The Music for All Blog
The Music for All Blog



Music for All is honored to have Dr. André J. Thomas as Guest Conductor and Stacey V. Gibbs as Composer-in-Residence for the 2019 National Choir Festival!

André J. Thomas, conductor, composer, professor and author, is the Owen F. Sellers Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities and Professor of Choral Music Education at Florida State University. He currently serves as president-elect for the American Choral Directors Association. Artist Director, Henry Leck, stated “It is with excitement and pleasure that I look forward to welcoming and co-conducting with the incredible Dr. Andre Thomas at the Music for All National Choir Festival 2019 in Indianapolis.  Dr. Thomas has been a friend for over 30 years … an icon … and a mentor to all of us in the choral profession. We are so honored to include him in this festival.”

Stacey V. Gibbs is a prolific and highly sought-after composer-arranger. Best known for arrangements of spirituals, he is highly acclaimed for his ability to infuse new energy into familiar works without sacrificing their authenticity or power. Lori Lobsiger, Choral Program Coordinator said, “Watching Gibbs interact with singers in 2018, the energy and encouragement he showered upon the young singers underscored his commitment to the support and development of young people through music.”  In preparing for the 2019 National Choir Festival, Gibbs announced, “I am elated to serve as composer-in-residence for the 2019 National Choir Festival, March, 2019.  We will present a commissioned composition titled ‘Music Helps Me Make It Through the Day’ for chorus, solo and orchestra.  Please mark your calendars and join us!”

Thursday, September 20, 2018

LIVE BLOG: West Texas Regional

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Thursday, September 13, 2018

New Music for All affiliate marching event

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Music for All is proud to announce our newest affiliate event – and the first Music for All affiliate marching event – the Power Band Classic Invitational Contest, a Music for All Affiliate Marching Band Regional Event in Percy, Arkansas, Saturday, October 13, at Lake Hamilton High School.

This new partnership with the Power Band Classic marks the first “Music for All” affiliate marching band contest. The partnership will enable both organizations to enrich the musical experience of students through the marching arts. Music for All President and CEO Eric Martin will be at the affiliate event, greeting participating bands “at the gate.”

For information about the Power Band Classic Invitational Content, an Affiliate Marching Band Regional of Music for All, please visit:

For more information about about Music for All schedule of Affiliate Regional Music Festivals, please visit us here.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

5 New Things You’ll Love in Indy This Fall

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Whether you venture to Indy for Super Regionals or Grand Nationals, here are five new things in store for you and your families in the Circle City.

Riley Children’s Health Sports Legends Experience at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
A brand new 7.5 acre expansion of the world’s largest children’s museum takes advantage of Indy’s rich sports heritage. Partnerships with the NBA Pacers, NFL Colts, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and Pete and Alice Dye create 12 interactive experiences for kids and adults of all ages and abilities.

Long-Tailed Macaques at The Indianapolis Zoo
Watch these swimming monkeys confidently dive, jump, and splash in their water habitat, at the zoo’s latest permanent exhibit.

The Reel West at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art
All fans of Westerns will enjoy a look at Hollywood’s costumes, props, paintings, movie posters, and imagery from early silent Westerns through today.

Indianapolis Colts – The Exhibit at the Indiana Historical Society
Take a look back at how this NFL team has captured the hearts and loyalty of Central Indiana fans since 1984. The exhibit explores football’s role in American culture through hands-on activities, player interviews, and original artifacts.

Craft Breweries are Now Kid Friendly
The city’s most established craft brewery now welcomes the under 21 crowd for food and fun. Sun King Brewery partnered with Goose the Market to open Oca restaurant in their downtown tasting room. St. Joseph’s, Triton, Scotty’s, Books and Brews, Broad Ripple Brewpub, and Brugge are also notable kid-friendly spots.

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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 prepares students 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.

Take a virtual tour of the campus at Learn more by visiting or calling 765-285-5400.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

2018 Northern California Stadium Confirmed

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We are excited to confirm that the Bands of America Northern California Regional Championship will take place at Diablo Valley College!

For more information on tickets and how to live stream the event, please visit the Regional page.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Music for All Affiliate Choral Festival

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Music for All is proud to announce Georgia Southern University will host its 4th annual Southern Invitational High School Choral Competition and Festival in its second year of collaboration with Music for All.  After reviewing numerous applications and recordings, the music faculty of Georgia Southern will host 15 selected choirs from Georgia and South Carolina on October 18 and 19  in Statesboro, Georgia.

Over 400 students have the opportunity to receive evaluation from and work with master teachers Dr. Kent Hatteberg, Music for All Choral Artistic Committee Member and Director of Choral Activities at University of Louisville; Mr. Ryan Marsh, Music for All ENVOY member and Choral Director at Lafayette High School in Lexington, KY; and Dr. Sara Lynn Baird, Professor Department of Music, College of Liberal Arts, Auburn University.

Dr. Shannon Jeffreys, Director of Choral Activities, and Dr. David Langley, Assistant Director of Choral Activities at Georgia Southern will be joined by vocal/choral faculty to offer private voice instruction and many diverse sessions and activities. Georgia Southern University choral students will perform in concert for participating choirs as they continue to work hard to make memories for the high school students and directors. Dr. Jeffreys stated “We look forward to announcing all of our winners in mid-October and hope they will apply for the Music for All National Choir Festival in 2020!”

As a Music for All Affiliate Festival, each participating choir will receive a scholarship toward application for the 2020 National Choir Festival in Indianapolis where Artistic Director, Henry Leck will be joined by Guest Conductor, Elena Sharkova; Composer in Residence, Rosephanye Powell; Evaluator-Clinicians: Angela Broeker, Rollo Dilworth, Eric Stark, Ly Wilder, Brandon Boyd, Joseph Flummerfelt, Jason Max Ferdinand; and Guest Choir, the Oakwood Aeolians. Visit for more information on the Music for All National Choir Festival.

Please join us in welcoming Jessica Morgan to the Marketing Department as a Marketing Coordinator!

As Marketing Coordinator, Morgan’s responsibilities include maintaining web, digital, and print materials, assisting with preparation for Music for All’s presence at national conventions, updating and maintaining Bands of America announcer scripts, design, and various marketing projects.

"We are very pleased to have Jessica join Music for All's marketing team," says Debbie Laferty Asbill, Vice President of Marketing and Communications. "Jessica gained experience helping and talking with our participants and supporters in her previous role with Music for All. As part of the marketing team, she now brings that spirit of service and background in marketing to our efforts to promote and share our programming and music education advocacy."

Jessica joined Music for All in February 2018 as the Administrative Assistant/Receptionist. She graduated from Indiana State University in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in Music Business with a focus on Marketing and Product Merchandising. During her collegiate career Jessica served as President of Sigma Alpha Iota, as well as the manager of the ISU Flute Choir. Morgan is originally from Terre Haute, IN and is a proud alumna of Terre Haute North Vigo High School. While attending Terre Haute North, she was highly active in the Music and Theater departments. 

Join us in congratulating Jessica on this much deserved promotion. We are thrilled that she will continue to help support Music for All's mission to create, provide, and expand positively life-changing experiences through Music for All!

Director of Bands at O’Fallon Township High School 

Dr. Gustafson-Hinds grew up in the small town of Monmouth, IL. The band program was fairly small, but Melissa says the director’s love for music and kids inspired her to pursue a career involving music. In addition to playing oboe at Monmouth, Dr. G (as her students call her), was also a baton twirler and dancer.

Melissa was unsure about her path as a teacher. Her mother was a teacher, so she figured that maybe this is a family gene that was passed down to her. What she does know is that growing up, she always felt her band program lacked resources, but she never knew exactly what those resources were. Although her band directors were amazing, she knew that the lack of resources prevented them from doing more in the band world. Dr. Gustafson-Hinds says that because of this, “My number one thing that I do as a teacher right now is to make sure I'm providing all the students a multitude of experiences within my power and resources that we have.”

Once her time in Monmouth concluded, Dr. G attended Illinois State University as an oboe player and conductor for the marching band, where she was first introduced to teaching. After a while, she decided that it was time to go and put her own stamp on things. At that point, she moved to Southern Illinois and ended up at O’Fallon Township High School, where she has now served 10 years out of her 24 years of teaching.

“I think my passion, at least for music education is providing just amazing experiences for kids”, Melissa says. Not only is Dr. Gustafson-Hinds the Director of Bands at O’Fallon, but she also serves as Department Chair, where she is involved with the choirs as well.

As she oversees O’Fallon’s marching band, wind ensemble, symphonic winds, symphonic band, and Milburn band, Dr. G oftentimes takes a step away from the music. She believes that it is important for her students to “learn to be people”. They need to be able to show up on time, always be prepared, work together with others, be positive, and be respectful to everyone. Many of these lessons are naturally portrayed to her students in the way she conducts rehearsals. As her former student at O’Fallon, I know that these are her standard expectations aside from showing up and playing your instrument.

“I think through band, there's so many things that they can learn despite being just great people. And besides giving them amazing experiences, I'm hoping that as they go through the program at O'Fallon Township High School, they end up being really amazing people, and that they can venture and then do their own thing.”

One of Melissa’s largest takeaways as a teacher is networking. She finds it very important to find someone that can be your go-to person. Nobody knows all of the answers, but there is always someone more experienced that may be willing to help. This is one reason why she loves the Midwest Clinic and Music for All. She says,“If you're at those marching band events, there's everybody around, or a concert band event or anything like that, it's a really great place to meet really fabulous educators that understand who you are”. Dr. G understands that, “because we're kind of on little islands, in a way, some people understand what you do, but not completely, because they're not living it.”

Dr. G believes that the best teachers are always learning. She tries to remain available to others because she knows that others have always been available to her.

Both Melissa and her students take the marching season very seriously. To them, Grand Nationals is not only an opportunity to perform, but it is an opportunity to learn. She considers herself blessed that she has a team that supports her ideas and visions. She believes in Music for All and our vision, and that has helped get her students to where they are now.

Dr. Melissa Gustafson-Hinds is all around an amazing woman, mentor, mother, and friend. She does a phenomenal job teaching her students to not only be fantastic musicians, but to be truly amazing people. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to study under her in my high school years. Without her guidance, I would not have the opportunity to share her story as a Music for All Marketing Intern.

Thank you Dr. G for being an extraordinary music educator!

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Music for All has named Karissa Mills as Administrative Assistant/Receptionist.

Mills joins Music for All full-time after completing a six-month internship with the Advancement Department. During her internship, Mills projects included: sponsorship fulfillment support, donor relations support, grant research, and assisting with the coordination of the Yamaha Directors’ Academy Scholarship program for the 2018 Music for All Summer Symposium. As Administrative Assistant/Receptionist, Mills is the first point of contact for those who visit and call the office. Her responsibilities include general administrative tasks, preparing documents and correspondence, conducting data entry for applications that are received, being attuned of staff schedules, meetings, and travel, and general upkeep of the office.

“We are delighted to have Karissa Mills join the Music for All team,” said Norman Lasiter, Office Manager and Executive Assistant to the CEO and COO. “Relying on solid education and experience in music and business and her passion for the arts, Karissa will contribute meaningfully to our organization and the delivery of its mission. I’m excited to have another “product” of band join the team.”

Mills graduated from Indiana State University with a Bachelor of Science in Music Business. She was also a part of the Sigma Alpha Iota music fraternity for women, where she served as the Vice President of Ritual and Sergeant-at-Arms.