The Music for All Blog
The Music for All Blog



2017 March DSI MFA Newsletter adRifles and sabres are embedded in the history of color guard and the tradition of using them in performances is as old as the sport itself. However, due to events in recent years, many schools have banned all weapon-looking items from school grounds. This poses a new challenge for the color guard and their equipment.

DSI has introduced a new twirling prop called the Arc1 that spins and is balanced like a traditional rifle but doesn’t have the traditional rifle look. The Arc1 features no rifle bolt or strap and is contoured for a more unique look. 

The Arc1 is also accepted at all schools so you can feel comfortable that your students are compliant with school regulations.

Created by Director’s Showcase International (DSI) the Arc1 is available now through any authorized DSI retailer. For more information about the Arc1 or DSI please visit:

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In celebration of its 30-year anniversary, Music Travel (MTC) has created a brand-new, state-of-the-art travel design experience. Just as a Director assembles a “Design Team” to help create, score and coordinate a marching show for competition, MTC has assembled an industry leading “Travel Design Team” to provide you a powerful, comprehensive and customized travel experience like never before.Our new Design Studio is home to the MTC Design Team, comprised of Travel Designers who are musicians and teachers, intimately familiar with the intricacies of music group travel. MTC’s Travel Designers are travel industry experts, committed to

Our new Design Studio is home to the MTC Design Team, comprised of Travel Designers who are musicians and teachers, intimately familiar with the intricacies of music group travel. MTC’s Travel Designers are travel industry experts, committed to fast turn-around in sharing their expertise and designs with you.

Be a part of the Music Travel Consultants Travel Design Experience. Click on to reach our new Design Studio, to begin collaboration between your team and the MTC Design Team, and to create the perfect trip for your performing group!

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If your students love music, encourage them to discover the world-class education available at Ball State University.

Recognized for its national leadership and innovative programming at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, Ball State’s School of Music can make students real-world ready for a wide range of careers. Students are challenged academically as well as musically, mentored by faculty while they develop their skills, deepen their artistry, and experience all the School of Music has to offer.

Students also can perform with award-winning ensembles, develop recording engineering and songwriting skills, compose music for a variety of performers and media, or prepare to teach in today's music classrooms.

More than a dozen performance groups are open to Ball State students, including the 65-member Ball State Symphony Orchestra, the “Pride of Mid-America” Marching Band, and Ball State Basketball Band. Students can audition for a spot with the Ball State University Singers, or join the Statesmen or Women’s Chorus, open to any singer, no audition required. 

The School of Music offers five majors and eight minors for undergraduates; two master’s degrees; a doctor of arts; an artist diploma; and an undergraduate certificate, graduate certificate, and doctoral secondary area of study in entrepreneurial music.

At Ball State, students can get involved, feed their spirit, ignite their imagination, and set that journey to music. 

Take a virtual tour of the campus.

Learn more by visiting or calling 765-285-5400.

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The 2017 Indiana State Fair has just come to an end and now we reflect on the Music for All Indiana State Fair Band Day presented by Music Travel Consultants, which took place on Saturday, August 5. This is the final contest of the Central Indiana Track Show Association’s (CITSA) season, where “track-style” marching bands perform and are judged by a panel of educators. CITSA has had an active season with five contests prior to State Fair Band Day that includes, Drums at Winchester, Noblesville Black & Gold Marching Invitational, Muncie Central Spirit of Muncie Contest, Jay County Fair Lions Contest, and Centerville Archway Classic.

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 In 2015 Music for All and Music Travel Consultants began a relationship with CITSA to have a five-year shared partnership of State Fair Band Day, which has been taking place since the 1940s. With our mission being “to create, provide, and expand positively life-changing experiences through music for all” this special partnership is significant, as it will provide student musicians more access and opportunity.


The grand-stands were filled with many excited spectators, fans, and parents of the 49 participating bands, with 16 bands advancing to finals. Richmond High School who made their 58th appearance at the Indiana State Fair Band Day, earned a spot in finals. The final results were Noblesville High School placing first, Winchester Community High School placing second, and Jay County (Portland) High School placing third.


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The 2017 Fall season is approaching, with less than one month left and Music for All could not be more thrilled! There are 21 Bands of America regional championships across the country, including the Grand National Championships that will be taking place November 8-11 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN. It’s a privilege to have positively life-changing events in world-class facilities across the country, where students get the opportunity to perform in good-natured competition and where people get to witness the showcase of some of the most talented students in the nation. 

This year Music for All is excited to be holding the Bands of America Northeast Ohio Regional Championship, presented by Yamaha at the new Tom Benson Stadium in the Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village at the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, September 16. This event will bring the arts and sports together, and will give students, teachers, and spectators a unique experience. This Regional will be the first marching band competition to take place in this stadium! As Music for All’s partnership with the Pro Football Hall of Fame continues to grow, not only will students get the unique experience of performing in an incredible venue, they will get free admission to the Hall of Fame museum!  Spectators will also get to share in the excitement with 20% off admission for the museum! If you’re interested in attending the Northeast Ohio Regional be sure to check out the ticket options here:

We hope both participants and fans will enjoy this unique and fun perk from the Pro Football Hall of Fame! We look forward to seeing everyone in Canton, Ohio very soon!

DCI Champs

With the marching band season approaching and summer ending, Music for All’s Strategic Partner Drum Corps International’s (DCI) 45th season came to an exciting conclusion on August 12 with the Blue Devils taking their 18th Champion title. 

As a Strategic Partner of DCI, and a fellow organization based in Indianapolis, Music for All took part in DCI World Championship week festivities. Music for All staff attended the DCI Hall of Fame event to kick off the week, participated in the Future Music Educators Experience, volunteered at events throughout the week, and hosted guests and VIPS during quarterfinals, semi-finals and finals. One-hundred and six shows took place across the country from June through August. Fans and spectators also got to enjoy the DCI Central Indiana show that took place at the Music for All Summer Symposium. DCI wrapped up their diamond anniversary with World Championships, from Thursday, August 10 through Saturday, August 12 at Lucas Oil Stadium.

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(Members of the Music for All Summer Symposium Drum Major Institute stopped by the Music for All booth during DCI week at Lucas Oil Stadium.)

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(Various members of Music for All staff volunteer at DCI Showcase, August 9.) 

DCI kicked off their Championship’s Week with Open Class Prelims and Finals in Michigan City, IN on Monday, August 7. Vanguard Cadets who are celebrating their 50th anniversary placed first, with Blue Devils B placing second. Things kicked off in Indianapolis on Wednesday with the DCI Showcase at the Indiana Convention Center and Indianapolis Arts Garden. This is an event that takes place before the Preliminary, Semifinals, and Finals performances that gives corps members the opportunity to perform in a solo and ensemble setting outside of their regular corps repertoire, with vocal and woodwind categories included as well. Forty World and Open Class Corps performed in Prelims on Thursday, with 25 corps advancing to Semifinals performances on Friday, and with 12 corps moving on to Finals on Saturday. However, it was not just all corps performances. DrumLine Battle kicked off the final day of performances at the SoundSport International Music and Food Festival at the Pan Am Plaza with drumlines from high schools, colleges, and different corps performing.   

Blue Devils took the Drum Corps International World Championship title in front of a record-breaking crowd of 23,342. Santa Clara Vanguard who is celebrating their 50th anniversary placed second. The remaining top 12 corps in placement order include, Carolina Crown, The Cavaliers, Bluecoats, Boston Crusaders, The Cadets, Blue Knights, Phantom Regiment, Blue Stars, Crossmen, and Madison Scouts. Additionally, Blue Devils took two World Class Caption awards for Best General Effect and Best Visual Performance, with Santa Clara Vanguard taking Best Percussion Performance and Best Color Guard Award, and Carolina Crown took home the Best Brass Performance Award. 

Congratulations to all of the corps, the age-out performers, and to DCI on another fantastic season! We can hardly wait for the 2018 season!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Music for All Intern Spotlight: Sarah Keck

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This is the thirteenth installment of the Intern Spotlight series that will highlight the Music for All interns who work behind-the-scenes to make all of the positively life-changing experiences happen! Get to know each of our amazing summer interns, as we learn more about who they are and what they do at Music for All.

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What is your hometown? Altamont, MO

Where did you go to high school? Where did you go to college and when did you/will you graduate?
South Harrison High School in Bethany, MO; graduated from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in May 2017

What is your major/degree?
Music Education

What is your musical background? This could be instruments you play and involvement in musical activities such as choir, DCI, theatre, winter guard, etc. 
I grew up in a musical family with my mother as a guard instructor, and father and sister as band directors. Choir and band were a large part of my life during high school. I went on to study instrumental music education in Kansas City with my main instrument being tuba. College gave me an opportunity to play in chamber groups and solo competitions, as well as perform in the wind bands. I loved the variety of teaching experiences I received in the metro area as I worked with musicians ranging from young children to senior citizens learning how to play an instrument for the first time. During the summers, I got to be a member of the SWAG Team at the Music for All Summer Symposium for four years. 

What are you most looking forward to in your internship this spring?
I am looking forward to learning strategies that I can take back and implement in my community to create events that help facilitate more positively life-changing experiences through music education. 

What is an interesting fact about you?
I am learning to speak Italian with my roommate and fellow intern, Tori.

Who are your top three favorite artists? This could be any genre of music.
Sarah Vaughan, Michael Buble, and Ingrid Michaelson

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Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Music for All Intern Spotlight: Tori Bingham

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This is the twelfth installment of the Intern Spotlight series that will highlight the Music for All interns who work behind-the-scenes to make all of the positively life-changing experiences happen! Get to know each of our amazing summer interns, as we learn more about who they are and what they do at Music for All.

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What is your hometown? City, State.
Tulsa, Oklahoma 

Where did you go to high school? Where did you go to college and when did you/will you graduate?
Bixby High School in Bixby, Oklahoma. University of Arkansas, graduated Spring 2017 

What is your major/degree?
Bachelors in Music Education

What is your musical background? This could be instruments you play and involvement in musical activities such as choir, DCI, theatre, winter guard, etc. 
My main instrument is oboe, and I played in the UofA Wind Ensemble, University Symphony Orchestra, and chamber ensembles. I played flute with the Pride of Bixby, and saxophone in the Razorback Marching Band at the University of Arkansas. Last summer, I got the opportunity to travel to Schladming, Austria and perform with the World Youth Wind Orchestra Project! 

What are you most looking forward to in your internship this spring?
I’m looking forward to growing more with Music for All. Having spent four years as part of the SWAG Team at Summer Symposium, I am excited about learning a new aspect of the organization. This fall, I’m looking forward to working with so many incredible people to provide “positively life-changing experiences” for so many students! 

What is an interesting fact about you?
I hope to be the proud mother of a beautiful, fluffy Pomeranian one-day. 

Who are your top three favorite artists?
Frank Sinatra 
Snarky Puppy 

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This is the nineteenth installment of a new series that will highlight the Music for All staff members who work behind-the-scenes to make all of the positively life-changing experiences happen! Get to know each of our amazing staff members, as we learn more about who they are and what they do at Music for All. A new post will be featured every week!

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Name/Job Title: Debbie Laferty Asbill/Vice President of Marketing and Communications

Hometown: I grew up in the Air Force, so no hometown, but I did go to high school and college in Morehead, Kentucky (Rowan County High School and Morehead State University).

How long have you been with Music for All?
Since 1985, started as Promotions Coordinator with Bands of America.

What is your favorite event at Music for All and why?
All :)

What has been your favorite part of working at Music for All?
I’ve been able to combine the passion of my youth with a career; that, and the great people I get to meet and the friendships both inside the office and outside. 

Do you have a favorite memory of working an event with Music for All?
There are many, but being at the first Bands of America Honor Band experience in the 2005 Tournament of Roses Parade stands out in particular, seeing and hearing the band turn the famous “TV corner.”

What is your musical background?
Played flute in school and drum major in high school, music minor for a short time in college (flag in Morehead State University marching band and ’84 Garfield Cadets). Learning lately to play ukulele. Now, I’m a band mom of an incoming 6th grade bassoon player. I grew up in a musical family: my mom plays piano and sings, my dad played guitar, and both of my brothers are kick-butt guitar players that regularly gig in and around Chicago and beyond.

One thing you couldn’t live without?

What kind of music do you listen to?
Some of my favorites are Kirtan artists (Nirinjan Kaur, Jai Uttal, Ben Leinbach, Sean Johnson, and the Wild Lotus Band), Bach, Stravinsky, John Adams, Nine Inch Nails, Radiohead.

What do you like to do in your free time?
Yoga, hike, meditate, boulder (mostly inside lately), reading.

What are you currently reading?
Just finished “The Push: A Climber's Journey of Endurance, Risk, and Going Beyond Limits” by Tommy Caldwell and just started “The Other Shore” by Thich Nhat Hanh.

What's a show you've binge watched recently?
I binged watched Game of Thrones recently again to catch new things before Season 7; now watching The Americans on Amazon Prime.

Favorite movie not many people have seen?
Meru. I am obsessed with documentaries about big wall/big Alpine climbing.

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Seventy-two choirs, orchestras, chamber ensembles, concert bands, and percussion ensembles have been selected to perform at the 27th annual Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha, March 15-17, 2018 in Indianapolis. 

Ensembles were selected following a recorded audition process. The Music for All National Festival is a non-competitive event, showcasing outstanding high school and middle school music ensembles from across the nation. Participating ensembles will perform in concert and be evaluated by renowned music educators. The ensembles also participate in master classes and special events.The Festival comprises the National Concert Band Festival; Sandy Feldstein National Percussion Festival; Middle School National Music Festival; Chamber Music National Festival;  three national honor ensembles: the Honor Band of America, the Jazz Band of America, and the Honor Orchestra of America, and new in 2018, the Music for All National Choir Festival.

Please join us in congratulating these ensembles!


Conner H.S. Chamber Choir – Hebron, KY; John DeFerraro
Dobyns-Bennett H.S. Varsity Choir – Kingsport, TN; Jenny Rogers
Herricks H.S. Chamber Choir – New Hyde Park, NY; Louise O'Hanlon
Hilliard Memorial M.S. 7th Grade Women's Choir – Hilliard, OH; Kelsey D.  Burkett
Hilliard Memorial M.S. 8th Grade Women's Choir – Hilliard, OH; Kelsey D. Burkett
Kings H.S. Chamber Choir – Kings Mills, OH; Hope Milthaler
Lafayette H.S. Madrigal Singers – Lexington, KY; Ryan Marsh
Liberty H.S. Chamber Singers – Colorado Springs, CO; A. J. Wulf
Little Miami H.S. Select Women's Chorale – Morrow, OH; Sarah J. Baker
Logan H.S. Chamber Singers – Logan, OH; John McClain
McMeans Junior H.S. Varsity Choir – Katy, TX; Steve Kalke
Miami Union Academy Concert Choir – North Miami , FL; Jeremy Sovoy Jordan
Oakwood Adventist Academy Choir  – Huntsville , AL; Justin Jordan 
Takoma Academy Chorale – Takoma Park, MD; Lulu Mwangi Mupfumbu


Beck Junior High Chamber Orchestra – Katy, TX; Barbara Nelsen
Hanford H.S. Symphony Orchestra – Richland, WA; Christopher Newbury
Hildebrandt Intermediate School Chamber Orchestra – Spring, TX; Alexandra Jackson
Klein Collins H.S. Symphony Orchestra – Klein, TX; Carlos Lara
New World Youth Symphony Orchestra – Indianapolis, IN; Adam Bodony
Seven Lakes H.S. Symphony Orchestra – Katy, TX; Desiree Overree and John Mays
Seven Lakes H.S. Combined Orchestras – Katy, TX; Colleen Whatley
Seven Lakes H.S. Symphony Strings – Katy, TX; Desiree Overree

Percussion Ensembles

Ashley Ridge H.S. Percussion Ensemble – Summerville, SC; William Register
Creekview H.S. Percussion Ensemble – Carrollton, TX; Matthew Neal
DeKalb H.S. Percussion Ensemble – DeKalb, IL; Steven Lundin
Dickerson M.S. Percussion Ensemble – Marietta, GA; Scott Brown
Friendswood H.S. Percussion Ensemble – Friendswood, TX; Julio Sanchez
Klein Forest H.S. Percussion Ensemble – Houston, TX; Joseph MacMorran
Propser H.S. Percussion Ensemble – Prosper, TX; Michael Huestis
Seguin H.S. Percussion Ensemble – Seguin, TX; Craig Turner
Union H.S. Percussion Ensemble – Camas, WA; Mark  Claassen
University H.S. Percussion Ensemble – Orlando, FL; Jeffrey Willis

Middle School Bands

Bayside Intermediate School Wind Ensemble  – League City, TX; Kyle Mapp
Friendswood Junior High Symphonic Band – Friendswood, TX; Sarah Bennett
Hudson Bend M.S. Honors Band – Austin, TX; Ryan O'Donoghue
Kinard Core Knowledge M.S. Symphonic Band – Fort Collins, CO; Mike Perez
Krimmel Intermediate School Symphonic Band – Spring, TX; Sharon Kalisek
Mason M.S. Symphonic Winds  – Mason, OH; Jason Sleppy
West Ridge M.S. Wind Ensemble – Austin, TX; Susan Glover

Chamber Ensembles

Cypress Fairbanks ISD Honor Clarinet Choir – Houston, TX; Brian Drake
Cypress Falls H.S. Woodwind Quintet – Houston, TX; Mark Edenfield
Huntley H.S. Saxophone Quartet – Huntley, IL; Philip Carter
McLean H.S. Chamber Winds – McLean, VA; Deidra Denson
Mountain View H.S. Chamber Strings – Vancouver, WA; Sam Ormson
Salyards M.S. Flute Ensemble – Cypress, TX; Joe Glass
Victor J. Andrew H.S. Flute Quartet – Tinley Park, IL; Mark Iwinski

Featured Bands

Cherry Creek H.S. Wind Ensemble – Greenwood Village, CO; Tim Libby
Creekview H.S. Wind Symphony – Carrollton, TX; Arturo Denis
Cuthbertson H.S. Blue Note Winds – Waxhaw, NC; Todd Ebert
Cypress Ranch H.S. Wind Ensemble – Cypress, TX; Russell Holcombe
Dillard H.S. Wind Orchestra – Fort Lauderdale, FL; Sheldon McLean
Germantown H.S. Symphonic Band – Madison, MS; Justin Harvison
James W. Robinson Secondary School Symphonic Band  – Fairfax, VA; Andrew Loft
Jefferson Forest H.S. Wind Symphony – Forest, VA; David Webb
Jenks H.S. Wind Symphony – Jenks, OK; Scott Hillock
Klein Collins H.S. Wind Ensemble – Klein, TX; Chris Rugila
Lockport Township H.S. Wind Symphony – Lockport, IL; Brian Covey
Mansfield Legacy H.S. Wind Symphony – Mansfield, TX; Adam Hoffmann
Palmer Ridge H.S. Wind Ensemble – Monument, CO; Raleigh Eversole
Palo Verde H.S. Wind Orchestra – Las Vegas, NV; David Irish
Seven Lakes H.S. Wind Symphony  – Katy, TX; John Mays
University H.S. Wind Ensemble – Orange City, FL; David Martin

Invited Bands

Blacksburg H.S. Symphonic Band – Blacksburg , VA; Darrell Pearman
Chantilly H.S. Symphonic Winds – Chantilly, VA; Douglas Maloney
Conroe H.S. Wind Ensemble – Conroe, TX; Bobby Heathcock
Denver School of the Arts Wind Ensemble – Denver, CO; Dave Hammond
Evergreen H.S. Wind Symphony – Vancouver, WA; Brent Johnson
Joliet West H.S. Symphonic Band – Joliet, IL; Eric Wellman
Norcross H.S. Wind Symphony – Norcross, GA; Lee Newman
Parkway H.S. Wind Symphony – Bossier City, LA; Mark Minton
Sapulpa H.S. Wind Ensemble – Sapulpa, OK; Craig Amendt
West Boca Raton Community H.S. Wind Ensemble – Boca Raton, FL; Larry Shane