The Music for All Blog
The Music for All Blog

Stories (309)

The performances at the 2013 Band of America Grand National Championships did not disappoint. Students from 91 bands blew away over 10,000 spectators with incredible dedication and talent. Whether you want to re-live the experience or see what it is like behind-the-scenes, be sure to check out MusicforAllTV.

Many videos were posted during and after the event including features of each finalist band. Congratulations to everyone involved in the competitions this fall. Grand Nationals was a legendary culmination to a legendary season! 

Another guest blog today! This one is from Dan Pritchett, a proud band dad and a member of the pit crew from Valley Christian High School Band from San Jose, California.
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I'm on the flight back from our performance at Bands of America championships in Indianapolis. This was the band's first trip to this competition, but it's the last trip for me as my youngest is a senior. The performance this season was called Arabian Odyssey which is fitting as marching band has been an odyssey that began 7 years ago when my oldest was a freshman.

I will be honest, marching band isn't my thing. I understand the challenge as I was in marching band in high school. I enjoyed the time with my friends, but it was just an activity. As an adult, I am impressed by the level that these students perform at, but it just doesn't grab me. And I was reminded of that last night as I watched the finals. I was transported back to the first year where we watched from the stands. It was important to be there for my daughter but I wasn't drawn to it otherwise.

The second year I became more involved but it was really the third year that it all changed. I became more involved in the transportation crew. For the next four years, I never saw our band from the stands again and my only regret is that it took me 2 years to get involved.

Being part of transportation is hard work and I spend less time on it than several others. You're the first there on performance days and the last to leave. You're often hot or cold or wet or sometimes all 3 on the same day. You push, pull, carry and drag all manner of objects. You also get to solve puzzles provided by the directors as they try to deliver a show to impress the audience and judges.

Something happens though. You make friends. It becomes part of your life. It becomes part of you. The season begins with the new parents joining the crew as their children join the program and it ends with the realization that some of the parents won't be back because they have graduating seniors. Each of those have gotten harder for me because I knew that this was going to be me soon. And now I'm the one moving on.

For all the hard work there are rewards. People may think that the best view is from the stands where you can take in the performance as a whole. From a pure entertainment perspective they are probably right, but I wouldn't trade the best seat in the stands for my view from the field. The rush of getting the band on and off the field, being close enough to see their faces, watch the performance unfold at a personal level, that's the real show.

I've also been places that most will never be. I've been on field level in more stadiums than I can remember. I've been backstage at Disneyland. I've been in the service tunnels of Lucas Oil Stadium. I've walked the San Francisco Chinese New Years Parade route twice. I've helped move over 1,000 pounds of band equipment from San Jose, through the entire length of Cambodia and get it back in one piece. None of this happens from the stands.

From all of this comes one piece of advice to parents, get involved. It changes the entire perspective that you will have on your children's activities. As I said, my only regret is I waited. The past 7 years have been hard work but incredibly enriching. I do have to move on as my daughter graduates but this is certainly harder than I could have predicted on the first day of the season 7 years ago.
-Dan Pritchett
Monday, November 18, 2013

We're all just a stadium full of band kids!

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Today's guest post is from Larry Harper, Jr. Thank you, Larry for allowing us to share your thoughts on the 2013 Grand National Championships!

Break Ranks GNSo, 5 days and 1,500 miles later I'm back from Grand Nationals.

"To create, provide and expand positively life-changing experiences through music for all."
If you've never attended a BoA Grand Nationals, you probably have an idea in your head of what to expect. Bands with multiple semis, props that can fill a stadium, a hearty helping of vocals and electronics. While all those things are certainly present, they are the things furthest from my memory today on the drive home.

The countless amazing interactions between bands in the hallways before heading to the field to compete, the countless number of staff and volunteers who give unbelievable hours of their time and simply the experience had by each and every performer over the course of the event. Those are the things that stick with you.

Resist your preconceived notion of what a 'BoA Band' is, because you don't have to look far to see countless examples of just how far off-base it is, or how much that idea has nothing to do with the experience provided to the participating bands at Grand Nationals.

Seeing two of the top drumlines passing each other in the hall sharing fist-bumps.

fist bumpSeeing smaller bands go out and completely win over the crowd inside a massive stadium.

Witnessing so many countless acts of complete selflessness you don't even bother trying to note them all.

Although the performance might be the highlight of the trip for many bands, I guarantee that the experiences had from the time they arrived in the parking lot, until they left on Saturday night were unlike any found elsewhere and had very little to do with competition.

Competition is healthy and has its place in our activity. It pushes us to work harder and to achieve things we never thought possible, but at Grand Nationals, its about the common bond and experience that all of those performers, parents and staff shared.

photo-1Those life-changing experiences are what makes the event great.

Not the props, not the giant eagle, not even the stadium. The fist-bump, the high-five, the "Good Luck".

It's not just being able to have the opportunity to perform at the highest level; its about being supported by, and sharing the experience with 90 other bands.

Regardless of who we are, this week we're all just a stadium full of 'band kids.'

- Larry Harper, Jr.

Larry Harper, Jr. has spent the majority of the last fifteen years living in the Triangle area of North Carolina and filling a variety of roles in the marching-arts world. He currently serves as the Executive Director of Carolina Gold, a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide a stimulating and rewarding social experience by promoting responsibility and self-discipline through music education, competitive performance and community engagement. After attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Larry served as the Assistant Marching Percussion Instructor to the UNC Athletic Bands program in addition to serving as a visual instructor and drill writer for a variety of other area programs. Larry has spent a significant amount of time in service to organizations such as Winter Guard International and Music for All as well as having coordinated events in partnership with Drum Corps International.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Grand National Championships Finals Live Blog

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Live Blogs for Grand National Championships, presented by Yamaha

Click here for Semi-Finals Live Blog

Click here for Prelims Live Blog

Click here for IMBT Live Blog


2013 Grand National Championships Finals Live Blog


Live Blogs for Grand National Championships, presented by Yamaha

Click here for Finals Blog

Click here for Prelims Live Blog

Click here for IMBT Live Blog


2013 Grand National Championships Semi-Finals Live Blog



Congratulations to all of the bands who participated in the 2013 Bands of America Super Regional Championship at Indianapolis, presented by Yamaha! Here are some photos from both the Prelims and Finals awards ceremony. Looking for more action photos of your band? Jolesch Enterprises will have photos available on their website coming soon - so make sure you check here for group photos as well as action shots that they took at the event.

Can't view the slide show? Click here. 

Looking for Results and Scores from the event? You can find those here. Congratulations to the 2013 Indianapolis Super Regional Champion: Carmel H.S., IN!

This weekend is Music for All's 38th Annual Bands of America Grand National Championships. Gary Markham explains why Music for All's Bands of America Championships were developed so many years ago and why they are so important and impactful for students.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Grand National Championships IMBT Live Blog

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Live Blogs for Grand National Championships, presented by Yamaha

Click here for Finals Blog

Click here for Semi-Finals Blog

Grand Nationals Prelims Live Blog


Live Blog of the 2013 Indianapolis Marching Band Tournament at the Grand National Championships, presented by Yamaha


Thursday, November 07, 2013

Throwback Thursday: 2008

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For Throwback Thursday we are heading back to the first year we called Lucas Oil Stadium home to the Grand National Championships- 2008!

Pictured above are the very first Grand National finalists to ever grace the field of Lucas Oil Stadium:

Class A Exhibition: Bourbon County HS and Finalists: Avon, LD Bell, Lawrence Central, Marian Catholic, Carmel, Broken Arrow, Tarpon Springs, Kennesaw Mountain, Centerville, Ben Davis, Plymouth-Canton Ed. Park and Lafayette! (If you can't help yourself and want to check out scores after reading this list- you can find those here.)

And who was the very first band to be named Grand National Champion in Lucas Oil Stadium? That would be Avon H.S. from Avon, Indiana!


 We are excited to be back in Lucas Oil Stadium again this weekend for the Bands of America Super Regional Championship at Indianapolis and then once again next week for the 2013 Bands of America Grand National Championships!


Join us for the Tim Lautzenheiser Student Leadership Workshop during the 2013 Grand National Championships, presented by Yamaha! Work with the man himself, Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser on Friday, November 15th. This leadership workshop encourages the growth of the group via a nurturing of agreed-upon organizational values that establishes a solid foundation for positive growth in every aspect of your band program.

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This is a MUST on your list of things to do while at the Grand National Championships. And the best part? The early pricing has been extended! Register online BEFORE you arrive and you can register for the workshop for $30 per person! Remember: one director attends FREE for every 10 students enrolled! (But register now for these savings, it will be $35 per person on site).

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Leadership skills are not just something that will help you in band, or in high school. This is one of those workshops where you will learn things that you will utilize every day for the rest of your life, and have fun while learning them!

So don't wait- register now and get ready for an awesome two hours with the incomprable Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser and more than 500 of your new best friends!

Read more about the Dr. Tim Lauzenheiser Student Leadership Workshop here. Register online for just $30 per person here.