The Music for All Blog
The Music for All Blog



Check out the awards photos from the 2017 Bands of America Dallas/Ft. Worth Regional Championship!

High resolution awards photos (as well as additional action photos of each band) can be viewed and purchased on the Jolesch Enterprises website:


The Indianapolis-based Music Crossroads Strategic Partner organizations awarded for excellence by the International Festivals and Events Association

The International Festivals & Events Association (IFEA) paid tribute to two Indianapolis-based arts organizations on September 14, 2017 during the IFEA/Haas & Wilkerson Pinnacle Awards Ceremony held at the 62nd Annual IFEA Convention, Expo & Retreat, presented by Haas & Wilkerson Insurance, in Tucson, Arizona.

Drum Corps International (DCI) and Music for All received a total of 32 awards, including Gold Awards for DCI in the categories of Best TV Promotion (Ad Spot or PSA), Best Event Video Promotion, Best Digital/Social Ad Series, and Best Miscellaneous Multimedia. Music for All earned Gold Awards in the categories of Best Event Website, Best Organizational E-Newsletter, Best Event E-Newsletter, Best Promotional Brochure, Best Event Promotional Photograph, and Best Educational Program.

The IFEA/Haas & Wilkerson Pinnacle Awards Competition recognizes the outstanding accomplishments and top quality creative, promotional, operational, and community outreach programs and materials produced by festivals and events around the world.

Both Music for All and DCI relocated their headquarters to Indianapolis as part of the Indianapolis and Visit Indy’s MusicCrossroads initiative – Music for All in 2003 and DCI in 2008. MusicCrossroads is an economic development and community building initiative created by Visit Indy and other stakeholders to attract music performance and education based organizations and their programming to Indianapolis.

Music for All, a 501(c)3 non-profit educational organization, draws a half million student musicians, their families, and fans to more than 30 national events each year, including the Bands of America Grand National Championships and Super Regional Championship in Lucas Oil Stadium, the Music for All National Festival in Indianapolis, and the Music for All Summer Symposium at Ball State University.

Also a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, DCI’s global presence spotlights Indianapolis each year with multiple activities including the World Championship Finals, held each August at Lucas Oil Stadium. DCI provides marching music entertainment to millions of fans through live performances and nationally-broadcast events. Collectively the organizations attract more than 50,000 annual participants and visitors to central Indiana.

“It is an honor to be recognized by IFEA for the hard work and talents of our staffs, at both organizations,” said Eric Martin, President and CEO of Music for All, “and to celebrate that acknowledgement of Music for All alongside our partner organization and fellow Indianapolis performing arts organization Drum Corps International is special to us.”

DCI Executive Director Dan Acheson added, “These awards are a testament to the professional talent working on behalf of both organizations to further music education and the performing arts for audiences across the country. DCI is particularly pleased to showcase the City of Indianapolis during our events here.”

“Visit Indy – through our MusicCrossroads initiative – sought out Music for All and Drum Corps International not only for their economic impact and great events, but substantially for their unique ingenuity, creativity, inspiration, and capacity to bring out the best in people through the art of music,” said Matt Carter, Vice President of Destination Development at Visit Indy and Executive Director of MusicCrossroads. “Since moving to Indy, it is no surprise to us that they have continued grow and garner attention for the role they play in building the leaders of today and tomorrow to fullest potential in creative ways as evidenced by their work and these affirmational awards. We celebrate their achievement and consider it an honor for them to call Indy home.”

“We would like to congratulate all of our Pinnacle winners for their outstanding entries into this year’s competition,” said IFEA President & CEO, Steven Wood Schmader, CFEE.

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Music for All and Bongo Boy Music partnered to host The “Art” of Drum Circle Facilitation with IPS arts educators on September 7 at Bongo Boy Music School, a private percussion music school located in the Castleton area of Indianapolis. The event was part of an ongoing effort to bring nontraditional music-making to Indianapolis Public Schools. The pilot for this project began with an IPS professional development session on July 26, during which John Fitzgerald from Remo, Inc. gave the keynote address.

Having had my first drum circle experience at our most recent Summer Symposium, I was excited to be back in such a welcoming environment, where creativity reigns. Lisa Colleen and Ed Gaus of Bongo Boy Music led the drum circle that included 11 arts educators and four of our staff from Music for All. I decided to observe the learning process through my camera.

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Everyone began to participate in the drum circle, with call and response techniques where the leader or participants play a rhythm and everyone else plays it back; and sculpting where a certain group or individual is playing in order to hear the different rhythms that ultimately turn into one harmonious rhythm. They even used their voices as the beat!

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Drum circles are an excellent way for people to come together in a space that is “inclusive and non-judgmental.” What it did for me was strengthen my communication with others, verbally and non-verbally. In fact, that was the main point discussed at the drum circle, learning how communicate effectively.

These arts educators came to this session to learn different techniques on communicating with their students. Bringing drum circles into the classroom, while unconventional, can aid in classroom management and engagement, and has proven to keep students focused. Also, instruments are not necessarily required in a drum circle, as you can contribute your body and voice to the group. There are students that do not have access to instruments nor prior knowledge of the traditional elements of music education. Inside the drum circle, while the teachers are creating musical life-changing experiences, the students can play what they’re feeling in the moment.

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The session was small enough that people in the group had the opportunity to demonstrate techniques and ask questions. It was interesting to see them demonstrate their unique techniques of facilitating a drum circle. An interesting point Lisa Colleen brought up during the session was that each person has to lead their drum circle in their own way that works for them. Attempting to mimic the way someone else facilitates a session simply doesn’t work.

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At the end of the session, everyone joined in on the community drum circle that takes place every week on Thursday night. People brought friends, family, and even their kids to join in on the fun. Every person in the session, including myself couldn’t stop smiling. As someone who is incredibly passionate about music and the advocacy of it, I was moved watching everyone come together. Drum circles are a place to learn and a place to feel the rhythm of who you truly are.

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Many Texas school fine arts programs have been devastated by Hurricane Harvey, and while school districts are working to help them recover, some immediate needs still exist. Music for All, Texas Music Educators Association, and a number of Texas fine arts organizations want students in these affected programs to have the resources they need to fully experience a well-rounded education that includes the arts, and we don’t want them to have to wait. You can help bring back the arts.

How You Can Help

Please view the Help Requests and find programs you can support. Even if you don’t have the specific items requested, perhaps there is another way you can help them recover.


In conjunction with other state arts education organizations listed below, the Texas Music Educators Association developed this website to be a central registry where arts programs affected by Hurricane Harvey can post their immediate program needs so that individuals and organizations around our state and nation can respond directly to them. As program needs are met, the lists will be updated. Please share this website with your friends, family, and community so we can expand the network of help and resolve every identified need.

Fine Arts Education Associations:

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Grand National Exhibition Bands Announced

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The Bands of America Grand National Championships brings bands from across the country, as they all converge to Indianapolis making it the epicenter of the marching arts. This season we have seen amazing performances both by competing bands and special exhibition groups. We are excited to announce our 2017 Grand National Championships exhibition bands as we continue the tradition of iconic collegiate programs. 

Music for All is proud to announce that The University of Alabama Million Dollar Band will perform at the 2017 Grand National Championships. The strong tradition of the Million Dollar band has been an Alabama Crimson Tide tradition for 104 years. What would college football be without the excitement and thrill of the marching band? 

This 400 plus member marching band covers almost every major and department with the university, easily making the Million Dollar Band the largest student organization on campus. The band is no stranger to Bands of America, having made an appearance at the 2007 Grand National Championships.


To continue the excitement we are also proud to announce that the Bowling Green State University Falcon Marching Band and the Miami University Marching Band will also be performing in exhibition. 

The Bowling Green State University Falcon Marching Band, also known as FMB, has a rich history. Earl Claire Powell established the first marching band in 1923, which only had 20 members, but now the 240 plus member band showcases the finest in musical and visual performances, as well as a centerpiece in BGSU athletic spirit.


The Miami University Marching Band is a game-day tradition for the Redhawks, dating back to 1935 making it one of Miami’s oldest and most active student organizations. The 260-member ensemble has performed across the country including the 2003 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and two bowl games: the 2003 GMAC Bowl in Mobile, Alabama and 2004 Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana. The band is excited to perform their 2017 production “Top Secret”, which features music from film and TV, as well as showcasing their new uniforms for the 2017 season.
We kick Grand Nationals week off Wednesday night with the Indianapolis Marching Band Tournament. In exhibition we will have Indianapolis’ own Marian University Marching Knights.Since its rebirth in 2009, the band has performed for many prestigious events on and off campus. The band performs for home football games, parades, pep rallies, campus sporting events, community concerts, and private events. 

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Make sure to mark your calendar for November 8-11, 2017, as The University of Alabama Million Dollar Band, The Bowling Green State University Falcon Marching Band, The Miami University Marching Band, and the Marian University Marching Knights will be taking the field in Indianapolis!

Check out the awards photos from the 2017 Bands of America Northwest Ohio Regional Championship!

High resolution awards photos (as well as additional action photos of each band) can be viewed and purchased on the Jolesch Enterprises website:

Check out the awards photos from the 2017 Bands of America Tennessee Regional Championship!

High resolution awards photos (as well as additional action photos of each band) can be viewed and purchased on the Jolesch Enterprises website:

Check out the awards photos from the 2017 Bands of America Austin Regional Championship!

High resolution awards photos (as well as additional action photos of each band) can be viewed and purchased on the Jolesch Enterprises website:

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It was an exciting and successful Saturday at McEachern H.S. for the Bands of America Powder Springs Regional! Music for All would like to thank all of McEachern High School volunteers, and band staff for letting us use their facility, as well as Ken Stanton Music, our official music store of the Regional.

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It was a great day with thirteen bands representing six states.. Each band performed in finals and put on an incredible show for our audience.

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We would like to congratulate and recognize some of the overall top performing bands this past Saturday. Milton H.S. from Georgia came in 3rd Place, Mill Creek H.S. from Georgia placed in 2nd with the overall Outstanding Visual Performance, and the Harrison H.S. Marching Band from Kennesaw, Georgia winning the overall Music Performance, General Effect, and being crowned the 2017 BOA Powder Springs Regional Champion.

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Music for All has wrapped up its first weekend of Bands of America Regional Championships! The Northeast Ohio Regional Championship took place at the brand-new Tom Benson Stadium at the Pro-Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Firestone High School and Canton McKinley High School hosted the regional, with 14 bands participating in the Preliminary competition. Thirteen bands went through Finals.

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At the conclusion of the Prelims, Canton McKinley H.S. Marching Band performed their show in Exhibition “24K Gold” by Bruno Mars. 

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At the conclusion of the Prelims, Canton McKinley H.S. Marching Band performed their show in Exhibition “24K Gold” by Bruno Mars. 

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Avon H.S., IN was crowned the regional champion with Lockport Township H.S., IL placing 2nd and Dublin Coffman placing 3rd.  Avon H.S. also took home caption awards for Outstanding Music Performance, Outstanding Visual Performance, and Outstanding General Effect. A great time was had by all. Thank you to our hosts, Firestone H.S. and Canton McKinely H.S., our event staff, and volunteers who made this event possible!