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Jason Max Ferdinand, Conductor of the Oakwood Aeolians has been named Associate Artistic Director of the Music for All National Choir Festival. “I am filled with joy that Jason has accepted this position,” stated Henry Leck, Founding Artistic Director of Music for All Choral Activities. “Jason has a magnificent sense of artistry. His affirming and inspiring heart is truly aligned with the Music for All philosophy of positively life-changing experiences through music.”

Ferdinand, known for his focus to “Execute the all-important crescendo…the crescendo of the human heart,” serves as Chair of the Music Department and Director of Choral Activities at Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama. A native of Trinidad & Tobago, Ferdinand received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Oakwood University in Piano, the Master of Arts in Choral Conducting from Morgan State University and the Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting with a minor in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Maryland.

Under the baton of Dr. Ferdinand, the Oakwood Aeolians have won numerous gold medals at the World Choir Games in the United States and South Africa; were named “Choir of the World” at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in Wales, and were the featured choir in Russia as part of the Russia-US Bilateral Presidential Commission on development of cooperation between Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama. During the recent American Choral Directors Conference, the Oakwood Aeolians became a popular featured choir by presenting a program of international music ranging from Bach to Ken Burton’s “Promised Land.”

The Music for All National Choir Festival is for advanced High School and Middle School Choirs who audition for invitation. Held annually in Indianapolis Indiana, the Festival is part of the bigger Music for All National Festival that includes Concert Band, Orchestra, Percussion Ensemble and Chamber Ensembles.

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

In Memoriam: Dr. Joseph Flummerfelt

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It is with an enormous sense of loss that I acknowledge the passing of my colleague and friend Dr. Joe Flummerfelt. I really only got to know Joe well after he moved to Indianapolis, but immediately he felt like a life-long friend. He never took the time a brag about himself or his accomplishments. You sort of had to find out about his greatness indirectly. With his character of humility and calmness he always seemed much more interested in what others were doing or in the music itself. This last year he and I attended a dress rehearsal of Penderecki’s St. Luke Passion at Indiana University. We walked into the quiet, near empty auditorium, sat down …. and almost immediately there was a flock of doctoral choral students surrounding us, each paying tribute and offering their unbridled admiration and thanks to the maestro. He had previously just done a week of seminars. Then as the rehearsal was getting ready to begin. Krzysztof Penderecki and his wife entered and immediately they rushed over to greet their lifelong friend. Little did I know that Joe had been instrumental in the American premiere of the work with Robert Shaw. You could immediately feel the mutual love and respect between these colleagues. Penderecki immediately saw that we had a full score to follow during the rehearsal. We shared the score … commented on various sections and had a very complete musical evening. But I noticed something….. Joe didn’t really need the score. He knew the work. If you want to know about the professional accomplishments of Joe Flummerfelt, you don’t have to look very far. He prepared choruses for the New York Philharmonic and nearly all the great conductors for years. His recordings from Westminster Choir College are a testament to his knowledge of the craft and the art of choral music. As I think of him today I realize we not only suffer the loss of a friend but also his wealth of knowledge, insight and experience.

When it came to starting a new project in Indianapolis… (the Music for All National Choir Festival), Joe was one of our strongest supporters. He loved choral music and loved the idea of creating more choral music in his home city. But he took on the mantle of helping conductors grow. He became a teacher to each conductor by providing a “Conductor’s Critique” experience. Each conductor was video recorded in performance. He created written comments and then met individually with each of them. Almost without exception, the conductors considered it to be a life changing experience. This position at the festival will continue in his honor.

Joe we will miss you, but your friendship, your teaching, your humility, your leadership, and your love for choral music will remain with us always. Thank you my friend.

marlasmithMusic for All is mourning the loss of Marla D. Smith, a member of our Board of Directors, who passed away February 19, 2019. Born in Ft. Wayne, Indiana on January 3, 1946, Marla brought to Music for All not only her expertise as an Executive Assistant and Office Manager, but her lifetime of passion as a featured and state champion twirler and a Westfield High School Marching Band (IN) Band Parent.

Marla will be greatly missed. She is survived by her husband, Tony Smith, daughter, Dede (Felice) Panarisi, grandson, Robert Panarisi, granddaughter, Megan Panarisi, other relatives and many friends.

Celebration of Life Services and Obituary.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The First Year: Anything Can Happen

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Every band director aspires for success, especially in the early years of our careers. Far too often, I see that directors doubt themselves and don’t reach the level of achievement they yearn for. In no way, shape, or form, do I consider myself to be an expert, but I do say this: whatever it is that you want for your program, is possible.

Growing up in the Harrison County school system in Cynthiana, KY, there were always high expectations for the success of our music programs. We were consistently state finalists on the marching field, and had distinguished concert and choral programs. Occasionally, we fell short of our goals, but the early-learned expectations stuck with me.

Chris Hedges’ (one of my high school band directors) words always stuck with me: “If you choose to compete, then you have to choose to accept the results.” He was so right. The only thing that I had to do, was decide what I was willing to accept.

Now, I don’t want anyone to think that I’m a fresh-faced, right out of the gate educator. I began my career in 2014 at Harrison County High School, where I worked for a year and a half as the choral director and assistant director of the marching band. With all of the excitement of beginning a career came a countless number of mistakes. Instead of allowing situations to just be mistakes, I began to turn them into learning opportunities. Needless to say, I became well-educated in this area.

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During this time in my career, I began to understand exactly which types of results I was willing to accept. Our marching band was in a state of regrowth. We placed in the state semifinals during those two years. It was not a high placement, but we made it. My choirs grew in number and received proficient ratings at our performance assessments – not “bad,” but it wasn’t something that I was willing to accept.

In the winter of 2015, I accepted the job as the assistant band director at Bourbon County with Eric Hale – a legend in my eyes and one of my former band directors. In the two years that he and I worked together, I truly learned what it meant to make the results you want happen. Due to the band’s historic success, it’s not uncommon to hear the phrase: “there is something in the water in Bourbon County.” Despite these rumors, it isn’t magic or super powers that have led to our triumphs. There is just a lot of hard work paired with smart decision-making taking place.

I know everyone reading this must be thinking, “I thought this article was about their success this year?” It is. All of these moments led to the possibility for this success. The 2018 school year was my first shot at being a head director after Mr. Hale retired, and I decided that I wasn’t going to blow it. I don’t think there is a single person who is familiar with our program that didn’t expect things to decline. Those expectations gave me a challenge, and as a fan of challenges I was happy to accept.

Previously, I mentioned smart decision-making as being an integral part of our success. If I’m being totally honest, by most people’s standards, there wasn’t a lot of that taking place on my part. Throughout my recruiting process, I decided that I wanted to have a 120-member band – the biggest in our school’s history – another challenge. I made it happen. The largest hurdle on that path, was the fact that having a larger band would mean having a larger class of new marchers (43 to be exact). In Kentucky, some schools choose to utilize 7th and 8th grade students for marching band. Bourbon County is especially known for doing this. I made the decision to have thirty-two 7th graders and nineteen 8th graders. Overall, I had around 70 kids that were freshman and below. At an early competition, W. Dale Warren served as a clinician. There aren’t words to describe the look on his face when I told him about the makeup of our band. All he said was that there was a lot of work to be done. He was beyond correct.

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Due to budgetary restraints, Eric Hale always wrote his own drill and arranged his own music at Bourbon County. I chose to continue this tradition. When constructing the show, I had several colleagues listen as I arranged, went through an editing process, and made sure that the music was coming across how I intended. The first draft of the show seemed like it was going to work.

This season didn’t start off strong. We spent our first local competition in 3rd place at a show we had won in 2017. We were 12th place at the BOA Oxford regional. I believe this may have been the first time that our band sat out of finals competition in at least 11 years. We were class champions, but there was still disappointment. Our in-state rival, Russell County, was over 5 points ahead of us. We decided that we weren’t able to accept these results. I wasn’t going to let my kids experience failure, so we pushed forward. We went back and took a closer look at the construction of our show and made changes accordingly, adjusted practice schedules, and focused on the minute detailing of every moment – basically, we worked harder. Throughout the season, my goal was to teach my students that the band who worked the hardest would gain the biggest payoff. They bought in to the concept, and it paid off.

We ended our season as the Class AAA Kentucky State Champions and the BOA Grand National Class A Champion.

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Personally, it was a great accomplishment in my “first year” as a director. I loved that my kids were able to experience performing at that level. In our pre-semifinals performance at Grand Nationals, I told the kids (while fighting back tears) that they had truly made all of my dreams come true. Growing up, I watched my friends at Bourbon County win state and national titles. All I could do was dream about being at that level. Becoming a band director, I sought to give my kids everything that I didn’t get to experience. I can say that I’ve done that now. KMEA and BOA will forever have my gratitude for giving educators the chance to highlight just what these young people can do.

Close colleagues ask me what’s next for Bourbon County and Michael Stone. Other than spending some time with my partner, Josh, and rounding out the concert program, no one knows. When we figure it out, we’ll be sure to let each of you see.

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Music for All is pleased to announce that Nick Ramsey has joined the organization as its Events Coordinator. "We are excited for Nick to be able to share his strong logistics background,” says Mark Sternberg, Events Manager. “He has a great understanding of creating wonderful experiences for visiting artists, and we are excited to see him bring this to our participants and patrons throughout the year."

Nick comes to us from the Cleveland Orchestra, where he was the Artistic Planning Coordinator, and managed the guest artists' logistics during the symphony’s centennial celebration. He is a graduate of the University of Kentucky, where he earned a Bachelor in Music Education, and a Masters Degree in Arts Administration.

Headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, Music for All, Inc. is a nonprofit, 501(c)3 educational organization that presents more than 45 programs and events across America annually and is a voice advocating for music and arts education in all scholastic environments.

 

Music for All is pleased to announce that Mariam Watson has joined the organization as its Revenue Analyst & Ticketing Manager. “We are very pleased that Mariam has joined our team! In such a short period of time, she has already made many contributions in streamlining our accounting functions,” says Sarah Loughery, Controller. “We look forward to her future with Music for All and all that she will accomplish!”

Watson has previously held positions with Crowe Horwath as a Senior Healthcare Consultant, AES Corp as a Senior Accountant, IU Health as a Business Intelligence Coordinator, and several other accounting positions. She also traveled to Central America and Asia on a sabbatical. She received her degree in Business Administration and in German from Missouri Southern State University and her M.B.A. from the University of Indianapolis.

Headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, Music for All, Inc. is a nonprofit, 501(c)3 educational organization that presents more than 45 programs and events across America annually and is a voice advocating for music and arts education in all scholastic environments.

Nearly 100 winners from schools and school districts across America have been recognized as recipients of the Music for All Advocacy in Action Awards for 2019.

Behind most great school music programs are strong recruitment, retention, and booster programs. The Music for All Advocacy in Action Awards recognizes music programs, schools, and communities across the United States that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide access to music education for all students.

Music for All received more than 95 entries for the 2018-2019 school year – the debut year of the awards.

To qualify for the Advocacy in Action Award designation, schools or districts submitted a detailed description of its music program and its project entry. Submissions were reviewed by a national panel of educators, administrators, and community and business leaders.

“For too long music advocacy has leaned mainly on research-based justifications. Music for All’s Advocacy in Action Awards collect and share ideas so music programs and their supporters can get practical and inspire each other,” says Eric Martin, President & CEO, Music for All.

It is Music for All’s vision to be a catalyst to ensure that every child across America has access and opportunity to participate in active music-making in their scholastic environment.

2018-2019 award-winners are recognized online at advocacy.musicforall.org. The website curates the winning entries as a resource for arts educators.

Dr. Brandon Boyd, and Dr. Andrew Crow join Joseph Flummerfelt, André Thomas, Kent Hatteberg, John Byun, Lynda Hasseler, Jason Max Ferdinand, Karen Kennedy, Stacey V. Gibbs, and Artistic Director, Henry Leck to complete the 2019 National Choir Festival artistic panel.

Dr. Brandon Boyd, Assistant Director of Choral Activities and Assistant Professor of Choral Music Education at University of Missouri will serve as evaluator/clinician for the 2019 National Choir Festival. “Each year at Music for All National Choir Festival, the organization strives to honor their mission by celebrating musical excellence through life-changing choral experiences. This year will be no different. As a member of the blind-listening and choral artistic committee, I am excited to see the impact the festival will have on these talented choral ensembles as they experience the joy of singing in a national community of choirs and working with international professional conductors. The featured conductor this year is the world-renowned conductor and composer, Dr. André J. Thomas, who will bring a wealth of knowledge and compassion to this year's festival that will penetrate the hearts and minds of participants and attendees for years to come. What an exciting experience this will be for ALL!” - Brandon Boyd

Together, Dr. Boyd and Dr. Andre Thomas will present a Gospel Master Class during the festival. Hear them improvise a joyful holiday piano duet here:

The Festival Singers of Florida perform Dr. Boyd’s arrangement of Until I Reach My Home:

Dr. Andrew Crow, Director of Choral Activities at Ball State University, served on the blind listening panel for the 2019 National Choir Festival, and will be Master of Ceremonies for the 1:30pm National Festival Choir performance, Saturday March 16, 2019 at the Palladium Center for the Performing Arts in Indianapolis. “Hearing a wide range of choirs through the blind listening process of recorded applications allows us to listen intently to each ensemble and evaluate them without distraction. We hear a broad range of repertoire and listen independently for key elements of vocal tone, intonation, ensemble balance, blend, and the mechanics of singing. Plus, with several contrasting songs, we can observe the singers’ ability to adapt stylistic nuance for each piece.” -Andrew Crow

Listen to the Ball State Statesmen performing The Cardinal Call, a medley of school songs:

 

All videos are being used with expressed, written permission of the composers and arrangers.

Music for All is very honored to have Dr. Joseph Flummerfelt serve as the conductors’ clinician for the National Choir Festival. "It was exciting that Music for All decided to launch a National Choir Festival in Indianapolis last year. I was very pleased to have been asked to be a part of what proved to be a very successful first year, and I look forward to continuing to play a role in the life of the festival this year and in the years ahead." -Joseph Flummerfelt

Enjoy a live interview with Joseph Flummerfelt:

Notable excerpts; If he could meet one composer it would be “Brahms!” and his favorite works include “Brahms Requiem, Beethoven Missa Solemnis, Bach B Minor Mass, Verdi Requiem, Stravinsky Symphony of Psalms, and Britten War Requiem.”

The University of Louisville Cardinal Singers under the direction of Kent Hatteberg will perform at the 2019 National Festival opening ceremony, and in concert at St. John’s Church.

Founded in 1970, the University of Louisville Cardinal Singers continue their outreach by offering workshops, performing, and competing internationally. They have performed at nine regional and national choral conventions, and recent international highlights include winning Grand Prize at the 2018 Zadar International Choir Competition in Croatia and feature performances at the 2017 Xi’an International Choral Festival in China. Hatteberg is also founder of the semi-professional Louisville Chamber Choir.

“After the highly successful launch of the Music for All National Choir Festival in 2018, we are looking forward to a fabulous 2019 Festival. I hope you will strongly consider giving this wonderful opportunity to your students. I can’t wait to hear and work with more amazing choirs in 2019. If you haven’t registered for 2020 yet, please do so at www.choir.musicforall.org. Your students will thank you for it.” -Kent Hatteberg

Flummerfelt and Hatteberg join André Thomas, John Byun, Lynda Hasseler, Jason Max Ferdinand, Karen Kennedy, Brandon Boyd, Stacey V. Gibbs, and Artistic Director, Henry Leck to complete the 2019 National Choir Festival artistic panel.

PepWear and Music for All Enter Into An Unprecedented 10-Year Agreement

PepWear and Music for All are poised for an exciting future. The two organizations, which have been working together for more than 15 years, have agreed to a new 10-year merchandise and sponsorship agreement.

With the new agreement, PepWear will continue to design, produce, and sell commemorative merchandise for all Music for All events, including Bands of America Championships, Music for All Summer Symposium, and Music for All National Festival for bands, choirs, and orchestras. In addition, PepWear will be an Official Corporate Sponsor of Music for All.

“Music for All and PepWear have worked side by side for more than 15 years and have developed a very close bond,” said Craig Johnson, President of PepWear. “By entering into a new 10-year merchandising agreement, we are mutually endorsing our shared values. I couldn’t be more proud or supportive of what Music for All stands for.”

“In addition, we will now be an Official Corporate Sponsor of Music for All, strengthening our relationship and reach,” he added.

“We are thrilled to continue our journey with PepWear,” says Music for All President and CEO, Eric Martin. “For more than a decade, PepWear has stood side-by-side with Music for All in commemorating the ‘positively life-changing’ programming and experiences provided to our participants and attendees. We look forward to PepWear’s increased and extended role in advocating and delivering on our mission and vision to make music education and its benefits more available and accessible.”

The new agreement secures PepWear’s long-term partnership with Music for All, one of the nation’s largest and leading organizations in support of scholastic music education, through educational programs, performance events, and music education advocacy efforts.

Merchandise will be sold at all Music for All events and can be purchased online at: shop.musicforall.org

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