The Music for All Blog
The Music for All Blog


Monday, April 18, 2011

Remembering Bill Cook

Written by

If you are a fan of marching music who spends time online, you have probably already heard of the passing of Bill Cook, founder of Cook Group Incorporated, and of Star of Indiana and Blast. It seems like anyone who met Mr. Cook has memorable stories to share. Hearing of his passing reminded me of the first time I met him.

In 1994, Star of Indiana Drum and Bugle Corps reinvented itself as Brass Theatre, touring with The Canadian Brass. That June, Brass Theatre with The Canadian Brass was an event at the then-Bands of America Summer Symposium in Normal, Illinois. I believe it was their first performance for the general public.

As the concert hall doors opened, I was asked to run up to the mezzanine and hold the first row of seats for Mr. Cook, his wife and some guests who were coming over from Bloomington, Indiana. When I got to the mezzanine, a few folks who came in right as doors opened had already claimed the front row of seats. I asked them if they would mind moving back a row as I needed to reserve the first row for some special guests, and they kindly obliged.

As the hall filled, I watched the aisles for the Cooks, whom I had never met. I was standing in front of a gentlemen who was one of the people I had asked to move. He asked me who I was reserving the seats for, and I explained I was holding them for Bill Cook, founder of the show, and his guests. He nodded and asked me a lot of questions about the show, about BOA and the summer camp, and we talked all the way up until just before showtime.

With five minutes left, I was concerned because Mr. Cook had not yet arrived. Scott McCormick, then President of Bands of America, walked down the aisle steps toward me as I gestured with hands wide and a shrug that Mr. Cook and his guests had never arrived. As he reached me at the front of the mezzanine, he looked at the people I had moved back a row and said to the gentleman I'd spent the past 25 minutes talking to: "Mr. Cook! I'm so glad you made it."

Mrs. Cook and the rest of the group burst into laughter at the look on my face. I'll never forget the smile Mr. Cook gave me then. We'd had wonderful conversation, and he was so unassuming that I never would have guessed that he was the larger-than-life person I was looking for.

If you have a memory of Mr. Cook to share, I invite you to comment here.

You also might enjoy James Mason's message at

- Deb Asbill, Music for All

I have to admit, I'm pretty excited about this: I've been working with several of our incredible session presenters at summer camp to make available for free viewing several sessions from last June's McCormick's Enterprises Directors' Academy at the Music for All Summer Symposium, presented by Yamaha.

The available sessions are:

Michael Gray – The Artist Within Us
Michael Klesch – Full Ensemble Technique, with Carolina Crown
Tim Lautzenheiser – Directors Closing Keynote Session
Alfred Watkins – Stretching the Skills (Not the Band)

These sessions were previously only available to subscribers (or On Demand) on the MFA Fan Network. Because there's no better way to describe to band directors the kind of outstanding sessions they will experience at the Summer Symposium than to SHOW examples, for the first time we're featuring four sessions online, at least through June 20.

A new video is now online, about the Drum Instructor Academy at the Music for All Summer Symposium, presented by Yamaha. The video features some of the greatest names in marching percussion, on faculty at the DIA, including James Campbell, Thom Hannum and Colin Firth. Check it out!

We've started posting the lists of enrolled bands for the 2011 Bands of America Championships, presented by Yamaha. You can get to the lists by show from the Full Fall Schedule page.

Music for All's process for publishing who is enrolled in shows is to communicate that information first to the enrolled bands' directors. After we've communciated the info to the directors, then we publish the list for each respective show. If there is not a live link for a show on the schedule page then we are in the midst of that process for that show and will publish the information as soon as it has been communicated to the enrolled band directors.

The preliminary performance times will be published online later this fall. Performance schedules are not published or made available prior to that time, and then only after they have been sent to the performing bands.

We know that there is a lot of interest in what bands are performing this fall, we're excited, too! Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work to make the information available to you as quickly as we can.

- Deb Asbill, Music for All

Here are a couple of news stories today about local music making, with a Music for All connection.

"Special program helps needy students in Norwin make music"

This Norwin H.S. Band, PA benefit, called "Suite Cafe," will offer live musical performances by Norwin students and instructors in a coffeehouse atmosphere. Proceeds help students attend summer camps, including the Music for All Summer Symposium.

Indiana University Music Industry students create and present "Local Vocals,"
proceeds benefiting Music for All.
Good things are being accomplished by people everyday!
– Deb Asbill, Music for All
Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Upcoming deadlines this week

Written by

A reminder of two deadlines this week:

March 31 is the Early Bird Discount deadline for the Music for All Summer Symposium. Whether you're a director, student or instuctor you can save by enrolling by tomorrow. Start exploring the Summer Symposium online here.

Already signed up? Let us know on the event Facebook page.

April 1 we will begin the random draws for preliminary performance times for the Bands of America 2011 Championships. If you are not already enrolled, enroll your band by April one to be part of the initial prelims time scheduling. Spots are open in most BOA Championships, including limited spots in Grand Nationals. See the full schedule here.

...and finally, if you need a smile today, check out @BronxZoosCobra tweets on Twitter. It may just brighten your day, it does mine!

- Deb Asbill, Music for All

The March 31 Early Bird Discount deadline is fast approaching for the Music for All Summer Symposium and other fun camp-related stuff is coming together this week.

We've confirmed Jon McLaughlin to perform in concert at the camp in the evening concerts series. He performed last year and it was a great, energetic concert! Jon joins concerts already confirmed for the camp: Yamaha Young Performing Artists and the DCI Central Indiana show with top drum corps. We are finalizing the last couple of nights' concert acts and should be able to announce those soon...I'm hoping within the next few days.

MFA staff and our SWAG Team leadership recently paid another visit to the beautiful Ball State University campus, continuing preparations for the new site of the Summer Symposium.

By enrolling before the end of March 31, you can save $60 off the student fees and $130 off the director fees! To our band director friends: don't forget that if you bring six of your students you can attend Tuition Free, bring 12 or more and attend free...yes, free.

Directors, we also just posted links to the graduate credit information through Ball State University. MFA will verify for participation in the Directors Academy for professional development credits, however, you can also earn 1 or 2 hours of graduate credit through Ball State University for an additional fee. Check out the graduate credit details. The graduate credit fee and course requirements are different than previous years. Please carefully review the information provided at the link to the BSU website.

Until next time,

Deb Asbill

Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser has joined Music for All as Senior Educational Advisor, Music for All recently announced.

As Senior Educational Advisor, Lautzenheiser will advise and support Music for All's educational programming. He will also work closely with Music for All leadership and staff on creating and providing programs for high school and middle school bands and orchestras, teachers and students. Lautzenheiser was the Executive Director of Music for All's predecessor Marching Bands of America, and he has been a regular presenter at MFA programs. He is also a past member of the organization's Board of Directors.

For more, see the press release found here.

You can now see the 2011 spotlight video for the Music for All Summer Symposium, online on our YouTube channel. The March 31 Early Bird Discount Deadline to enroll is just a few days away. Still not sure what the MFA camp is all about? Check out the video to learn more.

Musicforalltv also has a playlist of 2010 Summer Symposium Webisodes with interviews and camp highlights. Take a look at the video, then take a look at the camp for an incredible experience this June you'll never forget.

Dr. Tim will join the George N. Parks Drum Major Academy at the Music for All Summer Symposium in Indiana in 2011! Join us June 20-25 at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Kick it all off with the Leadership Weekend Experience June 18-20.

Graduates of the Drum Major Academy have gone on to become successful drum majors at the nation's top University Bands and Drum Corps. Take a look at

The DMA at the Summer Symposium gives you the complete MFA camp experience, however, if you cannot attend the MFA camp, you can still join Tim at the DMAs at UMASS and in Texas.