The Music for All Blog
The Music for All Blog



Posted Saturday, October 7, 2017 at 5:09 p.m. local time

Due to incoming severe weather, Music for All has canceled Finals for the Bands of America Regional at Jacksonville, AL.

The decision was made with input from the participating directors, after discussing options, for the safety and well-being of our participants and spectators.

Music for All's official policy for Bands of America events is that tickets are non-refundable. If extraordinary circumstances cause the cancellation of an event, Music for All may offer full or partial refunds as appropriate at a later time. Please keep your ticket stub and visit next week for further information on possible refunds. Refunds are not available on site.

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Please join us in congratulating Erin Fortune on her promotion to Director of Sponsorships!

Erin joined Music for All in 2010 as Participant Relations Coordinator. She takes on the position of Director of Sponsorships after working in Music for All’s marketing department since 2012, most recently as Marketing Manager. Erin helped create and manage Music for All’s award-winning social media presence for Music for All. Her work and leadership led to stronger content and increased traffic to Music for All’s website, new media opportunities that showcase the organization’s positively life-changing programs and events, and creation and deployment of effective e-marketing initiatives and campaigns that annually receive award recognition from the International Festivals and Events Association.

The Director of Sponsorships is a key management level position within Music for All’s Advancement Department. The Advancement Department at Music for All combines and unifies the organization’s efforts to engage and build community with alumni of Music for all programs to secure, facilitate, and manage corporate, governmental, and organizational partnerships. The Director of Sponsorships is responsible for garnering individual, corporate, and institutional philanthropic support that contributes to Music for All’s mission and the success of its operations strategic vision.

“We’re excited to promote Erin and to have her take on this new important role at Music for All,” said Eric Martin, Music for All’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Erin is a mission and vision driven professional who offers and provides great value to our organization, the cause of scholastic music education, and the students, teachers, and communities we serve. I look forward to working with her as she continues to make a difference for students and the bright future they will ensure for America.”

Erin is a graduate of the Music Industry Management program at Michigan’s Ferris State University. Her past experience also includes professional music industry internships at the Percussive Arts Society (Indianapolis) and the Yamaha Corporation of America, Band and Orchestral Division (Buena Park, California).

Congratulations to Erin on this much-deserved promotion! We are thrilled that she will continue to help support Music for All's mission to create, provide, and expand positively life-changing experiences through music for all!


Read the full press release here.

Music for All announces four industry leaders to be inducted to the Bands of America Hall of Fame on March 17, 2018 at the Music for All National Festival


Music for All is pleased to announce the election of four 2018 inductees into its Bands of America Hall of Fame. The Class of 2018 will include Kevin Ford, Director of the Leadership Conservatory for the Arts at Tarpon Springs High School (Florida); Randy Greenwell and Matt James, long-time Co-Directors of Bands at Lawrence Central High School (Indiana); and Dean Westman, Performing Arts Department Chair and Orchestra Director at Avon High School (Indiana).

Music for All’s Bands of America Hall of Fame honors individuals who have made a significant impact on Bands of America, music education, and America’s band activity; exemplify impeccable character, ethics and professionalism; and are role models for music education professionals.

Kevin Ford is the founder and Director of the Leadership Conservatory for the Arts at Tarpon Springs High School. As Director of Bands for over two decades, he oversees the Wind Ensemble and Marching Band, which won the Bands of America Grand National Championships in 2014 and has also participated in the Music for All National Concert Band Festival in 2001. In addition to coaching and supervising all Conservatory performance ensembles, he develops the curriculum for the Conservatory Student Leadership Courses. A nationally-recognized show designer, Mr. Ford has designed for BLAST Japan and was the Artistic Designer for the FIFA World Cup Opening Ceremonies in South Korea. He was the 2015 NAfME National Band Director of the Year, the 2014 Pinellas County Educator of the year, and the Florida Department of Education 2015 Teacher of the Year State finalist. He is the co-founder of the Inspire…Music and Entertainment Production Company. A graduate of the University of Florida, he is a Yamaha Master Educator and is a frequent leadership speaker, guest clinician, and adjudicator nationwide.

Randy Greenwell is the retired Director of Bands/Performing Arts Department Chair at Lawrence Central High School, and now, Educational Support Manager for Conn-Selmer. While at Lawrence, his bands (working in tandem with inductee Matt James) earned national honors, with the marching band winning the Bands of America Grand National Championships in 2001 and 2004. Mr. Greenwell graduated with high honors from Illinois State University, holds a Masters in Wind Conducting from Ball State University, and has taught at both the middle school and high school levels in Indiana. He is an active clinician at national and state conferences, and a music arranger for many leading marching bands. In addition to his numerous awards for distinguished service and teaching, Mayor Bart Peterson named Mr. Greenwell a Distinguished Citizen of Indianapolis.

Matt James is Director of Performing Arts, Director of Bands, and the Performing Arts Department Chair at Lawrence Central High School where he has taught the past 25 years. Under his baton, the Lawrence Central Wind Ensemble has won five state concert band championships, has appeared twice at the Music for All National Festival, and several times at the Indiana Music Educators conference. He is an award-winning drill designer for high schools and drum corps. His designs have received numerous honors, including two Bands of America Grand National Championships (2001 and 2004), one Fiesta Bowl championship, four state championships, several Bands of America Regional Championships, 17 appearances at the Bands of America Grand National Finals with Lawrence Central, and over a dozen state championships with other high school marching bands from around the Midwest. As a euphonium student of Leonard Falcone, he earned his bachelor’s degree in music education from Michigan State University, as well as a master’s in conducting from Butler University where he studied with Stanley DeRusha. James actively serves as a clinician and adjudicator, and has taught band, orchestra and other music classes at the middle school, high school, and collegiate levels in Indiana, Florida, and Michigan.

Dean Westman is Performing Arts Department Chair and Director of Orchestras at Avon High School in Avon, Indiana. In the 11 years since Mr. Westman founded the program, the Avon Orchestras have performed at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts in New York City, the Midwest Clinic in Chicago, and will perform in Italy and Austria this June. The Avon Symphony Orchestra was the 2017 Indiana State School Music Association State Runner-up. Mr. Westman serves on the design team for the three-time Bands of America Grand National Champion and 13-time Indiana State Champion Avon Marching Black & Gold. Prior to his work in Avon, Mr. Westman served as Educational Director for Bands of America and Music for All, as well as serving as Director of Bands of the four-time BOA Grand National Finalists Stephen F. Austin High School from Sugar Land, Texas. Mr. Westman is an Educational Consultant for Music for All. He is Program Coordinator for the 2016 DCI World Champion Bluecoats, and an alumnus of the University of Illinois.

“The members of the 2018 Bands of America Hall of Fame induction class we present to the nation exemplify and epitomize what it means to be a scholastic music educator,” said Eric L. Martin, President and CEO of Music for All. “They represent the very best in education and continue to inspire new generations of teachers. Their involvement in Bands of America, and their leadership in music education and the performing arts has helped make Music for All and Bands of America the extraordinary organization and program they are today.”

These newest members will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Saturday, March 17, 2018, during the Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha. They will be permanently recognized in the Bands of America Hall of Fame at Music for All’s Indianapolis headquarters, alongside Hall of Fame members inducted since the first class of inductees in 2003.

Check out the awards photos from the 2017 Bands of America South Texas Regional Championship!

High resolution awards photos (as well as additional action photos of each band) can be viewed and purchased on the Jolesch Enterprises website:

Check out the awards photos from the 2017 Bands of America Dallas/Ft. Worth Regional Championship!

High resolution awards photos (as well as additional action photos of each band) can be viewed and purchased on the Jolesch Enterprises website:


The Indianapolis-based Music Crossroads Strategic Partner organizations awarded for excellence by the International Festivals and Events Association

The International Festivals & Events Association (IFEA) paid tribute to two Indianapolis-based arts organizations on September 14, 2017 during the IFEA/Haas & Wilkerson Pinnacle Awards Ceremony held at the 62nd Annual IFEA Convention, Expo & Retreat, presented by Haas & Wilkerson Insurance, in Tucson, Arizona.

Drum Corps International (DCI) and Music for All received a total of 32 awards, including Gold Awards for DCI in the categories of Best TV Promotion (Ad Spot or PSA), Best Event Video Promotion, Best Digital/Social Ad Series, and Best Miscellaneous Multimedia. Music for All earned Gold Awards in the categories of Best Event Website, Best Organizational E-Newsletter, Best Event E-Newsletter, Best Promotional Brochure, Best Event Promotional Photograph, and Best Educational Program.

The IFEA/Haas & Wilkerson Pinnacle Awards Competition recognizes the outstanding accomplishments and top quality creative, promotional, operational, and community outreach programs and materials produced by festivals and events around the world.

Both Music for All and DCI relocated their headquarters to Indianapolis as part of the Indianapolis and Visit Indy’s MusicCrossroads initiative – Music for All in 2003 and DCI in 2008. MusicCrossroads is an economic development and community building initiative created by Visit Indy and other stakeholders to attract music performance and education based organizations and their programming to Indianapolis.

Music for All, a 501(c)3 non-profit educational organization, draws a half million student musicians, their families, and fans to more than 30 national events each year, including the Bands of America Grand National Championships and Super Regional Championship in Lucas Oil Stadium, the Music for All National Festival in Indianapolis, and the Music for All Summer Symposium at Ball State University.

Also a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, DCI’s global presence spotlights Indianapolis each year with multiple activities including the World Championship Finals, held each August at Lucas Oil Stadium. DCI provides marching music entertainment to millions of fans through live performances and nationally-broadcast events. Collectively the organizations attract more than 50,000 annual participants and visitors to central Indiana.

“It is an honor to be recognized by IFEA for the hard work and talents of our staffs, at both organizations,” said Eric Martin, President and CEO of Music for All, “and to celebrate that acknowledgement of Music for All alongside our partner organization and fellow Indianapolis performing arts organization Drum Corps International is special to us.”

DCI Executive Director Dan Acheson added, “These awards are a testament to the professional talent working on behalf of both organizations to further music education and the performing arts for audiences across the country. DCI is particularly pleased to showcase the City of Indianapolis during our events here.”

“Visit Indy – through our MusicCrossroads initiative – sought out Music for All and Drum Corps International not only for their economic impact and great events, but substantially for their unique ingenuity, creativity, inspiration, and capacity to bring out the best in people through the art of music,” said Matt Carter, Vice President of Destination Development at Visit Indy and Executive Director of MusicCrossroads. “Since moving to Indy, it is no surprise to us that they have continued grow and garner attention for the role they play in building the leaders of today and tomorrow to fullest potential in creative ways as evidenced by their work and these affirmational awards. We celebrate their achievement and consider it an honor for them to call Indy home.”

“We would like to congratulate all of our Pinnacle winners for their outstanding entries into this year’s competition,” said IFEA President & CEO, Steven Wood Schmader, CFEE.

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Music for All and Bongo Boy Music partnered to host The “Art” of Drum Circle Facilitation with IPS arts educators on September 7 at Bongo Boy Music School, a private percussion music school located in the Castleton area of Indianapolis. The event was part of an ongoing effort to bring nontraditional music-making to Indianapolis Public Schools. The pilot for this project began with an IPS professional development session on July 26, during which John Fitzgerald from Remo, Inc. gave the keynote address.

Having had my first drum circle experience at our most recent Summer Symposium, I was excited to be back in such a welcoming environment, where creativity reigns. Lisa Colleen and Ed Gaus of Bongo Boy Music led the drum circle that included 11 arts educators and four of our staff from Music for All. I decided to observe the learning process through my camera.

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Everyone began to participate in the drum circle, with call and response techniques where the leader or participants play a rhythm and everyone else plays it back; and sculpting where a certain group or individual is playing in order to hear the different rhythms that ultimately turn into one harmonious rhythm. They even used their voices as the beat!

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Drum circles are an excellent way for people to come together in a space that is “inclusive and non-judgmental.” What it did for me was strengthen my communication with others, verbally and non-verbally. In fact, that was the main point discussed at the drum circle, learning how communicate effectively.

These arts educators came to this session to learn different techniques on communicating with their students. Bringing drum circles into the classroom, while unconventional, can aid in classroom management and engagement, and has proven to keep students focused. Also, instruments are not necessarily required in a drum circle, as you can contribute your body and voice to the group. There are students that do not have access to instruments nor prior knowledge of the traditional elements of music education. Inside the drum circle, while the teachers are creating musical life-changing experiences, the students can play what they’re feeling in the moment.

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The session was small enough that people in the group had the opportunity to demonstrate techniques and ask questions. It was interesting to see them demonstrate their unique techniques of facilitating a drum circle. An interesting point Lisa Colleen brought up during the session was that each person has to lead their drum circle in their own way that works for them. Attempting to mimic the way someone else facilitates a session simply doesn’t work.

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At the end of the session, everyone joined in on the community drum circle that takes place every week on Thursday night. People brought friends, family, and even their kids to join in on the fun. Every person in the session, including myself couldn’t stop smiling. As someone who is incredibly passionate about music and the advocacy of it, I was moved watching everyone come together. Drum circles are a place to learn and a place to feel the rhythm of who you truly are.

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Many Texas school fine arts programs have been devastated by Hurricane Harvey, and while school districts are working to help them recover, some immediate needs still exist. Music for All, Texas Music Educators Association, and a number of Texas fine arts organizations want students in these affected programs to have the resources they need to fully experience a well-rounded education that includes the arts, and we don’t want them to have to wait. You can help bring back the arts.

How You Can Help

Please view the Help Requests and find programs you can support. Even if you don’t have the specific items requested, perhaps there is another way you can help them recover.


In conjunction with other state arts education organizations listed below, the Texas Music Educators Association developed this website to be a central registry where arts programs affected by Hurricane Harvey can post their immediate program needs so that individuals and organizations around our state and nation can respond directly to them. As program needs are met, the lists will be updated. Please share this website with your friends, family, and community so we can expand the network of help and resolve every identified need.

Fine Arts Education Associations:

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Grand National Exhibition Bands Announced

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The Bands of America Grand National Championships brings bands from across the country, as they all converge to Indianapolis making it the epicenter of the marching arts. This season we have seen amazing performances both by competing bands and special exhibition groups. We are excited to announce our 2017 Grand National Championships exhibition bands as we continue the tradition of iconic collegiate programs. 

Music for All is proud to announce that The University of Alabama Million Dollar Band will perform at the 2017 Grand National Championships. The strong tradition of the Million Dollar band has been an Alabama Crimson Tide tradition for 104 years. What would college football be without the excitement and thrill of the marching band? 

This 400 plus member marching band covers almost every major and department with the university, easily making the Million Dollar Band the largest student organization on campus. The band is no stranger to Bands of America, having made an appearance at the 2007 Grand National Championships.


To continue the excitement we are also proud to announce that the Bowling Green State University Falcon Marching Band and the Miami University Marching Band will also be performing in exhibition. 

The Bowling Green State University Falcon Marching Band, also known as FMB, has a rich history. Earl Claire Powell established the first marching band in 1923, which only had 20 members, but now the 240 plus member band showcases the finest in musical and visual performances, as well as a centerpiece in BGSU athletic spirit.


The Miami University Marching Band is a game-day tradition for the Redhawks, dating back to 1935 making it one of Miami’s oldest and most active student organizations. The 260-member ensemble has performed across the country including the 2003 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and two bowl games: the 2003 GMAC Bowl in Mobile, Alabama and 2004 Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana. The band is excited to perform their 2017 production “Top Secret”, which features music from film and TV, as well as showcasing their new uniforms for the 2017 season.
We kick Grand Nationals week off Wednesday night with the Indianapolis Marching Band Tournament. In exhibition we will have Indianapolis’ own Marian University Marching Knights.Since its rebirth in 2009, the band has performed for many prestigious events on and off campus. The band performs for home football games, parades, pep rallies, campus sporting events, community concerts, and private events. 

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Make sure to mark your calendar for November 8-11, 2017, as The University of Alabama Million Dollar Band, The Bowling Green State University Falcon Marching Band, The Miami University Marching Band, and the Marian University Marching Knights will be taking the field in Indianapolis!

Check out the awards photos from the 2017 Bands of America Northwest Ohio Regional Championship!

High resolution awards photos (as well as additional action photos of each band) can be viewed and purchased on the Jolesch Enterprises website: