The Music for All Blog
The Music for All Blog

Stories (317)

Thursday, August 27, 2015

#TBT - From the Field to the Office

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I recently started a huge and scary new chapter of my life, post-graduation (aka the real world). It’s filled with unknowns, car insurance payments, and long commutes to work on crowded interstates where people don’t know how to drive. Despite these challenges, I’m excited and eager to start this new chapter off well, and use the tools I’ve accumulated to do so in the best way I can.

Prior to joining Music for All as its newest Marketing Intern, I recently graduated from the University of Kentucky (go Cats!) with a bachelor’s degree in arts administration and a music performance minor. As I began getting familiar with my new place here, my Facebook feed was flooded with many first day of school pictures of my former classmates. My friends had just begun band camp and I remembered how carefree life was and how exciting a new school year felt. Though I felt a yearning to be there, I realized that even though I’m about to start a chapter of my life that doesn’t include a lot of performing, I wouldn’t be if I had not found my love for music in the first place. 

I tribute most of what I have accomplished in life to my experiences in band. Without it, I would have never fallen in love with music, attended University of Kentucky to study it, acquired a degree, been offered the opportunity to intern for Music for All, or to write this blog. Without band, my life would look very different. In fact, I remember when I first decided to be in my high school band…

It happened after seeing the movie Drumline. I know, it’s not an accurate depiction of the average experience in band, and the drum line isn’t extraordinarily talented, but it opened my eyes to what marching band was, and it was cool, so don’t judge.

Anyway, band in high school was the extra-curricular activity I needed. I wasn’t athletic enough to be on any of the sports teams, nor did I have an extremely competitive spirit. My marching band competed, but my directors did a great job of making it more about being as musical as possible and doing our personal best rather than winning (shout out to Mr. Charles Kunz, Michael “Carp” Carpenter, and “Coach” Chad Kohler). These men took me from a scrawny teenager who liked to drum to a taller, slightly less awkward scrawny teenager who was a musician. They taught me how to learn, how to teach and be taught, and how to perform my best consistently: things all band members are taught to do.

I graduated from Fishers High School with a lofty goal, to go to college, study music and become a professional musician. It turned out to be something that was a lot harder than anyone told me it was going to be. Luckily, I found that I really enjoyed the business side of the arts. For those of you who don’t know, arts administrators are those people who do the “behind the scenes” work. They are the directors, marketers, fundraisers, and logistical people who bring you your entertainment, while the performers get all the fame (which they deserve). No one ever told me how hard it would be to make it as a professional performer, but all that time spent practicing wasn’t for nothing. I spent hours upon hours only to end up somewhere in the crowded area of mediocre-O.K. However, I truly believe that because I studied music, I am capable of doing more things well and things that are completely non-music related well too. Even though I won’t be making a living with the specific useful skill of performing music, I believe studying music gave me so many transferrable skills that will make me a valued employee anywhere I work. Here’s just a short list of skills I didn’t learn in a classroom, but in a practice room.

  1. Time management
  2. The ability to follow directions to the letter or improvise, and knowing when it’s appropriate to do so
  3. How to listen (and I mean really listen)
  4. How to work closely with a team
  5. How to work alone
  6. Knowing what tool is appropriate to get a job done right
  7. How to be consistent
  8. What it means to be reliable
  9. Knowing what you can do to make other people better, or their jobs easier
  10. How to maintain long periods of extreme focus

Now, I’m not saying that all these skills can’t be acquired elsewhere, they absolutely can, but if I weren’t in band or studied music, I don’t know where I would have learned these things, if at all. So maybe I have a lot to learn still, but music helps me not worry about this new chapter of my life. The skills I’ve learned through music education have set me up to succeed.

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Today’s Throwback Thursday will be dedicated to the stadiums where we have held our culmination event of the Bands of America Marching Championships over the past 40 years.

It all started out back in 1975 at the Summer National Championships in Whitewater, Wisconsin. This birthplace, Perkins Stadium, is not only the premier location for Bands of America, but also Drum Corps International, as it hosted both organizations’ first championships.

As the marching arts evolved, the Summer National Championships morphed into Bands of America Grand National Championships with the first championship being held in Jacksonville, Florida at the Gator Bowl in 1980. That same year we had our first Florida-based ensemble, Tate H.S, take home the title of Grand National Champions. It wouldn’t be until 2015 that another Florida ensemble would reclaim this title.

After Florida, Grand National Championships was relocated to Eastern Tennessee State University, which had an indoor football stadium. Grand National Championships was held in Johnson City, Tennessee at ETSU from 1981 to 1983. In the three short years at ETSU, we saw the first champion from Indiana, Chesterton H.S. as well as the rise of Norwin H.S., PA and Rocky Mount H.S., NC.

In 1984, Grand National Championships was on the move once again, this time to a more familiar location, Indianapolis, IN. The Hoosier Dome (later changed to the RCA Dome in 1994) becomes the new iconic location for the event. From the memorable fireworks after the Finals Finale to the forever-remembered air lock, the Hoosier Dome will always be remembered.

Yet, the stay in the Hoosier Dome was short lived until Grand Nationals were moved to the Motor City and the Pontiac Silverdome from 1987 to 1988.

In 1989, Grand National Championships moved back to Indianapolis for good. Hundreds of unforgettable and cherished shows were performed in the Hoosier Dome/RCA Dome until 2007. L.D. Bell H.S., TX was the last band to win the title of Grand National Champions at the old stadium, because Lucas Oil Stadium was named the new location in 2008.

Lucas Oil Stadium is the current home of Bands of America Grand National Championships. The venue has hosted a wide assortment of events from the Super Bowl, the Final Four, DCI World Championships, concerts, and more. The energy in the stadium during Grand National Championships week is electric as bands from all over the country perform their hearts out. Looking up into the stands as you walk out of the tunnel onto the turf send chills down your spine. Lucas Oil Stadium has a certain "magical' vibe for everyone, whether they are a performer, spectator or even someone working the event.

Heading into our 40th season, we’d like to hear from everyone about their favorite memories at Bands of America Grand National Championships. Share your story here -

It is with great pleasure that we introduce you to the newest members of our team, or Fall Event Interns!


We are so excited to have both Katie Patterson and Nick Super joining the event department as we go into the 2015 Fall season. We thought it might be fun to get to know them better and ask the hard hitting questions that everyone wants to know. (After all, favorite ice cream flavor can tell you a lot about a person!)

Katie Patterson

KatieWhere do you go to school?
IUPUI (currently) & Carmel H.S., IN (graduate)

What are you going to school for?
Tourism, Conventions and Events Management

Musical background? (What instrument/choir/etc?)
Tenor Sax – 4 years in HS, Baritone Sax – in MS, professional shower singer

Top 3 favorite composers/musical artists/bands?
1) Garth Brooks
2) Scotty McCreery
3) Carrie Underwood

If you could march any past BOA show (besides your own if you march) would you want to preform?
Anything Broken Arrow

What are you most looking forward to this fall?
I can’t wait to travel all over and being able to experience all the other amazing bands across the country

Favorite ice cream?
Stone Cold Cotton Candy

Do you say soda or pop?


Nick Super

NickSuperWhere do you go to school?
UW-Stout (currently) & Irondale H.S., MN (graduate)

What are you going to school for?
Business Administration and a minor in Economics

Musical background? (What instrument/choir/etc?)
Alto sax, but can play all of them.

Top 3 favorite composers/musical artists/bands?
1) Jason Taurnis
2) Lake Street Dive
3) Kenny Chesney

If you could march any past BOA show (besides your own if you march) would you want to preform?
Pretty much any Tarpon Springs show

What are you most looking forward to this fall?
Being able to live and embrace the Music for All mission everyday. I get to be the mission in the office and at the shows.

Favorite ice cream?
Stone Ridge Mint Chocolate Chip and a proud ice creamaholic

Do you stay soda or pop?
Pop (as a true/proud Minnesotan)

If you see Katie or Nick at a Regional this Fall, make sure you stop and say hi! Maybe even ask them how their internship is going. If their photoshoot is any indication, we think they are going to have a blast all season long!

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Thursday, August 06, 2015

#TBT - Music for All Drum Corps Alumni

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Today's Throwback Thursday post is dedicated to Drum Corps International (DCI) in celebration of the 2015 DCI World Championships this week! We’re so honored to have a partnership with such a prestigious organization, and instead of changing our Facebook profile picture, like many Drum Corp members and alumni have been doing this week, we’d like to highlight several current Music for All staff members who have been a part of a DCI Drum Corp in the past!

Matt Mackowiak, Marketing Assistant, was Drum Major of Revolution Drum & Bugle Corps in 2009 and Drum Major of Thunder Drum & Bugle Corps in 2010.

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Jerome Horne, Participant Relations Assistant, marched Teal Sound Drum and Bugle Corps from 2007 to 2009.

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David Foth, Event Coordinator, marched Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps from 2010 to 2012.

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Good luck all those who are performing in the 2015 DCI World Championships!

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Today’s Throwback Thursday post goes out to our most recent Grand National Champion, Tarpon Springs H.S. Last year, 2014, was a magical year for Tarpon Springs, as they won their first ever title. Their show titled, “Man vs. Machine” was full of energy, musicality and was visually engaging. While watching their Prelims, Semifinals and Finals performances, I was able to catch a new aspect within each run of the show.

Tarpon Springs H.S. has a rich history in attending Bands of America events. They first broke into Grand National Championships Finals in 1997 placing 4th and in 2000 when they placed 3rd

What I love most about this band is the interaction I’ve had with its student musicians last season. In uniform, they were all business, but underneath the shako, guard makeup, and uniforms were ordinary kids with extraordinary talents. They were humble and understood the joy they could experience performing with their friends. 

Good luck to all the bands performing at this year’s Bands of America Regional, Super Regional and Grand National Championships.

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

#TBT - The Evolution of Color Guard

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While going through photos taken during the past 40 years of Music for All's programs, it is easy to see how our activity has evolved. One area where you can easily observe this is with the color guard. 

In the early years of Music for All/Bands of America, color guard uniforms were often identical or only a slight variation of the band uniform. However, in the late 1980's color guard uniforms became a more integral part of the visual show design. The story came to life with the uniforms, colors, flags, props, etc. This area of the marching arts has truly progressed over the years with unique and out of the box uniforms and flags. 

We dedicate this Throwback Thursday to the evolution of color guard.


Thursday, July 16, 2015

#TBT - Band Parents Edition

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TBT Centerville Band Dads

Today’s Throwback Thursday goes out to all of the band parents who have dedicated (and continue to dedicate) their time during the week to rehearsals and weekends, to lugging props and pit equipment on and off the field and to encouraging their children to do their best. The tradition continues when band parents end up becoming extended family, just as students see fellow band members as siblings. You travel together, create and build memories together, experience the ups and the downs together, and most importantly become part of the amazing performances out on the field.

One of favorite aspects of working Bands of America Championships shows during the fall is hearing the parents’ stories. My most vivid memory was the 2014 Jacksonville Regional where not just one parent, but handful of parents, came up to me saying that Bands of America and Music for All had truly changed their kids and families lives. It truly warms my heart knowing that my job and something as seemingly little as marching band has impacted so many people.

As we begin the 2015 marching band season, I would like students, directors and staff from all bands to make sure to reach out to your parents, say thank you, give them hugs, and make sure they know how truly cherished they are. 

West Genesee Band Dads

Check out the photos from the first day of the Leadership Weekend Experience!

If the photo stream above is not viewable for you, try this link:

Voices from the Soul

Soul music is unique because it was formed in pop culture by the merging of other types of music such as gospel and doo-wop. When full and resounding voices of soul-style vocalists and warm-sounding instruments come together it creates an unforgettable cohesive collaboration.

Voices from the Soul, a jazzy soul group made up with musicians such as Joyce “Peaches” Faison, Mark Buselli, Kevin Anker, Joel Tucker and many more, is performing at this year’s Music for All Summer Symposium. Each musician in this group has a unique style, but all hold a level of natural-born talent that has been heard at venues across the nation.

Take Joyce “Peaches” Faison – after listening to her sing “Talkin’ bout Love” you can feel the genuinity inside her rich & smooth voice that helps you understands her emotion and the control she has with her tone is phenomenal! It's no surprise she’s headlined for many talented artists including Ray Charles, Gladys Knight and Patti LaBelle.

With someone like trumpet player Mark Buselli, his sound is light and sweet. It carries you from one musical thought in a song to the next like string tied to the notes. His precision is admired and envied. In addition to being a performer, Mark is also a composer and arranger who has written big band arrangements of several different difficulty levels. 

Overall, this interesting group of musicians has found a way to come together to make something beautiful. With a variety of these musicians being educators, they also help share their talent and knowledge by teaching students in both public and private settings. This concert will definitely see faces of many different musical tastes and should be one to remember!

I look forward to seeing you there at the Voices from the Soul concert on Wednesday, June 24, 2015 at 8:00pm in Emens Auditorium at Ball State University! 

To buy tickets to this concert, please visit

army chorus

What’s more patriotic than listening to music that is skillfully performed by the US Armed Forces?  Whether it’s the Soldiers’ Chorus, Concert Band, Jazz Ambassadors or The Volunteers, the US Army Field Band & Chorus exemplifies talented musicianship from all over the nation that connects the American people with the military that fights for our saftey and rights every day.

The US Army Field Band & Soldiers' Chorus will perform on Tuesday, June 23 during the Music for All Summer Symposium. It's not everyday that you get to see musicians who are led by command sergeants and lieutenant colonels or hear such unprecedented musical talent that pays tribute to our country and people.

It's inspiring to think about how this group was created to be a connector between civilians and the military in the 1940’s when the relationship was in need of mends. It’s a great example of music bringing people together in the past and in present day. 

Another remarkable thing about the US Army Field Band & Soldiers' Chorus is that, since it’s made up of multiple components, it’s eclectic and stretches across several genres. The Jazz Ambassadors might play a variety of big band, swing and Dixieland repertoire while the Concert Band might perform with one of the nation’s leading orchestras or alone with a program of marches and overtures. They really cover the spectrum. 

Possibly the best thing about the US Army Field Band & Soldiers' Chorus is dedicated to music education. Many of the musicians who are enlisted in this group offer on-site and Google+ Hangout music clinics for educators and students and often appear at music events as guest conductors. In addition to an educational YouTube series, they also provide recordings and sheet music to schools so that students can learn to play repertoire of many different skill levels.

We hope to see you at Summer Symposium so you can experience this exciting concert! It wouldn’t be uncommon for US Army Field Band & Soldiers' Chorus members to chat with students about what its like to be a part of their band and how to audition after college.

For more information, please visit