Written with assistance from Michael Reed
November 11, 2017
Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN
The Bands of America Grand National Championships Finals was once again held in the inviting confines of Lucas Oil Stadium over four days; November 8-11. Yamaha continued the company’s support of music education by sponsoring the events, as it has continuously done for decades. Finals capped off an exciting season that witnessed 20 Regional Championships held throughout the United States
The Grand National Championships is far from the end of Music for All’s yearlong season. The Music for All National Festival will be in Indianapolis the weekend of March 15-17, 2018. After schools let out for the summer, the Music for All Leadership Weekend Experience will be held at Ball State University, June 23-24, 2018, followed at the same location by the Music for All Summer Symposium, June 25-30. The Grand National Championships will return to Indianapolis November 7-10, 2018.
In the Indianapolis Marching Band Tournament, held on Wednesday night, November 8, Arsenal Technical H.S. captured 1st place in the Corps Style division, winning the Best Music, Best Visual, and Best General Effect awards. George Washington H.S. finished in 2nd place. The Show Style division was won by Broad Ripple H.S., which also took Best Music, and Best Visual. Crispus Attucks H.S. took 2nd place and the award for Best General Effect. Crispus Attucks also won the tournament’s Spirit Award, which includes a $1,000.00 scholarship and is awarded to the school demonstrating the best enthusiasm and support for their band. This is the fourth year the band won that honor.
Sadly, this is the last year that Broad Ripple H.S. will exist. The school is one of three high schools in the Indianapolis Public School system to be closed as the district reconfigures itself within four remaining high schools. Music for All has pledged $1,000 to each of the four high schools that will be forming new bands in 2018.
After 100 bands competed in Prelims on Thursday and Friday, the following 37 bands (listed in performance order) advanced into Semi-Finals: Adair County H.S. (KY), Jenison H.S. (MI), DeSoto Central H.S. (MS), Central Hardin H.S. (KY), Norton H.S. (OH), Beechwood H.S. (KY), Archbishop Alter H.S. (OH), Franklin H.S. (TN), Prosper H.S. (TX), James F. Byrnes H.S. (SC), Bassett H.S. (VA), Union H.S. (OK), Broken Arrow H.S. (OK), Marian Catholic H.S. (IL), The Woodlands H.S. (TX), Owasso H.S. (TN), Round Rock H.S. (TX), Marcus H.S. (TX), Avon H.S. (IN), Castle H.S. (IN), O’Fallon Township H.S. (IL), Plymouth-Canton Educational Park (MI), Blue Springs H.S., (MO), Center Grove H.S. (IN), Carmel H.S. (IN), Centerville H.S. (OH), Flower Mound H.S. (TX), North Hardin H.S. (KY), Homestead H.S. (IN), Walton H.S. (GA), Dobyns-Bennett H.S. (TN), Winston Churchill H.S. (TX), Lawrence Township H.S. (IN), William Mason H.S. (OH), Fort Mill H.S. (SC), Fishers H.S. (IN), and Mililani H.S. (HI).
Semi-Finalists included the top 11 bands from both Prelims days, plus the next eight high scores regardless of performance day. The other seven bands were due to the requirement that the top two bands from each class will advance into Semi-Finals from Prelims if those bands hadn’t already advanced on score alone.
After the performances of all Semi-Finals bands and the exhibition of the University of Alabama Marching Band, caption highest achievement awards and caption placement awards were presented to the top bands in each of the four competitive Semi-Finals classes.
In Class AAAA, 1st place Carmel H.S. took Outstanding Visual Performance and Outstanding General Effect, and 2nd place Broken Arrow H.S. took Outstanding Music Performance. In 3rd place was Avon H.S. In Class AAA, 1st place Castle H.S. took all three caption awards, followed by 2nd place Dobyns-Bennett H.S., and 3rd place Fort Mill H.S. 1st place Marian Catholic H.S. took all three caption awards for Class AA, followed by 2nd place North Hardin H.S. and 3rd place Bassett H.S. In Class A, 1st place Adair County H.S. took Outstanding Music Performance and Outstanding General Effect outright, and tied 2nd place Norton H.S. for Outstanding Visual Performance. Beechwood H.S. placed 3rd in the class.
The Finalist bands were randomly announced as being The Woodlands H.S., Carmel H.S., Marcus H.S., Broken Arrow H.S., Avon H.S., Flower Mound H.S., Castle H.S., Blue Springs H.S., Marian Catholic H.S., Round Rock H.S., Union H.S., and Dobyns-Bennett H.S. .
Representatives from each band drew for their performing position in Finals in two blocks; the 7th-12th place bands followed by the 1st-6th place bands. After Miami University Marching Band opened the Finals festivities with a performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the Class A Champion Adair County H.S. (KY) band performed an exhibition of its “Ex Machina” production, which explored the wonders and dangers of artificial intelligence.
In Finals, Carmel H.S. was awarded the Outstanding Visual Performance and Outstanding General Effect awards outright, and shared the Outstanding Music Performance Award with Broken Arrow H.S. The Al Castronovo Memorial Espirit de Corps Award went to Hawaii’s Mililani H.S., and Flower Mound H.S. received the invitation to the 2019 Tournament of Roses Parade.
Among special awards was the presentation of the George N. Parks Leadership Award to Marisa Weinstein of Warsaw Middle School (MN). The Yamaha Scholarship was awarded to Claire Wilcox of O'Fallon Township High School (IL). Alexis Kilgore of Ooltewah High School (TN) received the Fred J. Miller Family Scholarship, and the Fred J. Miller Memorial Scholarship was bestowed upon Matthew Waggoner of Castle High (IN).
Carmel H.S. , 1st place: 97:500
One could sense drifting off to a higher plane of consciousness during “Serenity,” a show that explored relaxation from Amicability to Zen. Billowing clouds on the flags and a plethora of Tibetan singing meditation bowls melted away anxieties amongst the raked Zen gardens, gently swinging swings, and stacked rock balancing. Breathing in deep, relaxing, and focusing has never been done with such musical sensitivity.
Broken Arrow H.S. , 2nd place: 96.925
“Age of Discovery: The Return to Xeno” introduced a large fleet of interplanetary pedal cart rovers that transported guard members and wind players around the distant planet, allowing the intrepid explorers to explore and then escape when the space aliens became disagreeable. How the winds played their instruments, while piloting the carts demonstrated a level of training far beyond that of the average earthling civilian.
Avon H.S. , 3rd place: 96.475
“Test4ment” utilized David Maslanka’s staggeringly difficult “Symphony No. 4” and was based on a speech given to the band members each year by the band’s retiring director. His admonishment to note what holds up the bricks in a wall was reflected in the various brick elements of the costumes, the entire lesson leading to the realization that no wall/band could stand without the contribution of each and every brick/band member.
Marcus H.S. , 4th place: 95.700
The opening set full of googly eyes coldly stared into the souls of the audience as “PrODDigy” lived up to the capitalized middle letters of the title. Referencing the virtuoso violinist Paganini, set to Rachmaninoff’s musical tribute, huge neon fluorescent violin bridges and strings—plus green violin f-holes—visually vibrated throughout, forcibly turning the audience’s own peepers into additional ¬¬googly eyes.
Flower Mound H.S. , 5th place: 95.625
“Fractured Moments” explored the work of architect Antoni Gaudi. Whites and grays gave way to the fractured ceramics and stained glass of his most extravagant creations, imbuing the band’s jackets with the colors of his wildest palettes. With cracked pieces of color appearing atop the members’ heads, the field came alive with the breathing, heaving intensity of Gaudi’s most eccentric and cherished works.
Dobyns-Bennett H.S. , 6th place: 92.725
Colorful aqua vines entwined amongst the vivid orange flowers of “Paradisum,” sprouting a fantasy garden of earthly delights. Like seeds scattered in the wind, the metallic repartee in the background of “Pines of Rome” was carried across the field like a summer derecho windstorm, embedding the chaff of the windswept music into the curlicues of the drill forms and making both the visual sets and music shimmer in the light.
The Woodlands H.S. , 7th place: 91.825
“In the Garden of Cosmic Speculation” was inspired by the maniacal setting of the same name in Scotland, which itself was inspired by cosmology, the science of the origin and development of the universe. Like waking up from an overdose of cough syrup to find everyone around you pulsating with the music of the spheres, the show explored the mysticism of the garden that is at once of the Big Bang and also eons yet to unravel.
Castle H.S. , 8th place: 91.200
“Fly to Paradise” was an emotional tribute to band member Sophie Rinehart, who lost her life on the road home from last year’s Grand Nationals. The titles of the selections tell you everything you need to know about this loving production; “One Day I’ll Fly Away,” “The Hands of Fate,” “Benedictus,” “I’m Alive,” and “Fly to Paradise.” There was hardly a dry eye in the stadium as angel wings appeared and embraced the hearts of all.
Blue Springs H.S. , 9th place: 91.175
“Burtonized” was inspired by the quirky feature films of director Tim Burton, filled with visual references to twisted Burton classics as diverse as “Edward Scissorhands,” “Beetlejuice,” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” Dark and creepy, but with a heavy infusion of quirky levity, the audience walked a figurative emotional balance beam alongside the gymnastic band member who was poised upon a real one.
Union H.S. , 10th place: 91.025
“This Bitter Earth” was subtitled, “Five Ritual Celebrations in the Future, in the Past,” and explored the sometimes beneficial, often dangerous, always theatrical mixing of machine and nature. Red was the color of the day, appearing just about everywhere in the sets, the costumes, and many of the tribal headdresses. Ramps and stairs leading up to a huge variety of small and large stages elevated the members and the music.
Marian Catholic H.S. , 11th place: 89.800
Marian Catholic made Finals for the 34th consecutive year with “Paradise Found.” Artificial and mechanical elements fought off nature and serenity, with dials and cogs dominating trees and other natural wonders. Though the planet turned gray and ashen from air pollution and oil spills, nature had the final say as vines overgrew the machines, with the new life of leaves and butterflies filling the planet with hope.
Round Rock H.S. , 12th place: 89.625
“Errand Into the Maze” utilized the music of Revueltas’ “Sensemaya” to convey the story of Ariadne and the Minotaur, a menacing tale in Greek mythology about a granddaughter of Zeus and the monstrous half man, half bull creature that ate humans to survive. Prior to being slain, the Minotaur was not only confined to a labyrinth controlled by Ariadne, but also added a new element to the tale by proving it could spin a mean rifle.
See the list of all Grand National Finals results, as well as all 2017 BOA Championship awards results.
For almost four decades, Michael Boo has covered a large variety of pageantry events. He is the Staff Writer for Drum Corps International and has written for BOA and WGI for much of the existence of the two organizations. Michael Reed writes and blogs for WGI Indoor Marching Percussion and Color Guard events.
Music for All is proud to be a part of this global celebration of giving.
Join us in supporting The Sophie Rinehart Fund on #GivingTuesday 2017!
Created by New York’s 92nd Street Y and United Nations Foundation in 2012, #GivingTuesday is a global holiday that celebrates generosity and kindness by giving to nonprofit organizations all around the world. While Black Friday and Cyber Monday start off the buying season, #GivingTuesday starts off the giving season.
Please consider joining Music for All this year on #GivingTuesday, November 28, with a donation to The Sophie Rinehart Fund.
The Sophie Rinehart Fund (“The Sophie Fund”) was established in memory of Sophie Grace Rinehart (1999-2016). The Sophie Fund is an endowed fund of the Music for All Foundation, administered by the Castle High School Music Department of Newburgh, Indiana, and awards funds to further and promote music education for students in Warrick County and Southern Indiana.
The Sophie Rinehart Fund celebrates Sophie’s passion for music and the gift of her talent and kindness to the world. We hope this fund will provide new opportunities for generations of students to come. This permanently endowed fund will provide “forever dollars,” helping to continue Sophie’s passion for music and expanding possibilities for students.
Thank you for considering a contribution this #GivingTuesday as we promote opportunities that were so close to the vision and dreams of the Rinehart family in regards to music and its positive impact on the life of individuals and our nation.
Pictured: Flower Mound H.S., TX Drum Majors, and Color Guard captains with Tournament of Roses Representatives: Jim Hahn, Music Advisor and Missy Baiunco-Augustyn, Music Chair.
Music for All was honored to have guests from the Tournament of Roses® with us at the 2017 Grand National Championships, presented by Yamaha.
Through our unique partnership, each fall a Bands of America Grand National Semi-Finalist band is selected to receive an invitation to perform in an upcoming Rose Parade.
Congratulations to Flower Mound H.S., TX who was selected during the 2017 Grand National Championships! We’ll be cheering you on in the 2019 Rose Parade!
2016 Grand Nationals, an invitation for
2018 Rose Parade
Ronald Reagan H.S., TX
2015 Grand Nationals, an invitation for
2017 Rose Parade
Broken Arrow H.S., OK
2014 Grand Nationals, an invitation for
2016 Rose Parade
William Mason H.S., OH
2013 Grand Nationals, an invitation for
2015 Rose Parade
Round Rock H.S., TX
2012 Grand Nationals, an invitation for
2014 Rose Parade
Carmel H.S., IN
2011 Grand Nationals, an invitation for
2013 Rose Parade
Broken Arrow H.S., OK
2010 Grand Nationals, an invitation for
2012 Rose Parade
Avon H.S., IN
The Music for All Foundation awards several scholarships annually. During the Grand National Championships, Finals Opening Ceremonies several students were presented with college tuition scholarship awards. These scholarships were established to contribute to the future of music and music education by honoring the achievements of outstanding graduating seniors who intend to pursue collegiate study as a music major.
Congratulations to Claire Wilcox, O'Fallon Township High School in O'Fallon, Illinois who was awarded the $1,000 Yamaha Scholarship. The scholarship was presented by John Wittmann, Director of Artist Relations and Education at Yamaha Corporation of America Band and Orchestra Division.
Congratulations to Alexis Kilgore, Ooltewah High School in Ooltewah, Tennessee who was awarded the $1,000 Fred J. Miller Family Scholarship. The scholarship was presented by Marlene Miller, President and CEO of Fred J. Miller, Incorporated
Congratulations to Matthew Waggoner, Castle High School in Newburgh, Indiana who was awarded the $2,000 Fred J. Miller Memorial Music Education scholarship. The scholarship was presented by Marlene Miller, President and CEO of Fred J. Miller, Incorporated
Music for All’s efforts to create, provide, and expand positively life-changing experiences include awarding a number of scholarships each year. For more information about Music for All's scholarships click here.
Congratulations to Ms. Marisa Weinstein, Director of Bands, Warsaw Middle School, Pittsfield, ME, the 2017 recipient of the George N. Parks Leadership in Music Education award. Ms. Weinstein received the award during the opening finals ceremonies at the 2017 Grand National Championships, presented by Yamaha on November 11.
Developed by NAfME, the National Association for Music Education and Music for All, the award is named for George N. Parks (1953–2010), director of the University of Massachusetts Minuteman Marching Band at the University of Massachusetts Amherst from 1977 until his death, and honors an exemplary music educator who embodies the characteristics and leadership that Mr. Parks personified.
Marisa Weinstein began teaching at Warsaw Middle School in Pittsfield, Maine nearly three decades ago, and in that time, she has had an immeasurable impact on the students, parents, and community in Pittsfield. In addition to teaching three concert bands, two jazz bands, two general music classes, and two choruses, Ms. Weinstein also facilitates musical performances at several community events throughout the year.
A native of Merritt Island, Florida, Ms. Weinstein began her career at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where she received both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Music Education. While at UMass, she studied conducting with Malcom W. Rowell and percussion with Dr. Peter Tanner. She served ten years as the Associate Conductor for the Casco Bay Wind Symphony in Portland, ME (1990-2000), and she continues to actively perform, evaluate, and guest conduct throughout the New England area today.
Beyond the classroom, Ms. Weinstein demonstrates her commitment to her school and community in a variety of ways. She has coached multiple middle school sports teams for the last 15 years, she has facilitated student performances at several parades and festivals in Pittsfield, and she volunteers to DJ once a month at every Warsaw Middle School dance throughout the school year. Sharon Littlefield, the principal of Warsaw Middle School, said of Ms. Weinstein: “I would like to say that this ‘music family feeling’ she creates is due to the time she spends instructing her students as musicians, but as you can see her connections extend far beyond her program.”
Ms. Weinstein is an active member of the Maine Music Educators Association, and she has served four terms as the District chairperson. She was presented with the Association’s “Educator of the Year” award in 2013, demonstrating the visibility of her commitment to her students and her community. Both former and current students of Weinstein’s said that not only does she connect with students on a personal level, but she also holds them to high standards of excellence. When asked about how she defines success in her programs, Ms. Weinstein emphasized the importance of taking risks and standing up for what you believe in: “When students are willing to risk failure, they learn more about themselves and develop a greater overall appreciation of and for each other.”
2016 Thom Hannum
Associate Director, Minutemen Marching Band, the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA
2015 Patrick M. Erwin
Director of Bands at Hillgrove High School in Powder Springs, GA
2014 Cynthia Napierkowski
Director of Bands at Salem High School in Salem, MA
2013 Dr. Barry Shepherd
Superintendent of Cabarrus County Schools, NC
2012 Daniel Kirk
Blue Valley West, KS
2011 Dr. Peter Boonshaft
The Patrick John Hughes Parent Booster Award recognizes the extraordinary commitment, dedication, support, and sacrifice of music parents and boosters across the nation by shining a spotlight on a recipient who exemplifies these qualities.
The award is named in honor of Patrick John Hughes, the father of Patrick Henry Hughes. Patrick Henry is a remarkable young man who, despite physical challenges that would seem overwhelming to many, has excelled as a musician and student, singing and playing piano and trumpet with the Louisville Marching and Pep Bands, with the help of his father, who tirelessly maneuvers his son’s wheelchair through the formations with the other 220+ members of the Cardinal Marching Band.
On Friday night during the Grand National Championships, the 2017 Patrick John Hughes Parent Booster award was awarded to Greg Hooper of Powder Springs, Georgia.
Successful band programs are made of driven students, passionate teachers, and committed parents and boosters (with those adjectives applying to all). Since 2008, the Patrick John Hughes Parent/Booster Award annually honors a parent, booster, or volunteer who selflessly gives their support and dedication to a band program. The recipients of this award come from different backgrounds, yet are revered as heroes by their programs and make a commitment to keeping the students a priority. That’s 2017 Parent/Booster recipient Greg Hooper’s ideology: “the kids come first.”
A former band member of McEachern High School in Powder Springs, Georgia, Greg has been an active member of the McEachern High School Band Booster Club since 1993 when his first child became a member of the band. As all four of his children were active members of the band, Greg served in a variety of positions such as Co-President and Co-Vice President for the McEachern Band Parent Association and chairing different committees including Equipment, Props, Field Crew/Truck Crew, and Fundraising. He was also McEachern’s trip organizer, heading a trip for the Lord Mayor’s Parade in London. Even long after his children graduated from the band program, he continues to serve as a Props Engineer as he builds and designs the vision of each show. For the past 22 years, Mr. Hooper has served the Cobb County School District as head of the staging crew for the Cobb County High School and Middle School Band and Orchestra Large Group Performance Evaluation. He is also a part of logistical services for the Cobb County Marching Band Exhibition.
Jeff Harper, former Associate Director of Bands at McEachern, says Greg is “thoughtful, helpful, and remarkably selfless with his time.” He commends Greg’s passion for music advocacy and unwavering support for the arts in the Cobb Country School District. Most recently Greg has spent time volunteering as part of the stage crew for Music for All’s Affiliate Southeastern Regional Concert Festival at Georgia State University. He also was an attendee of Music for All’s Summer Symposium Parent Booster Institute, while his daughter attended the Summer Symposium as a student.
Highly regarded in his community and band family, Greg is a strong and inspiring figure to everyone around him. He truly personifies Music for All’s mission “to create, provide, and expand positively life-changing experiences through music for all” through his selfless actions of ensuring that students are provided the best musical experiences. To Mr. Greg Hooper, thank you for your dedication to the students.
Mr. Hooper pictured with past Parent/Booster Award Winners
We hope that everyone will be joining us on Thanksgiving day by watching the 2017 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade! We cannot wait to watch and support all of the amazing marching bands that will be featured throughout the parade. We are especially excited this year to say that all of the high school bands that will be marching in the parade are in the Bands of America family! Congratulations to all of you on being selected for the 91st Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade!
So make sure you tune in and join us in supporting these incredible ensembles as they perform for nearly 50 million television viewers nationwide! We know they will make us proud! The parade steps off at 9:00 AM on Thursday, November 23rd. You can watch the parade live on NBC. The telecast will air from 9:00 AM to 12 Noon in all time zones.
Below is a list of all of the marching bands you will see in the parade!
Colony High School Marching Band
Davis High School Marching Band
Nation Ford High School Marching Band
Fort Mill, South Carolina
Ohio University Marching 110
Prairie View A&M University Marching Storm
Prairie View, Texas
Rockford High School Marching Band
Rosemount High School Marching Band
Trumbull High School Golden Eagle Marching Band
The United States Air Force Band
West Harrison High School Marching Band
Macy's Great American Marching Band
NYPD Marching Band
For great Macy's coverage (including a list of what these bands will be performing!) visit our friends at Marching.com.
For more information about the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade visit www.macys.com/parade.
The 2017 Bands of America Grand National Championships kicked off Wednesday evening, November 8 with a festive celebration of music, pageantry, and friendship as the annual Indianapolis Marching Band Tournament graced the Lucas Oil Stadium field. The event was especially momentous for Arlington, Broad Ripple Magnet, and Northwest High Schools in the final competition for those bands due to school closure.
The coveted Spirit Award ensures audience participation plays a major role at this event with a $1,000 scholarship given to the school with the most enthusiastic boosters. Crispus Attucks H.S. brought a huge group of people and won the award for the fourth consecutive year. Music for All CEO Eric Martin also announced a $1,000 pledge to each of the four remaining IPS bands to support music education in those schools.
Arsenal Technical H.S. won for the third time in a row in the Corps-style Division, creating a cinematic spectacle with selections from action and thriller movies. George Washington Community H.S. finished second, shaking the building with music from the soundtrack of blockbuster motion picture Godzilla.
Broad Ripple Magnet H.S. took the Show-style crown for the third straight year by playing hits of Beyoncé, featuring a talented vocalist and a dance line with moves that would make the Superstar proud. Runner-up Crispus Attucks H.S. showcased their eye-catching majorette line with a tribute to legendary rapper Tupac Shakur.
The limber dancers of Arlington H.S. contorted into positions the human body should not be able to do, while Northwest Community H.S. gave a rousing final performance of “Goodbye” with an array of tunes about saying farewell. Two special exhibition performances from our Aloha State neighbors, Mililani H.S. and Maui H.S., provided even more excitement, plus an exciting show by the Marian University to close the evening.
Please join us as we celebrate the achievements of the best and brightest of America’s future. To the winners in life who took the field, we salute you all. Go for it! Break ranks!