Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Educator Spotlight: Arris Golden

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Copy of Copy of Educator Spotlight AndreaBrown

Arris Golden understands the importance of connections amongst the music education community and has ideas of how to strengthen it even more.

Golden is the current Director of Bands at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.. Although she has been successful in music education for many years, she first received a poli-sci degree from UNC Chapel Hill.

Golden attributes her decision to go into music education to her band director at UNC Chapel Hill.

“There was that linchpin moment that we all have when a new director showed up and a lot of us went... ‘Guess we're going to be doing more school.’” Golden stated. “He was that inspiring; he was that much of a difference maker.”

After another four years of school, she decided to use her music education degree and become a middle school band director in Cary, NC. “No one goes into it expecting to be super rich,” Golden said. “And you know, you discover after you get involved in music and the right people come into your life that it is just another version of being super rich.”

During her 18 years as a middle school band director, Golden decided she was interested in studying conducting. She attended multiple workshops and symposiums in hopes of bettering her conducting skills. One of the best events she has ever attended for conducting included Dr. Kevin Sedatole, who she connected with and, as a result, ended up attending Michigan State University in 2014 for her Doctor of Music Arts in Wind Conducting. After finishing her coursework in 2016, Golden accepted a position at UNC as Interim Assistant Director of University Bands and then was appointed the job for the following academic school year, full-time.


Golden attributes a lot of her opportunities and success to the connections she has developed. “You just have to put yourself in a place and be at a level where you can take advantage of the things that happen around you and for you, and be able to recognize those,” Golden said. She is a firm believer in working collaboratively with those in the music education field, and learning from their successes and failures.

“I have a really close knit group of friends in North Carolina, especially where I taught for all those years and we all just like to help each other.” She stated. “We like to go to each other's band rooms, we like to go to each other's rehearsals and just talk about music, and talk about how to make the students more involved.”

Golden continues to help others and take advice from music educators as well. “I hope that because I've been able to do so many things throughout my career - I'm African American and female, at the collegiate level, and conducting bands now, that I serve as an example you can do this. If you do the things that are required to go into the profession you, female or African American, can be successful,” Golden said. Even though she believes that music education is a well-connected profession overall, Golden wishes to
find ways to share more information, because everyone has something to share.


After becoming a moderator of the band director group on Facebook, Golden saw just how impactful words from fellow music educator colleagues could be. She still thinks there could be more helpfulness and positivity on the page, along with more willingness to take constructive criticism and suggestions. “One of the biggest things is to take more advantage of the people around you that are willing to help you and know more than you do,” Golden said.

Her hope is to see more members participating in the Facebook group in the future.

StaffStory Jeremy
Photo by Darrell Fife

As Music in Our Schools Month continues, we are excited to share an example of the special camaraderie cultivated through music, between Music for All’s Chief Operating Officer, Dr. Jeremy Earnhart, and Courtney Melton, former student and current Assistant Director of Waxahachie High School, TX.

Dr. Earnhart is off to DFW today with his daughter Kierstyn, to attend Melton’s wedding. Earnhart first met Melton when she was attending Bedford Junior High in Bedford, TX. Melton’s older sister, Caitlyn was in high school at the time and a member of Earnhart’s band. Courtney was also a member of the L.D. Bell Band from 2005-2008. She was the flute soloist for the marching band in the 2006 show titled "The Remaining" and the 2007 show title "Transcendents," which won them the Grand National champion title.

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A terrific musician, Melton continued at the University of North Texas, which happened to be the same university Earnhart attended for his Bachelors and Masters degree. Earnhart presented to the North Texas Future Education Group with Morton – along with many other promising directors – was in attendance. Melton is now the assistant director at Waxahachie High School outside of Dallas, TX. “I am so proud of her accomplishments at Waxahachie High School and the ensembles overall achievement of being named the 2018 State Honor Band,” Earnhart stated.

Earnhart has been in contact with Melton over the years and is now excited to be attending her wedding stating, "I am humbled and excited to witness this incredibly important day in the life of Courtney and her new husband."

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Educator Spotlight: Nick Gonzales

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Educator Spotlight NickGonzales

Nick Gonzales doesn’t just believe in the power of music, he believes in the power of connections, and the impact one can make on another’s life through music.

Gonzales is the current Director of Bands and Orchestra at West Lake Junior High in Salt Lake City, UT and has taught band for 14 years. Before West Lake, Gonzales taught in Klein and Spring, TX. His first job in the Klein district was in an affluent area with many motivated students, parent volunteers, and an overall heavily involved community. It wasn’t until after Gonzales began teaching in the Spring district that he realized the great motivation and ability the students had at his previous school. After teaching at a school with less community involvement Gonzales stated, “I realized these kids are coming from broken homes. These kids have a lot to worry about that's not even school, so they come to our schools, and they come to our classroom, and the last thing they're thinking of is their education.”


When he began teaching students who were positively affected by music and the connections made through music, Gonzales realized his job was about so much more than teaching students how to play instruments. “In my teaching, I had to really be aware of number one before music, the kid, and we have to start building relationships with the kids, and show them that we care,” Gonzales said. His focus was not on how much musical knowledge a student could gain from his classroom, but how much kindness he or she could receive and give. “What we say is that when you walk into this band hall, it's sacred. There's kindness. We teach kindness. We have standards,” Gonzales said, “we have to be structured, and even after school, yes, you're here, but you still have to follow what we do, and follow those steps that we do, but enjoy yourself responsibly, and be kind to people.”

After acquiring his passion for assisting underprivileged students, Gonzales started a non-profit called Stone of Hope Youth, an organization that helps provide disadvantaged youth an opportunity to help improve self esteem, learn discipline, respect, and encourage them to strive for excellence as students so they will attend college. During the school year, Stone of Hope Youth provides a Mentor Program for disadvantaged boys who lack positive male role models in their life.


After founding the Stone of Hope Youth program, Gonzales was approached about assisting with the Foster Project, an organization created by the National Music Education Alliance, with the purpose of assisting, mentoring, and providing resources to underserved communities. The Music Education Alliance started the program in hopes that it would inspire and create an incentive for educators, and their band programs, to create a positive environment for students within their programs. Gonzales was approached to become a mentor for other directors through the Foster Project, and now he is the Western Division Chair for the program.


Throughout his life, Gonzales has dedicated his time and energy into teaching and mentoring young minds through music. His next mission is to mentor more directors like himself into being positive forces for their students as well. Gonzales understands the importance of the connections that music can create and has dedicated his life to purposefully connecting with those around him. His biggest tip is, “find as many mentors as possible, and talk about the profession, and number one, talk about how you can influence kids, and be willing to change your mindset. Be better. Use people to help you with that, and to be honest with you.” 

Monday, March 05, 2018

Advocacy in Action Awards

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Music for All is proud to announce the launch of the Advocacy in Action Awards, a radically different call to action. This program will collect, share, and inspire “great ideas” for advancing music making in communities across the Nation.

Are you proud of what you are doing in your community to help advance your school music program? We encourage you to submit your ideas! Winning entries will be promoted at all Music for All programs.

Categories include:

  • Fundraising & Sponsorship
  • Recruitment & Retention
  • Marketing & Promotion
  • Parent/Booster Involvement
  • Community Engagement
  • Decision-Maker Interaction

Applications open May 1, 2018.

Please visit for more information.

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Music connects us. We all have stories about how high school band led us to make life-long friends, or how marching in a drum corps made the summer memories that will last a lifetime, and I am a part of that. Being a student in band in middle and high school led me to participate in marching band in college, and fueled my desire to stay in the music industry even though I was not majoring in music education. Through my internships in drum corps, I have met many people that continue being my colleagues, but most importantly, my closest friends, and one of them ended up being my husband.

I had been in band in high school, but had never heard about Drum Corps International, until 2008. That was the year that my mom sent my twin sister, Jennifer, and I to the Music for All Summer Symposium in Normal, Illinois. The great thing about camp is that there is a concert every night from a different music genre, and the Friday night concert was a DCI show. Well, after seeing the 2008 Phantom Regiment (Spartacus), my sister was hooked – she was going to march drum corps.

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After 2 years of my parents paying for my sister to march corps, I wanted a turn. Except, I wanted to do something different. I knew I wasn’t going to major in music education in college, so I wanted to find a way to work on my degree, earning college credit through the summer months, and in the summer of 2012, I became an intern at Drum Corps International in Indianapolis.

I grew up in Illinois, so I thought a move to Indianapolis for a summer was going to be exciting! We had to find our own housing, but as a group of 6 interns, we all decided to live together. We found a place near the Speedway, and became fast friends. We would carpool to the office, go out to eat, and stay up late watching Say Yes to the Dress. When we started traveling to the shows together, I knew that this was a special group of people that had walked into my life. I was so lucky to be around so many different people that I continue to call my friends, but there is one friendship from that summer that is more important than the others.
(Sorry, guys!)

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Eric and I met that summer. He was a Business Development intern, from Wheaton, IL. We quickly bonded over the fact that we were both from the Chicago area, the similar drive to Indy, and most importantly Portillo’s. He quickly became my best friend and before I knew it the summer was over.
It may sound cliché’ – but the rest is history!

I went back to school, but we started dating that November. He came to all of the University of Illinois football games to watch me perform, and I went to Butler to see his Wind Symphony concerts and senior recital. We were dating and pushing each other to be the best versions of ourselves. He graduated in May of 2013, and was hired by DCI to work in their business development department working on the SoundSport and Drumline Battle programs. Although I was still in college, I wanted to continue gaining professional experience in this industry, so I went back to DCI to intern in 2013, and in 2014 I went on tour with the Madison Scouts as the marketing manager. Eric was there every step of the way, telling me that there were jobs in the music industry where I could use my degree.
In college, Eric was part of a music fraternity, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and in April of 2015, he had gathered brothers together at UIUC, from both Butler and the University of Illinois chapters, to serenade me before he popped the question. We were engaged!

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That May, I graduated with a degree in advertising, but I knew I wanted to do more with my education, so I enrolled in grad school at the University of Illinois to work on a degree in event planning and management. It was during that summer while I was at DCI that I found the internship program at Music for All. I applied to be in the Participant Relations department as a fall intern, and got the job!

That internship was the best thing for me. It allowed me to use all the communication and sales training from my undergrad while using the elements of my master’s degree that I was currently learning about. I continued traveling around the country helping to produce marching music events, and made many more connections. Fortunately, once my internship was over, I got hired into the department full-time.

Since then, Eric has volunteered for Music for All events and has joined our fall event staff as a member of the tabulation team. I continue to volunteer for DCI during championships every August, and this summer I am going on the road as a member of their ticketing team. Although we both travel a lot for work, volunteering for each other’s companies keeps us happily married. I feel so much support from Eric, not only emotionally, but also literally, while he is at Music for All events helping to unload the trucks, set up stadiums, and help my team do our jobs.

A passion for music led us to our internship back in 2012, and both of us have taken that passion for music, and made our careers in the industry. Music brought us together and continues to play a huge part of our marriage; being able to support each other at work is important to us.

 05 2017 TOR Parade Hjellming Family

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If you’ll be in Texas this weekend, please come see us at the Music for All Booth #1148! Several of our staff will be available to speak with you, and we will also have materials available including the 2018 Bands of America Championship Schedule and Application, the 2018 Music for All Summer Symposium promotional materials, and application packets for the 2019 Music for All National Festival!

After you’ve stopped by, don’t forget to catch some of the clinics and presentations that are happening throughout the weekend. Below is a list of sessions and performances that are being presented by friends of Music for All!

WEDNESDAY, February 14, 2018

From the Top
8:00 p.m. Lila Cockrell Theater
Black Violin

THURSDAY, February 15, 2018

Conducting: A Hands-on Approach
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. CC221
Anthony Maiello, George Mason University

Is UIL Enough? Documenting Student Musical Growth
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. CC 302 AB
Keith Dye, Texas Tech University

The Method & the Maestro = Musical Success for Life
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. CC Stars At Night Balroom 2-4
Tim Lautzenheiser, Ball State University, Vice-President of Education for
Conn-Selmer Inc.

Conducting Nuances: Little Things Mean a Lot
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. CC Stars At Night Ballroom 2-4
Anthony Maiello, George Mason University

College Student to Music Educator: The Transition Begins Now!
2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. CC 302 AB
Keith Dye, Texas Tech University; Rodney Klett, Retired; Gerald Babbitt, Retired

Manage, Organize, Communicate
4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. CC 302 AB
Scott McCormick, National Association of Music Parents; Richard Saucedo, Conn-Selmer

Beginning Brass Instruction: New Ideas & Fresh Approaches
6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. CC 225
Keith Dye, Texas Tech University

University of Texas – Austin Wind Ensemble
8:00 p.m. -8:50 p.m. Lila Cockrell Theater
Jerry Junkin, Director

FRIDAY, February 16, 2018

Special Education Students in the High School Ensemble? Yes!
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. CC 214 CD
Julie Duty, United Sound, Inc.

Recruitment and Retention, the Panacea to All Problems
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. CC 303
Scott Lang, Scott Lang Leadership

How’s Your Conducting I.Q.? (Inspirational Quotient)
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. CC Stars At Night Ballroom
Anthony Maiello, George Mason University

The Bocalphone: Fundamentals for Bassoon and Other Winds
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. CC Stars At Night Ballroom 1
Doug Spaniol, Butler University

Make Beats in Your Browser: Free Teaching Tools by Ableton
11:30 p.m. – 12:30 p.m. Exhibit Hall Clinic Room
Serafin Sanchez, Ableton

What’s Right with Education? Music!
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. CC 302 AB
Scott Lang, Scott Lang Leadership

Serious Score Study
2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. CC Stars At Night Ballroom 204
Anthony Maiello, George Mason University

Film Scoring & Sound Design with Your Students
4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. CC 210
Robert W. Smith, Troy Univ 


All-State Mixed Choir
12:00 p.m. CC Stars at Night Ballroom
André Thomas

We hope to see you there!

Music for All News Conlon

Please join us in welcoming Conlon Griesmer to Music for All!  

As Event Coordinator, Griesmer is responsible for assisting with the planning of all events, coordinating the volunteer program, managing vendor relations, event supplies and materials, and serves as the liaison for the “SWAG Team” of volunteers at the Music for All Summer Symposium.

Griesmer’s involvements with Music for All begin in 2014 as a volunteer for Bands of America Championships and the Music for All National Festival. He went on to serve as an Events Department Intern and remained with the organization as a seasonal event staff member before being hired full-time.  

“We are beyond excited to have Conlon join the Event Team,” says Laura Blake, Director of Events. “He was a highly successful intern with Music for All while in college and we know that his skills, positive attitude, and enthusiasm will bring strength to the department. We are so glad he chose Music for All to start his professional career.””

Griesmer graduated from The University of Tennessee with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. While attending UT, he marched Sousaphone in the “Pride of the Southland” Marching Band. Griesmer is originally from Nashville, TN and attended Father Ryan High School. He was first introduced to Music for All when the Father Ryan H.S. Band, of which he was a member, performed in Bands of America Regional and the Grand National Championships.

Emily Ambriz

Please join us in celebrating Emily Ambriz on her recent promotion to Marketing Coordinator!   

As Marketing Coordinator, Ambriz’s responsibilities include email and social media campaigns; web, digital, and print, design; and marketing projects.

"Emily has been a valuable member of the Music for All staff this past year in a different capacity,” says Debbie Laferty Asbill, Vice President of Marketing and Communications. “It is a pleasure to bring her on board the Marketing team where her skills and passion for promoting Music for All’s message, programs, and events will continue to be an asset to the organization and our staff."

Ambriz joined Music for All in May 2017 as the Administrative Assistant/Receptionist. She graduated from Ball State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations with minors in flute performance, creative writing, and Spanish. Ambriz is originally from the Indianapolis area and is a proud alumna of Pike High School. While attending Pike, she was highly active in the performing arts department.      

Congratulations to Emily 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 postively life-changing experiences through music for all!


Please join us in welcoming Sarah Loughery to Music for All!

Music for All has named Sarah Loughery Controller of the organization, based in its downtown Indianapolis headquarters.

As Controller, Loughery is responsible for the oversight and management of all finance and accounting functions, ensuring proper procedures and systems are in place to support effective planning, program implementation, audits, and internal controls that directly support Music for All’s programming.

“We are delighted to add Sarah to the Finance team at Music for All,” said Nancy Carlson, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. “She has exactly the combination of experience and knowledge of accounting that we need, as Music for All continues to expand our programs.”

Loughery is a Certified Public Accountant with a corporate accounting background spanning over 20 years. She has held positions such as Senior Controller, Controller, and Accounting Manager at the following organizations: mAccounting, Elements Financial Federal Credit Union (formerly Eli Lilly Federal Credit Union), MS Inspection & Logistics Inc., Milestone Advisors (currently mAccounting), and Mutual Hospital Services Inc. Loughery received her bachelor's degree in Accounting from Indiana University.

For over a year, viewers have been tuned in to professionally recorded live broadcasts of Bands of America events on FloMarching. This is a fantastic virtual option for all of us to experience life-changing performances.

Music for All has additional plans to meet our growing audience interest and to bring life to timeless past performances.

SPIN Logo Horizontal 01Music for All has contracted with the Scholastic Performance Network (The “SPiN Network”) to provide Music for All students, parents, and fans access to on-demand videos of scholastic music performances at a reasonable cost, including archival Music for All and Bands of America performances 2015 and prior.

Students, parents, and fans may access the Network by purchasing SPiN subscriptions for $25 per year. This fee provides access to all channels on the SPiN Network, which will soon include the Music for All channel.

SPiN has agreed to fund the restoration and digitization of Music for All video archives (including Bands of America performances) to allow them to be enjoyed by students and parents, and used by instructors for educational purposes.

Music for All will soon begin uploading its archives onto its SPiN Channel.

"For many years, we have collected a considerable library of content and this new service will allow subscribers to stream and enjoy programming whenever they want and wherever they are," said Eric L. Martin, Music for All’s President and CEO. “Music for All is grateful to the SPiN Network for the time and effort its team expended to make this service possible and its generous support for our legacy and content preservation initiatives. We believe that affordable access to recordings of student performances is central to promoting music education and raising the quality of scholastic music performances. I encourage every teacher, administrator, and school district to take a look at SPiN’s offering and consider the benefits and peace of mind that comes with participation.”

Read Music for All CEO Eric Martin’s letter to The SPiN Network about the Music for All channel.

To learn more about the Scholastic Performance Network and to subscribe, visit