Watch live video of A Celebration of the Life and Legacy of George N. Parks on Saturday, October 16, beginning at approximately 11:30 a.m. The video will remain on this site after the event.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst celebrates the life and legacy of Professor George N. Parks, who led the Minuteman Marching Band to national prominence during his 33-year tenure. Professor Parks was in the BOA Hall of Fame, led his Drum Major Academy of the Music for All Summer Symposium and directed the BOA Honor Band in the 2009 and 2005 Tournament of Roses Parade.

Professor Parks died September 16 after suffering a heart attack following a performance with the band at an Ohio high school.

Music for All is seeking volunteers to round out our event staff team for the Bands of America Regional Championship at Pontiac, Michigan, in the Silverdome, this Saturday, October 9. Volunteers are needed for a variety of positions for the evening Finals shift.

If you’re able to volunteer for a Finals shift, in addition to our heartfelt appreciation and a volunteer t-shirt, we will donate $5 per hour for your work during the event to the Booster Organization of your choice. two Grand Nationals Finals tickets

Although we still have needs for the daytime shifts, at this point we're very much still in need of Finals shifts. Shifts are available at three different times of day:

‘Morning’ – Beginning between 7am and 9 am and lasting until Noon or 1 pm.

‘Afternoon’ – Beginning around Noon or 1 pm and lasting until around 5 pm.

‘Evening’ – Beginning around 6:30 pm and lasting until the end of Finals competition.

To sign up, or for more information, e-mail Larry Harper at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your name and phone number.  Experience is not necessary and students, parents, boosters and fans of the activity are all welcome to sign-up.  If you do have previous experience please include that information in your e-mail so that we may assign volunteers to areas which most strongly meet their skill set.

Please help us make this a positively life-changing experience for the participating bands as we return to the Silverdome!

Larry Harper, Event Coordinator, Music for All

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

MFA text and dial-to-give

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As many of you know, Music for All is a not-for-profit organization, which means we can apply for grants and can accept donations from our supporters.  Admission fees, ticket sales, and sponsorships also cover the costs of much of what we do -- and no matter how you support MFA, be it through a charitable gift, ticket purchases, or other means, we really appreciate everything you do. 

For the past couple of years we've looked for fun and easy ways for our friends, family, and fans to make charitable donations in support of our mission to create, provide, and expand positively life-changing experiences through music for all.  This work has ranged from programs like the Doster Challenge to the Alumni Campaign, when over 1,700 new donors made their first gifts to our Annual Fund!  These initiatives were successful, a lot of fun, and did a considerable amount of good for MFA.

Now we've just launched another easy and fun program that allows you to make a contribution. It's our "Text-to-Give and Dial-to-Give" program.  In less than a couple of minutes you can make a pledge of support to Music for All just by using your mobile phone. 

If you'd like to give it a try and make your pledge, dial 1-866-687-4261 or (1-866-MUSIC 61) and listen to a message from Chuck Henson, the Voice of Bands of America OR just text MUSIC to 86132. We’ll send you a letter a few days later with instructions on how to fulfill your pledge.  If you have questions about texting or dialing to give, send us an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Give it a try, pledge your support to music education, and let us know how you like this new way to give.  Thanks!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Remembering the incomparable George Parks

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All of us at Music for All are heartbroken by the sudden passing of our dear friend and colleague George N. Parks Thursday night. George has been a member of the Music for All and Bands of America family and programs for decades, with our summer camp and as director of the 2005 and 2009 Bands of America Tournament of Roses Parade Honor Band. He profoundly impacted the lives of tens of thousands of young people and all of us in the Music for All family. Please join us in remembering George and keeping his family and the UMass family in our thoughts and prayers.

Read news story

Looking Back at the 2005 Tournament of Roses

This footage is from the documentary that was produced for the 2005 Band. Take a moment to hear some timeless comments from George and remember the excitement of the parade.

oconnor_webMusic for All is proud to announce that Grammy Award-winning violinist/composer/fiddler Mark O'Connor will be guest soloist with the Honor Orchestra of America at the 2011 Music for All National Festival, March 17-19 in Indianapolis. Larry J. Livingston, University of Souther California, will conduct.

MFA has also extended the application/audition deadline for strings for the 2011 Honor Orchestra until October 15.

If you are familiar with O'Connor, then you already know how exciting this is. If not, here's just a sample of what folks say about his performances:

"One of the most spectacular journeys in recent American music." —New York Times

"One of the most talented and imaginative... working in music -- any music -- today." —Los Angeles Times

"Brilliantly original." —Seattle Times

O'Connor is widely recognized as one of the most gifted contemporary composers in America and surely one of the brightest talents of his generation. The Seattle Times writes: "No matter what he plays, when you’re listening to O’Connor, you know you’re listening to genius." Mark O'Connor incorporates many musical styles and genres into a sound that is uniquely his own. As noted by The Los Angeles Times, Mark O’Connor has "crossed over so many boundaries, that his style is purely personal."

The Honor Orchestra of America will perform two shared concerts with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra at Hilbert Circle Theatre, March 18 and 19.

Learn more about the orchestra and download the application and audition requirements.

I enjoyed this remembrance of William P. Foster by Daniel Pink, author of Drive and A Whole New Mind. Dr. Foster, famed director of the crowd-rousing Florida A&M Marching 100died Saturday in Tallahassee, Fla. He was 91.

Posted by Debbie Laferty Asbill

Music for All is offering new, lower ticket prices at Bands of America Regional Championships and we’ve held prices steady at the Super Regionals. We know that as the economy continues on the road to recovery, families are still looking to keep costs down. Even though the costs to Music for All for the BOA Championships go up, we’re committed to not passing those increased costs to ticket buyers in 2010.

Congratulations to the ensembles that have been invited to perform at the 2011 Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha, March 17-19 in Indianapolis. Ensembles were invited following a recorded audition process, evaluated by a panel of music educators.

Deadline for nominations: September 24

The Patrick John Hughes Parent/Booster Award annually recognizes the extraordinary commitment, dedication, support and sacrifice of music parents and boosters around the world by shining a spotlight on an individual who exemplifies these qualities. The award is named in honor of Patrick John Hughes, the father of Patrick Henry Hughes, a remarkable young man who, despite physical challenges that would seem overwhelming to many, has excelled as a musician and student, thanks to the support of his family, and especially the tireless help of his father. Winners will be notified by October 15 and the award presented during the Bands of America Grand National Championships in November.

 Download the nomination form and procedures

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