The Music for All Blog
The Music for All Blog


Monday, March 21, 2011

Thanks for a great festival!

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It's pretty quiet here at the MFA office today. A few staff are here unpacking and getting settled again, and the rest will return tomorrow. We've all had a chance to rest and reflect a bit on the past week.

I found myself thinking about festival when I had to run a lunchtime errand. There was one item I left over at the Marriott, where our Festival headquarters were located. It was beautiful and warm outside around the lunch hour today in Indianapolis so I took the opportunity to walk and get some fresh air and sunshine.

I took a short cut through the convention center to get to the Marriott, and it was eerily quiet near the Sagamore Ballroom, which just a couple days ago held so many participants at the high school banquet.

As I got to the Marriott, I realized I missed the sounds I had grown accustomed to the last couple of days - the harmonious sounds coming from the rehearsals and concerts and the laughter and chatter from festival participants. I felt sad that festival is over for this year as I walked through the quiet hotel. But, I know that's because I really enjoyed myself, and that's a great thing. I'm excited for next year's festival already, even though it's a year away.

Our entire staff sincerely hopes you had a great week at the Music for All National Festival. I hope that festival was a positively life-changing experience for you, and I hope we'll see you again soon!


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Last day at the MFA National Festival

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It's the final day of the 2011 Music for All National Festival. It's hard to believe Saturday is already here - the week has flown by!

The National Concert Band Festival, Orchestra America National Festival, and Middle School National Music Festival performances continued this morning and are wrapping up now. Preparations are already under way for both the High School and Middle School Gala Awards Banquets for festival participants.

The High School Banquet is at 5 p.m. at the Indiana Convention Center, and the Middle School Banquet is at 5:30 p.m. at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown. These banquets are a really nice way for participants to gather as a group one last time before heading to this evening's concerts. (And, there's some great food at the banquets as well!)

The evening, and the festival, will conclude tonight with the Honor Orchestra of America concert at 7 p.m. at Hilbert Circle Theatre and the Honor Band of America concert at 8 p.m. at Clowes Memorial Hall. If you missed last night's Honor Orchestra concert, you can still see the ensemble tonight. Some photos from last night's concert are available here.

The Honor Band of America concert will feature Richard Clary, conductor, and Allen Vizzutti, guest artist.

Can't be here in person? Check out some photos on Music for All's facebook page. I'm looking forward to this evening's concerts - hope to see you there!


Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday at the MFA National Festival

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Friday is in full swing at the MFA National Festival. Ensembles have been performing in three venues today (Clowes Memorial Hall, Hilbert Circle Theatre and Warren Performing Arts Center), and the Honor Ensemble students have been in rehearsals and master classes as well. The sounds emanating from the rehearsals are wonderful!

Jazz Band of America students have been busy today preparing for their concert this evening at 8:30 p.m. at Clowes Memorial Hall. Their sound check is in just a few hours. The Jazz Band has been working with conductor Shelly Berg, Dean of the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami. He maintains a busy schedule of jazz performances and has performed and/or recorded with a "Who's Who" of jazz legends, including Ray Brown, Louie Bellson, Eddie Daniels, Peter Erskine, Jon Faddis, Woody Herman, James Moody, Arturo Sandoval, Tom Scott, Clark Terry and Bill Watrous, to name a few. In addition, guest artist Allen Vizzutti will perform with the Jazz Band of America as part of this evening's concert.

The Honor Orchestra of America has a concert this evening as well. They'll perform both tonight and tomorrow night at 7 p.m. at Hilbert Circle Theatre in a shared concert with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. The ensemble has been working with conductor and music director Larry J. Livingston and guest artist Mark O'Connor, violin. Mr. Livingston is the Music Director of Thornton Orchestras at the Thornton School of Music. Reviews of Mr. Livingston have said his concerts feature, "long, unending applause, enthusiastic cheers, like at a rock concert." Check out the concert this evening, and you can also see renowned violinist Mark O'Connor perform as guest artist.

You can also see what's been going on this week at festival by viewing photos on Music for All's facebook page, found here. All of us at Music for All are looking forward to the concerts this evening as well as the concerts tomorrow.


It was an exciting day at the Music for All National Festival. Honor ensemble students kept busy with sectionals and rehearsals starting early this morning, and ensembles checked in throughout the day.

The opening sessions for both high school and middle school students took place this afternoon. Students heard from Eric Martin, President and CEO of Music for All; David Starnes, Music for All Educational Consultant and Honor Band of America Coordinator; and Gary Markham, Music for All's Senior Educational Consultant.

Students also listened to keynote speaker and Music for All Senior Educational Advisor Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser. He gave students great advice about how to truly get the most out of the musical experience ahead of them. Students were also introduced to the clinicians and evaluators they'll work with throughout the weekend.

National Concert Band Festival concerts started this evening at Clowes Memorial Hall, and performances continue tomorrow. Additionally, the middle school social is already under way this evening, and the high school social is about to start. Tomorrow will be another busy day with performances happening at Warren Performing Arts Center, Clowes Memorial Hall and Hilbert Circle Theatre. And the Honor Orchestra of America and Jazz Band of America perform tomorrow evening as well. It's been a music-filled day, and we can't wait to hear more tomorrow.


The 2011 Music for All National Festival began today, and we're off to a great start. Yesterday, the Music for All staff spent the day setting up our headquarters on site and getting everything ready to go in the venues we're using throughout the festival.

The Honor Orchestra of America and the Jazz Band of America have met for orientation meetings and are off and running with rehearsals. The Honor Band of America students will have their orientation meeting this evening so many students have been checking in throughout the day.

Our entire staff is excited that festival is now under way. We'll continue to update this blog throughout festival so check back often for updates.

Kristin Conrad

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

DJ Corchin books on iBooks

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We're so proud of DJ Corchin, long-time SWAG and friend of Bands of America and Music for All! He has two books now available on iBooks: Band Nerds: Poetry from the 13th Chair Trombone Player and, yes, You Got a Boogie. Check out DJ's books now on iBooks!

Each month the SupportMusic coalition holds a teleconference to share current advocacy actions and ideas from communities and schools nationally and abroad. If you missed this month's SupportMusic teleconference with featured guest Carol Channing and Harry Kullijian, you can listen to the call in it's entirety. You can also search archives to listen to audio or read transcripts.

It's Celebrate Camp month at Music for All, leading up to the March 31 Early Bird Deadline for the MFA Summer Symposium, presented by Yamaha.

I hope you'll help us celebrate by sharing your stories about your MFA camp experiences. Submit a video telling or showing us how and why Music for All programs and music education have been important in your life.

Use your camcorder, your phone, your webcam – we’re most interested in your story, not the production quality of your video, however, if you can provide HD video it might make it onto the big screens this fall at BOA Championship stadiums!

How to submit your video
Upload your video to YouTube or Vimeo, then fill out this online form to submit it to us. We may select your video to share online on's new Sound Off area, coming soon!

Don't forget to enroll in the 2011 MFA Summer Symposium by March 31 to save on the registration fee. We have a new location this June - at Ball State University in Muncie, IN. Check out all the info on this amazing camp.

...and watch for more info on Sound Off and invitations to submit your stories on video about any MFA, BOA or Orchestra America experience and how music has positively impacted your life.


Since 1998, the NAMM Foundation has been conducting the Best Communities for Music Education (BCME) Survey, a nationwide search for communities whose programs exemplify commitment to music education. The initiative recognizes and celebrates communities and their school administrators, teachers, board members, parents, community leaders and students for their support and commitment to their music education programs. The program also acknowledges community and school district commitment to ensure access to music education for all students.

Music for All is proud to take part in this important national recognition effort, and we encourage you participate in it as well by completing the 12th annual Best Communities for Music Education in America (BCME) survey. The 2011 survey will once again be conducted in collaboration with The Institute for Educational Research and Public Service of Lawrence, KS, an affiliate of the University of Kansas.

Visit The NAMM Foundation on the Web at now and through March 13, 2011 to review and complete an online survey form on behalf of your community. If you prefer, you can forward this message to a school administrator, teacher, or Board of Education member who has more of the data close at hand.

Over the years, school districts have reported that being designated a “Best Community for Music Education” helped them gain valuable recognition for their communities that in turn aided their efforts to sustain and grow their music education programs. We encourage you to participate now on behalf of your community.

Participate in the survey.

Big props to seven members of the 2011 GRAMMY® Jazz Combo and GRAMMY® Jazz Band who are alumni of the MFA Jazz Band of America 2010 or part of next month’s 2011 Jazz Band of America. Great job on the GRAMMY® broadcast Sunday night!

Congrats to these Jazz Band of America members:

GRAMMY® Jazz Combo
William Bridges, Lauderhill, FL, North Broward Preparatory School, Alto Saxophone
Zachary Ostroff, Belvedere, CA,The Branson School, Bass

GRAMMY® Jazz Band
Enrique Sanchez, Kissimmee, FL, Osceola County School of the Arts, Trumpet, Lead
Josh Shpak, Walnut Creek, CA, Northgate High School, Trumpet
St. Clair Simmons III, Dover, PA, Dover Area High School, Trombone
Chris Palowitch, Pleasanton, CA, Amador Valley High School, Bass Trombone
Aaron Shapiro, Highland Park, IL, Highland Park High School, Guitar

…and congratulations to all the 2011 Jazz Band of America members!