By James Stephens
Director of Education and Advocacy, Music for All
Often, when we hear discussion pertaining to the current state of scholastic music education, it is drenched in tones of doom and gloom. Certainly, the profession is experiencing no shortage of obstacles ranging from budget cuts to scheduling constraints. However, as of late, it has been my observation that where determination and dedication to arts education remain steadfast, instrumental music educators have afforded their students the most rewarding of performance experiences.
My recent travels, as well as positive reports from colleagues, have opened my eyes to some truly musical and well-rehearsed concert band and orchestra programs. During the months of March and April, Music for All had the privilege to present seven Regional Concert Band Festivals at a variety of locations across the country. The results have showcased some amazing teaching, wonderful musicianship, and high quality literature all present in our nation’s music classrooms.
"Music education is under a currently under a microscope. Many people are challenging the large ensemble concept of teaching students music," said Dr. Kevin Sedatole, director of bands at Michigan State University. As a frequent evaluator and clinician of the Music for All Festivals, Dr. Sedatole says, "The MFA Festivals, both national and regional, are a great example of thriving music education in the United States. I believe that the style of these MFA events, being non-competitive and more focused on music, gives great strength to the large ensemble concept of music education. As long as we keep the teaching of music as an art form at the forefront, the large ensemble format will continue to thrive."
Dr. Paula Crider, professor emerita at University of Texas Austin, having also served as a Music for All evaluator and clinician, says, "Music is essential to the human spirit. We must become more articulate spokespersons for the art of making music, so that music programs are not the first to be cut from schools. The entire spirit of the Music for All Festivals is one of shared joy in music-making and a sincere interest on the part of the conductors and musicians to learn from the experience."
Not only do these young musicians have the opportunity to perform for an appreciative audience, the post-performance clinic experience has become the "icing on the cake." I have been fortunate enough to observe some of these clinics, delivered by the likes of Richard Floyd, retired Director of Music at University of Texas Austin. Many times the ensemble has just given the performance of a lifetime, and it is through the clinic experience—working with clinicians at the highest level of music education--that these students are able to reflect on the power of live performance, as well as the importance of the entire ensemble in creating a successful performance. It is incredibly rewarding to witness that magical synergy that these young musicians experience while a skilled clinician offers some final touches.
"My message to high school directors is and will continue to be that the performance of music by ensembles is not about winning but about sharing the musical experience," says Sedatole. "These festivals offer a unique experience that celebrates music and musicianship. The opportunity to work with high-level conductors from high school, college, and professional ranks is very special."
These festivals have become a wonderful validation of the importance of music education, as well as a celebration of excellence in performance for students and their teachers.
In 2017, Music for All will expand the Regional Concert Band Festivals to ten locations including Russellville, Arkansas; Fresno, California; Atlanta, Georgia; Arlington Heights, Illinois; Lafayette, Louisiana; St. Louis, Missouri; Roxbury, New Jersey; Cincinnati, Ohio; Salt Lake City, Utah; Vancouver, Washington. Click here for more information on the Affiliate Music for All Regional Concert Festivals.
1. Our goal is to provide a positively life-changing experience for you and your students.
2. Bands of America Championships emphasize the pursuit of performance excellence and the educational experience of participation.
3. Participation offers students the chance to be placed on the nation’s highest pedestals, alongside their peers. Bands of America’s national promotional and social media programs shine a spotlight on your program and students to be recognized by band programs nationwide.
4. You’ll receive written and recorded evaluation from the Bands of America adjudication panel of respected music educators and marching experts.
5. All bands receive a Bands of America award, all students receive a recognition package of personalized certificate and participation patch.
BONUS REASON! Sunday morning clinic for directors and staff of participating bands – meet with members of the adjudication panel for private feedback on your BOA performance. Space for these optional, add-on clinics is limited, spots offer on a first-come, first-served basis. Watch this video to hear directors and judges talked about the clinics.
Then when you're ready to sign up, enroll online and secure your spot before the end of the school year.
Special note for Tacoma, WA Regional area bands: If considering, be sure to enroll by May 15. That is the date MFA will assess enrollment, and if minimum necessary enrollment is not met, must forfeit the stadium and cancel the Regional.
by Scott Casagrande
Director of Bands, John Hersey H.S., Arlington Heights, IL
and Music for All Educational Consultant
The Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha, is the most prestigious festival of its kind in the United States and it continues to improve and grow each and every year.
As a conductor that has had four ensembles perform at the National Concert Band Festival since it's inception in 1992, I can safely say that the experience changed our band program positively each time we performed. In the 24 years of the festival's existence, I have attended all but two of the festivals. Recently, it has been a privilege and honor to be a part of the National Festival and contribute to its growth and impact on scholastic music-making.
Here is "top-ten" list of reasons to consider applying to the National Festival:
10. Your application recording will receive written and recorded feedback from leaders in our profession. Regardless of whether your ensemble is accepted into the National Festival, your application recording will receive taped and written feedback from the best in our business.
9. Indianapolis "rolls out the red carpet" for participating bands. The Music for All National Festival takes over downtown Indianapolis during the week of the event. Several hotels are utilized and music students, as well as their family and friends, fill the beautiful and safe downtown area.
8. A world-class recording of your performance will be provided. Professional recording engineers and producers work tirelessly to produce beautiful keepsakes of this memorable event. The highest quality professional equipment is used to produce these items that are included in your entry fee.
7. This festival is non-competitive once you are accepted. When you arrive in Indianapolis for the National Festival, the atmosphere is immediately supportive of students, conductors and the music-making of each performing ensemble. The competition is to be accepted and that is where the competition ends. There are no ratings or rankings.
6. Master classes with the best performers in the United States are a highlight of the festival. Every student participating in the festival will receive a master class from a world-class performer on their instrument with all of the other students that play their instrument in the festival.
5. All of the performance spaces are world class. Clowes Memorial Hall, Schrott Performing Arts Center, Hilbert Circle Theatre, Warren Center for the Performing Arts, and the Glick Indiana History Center are acoustically wonderful and beautiful spaces for the ensembles that perform.
4. The Opening Session and the Closing Gala Banquet are events that your students will never forget. Sharing the National Festival experience with the best scholastic performing ensembles in the United States will instill a sense of pride and confidence in your students like no other event. All students and directors in the festival, as well as the evaluators and clinicians, come together in one enormous banquet hall for these two events and the energy created in this room is palpable.
3. All of the ensemble evaluators and clinicians are the absolute best in our business. The panel of conductors and educators that contribute to this event are a veritable "who's who" of the music world. They are carefully chosen for their expertise and ability to connect with students and conductors. They travel from all over the United States to be a part of this event. The list of past clinicians and evaluators are indicated on the application.
2. This festival is all about your STUDENTS. The National Festival is 100% focused on creating an environment that inspires your students to love the art of music and to continue music-making when they leave your program. This is not a convention of band directors, orchestra directors, percussionists, etc. It's not a theme-park trip either. This is an event totally devoted and focused on student growth and the development of musical maturity. A secondary (and VERY important) focus of the festival is the growth of directors/conductors through the one-on-one mentoring session following your performance, the Meet the Masters dinner, director social events, and many other opportunities.
1. Your journey to perform the greatest music written will create a musically artistic experience like no other. That's what this festival is about. Enabling your students to create an amazing artistic performance that they will remember for a lifetime with other like-minded students and directors in a nurturing and supportive environment. There is no other event like this in the United States.
If you are interested, go here for more information and the application.
The application deadline for the 2017 Music for All National Festival is June 6, 2016.
We hope that you are interested in becoming a part of the living legacy of the Music for All National Festival.
Feel free to call the Music for All office with any questions regarding this application or event at 800.848.2263.
Pictured left to right: Dr. Jeremy Earnhart, Barry Morgan, and Ayatey Shabazz
Three new members have been elected to the Music for All Board of Directors: Jeremy Earnhart, Bedford, Texas; Barry Morgan, Acworth, Georgia; and Ayatey Shabazz, Biloxi, Mississipi; all with extensive experience within the music community. Music for All’s vision is to be a catalyst to ensure that every child across America has access and opportunity to participate in active music making in his or her scholastic environment.
“These three individuals bring a wealth of expertise and knowledge in the areas of education and development to the Music for All Board of Directors. The diversity of their experiences and geographic locations represents the breadth of the constituency of this national organization,” says Gayl Doster, Chairman of the Music for All Board of Directors. “Each director displays business and fiscal acumen as well as a love of music. Together they will help us expand opportunities for Music for All as we serve young musicians and their teachers and advocate for the inclusion of music education as part of a complete education for our young people.”
Dr. Jeremy Earnhart currently serves as the Director of Fine Arts for the Arlington, TX Independent School District where he helps educate a student body of 63,500 students in several world-class programs through the musical, visual, and kinesthetic arts. From the years 2009-2013, he was Director of Fine Arts for Irving ISD, TX where student participation in secondary fine arts increased by over 40%. He was also the director of UIL State and Bands of America National Champion L.D. Bell High School Band from 1998-2009.
Dr. Earnhart earned his Bachelor of Music and Masters of Music degrees from the University of North Texas, and holds certification in International Baccalaureate Music, MFA Boas well as a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership from Dallas Baptist University. He is an active clinician/conductor, adjudicator (including for Bands of America) a published author, and presenter for several staff developments/conferences throughout Texas and the Midwest.
He lives in the DFW Mid-Cities with his wife Gwen, named an elementary music teacher of the year, and daughter Kierstyn.
Barry Morgan J.D. is currently serving his sixth term as Solicitor General of the State Court of Cobb County. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Georgia State University and a Doctor of Jurisprudence from the John Marshall Law School in Atlanta, Georgia where he graduated Summa Cum Laude. Before becoming a prosecutor, Barry served 12 years as a high school, middle school, and elementary school band director with the Cobb County Georgia School District. Morgan continues to remain active in the drum corps community as both an instructor and fan.
Mr. Morgan continues to serve the music community as a lecturer on Legal Responsibilities of Music Teachers for Music for All Summer Symposium, many state conventions, and the 59th and 63rd Annual Midwest Clinic for bands and orchestras in Chicago.
Ayatey Shabazz is a native of Biloxi, Mississippi where he currently works and resides. Shabazz has taught elementary, middle school, and high school band in the Mississippi Gulf Coast region and he has written custom arrangements and field shows performed by high school and college marching ensembles throughout the country, as well as drum corps in Europe. He has also composed a number of original works in the concert idiom.
Mr. Shabazz received his formal training in Music Education from the University of Southern Mississippi where he also studied composition and jazz arranging under the direction of Dr. Albert Gower. In addition to his published concert works, he has been commissioned to write multiple works for ensembles in the United States and abroad, as well as music for film and television. Mr. Shabazz is also the Founder, President, and CEO of The Devmusic Company. The Devmusic Company is a global music publishing company with worldwide distribution, that focuses on quality print music for marching bands, concert bands, jazz bands, and percussion ensembles.
He is a member of multiple professional and industry organizations including American Society of Composers Authors & Publishers (ASCAP) and National Association of music Merchants (NAMM).
Music for All President and CEO, Eric L. Martin, Frank Bischoff, Former President and CEO Scott McCormick, and Frank Troyka
Music for All inducted two new members into the Bands of America Hall of Fame: Frank Bischoff and Frank Troyka. These new members were inducted on Saturday, March 10th in a ceremony at the Gala Awards Banquet at the Music for All National Festival in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The Bands of America Hall of Fame recognizes individuals who have had a positively life-changing impact on Music for All’s Bands of America programs and music education. 2016 inductees were announced during the opening ceremonies of the 2015 Bands of America Grand National Championships, presented by Yamaha, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. They will be permanently recognized in the Bands of America Hall of Fame at Music for All’s Indianapolis headquarters, along with all the BOA Hall of Fame members inducted since the first in 2003.
Frank Bischoff has been one of the most familiar faces of Bands of America for more than four decades, serving as the dean of BOA’s front sideline field and timing and penalty management. Frank has been a contributor through the years in the development and evolution of Bands of America’s show operational rules, as we migrated from a posture of rule enforcement to one that emphasizes smooth operations and field management designed to embrace performance creativity in a safe and fair competitive environment.
Frank is a living encyclopedia of Bands of America rules and an active contributor to the BOA’s Adjudication Handbook rules committee. Through his proactive approach of working with bands to comply with the rules while achieving their creative objectives, Frank has helped transform a “historically “got you” role and approach to one that embraces and actualizes our “positively life-changing experience” attitude, and environment.
Frank has been on the field for more than 150 Bands of America Regional and Grand National events, logging more than 2,500 hours of on-field service in support of BOA and the pageantry arts in America. Beyond Bands of America, Frank has also loaned his services and expressed his passion for the marching arts to drum and bugle corps shows and color guard competitions. While he gladly served all over the Midwest for drum corps and color guard contests (including Winter Guard International) in the late 70's and 80's, Frank’s passion has always been for band through his association with Bands of America events (since 1976), the Illinois State University “Band Day” (since 1977), and the Lake Park “Lancer Joust” (since 1981).
Frank Troyka began his career in 1984 as an assistant band director in Richardson, Texas’ Forest Meadow Junior High School and Lake Highlands High School. In 1991, Frank moved to Houston where he taught in the Spring ISD serving as assistant director to Philip Geiger at Westfield High School. In 1999 Frank joined the faculty of Cypress Falls High School in the Cypress-Fairbanks ISD as its Director of Bands. During his year-seven tenure, the Cypress Falls Band was a featured ensemble at The Midwest Clinic, the Music For All National Festival, and was the recipient of the Sudler Flag of Honor. Frank moved back to Richardson in the summer of 2006 when he assumed the role of Director of Bands and Coordinator of Fine Arts at L.V. Berkner High School.
A teacher for over 30 years, Frank Troyka has been a part of and served Bands of America in almost every capacity possible. He has been a participating director in our Fall and Spring events and sent dozens of students to our national and regional summer camp and leadership experiences. He has been a clinician at the Summer Symposium, led the Symposium’s Marching Band track, and served on the staff of each Bands of America’s Honor Bands in the Tournament of Roses Parade. He has also demonstrated his support and passion for the organization with volunteer service on the Bands of America Fall Programming Advisory Committee. From 1997 to 1998, Frank was Bands of America’s Director of Events, bringing educator supportive initiatives and approaches to our operating model. Frank coordinated Bands of America’s first European Honor Band experience, leading more than 70 students, faculty, chaperones and guests on a tour that included performances in France, The Netherlands, Germany and the World Association for Symphonic Bands & Ensemble (WASBE) conference in Austria.
Since retiring in 2014, Mr. Troyka has been a clinician for the Wind Bands Association of Singapore, The Midwest Clinic and an active lecturer and clinician, presenting annual student leadership workshops in Texas and across the nation.
The 2016 William D. Revelli Scholarship was awarded to Emma Fell of Thompson High School in Alabaster, Alabama on Saturday, March 10th during the Gala Awards Banquet at the Music for All National Festival in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Music for All Annual Fund Manager Gregg Puls and scholarship winner Emma Fell
This annual scholarship of $1,000 was created in memory of Dr. William D. Revelli, one of America’s finest and most accomplished conductors, to help one graduating high school senior each year that is performing at the Music for All National Festival study music education at the university level. Each recipient is chosen based upon his or her academic, musical and community service accomplishments, a personal essay written about music education and a nomination from a his or her band director.
Fell is a three-time Honor Band of America member, has been selected for numerous honor bands, district bands, and All State bands. She is the principle horn player for the Thompson High School Wind Ensemble, a section leader for the Marching Southern Sounds, and has even taught herself how to play clarinet to a grade 3 level.
Since each recipient must intend to pursue a degree in music education, this scholarship has become an extension of Music for All’s mission to create, provide, and expand positively live-changing experiences through music for all. Music for All also offers opportunities for students, parents, and directors to perform and improve their musical and leadership skills through its workshops, competitions, festivals, and honor ensembles.
Music for All will continue to offer this scholarship in future years and encourages all qualifying students to apply. The application for next year’s scholarship will be released in late 2016.
March Madness just wrapped up with the men’s and women’s title games. Congratulations to Villanova and UConn. It is a national phenomenon that grabs hold of sports fans as they try to determine who is win and who is out, filling out the perfect bracket, and of course always cheering for the underdog.
There is always a sense of hype and buildup for the NCAA brackets to be announced. The same could be said when we (Music for All) release the Bands of America Marching Championships band lists.
People begin to talk of who is attending what show. How many Texas bands are coming to Grand Nationals? What new schools have signed up that have never participated in Bands of America? Is there a Midwest band making the trip down south to Atlanta or San Antonio? Will there be another Hawaii band attending a Bands of America show? So many questions, but never any answers. Until now…
We are ready to announce the bands that have applied to be a part of the 2016 Bands of America Marching Championships. But remember, these are lists of ALL bands that have sent in applications, some shows may be over enrolled and include bands that will be waitlisted.
Let the debates begin, throw a dart in the dark on predictions, and most of all get excited for another fun-filled season of marching band. #boa2016 is right around the corner!
The Bands of America Marching Championships is known year in and year out for having talented students perform at Regionals, Super Regionals, and Grand Nationals. At those events we also have special exhibition performances by university marching bands. Over the years BOA Grand Nationals week has seen the best of the best perform in exhibition including: West Carolina University, Riverside Community College, Jacksonville State University, and many others! 2016 Grand Nationals will be no different as we continue the tradition of iconic collegiate programs.
Music for All is proud to announce that The Ohio State University Marching Band will perform at the 2016 Grand National Championships. From their signature pre-show formation and tradition of Script Ohio, the playing of “Buckeye Battle Cry” and “Across the Field” (OSU’s fight songs), and their creative drill design, such as their Michael Jackson and Star Wars shows, we are ecstatic to have one of the most publicized marching band programs in mainstream media. Make sure to mark your calendar for November 12th, 2016, as The Ohio State Marching Band will be concluding our Semi-Final performances.
Make sure to follow The Ohio State University Marching Band on their social media platforms below to stay in the loop on upcoming performances, new videos, and news.
Clips of The Ohio State University Marching Band:
Music for All is thrilled to share exciting staffing news for three Director-level positions.
Cam Stasa, Bands of America Hall of Fame member who served BOA and Music for All on staff from 1989 to 2010, will return to Music for All as Director of Participant Relations and Special Projects, effective mid-May, 2016. Stasa most recently served as Associate Director of Admissions at Vandercook College of Music in Chicago.
Laura Blake has been promoted to Director of Events, having served as Events Manager since 2013. Blake has been with Music for All in the Indianapolis office since 2005.
Ashlee Walls has been promoted to Director of Advancement and will oversee sponsorships and partnerships, as well as fund development. Walls joined the Music for All staff as Corporate Relations Manager in October 2014.
Music for All will publish a press release soon with more details. Please join us in congratulating these Music for All team members.
San Jose University, Spartan Stadium
Due to final stadium schedules, Music for All is announcing important schedule changes for both of the California Bands of America Regional Championships.
The Southern California Regional, which was originally scheduled for October 22, is moving to October 29 and will once again be held in Long Beach at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
The Northern California Regional, which was originally scheduled for October 29 is moving to October 22 and will be held at Spartan Stadium at San Jose State University, a new venue for this regional.
We believe these date changes are necessary so that Music for All can operate both events in venues that are of the quality that Bands of America and Music for All strive to offer those we serve.
There are still opportunities for bands to enroll in either show. You can view the full fall schedule here.