Music for All has determined we will be unable to hold an in-person Summer Symposium in 2021 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Please watch the full statement above, or read the transcript below.
FEB. 25 2021 – INDIANAPOLIS, IN – On behalf of our Music for All staff and board of directors, I hope that you and your family are well.
We know that this continues to be a difficult time for families, students, and teachers. However, this virus will not change student ability to grow and learn. Music for All is committed to providing experiences that help build resiliency and joy.
While this pandemic crisis presents challenges, it has also reminded us of the precious gifts of family, the boundless promise of children, and provided us with the opportunity to find new ways to serve students and teachers.
Music for All places the safety and well-being of our camp community and everyone associated with our programs and events as the highest priority.
Music for All has decided not to hold our Music for All Summer Symposium in 2021. We arrived at our decision in cooperation with our camp directors and coordinators, considering, including:
We did not make this decision quickly. It is based on input from health experts, program leaders, and Music for All’s decades of experience managing a successful camp.
There is hope! The data trends, and information related to the vaccination and mitigation efforts are encouraging. At Music for All, we are busy preparing for an exciting Bands of America Championship season this fall with 24 Regionals, Super Regionals, and the Grand National Championships.
We are also working on virtual summer learning experiences that will offer engaging and meaningful earning offerings. Stay tuned for those details in the coming weeks. You can sign up for updates at camp.musicforall.org.
On behalf of all of us at Music for All, I hope you have a safe and successful finish to this school year. We hope to see you at Bands of America this fall, and at our summer offerings in a few months!
Before becoming the renowned performing arts and STEM school that it is today, I.M. Terrell High School was a secondary school located in Fort Worth, Texas. The school opened in 1882 as the city's first public school for black students, during the era of formal segregation in the United States. The school was renamed I.M Terrell High School in 1921, in honor of the former principal. Under the legacy of G. A. Baxter, the music program in the mid-20th century produced many of the prominent jazz and rhythm and blues musicians of that era.
Since then, the school has been through extensive remodeling and expansions and is now the home of the I.M. Terrell Academy for STEM and VPA (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics and Visual and Performing Arts).
The campus combines the original historic school building with a new 65,000-square-foot performing arts center (PAC), connected by a unifying courtyard. It sits atop a hill with beautiful downtown views and is a beacon for the District and the community.
The PAC, featuring a 900-seat theatre, was a focal point, built to serve the many students focused on theatre, music, and other fine arts within the school, but to also serve the surrounding community.
The PAC expansion team included the school’s administration, Corgan Architects, WJHW Theatre Consultants, Batts Audio, Video and Lighting, Turner Construction and Wenger Corporation.
It was important to preserve the historical nature of the century-old school everywhere except the new performing arts center. The new center would house the latest technology and top-notch equipment to best serve the needs of the variety of performances held there.
“We have other performance venues in Fort Worth, but this would be the perfect size not only for the school but for the district and the community. We have various arts organizations that are always looking for affordable space,” said Christina Walk, Head of Visual and Performing Arts at I.M. Terrell. “We worked with community partners who all agreed that the acoustics were important to make every type of performance sound great.”
“We met with all of the different groups who would be using the space,” explained Jason Mellard, Architect with Corgan. “We talked with every teacher, fine arts directors, music directors and anyone to make sure we met their needs.”
WJHW recommended installing a Wenger Diva® Acoustical Shell with a maple veneer finish. The shell has ten towers and three rows of ceilings.
“We coordinated and communicated frequently with the theatre consultants and structural and mechanical engineers,” Mellard said. “We needed to make sure we supported the weight properly, provided power where it needed to be, and coordinated with the contractor to ensure conditions were correct before installing the shell. There’s always that nitty-gritty detail of the specific dimensions to ensure everything lines up perfectly.”
“The shell can be set up in any configuration very quickly and very safely,” said Director of Dance and Theatre with the Fort Worth Independent School District. He loves having a new space with the latest technology to use at the school and share with the community. “To be able to tuck those large units up into the fly loft when not in use is pretty amazing.”
As the shell was being designed, Mark Batts, CEO of Batts Audio, Video and Lighting (AVL) suggested the move away from incandescent lighting. He recommended multi-colored lighting in and around the stage area.
“Being able to bring them multi-colored LEDs made an impact, Batts said. “One of the first performances they hosted in that space was the United States Air Force Band. The combination of the color and some moving heads that we installed provided an extra bit of flare.”
Batts says they also installed accent strips that provide another unique element.
“I love having the opportunity to bring those fun things into spaces,” he said. “You want your client to say, ‘Wow, I’ve only seen this on Broadway.’ That’s your highest compliment.”
Batts also managed the theatre’s rigging, choosing J.R. Clancy products across the board. They installed three Titan® Hoists, 28 PowerLift® Hoists, a fire curtain line shaft hoist, and a SceneControl 15 with a remote operating pendant.
“We really appreciated that Wenger was very deliberate in making sure we knew how things worked,” said Tim Brendler, Head of the Visual and Performing Arts Department. “Our entire team appreciated that they walked us through every element and possible configuration. The flexibility that it affords us is wonderful.”
The stage includes a custom-designed STRATA® Orchestra Pit Filler, which can be quickly installed with only a small crew. It provides strong support above and open space below with an innovative column-beam design. The acoustically dampened decks fit snugly against the stage to create an extremely quiet, integrated surface.
A Black Box Theatre provides a separate, smaller performance space where Wenger’s StageTek® Seated Risers and Staging equipment can be configured in a variety of ways. There is also a portable sound system with different places to plug in the speakers and LED lighting with a dimmer rack to set the mood for any given performance.
“We can host a larger audience by placing seated risers around the entire room and then performing in the round,” Brendler said. They have hosted robotics competitions and small theatre productions, too. Similar to the shell in the theatre, he says the flexibility of the risers is key.
“It’s great to have so many different levels,” he said. “When hosting show choir competitions, it is great to be able to quickly and easily manipulate the configuration.”
The new wing also included band, orchestra, and choral rooms.
The band room houses Wenger Nota® chairs and Roughneck music stands, AcoustiCabinets® that line the walls for instrument storage, and four Soundlok® Sound Isolation Rooms with VAE® technology for individuals and small groups to practice.
The rooms are 25 percent quieter than others and have the correct amount of absorption and diffusion so the musician can clearly hear the best possible sound. Virtual acoustics allow students to hear themselves play in different performance spaces and get immediate feedback with record/playback during the practice session.
“When the students are in school, those rooms are used all day every day,” explained Brendler. “They give the students a safe space where they can practice in private. The record, playback, and other capabilities are fun and give them extra incentive to get their practice time in.”
There are already plans to add instrument repair and piano tuning classes which could be held in the ensemble rooms.
The nearby choral room includes a whiteboard for teacher notes, Nota chairs, StageTek risers, Rack ‘N Roll® Garment Racks, four more Soundlok Sound Isolation Rooms, and eight music library units.
Sound and video systems in the choral and band rooms have integrated processors connecting them with each other as well as the auditorium. If they host a large program or competition, the performers waiting in the band room can hear and see what’s happening in the auditorium to gauge when it’s their turn to perform.
“Everyone loves these rooms dedicated to the band, orchestra, and choir,” said Walk. “They were well designed, and the windows offer spectacular views of downtown Fort Worth.”
The new PAC is stunning and impressive by all accounts. Wide hallways lead to generous specialty classrooms with all of the latest technology and useful equipment. Everything about it is impressive.
“The community loves it. The symphony plays there, the opera plays there and the Texas Ballet Theater plans to return with their annual Nutcracker performance. When it opened, it was always packed and has made a tremendous difference for the district and the community,” said Mellard.
“The Diva shell and the variety of spaces enable us to do what we love: collaborate to a higher degree at a professional level,” said Brendler.
And the extra effort to get the sound right was well worth it.
“Everyone loves this space,” said Walk. “If it didn’t have excellent acoustics, it wouldn’t have been worth building. In this hall, everything sounds great.”
Many of us are taxed from online learning. It is an unavoidable situation that has many educators reinventing music classes from the ground up. If you’re craving a taste of “normal" opportunities for your students, Music for All has spring semester educational experiences that can help.
Music for All is offering opportunities for schools to perform live from their home communities and share the amazing things your students are creating with the world. This past fall, participating ensembles in our Live Showcases valued the opportunity to perform this fall sharing scholastic performances from around the country through our online viewing platform. Each performance was broadcast in real time on video.musicforall.org so families and communities could see what their students were able to accomplish.
For many schools, COVID-19 safety guidelines prevent the gathering of an audience to see what great work your students are doing. Music for All’s Live Showcases provide a way to share your performance safely with audience members across the country.
With the same equipment you use to conduct virtual classes, you can stream your performance to Music for All. Music for All can take a stream from your school via phone, tablet, or camera and broadcast it to an audience through video.musicforall.org. This is not a pre-recorded video take. This is live, in the moment.
We think it is important to provide an opportunity for students to get that pre-performance flutter, energy, and experience that only comes with live performance. Plus, you can share this opportunity with parents and community members so that they can enjoy what your students have worked so hard to achieve. Best yet, supporters can watch from their homes in a safe environment.
We know that everyone has different restrictions, rehearsal times, number of students, and opportunities. Music for All believes in the importance of sharing your successes – no matter what that looks like this year. This is important not only for your students, but for the community and world to see that music education is alive and students and teachers are working together to do amazing work.
Every ensemble has the opportunity to receive evaluator feedback on their performance opportunity. A panel of three renowned music educators will be selected to provide audio feedback about your group’s performance. They will be watching your performance live as it happens and recording real-time feedback that will be sent to you just a few minutes after your performance is complete.
Music for All Live Showcases are $100 for a 15-minute performance opportunity.
Adding performance evaluation brings the total cost to $275 for a 15-minute performance and feedback from three evaluators.
Tickets for spectators are $15 per household or device. Purchasing a “ticket” is the equivalent of purchasing one login, so you can watch solo or as a household.
Enroll your ensemble today at instruction.musicforall.org!
The Patrick John Hughes Parent Booster Award recognizes the extraordinary commitment, dedication, support, and sacrifice of music parents and boosters across the nation by shining a spotlight on a recipient who exemplifies these qualities.
The award is named in honor of Patrick John Hughes, the father of Patrick Henry Hughes. Patrick Henry is a remarkable young man who, despite physical challenges that would seem overwhelming to many, has excelled as a musician and student, singing and playing piano and trumpet with the Louisville Marching and Pep Bands, with the help of his father, who tirelessly maneuvers his son’s wheelchair through the formations with the other 220+ members of the Cardinal Marching Band.
During Music for All’s Live Pledge Event on November 14, 2020, the 2020 Patrick John Hughes Parent Booster award was awarded to Bill Montgomery of Bellbrook High School, OH.
Mr. Montgomery has been a dedicated volunteer with Bellbrook High School in Ohio since 2005 when his daughter joined the band as a flute player. Over the last fifteen years, he has served as trustee, chairman, and pit dad. No matter his role, Bill has always been there for every single musician at Bellbrook. His fellow band boosters say Bill genuinely cares about the kids in the band - he learns their names and what they play, and he always has a high five and words of encouragement for them.
Bill is Bellbrook’s resident master pizza maker, an essential aspect of Bellbrook band’s concession stand fundraising efforts. Beyond this culinary duty, Bill volunteers his time to build props, attend parades and competitions, and train new pit dads. Bill is known for taking new volunteers under his wing to show them the ropes and make them feel welcome. His humble, passionate work ethic sets the tone for other parents and volunteers.
“Year after year, the Bellbrook Band has been the fortunate beneficiary of Bill’s extraordinary character and true selflessness. I am lucky indeed to know him, and even luckier that he chooses to spend his valuable time working for this organization,” says Barbara Siler, director of bands at Bellbrook High School.
Congratulations Mr. Montgomery!
Music for All has announced that Eric L. Martin will be the first inductee into the newly-named Music for All Hall of Fame.
Providing more than 25 years of continuous service, Eric L. Martin was the Chief Executive Officer of Music for All (MFA). Mr. Martin served first on Music for All’s Board of Directors, followed by positions as MFA’s Associate Executive Director, then Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, until being appointed as CEO in 2010, a role in which he served until April 2020. He currently serves as Interim President of ScholarshipAuditions.com.
During his tenure as Music for All’s CEO, Mr. Martin championed initiatives that strengthened the organization’s fiscal position, expanded its organizational capacity, and consistently increased the number of students, teachers, and others directly served by Music for All.
Mr. Martin is a member of several Indianapolis and Indiana boards of directors. He is an honors graduate of Dartmouth College. He also holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Michigan Law School and has been admitted by exam to the District of Columbia and State of Georgia bar associations.
A Certified Festivals and Events Executive, he is Past Chairman of the Board of Directors of the International Festivals and Events Association and an inductee into the Miller Brewing Hall of Fame, the highest honor awarded by IFEA. In August, Mr. Martin received the 2020 Outstanding PAS Supporter Award from the Percussive Arts Society.
Prior to joining Music for All, Mr. Martin earned national event production credits for some of America’s largest events, including the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games, the World University Games, San Francisco’s Chinese New Year Parade, Philadelphia’s Bicentennial Parade, and the “Operation Welcome Home” Ticker Tape Parade in New York, celebrating America’s victory in the first Persian Gulf War. In 1993, Mr. Martin won a Regional Emmy® for his production of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Holiday Parade on SuperStation TBS.
A native of Greenville, MS, Mr. Martin participated instrumental music programs throughout high school and college. In 1971, he was one of the first African Americans inducted into the Greenville High School Hall of Fame.
Music for All’s Bands of America Hall of Fame debuted in 2003, recognizing individuals who have had a positively life-changing impact through Music for All and Bands of America programs, as well as in music education. With Mr. Martin’s induction on Saturday evening, November 14, the Hall of Fame will be renamed the Music for All Hall of Fame, signaling a widening to recognize leaders in all areas of scholastic music.
Mr. Martin will be recognized as an inductee during an online broadcast, All Together Now!, a live pledge event benefitting Music for All’s educational programs. The show will include the virtual induction ceremony, alongside special performances, celebrity messages of support, and awards ceremonies that typically occur during Music for All live events.
The live pledge event takes place on Saturday evening, November 14, from 6:00-9:00 PM EST, on what would have been the evening of the Bands of America Grand National Championship Finals in Lucas Oil Stadium. The broadcast will take place online at musicforall.org/alltogethernow. The Grand National Championships and all Bands of America and Music for All events were cancelled in 2020 due to pandemic health and safety concerns.
Music for All is pleased to announce the United States Marine Corps as National Presenting Sponsor for its 2020 programs and events.
“We are thrilled to have the U.S. Marine Corps join us and support our mission to create, provide, and expand positively life-changing experiences,” said Jeremy Earnhart, President and CEO of Music for All. “The U.S. Marines exemplify leadership and character. Alongside the Marines’ core values of honor, courage, and commitment, these are qualities that young people learn through their participation in school music and that Music for All instills through our educational programs.”
“The United States Marine Corps looks forward to beginning a mutually beneficial relationship with Music for All as a partner in their member programming,” said Lieutenant Colonel Christian Devine, National Director of Marketing and Communication. “We are honored to extend our support to band, orchestra, and choral music educators across the country and look forward to forming invaluable relationships throughout our engagement with the Music for All community.”
The U.S. Marines’ National Presenting Sponsorship will support Music for All and its programs and events through 2020. Music for All developed new programming to serve music educators during the time of the pandemic, including educational webinars, virtual performance opportunities, remote feedback and workshops for students and teachers. The U.S. Marines presence during the fall programming will include performances, U.S. Marines Pre-Show for the Music for All Live Showcases, and student workshops with Marines musicians.
Music for All is celebrating 45 years in 2020. The organization’s advocacy efforts help to ensure access and opportunity for music education for all children in their scholastic environment. Music for All’s programs and events include the Bands of America Grand National Championships and Regional Championships for marching bands; the Music for All Summer Symposium camp for students and teachers; the Music for All National Festival for bands, orchestras, choirs, percussion and chamber ensembles; Affiliate Regional Music Festivals held across America; and national student honor ensembles including the Bands of America Honor Band that will march for the fifth time in the Rose Parade® in 2022.
Music for All continues to assess how we can best serve the needs of school music programs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the current uncertainty of many schools’ changing learning environments plus community concerns about safety, Music for All has announced today that it will be unable to present the 2021 Music for All National Festival, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision was made after several months of consultations with music educators and our educational advisors, in the interest of the health, safety, and wellness of all associated with the Festival. The well-being of the students, teachers, volunteers, and communities associated with our programs remains our number one priority. Music for All made the decision at this time out of respect for the planning required for schools and ensembles, and the process of facility and venue preparations.
The impact of COVID-19 on Music for All was initially felt with the early conclusion of our 2020 Festival in March, followed by the subsequent cancellations of our June Summer Symposium and the Bands of America 2020 Championship season. With this decision for the 2021 Festival, we share in the deep disappointment of performing students, teachers, and boosters from schools who were aiming to apply for this prestigious event. We hope that the decision will allow directors to focus their energies on the unique task of teaching this semester and for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year.
Music for All remains committed to providing significant educational programs. We recently announced our remote learning and virtual live performance opportunities for the fall. We will continue to offer these virtual experiences in the winter and spring of 2021. Visit instruction.musicforall.org to learn more and sign up.
Music for All is launching special donation campaigns in October and November, in order to sustain the organization through the impact of the pandemic and to continue to offer our educational programs. “We hope that our followers and participants will watch for these special fundraising events, culminating with a special online event with special guests on November 14,” said Neil Larrivee, Vice President of Mission Advancement. Details will be announced soon on the upcoming donation campaigns.
Thank you to all of the music educators, clinicians, event staff, volunteers, and donors who have supported Music for All during this difficult time. We continue to work toward – and look forward to – the time when we can gather in person to make music together again.
Music for All is saddened by the passing of Dr. Karen Kennedy, a founding member of the Music for All Choral Artistic Committee. Dr. Kennedy’s insights and vibrant inspiration were instrumental in the early development of the Music for All National Choir Festival.
Dr. Kennedy was the Director of Choral Studies at the University of Miami, where she oversaw the DMA and MM programs in choral conducting. Previous to her appointment at Miami, she held positions as the Director of Choral Activities at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, Artistic Director of the Honolulu Symphony Chorus, and Director of Choral Studies at Towson University.
Outside of her work in academics, Karen enjoyed leading festival performances, most recently in notable venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Mormon Tabernacle, the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm, Sweden, St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, Canterbury Cathedral in England, and multiple venues in Austria. Off the podium, Dr. Kennedy was passionate about leading workshops on innovative rehearsal technique, vocal pedagogy and the choral classroom, and music literacy, garnering invitations nationally and internationally for teaching residencies at established festivals and retreats.
Equally at home working with orchestra, Dr. Kennedy conducted fine ensembles including the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra, the Miami Symphony, the Boca Raton Philharmonic, and the Symphony of the Americas. She prepared choruses for a wide range of events, from performances on MTV to collaborations with the Cleveland Orchestra. NAXOS released two recordings with her ensembles in spring 2017, joining her featured choir performance on the Latin Grammy-winning album Loco de Amor.v
Dr. Kennedy received numerous awards for teaching, including the University of Hawai’i Chancellor’s Citation for Meritorious Teaching, and Arizona State University’s Manzanita “Top Prof” Award and was a two-time recipient of the Lawrence Township Schools Superintendent’s Award. She was a past-president of the Hawai’i Chapter of the America Choral Directors Association (ACDA), founding member of the National Collegiate Choral Organization (NCCO), a past Repertoire and Standards Chair for Collegiate Choirs in ACDA’s Eastern Division, and maintained an active student ACDA chapter at the University of Miami.
“Karen was my student at Butler University, an esteemed colleague, and a friend,” said Henry Leck, Artistic Director of Choral Activities at Music for All. “She was beloved by her students and all those who witnessed her inspirational passion as a teacher and conductor.”
Music for All is pleased to welcome Neil Larrivee as Vice President of Mission Advancement. Mr. Larrivee will play a crucial part of Music for All’s current efforts to lead through the challenging times of the pandemic with new and expanded fundraising efforts through donations, grants, and new sponsorships. Looking forward, Mr. Larrivee’s vast experience and knowledge of the music industry will help support a strong Music for All long into the future.
Mr. Larrivee was the Vice President of Drumstick & Mallet Innovation for the Avedis Zildjian Company. For 34 years, Neil played a unique role in the overall growth of Vic Firth while also coordinating its music industry leading education program. In 2016, he was responsible for bringing together both the Zildjian and Vic Firth Education staffs into a single, fully integrated department. Most recently he was responsible for drumstick and mallet product innovation for Zildjian, Vic Firth & Mike Balter Mallet brands.
Outside of Zildjian, Neil has over 40 years of music teaching experience within the marching band, drum corps, and indoor marching percussion activities as well as private lesson instruction resulting in his induction into The Cadets Drum & Bugle Corps, Winter Guard International, Massachusetts Drum Corps and Music Educators Hall of Fame.
Neil is an active clinician and adjudicator in the marching band and indoor percussion arena. As an avid concert attendee, Neil will often be found taking in live performances of jazz, orchestral, or contemporary chamber music in Boston or wherever his travels may take him.
“With a decorated multi-decade career in the music education and business world, Neil will be a resource for all facets of Music for All, which includes the shouldering of responsibilities which will allow others to shift focus as we retool MFA for the realities of the years to come,” said Jeremy L. Earnhart, President and CEO of Music for All.
Headquartered in downtown Indianapolis, Music for All is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit educational organization that uniquely combines regional and national music education programming with awareness and advocacy efforts aimed at ensuring and expanding access to music in schools and communities.
Schools across America are in the midst of finalizing their plans for the start of the 2020-2021 school year. After thoughtful conversations over several months with enrolled directors, educational consultants and advisors, and several state associations, Music for All has announced today that it is unable to present its 2020 Bands of America Championships due to the many challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision was recommended by the Music for All staff and affirmed by the Music for All Board of Directors.
We are facing uncertain and unprecedented times, and the health, safety and wellness of the students, band directors, staff, volunteers, spectators, and others associated with our programs remain our number one priority.
With this extraordinary development, we share in the deep disappointment of the thousands of performing students, teachers, and supporters.
Music for All remains committed to providing educational opportunities this fall. We are offering several remote evaluation opportunities in order to provide quality feedback from BOA adjudicators and MFA evaluators, and goal-oriented experiences to motivate and inspire students during this unusual time. Details on how to sign up for remote evaluation and virtual performance opportunities will be announced soon.
We will begin work right away on the 2021 Bands of America Championship season, in order to announce the 2021 schedule and open registrations later this fall. We cannot wait to see you all on the field and in the concert hall in the future.
Thank you to all of the music educators, adjudicators, event staff, volunteers, and fans who have continued to support Music for All during this difficult time. We will get through this together. Music for All continues to be here for you to provide positively life-changing experiences through music for all and to do everything we can to ensure that we all make sure music in our schools is stronger than ever in the future.
As with most of us, Music for All has been greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Ticket sales and event-related revenue from our Bands of America Championships is normally what sustains us year-round, serving more than 150,000 student and teacher participants each year.
In spite of current challenges, Music for All has been offering online learning opportunities for students and educators – and we want to continue to offer online guidance and peer support for teachers as we all work to make the most of this school year.
Your gift today will help Music for All to overcome current financial challenges and continue to promote and support music education, at a time when students need music and the arts the most.
Your Donation Makes a Difference: https://www.musicforall.org/ways-to-give/give-now