bands of America Marching Championships band lists.


People begin to talk of who is attending what show. How many Texas bands are coming to Grand Nationals? What new schools have signed up that have never participated in Bands of America? Is there a Midwest band making the trip down south to Atlanta or San Antonio? Will there be another Hawaii band attending a Bands of America show? So many questions, but never any answers. Until now…

We are ready to announce the bands that have applied to be a part of the 2016 Bands of America Marching Championships. But remember, these are lists of ALL bands that have sent in applications, some shows may be over enrolled and include bands that will be waitlisted. 

BenDavisHS JCR 6415

Let the debates begin, throw a dart in the dark on predictions, and most of all get excited for another fun-filled season of marching band. #boa2016 is right around the corner!

View the full fall schedule here.


TS1 3346

The Bands of America Marching Championships is known year in and year out for having talented students perform at Regionals, Super Regionals, and Grand Nationals. At those events we also have special exhibition performances by university marching bands. Over the years BOA Grand Nationals week has seen the best of the best perform in exhibition including: West Carolina University, Riverside Community College, Jacksonville State University, and many others! 2016 Grand Nationals will be no different as we continue the tradition of iconic collegiate programs.

2015 Maryland 1612

Music for All is proud to announce that The Ohio State University Marching Band will perform at the 2016 Grand National Championships. From their signature pre-show formation and tradition of Script Ohio, the playing of “Buckeye Battle Cry” and “Across the Field” (OSU’s fight songs), and their creative drill design, such as their Michael Jackson and Star Wars shows, we are ecstatic to have one of the most publicized marching band programs in mainstream media. Make sure to mark your calendar for November 12th, 2016, as The Ohio State Marching Band will be concluding our Semi-Final performances.

2015 Minnesota 1282

Make sure to follow The Ohio State University Marching Band on their social media platforms below to stay in the loop on upcoming performances, new videos, and news.

2014 Cincinnati 0609          2015 Minnesota 0807

Youtube: The Ohio State University
Facebook: @The Ohio State University Marching Band
Twitter: @TBDBITL
Instagram: @TBDBITL

Clips of The Ohio State University Marching Band:

The Midwest Clinic, starting today, marks a busy time for everyone here at Music for All as we prepare for our upcoming events. It has been an annual tradition to announce our upcoming Fall Championship schedule on the first day. We look forward to yet another sensational season as we gear up for 2016! 

Since moving to Indianapolis in 2004, Music for All has started a tradition of hanging a photo of our most recent Bands of America Grand Champion on our “Fall Championship Wall”. The wall has everything from the humble beginning when Bands of America was our Summer National Championships, to all of the stadiums we hosted Grand Nationals in, to the faces over the years, and of course our Champions. Lawrence Central H.S., IN was honorable number one in 2004 with their 2004 “La Rosa” (fun fact, Lawrence Central won Grand Nationals without winning a single caption!).

Fall Wall

With our 40th anniversary and 2015 Grand Nationals in the book, it is time for the annual tradition and changing of the guard. We salute our 2014 Grand National Champion, Tarpon Springs H.S., FL, as they had the honor and prestige of hanging up in the office for a year. Now we make room for our 2015 Grand National Champion, Broken Arrow H.S., OK. 

Tarpon Springs Wall Art

BA Wall Photo

Don’t worry; those photos don’t go to waste, as we still recognize all Champions on our “Wall of Champions”. Every year we look forward to adding to our collection of memories and building on the rich tradition and history that is the Bands of America Grand National Championships.

Wall of Champions

Will we see you this upcoming fall for a BOA Regional, Super Regional, or our Grand National Championships? We want you and your school to be a part of our history. You never know - your school might be the next band featured in the office as the 2016 Grand National Champion!


Today’s Throwback Thursday will be dedicated to the stadiums where we have held our culmination event of the Bands of America Marching Championships over the past 40 years.

It all started out back in 1975 at the Summer National Championships in Whitewater, Wisconsin. This birthplace, Perkins Stadium, is not only the premier location for Bands of America, but also Drum Corps International, as it hosted both organizations’ first championships.

As the marching arts evolved, the Summer National Championships morphed into Bands of America Grand National Championships with the first championship being held in Jacksonville, Florida at the Gator Bowl in 1980. That same year we had our first Florida-based ensemble, Tate H.S, take home the title of Grand National Champions. It wouldn’t be until 2015 that another Florida ensemble would reclaim this title.

After Florida, Grand National Championships was relocated to Eastern Tennessee State University, which had an indoor football stadium. Grand National Championships was held in Johnson City, Tennessee at ETSU from 1981 to 1983. In the three short years at ETSU, we saw the first champion from Indiana, Chesterton H.S. as well as the rise of Norwin H.S., PA and Rocky Mount H.S., NC.

In 1984, Grand National Championships was on the move once again, this time to a more familiar location, Indianapolis, IN. The Hoosier Dome (later changed to the RCA Dome in 1994) becomes the new iconic location for the event. From the memorable fireworks after the Finals Finale to the forever-remembered air lock, the Hoosier Dome will always be remembered.

Yet, the stay in the Hoosier Dome was short lived until Grand Nationals were moved to the Motor City and the Pontiac Silverdome from 1987 to 1988.

In 1989, Grand National Championships moved back to Indianapolis for good. Hundreds of unforgettable and cherished shows were performed in the Hoosier Dome/RCA Dome until 2007. L.D. Bell H.S., TX was the last band to win the title of Grand National Champions at the old stadium, because Lucas Oil Stadium was named the new location in 2008.

Lucas Oil Stadium is the current home of Bands of America Grand National Championships. The venue has hosted a wide assortment of events from the Super Bowl, the Final Four, DCI World Championships, concerts, and more. The energy in the stadium during Grand National Championships week is electric as bands from all over the country perform their hearts out. Looking up into the stands as you walk out of the tunnel onto the turf send chills down your spine. Lucas Oil Stadium has a certain "magical' vibe for everyone, whether they are a performer, spectator or even someone working the event.

Heading into our 40th season, we’d like to hear from everyone about their favorite memories at Bands of America Grand National Championships. Share your story here -

TS 2014 1

Today’s Throwback Thursday post goes out to our most recent Grand National Champion, Tarpon Springs H.S. Last year, 2014, was a magical year for Tarpon Springs, as they won their first ever title. Their show titled, “Man vs. Machine” was full of energy, musicality and was visually engaging. While watching their Prelims, Semifinals and Finals performances, I was able to catch a new aspect within each run of the show.

Tarpon Springs H.S. has a rich history in attending Bands of America events. They first broke into Grand National Championships Finals in 1997 placing 4th and in 2000 when they placed 3rd

What I love most about this band is the interaction I’ve had with its student musicians last season. In uniform, they were all business, but underneath the shako, guard makeup, and uniforms were ordinary kids with extraordinary talents. They were humble and understood the joy they could experience performing with their friends. 

Good luck to all the bands performing at this year’s Bands of America Regional, Super Regional and Grand National Championships.

TS 1

While going through photos taken during the past 40 years of Music for All's programs, it is easy to see how our activity has evolved. One area where you can easily observe this is with the color guard. 

In the early years of Music for All/Bands of America, color guard uniforms were often identical or only a slight variation of the band uniform. However, in the late 1980's color guard uniforms became a more integral part of the visual show design. The story came to life with the uniforms, colors, flags, props, etc. This area of the marching arts has truly progressed over the years with unique and out of the box uniforms and flags. 

We dedicate this Throwback Thursday to the evolution of color guard.


Thursday, July 16, 2015

#TBT - Band Parents Edition

TBT Centerville Band Dads

Today’s Throwback Thursday goes out to all of the band parents who have dedicated (and continue to dedicate) their time during the week to rehearsals and weekends, to lugging props and pit equipment on and off the field and to encouraging their children to do their best. The tradition continues when band parents end up becoming extended family, just as students see fellow band members as siblings. You travel together, create and build memories together, experience the ups and the downs together, and most importantly become part of the amazing performances out on the field.

One of favorite aspects of working Bands of America Championships shows during the fall is hearing the parents’ stories. My most vivid memory was the 2014 Jacksonville Regional where not just one parent, but handful of parents, came up to me saying that Bands of America and Music for All had truly changed their kids and families lives. It truly warms my heart knowing that my job and something as seemingly little as marching band has impacted so many people.

As we begin the 2015 marching band season, I would like students, directors and staff from all bands to make sure to reach out to your parents, say thank you, give them hugs, and make sure they know how truly cherished they are. 

West Genesee Band Dads


The Thursday night concert at the Music for All Summer Symposium brought a special treat, the Ahn Trio. I have to say, I do have a soft spot for strings, but this group had a unique sound that created a powerful mood.

The Ahn Trio brought a different vibe to Emens Auditorium, as their music was expressive and animated. Sitting there it was easy to just close your eyes and let the music paint in your mind. Their use of different sounds and bowing created a clear muscial story, but one that was unique to each and every person. That’s one thing I love about string and non-lyrical pieces -- you get to interpret and decipher the piece in your own way. 

During the concert I hope the kids took time not only to listen to and create their own story in their head, but also reflect on everything they accomplished so far here at camp. For many, they get to take this excess of knowledge and share it with their peers. I know for a fact that all campers created new friends from different schools.

The music the Ahn Trio played at the concert felt like it was supposed to be the soundtrack to a giant slideshow of these kids memories of the 2015 Summer Symposium. 

After the concert, the three sisters of the trio met students in the lobby of Emens Auditorium to sign CDs and other memoribilia and answer questions about being a musician. They were lively with personality and gave advice that expanded on more than just music, but also on life. Those three phenomenally talented women put on a show that was not only musically inclined, but also emotionally. That is true art. 


IMG 3533

Every year our Marching Band Division campers have the opportunity to march side-by-side with our drum corps in residence. This week our campers have the experience of a lifetime as they got to rehearse and perform with Carolina Crown during a small section of their 2015 show “Inferno”. 

Yes, some of these kids might go on and march with Carolina Crown or another drum corps in the future; however, for a high school student to learn from some of the best in their activity is something they will always hold close to their hearts.

This part of camp is always special for both Crown members and campers. As I overheard Matt Harloff talk to Crown staff members, it was easy to see that this week was not about cleaning their show, adding on choreography or progressing along the summer tour season, but connecting with these high school students.

IMG 3534

Students timidly walked into Scheumann Stadium as they saw Crown members and staff talking on the front sideline. Students quickly put on gigantic grins and their eye grew big, as they knew they were about to do what most high school marching band members only dream of doing.

These talented campers quickly caught on to Crown’s rehearsal etiquette and morphed into mini drum corps member. These skills and techniques they learned in such a short rehearsal will translate immensely to their programs back home. The seed was planted in their heads and now it will be the students’ responsibility to make it grow.

After running the show portion they will be performing after the DCI Central Indiana show the kids were introduced to the sacred circle. The “Inside the Circle” tradition at Crown started in 2003 and this is where the corps creates a circle instead of the traditional arch. To sit inside this circle is a top honor and only open to Crown staff members, Crown age-outs and special guests. Today, our marching band track had that special honor. The students were even allowed to play with Crown in the circle. 


Then the magic truly started to happen as Matt Harloff addressed both students and corps. He said that today we aren’t two separate groups, but one. The kids melted as they received this special honor. 

It got even better as Crown was asked to sit in the circle as the students played their show portion of “Inferno”. Once completed all of corps, both members and staff, erupted with applaud and hi-fives. Then it was Crown’s turn to return the favor. Instead of playing their opener from “Inferno” they played their ever so emotional ballad. You could tell in the campers’ eyes that this was something they never would forget. I overheard students after and they almost looked like they were about to cry and they said that this is the reason why they come back, why they love band, why they have their passion in music.

A huge thanks to Carolina Crown not only for involving our the Marching Band Division, but also for all the other involvement here at the 2015 Summer Symposium. The members, staff and administration truly embody what this activity is about. At the end of the day, it is just marching, spinning and drumming. 

Every evening Music for All puts on a concert for students, faculty and the community. Tuesday night we had the honor and privilege of having the U.S. Army Field Band and Soldiers’ Chorus put on a spectacular concert. The repertoire for the concert ranged all over from traditional Sousa marches, movies scores and even classic Motown hits.


The evening started with the best rendition of our National Anthem I have ever heard as six French Horns took center stage. The crowd gave a standing ovation at the conclusion and I had chills running through my body. Something about that instrument and the emotion it portrays. Then again, I will admit that I have a soft spot for French Horns. Pure magic!


Speaking of magical, there were a handful of students that had the opportunity to perform on stage with the band. These talented students had little, if no, prep time for the concert. However, you could not tell as these kids played their hearts out. I could only imagine what was going through their heads being on stage with such a astounding ensemble and I bet this has to be a top highlight of their camp experience.


There was one piece that brought the house down as the U.S. Army Field Band played “Georgia on My Mind”. The saxophone soloist was the most talented artist I have ever heard. The range was phenomenal and the raw emotion ended up having the biggest standing ovation of the evening.


The overall theme for the evening was that music can take you anywhere in life. You don’t have to be a music educator to still carry on your passion for music. The men and women we saw on stage last night still get to enjoy and express that passion of music, but at the same time serve our country. That is one thing I love about music and our activity as we have such a wide range of opportunity to include it in our daily life.

And one last thing, I want to give a giant thanks to the U.S. Army Field Band and Soldiers’ Chorus for the concert! It was definitely a highlight of my week and it was truly positively life-changing not only for me, but for everyone in attendance.

Page 1 of 2