Maestro Urbanski Returns: Watch it live online!

Music for All enjoys a wonderful partnership with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra in our organizational hometown.

This weekend conductor Krzysztof Urbanski makes his first Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra appearance since being named Music Director of the ISO in fall of 2010. Join us for Urbanski’s Return as the ISO live streams this performance to a worldwide audience! Visit on Saturday, May 21 at 5:30pm to watch as the ISO and Maestro Urbanski perform Mendelssohn's "Italian" Symphony along with 2002 IVCI Gold Laureate Barnabas Kelemen, who joins in for Sibelius’ Violin Concerto.

Music for All's efforts to create, provide and expand positively life-changing experiences through music for all include awarding a number of scholarships each year to students who are financially unable to attend MFA programs without financial assistance.

These scholarships assist with financial support for MFA programs like Summer Symposium, which is located at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.

Music for All has extended the deadline for the L.J. Hancock Scholarship to May 20, 2011. This scholarship honors the life and work of L.J. Hancock, by benefiting students with financial need who are interested in attending the Summer Symposium. To apply, visit this page of our website.

Claire Sibley, an alumna of the MFA Honor Band of America, will be featured tonight, Thursday, May 12, on "Wheel of Fortune." From Fort Mill, SC and a Nation Ford High School graduate, Claire will be a contestant on "Wheel's" College Week.

Claire, 18,  played French horn in the Honor Band of America. She is now a freshman at the University of Alabama who plays in the “Million Dollar Band," and is also a member of the Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps.

We're rooting for you, Claire!

Friday, May 06, 2011

Partners in Success

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Thank you to all who voted for Music for All and our partner arts organizations in the Chase Community Giving Program on Facebook. Round 1 voting ended May 4, and I’m happy to announce that Music for All finished in the top 20, with the top 100 each to receive a $25,000 grant.

The top 100 will move on to Round 2, with voting starting May 19, through May 25. Each organization in the top 100 now has the opportunity to submit their Big Idea in 1,000 characters or less, describing how the Charity would spend $500,000 if it won, and will also have the option to submit a 30 second video and photos. The 25 eligible Charities receiving the most votes will be considered the winners of Round 2 and will share in $2,500,000 in donations from Chase.

I borrowed the title of this post, “Partners in Success,” from Drum Corps International’s news release about the Round 1 outcome and the strong showing by DCI, several of its member corps and our fellow partner organizations WGI and NAfME. As it says in the release, “Extensive cross-promotion by Drum Corps International and these organizations focused on music education advocacy helped all of the partnered groups climb the leader board throughout the campaign.”

Everyone who voted in Round 1 was a partner in our success. You’ll have five votes in Round 2, and we hope you’ll again cast your vote for Music for All and our partner organizations so that we can continue the important work of providing music education experiences. Get ready to get out the vote!

DCI’s story has a lot of great details about the Chase program and the musical arts organizations that all placed in the top 20. Read more.

- Deb Asbill

The application and audition packets for the 2012 Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha, next March in Indianapolis, are now available for download.

June 10, 2011 is the application and audition deadline for ensembles: high school and middle school concert bands, orchestras and percussion ensembles.

June 29 is the "early bird" application deadline for the Honor Band of America, Honor Orchestra of America and Jazz Band of America. High school students that can't make the first deadline have until September 15 to apply and October 3 to submit the audition recording.

The Marriott Place Indianapolis, featuring the spectacular, new JW Marriott and four other hotels, will be the official hotel of the festival.

Download the application packet for full details on the festival, the audition requirements and to learn more about what sets the non-competitive Music for All National Festival apart from any other national performance experience.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

You decide what matters.

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There has been a lot of activity on social networks this week by those who support/work for/have been impacted by non-profit arts organizations asking for your vote (and my vote) in the Chase Community Giving program underway on facebook (their tagline: "You decide what matters"). I've been encouraged by the sincere and enthusiastic support with which my friends and others have not only cast their vote, but helped to promote the opportunity and asked others to vote as well, not just for Music for All but for all the organizations they support.

What I've realized is this: most (okay, make that "all") non-profit arts organizations are constantly working to raise donations to fund their programs, working hard to try to keep the costs to customers and participants down as much as possible. If the ticket prices, the participation fees, the merchandise sales alone had to entirely fund the expenses of our programs without donations from individuals and organizations and our partner sponsorships, I think there would be a serious case of sticker shock.

What is exciting about something like the Chase Community Giving program is that with its presence on facebook, it is visible to so many people who otherwise might not be in contact with the organizations that they care about. Not only that, but it gives everyone the power, by their vote, to help support those organizations.

More than 1.3 million people have participated or attended Music for All, Bands of America and Orchestra America programs. How many of you are on facebook? How many of you can vote to help bring these same experiences to more students and teachers in the years to come?

So, I'm asking you to please take a moment and vote for Music for All and nine other organizations that you care deeply about (they give each person 10 votes; you have to "like" the page first then you can cast your vote). Please cast your vote by May 4 and help us continue this important work: making these music education programs available for students and teachers across the country.
Monday, April 18, 2011

Remembering Bill Cook

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You also might enjoy James Mason's message at

- Deb Asbill, Music for All

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

The available sessions are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- Deb Asbill, Music for All