November 2015

Items filtered by date: November 2015

Thursday, December 17, 2015

#tbt Being Part of the Band Then and Now

Lloyd Hinnant, Rocky Mount Senior H.S., NC alumni (class of 1984) shares his experience on what it was like attending this year’s Bands of America Grand National Championships with his son Grayson, who’s a part of the Green Hope H.S., NC Marching Band, and reliving his own experience of his band becoming Grand National Champion in 1983. 

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The euphoria of achieving everything you had worked toward for three years was unbelievable. The Rocky Mount Senior H.S. Marching Band competed at the Bands of America Grand National Championships in 1981 and 1982, but it wasn’t until 1983 that we achieved our greatest potential and became Bands of America Grand National Champion. I still get goose bumps and tear up thinking about it. All the “set it up, do it again's, trips, and bonds you build with your band mates are something that I cherish because not everyone gets to experience that high of emotions. 

This year my son Grayson and the Green Hope H.S. Marching Band went to Grand National Championships and I was flooded with nostalgia. Not only was my son about to compete on the same national stage I had 32 years earlier, but his band was competing against some of the same schools my band competed against. 

Though his band didn’t make it to Finals, they left everything on the field and performed like champions. I couldn’t have been more proud and I’m excited to see where this growing marching band program will go in upcoming years. 

Looking back on my experience, both competing then and supporting now, I’ve come to the conclusion that being a part of the marching band taught me three things – 

  • Dedication - knowing your goals
  • Determination - willing to work your hardest
  • Discipline – developing a plan and working on it while learning from your mistakes

Being involved in music has also taught me that having a positive attitude and demonstrating teamwork can help you achieve a goal. I remember those hot summer days on a paved parking lot learning our drill and only one person would complain about the heat before several others would confront that person about adjusting their attitude. 

For those students who are currently involved in different musical ensembles and groups, take time to enjoy the moments and memories you make during your high school band years. Work hard, dream big, and do everything you can to achieve your objectives! You may not achieve every single one, but you will be so much better for at least trying. 

Remember the motto - “If it is to be, it is up to me!”


Published in Stories

The Midwest Clinic, starting today, marks a busy time for everyone here at Music for All as we prepare for our upcoming events. It has been an annual tradition to announce our upcoming Fall Championship schedule on the first day. We look forward to yet another sensational season as we gear up for 2016! 

Since moving to Indianapolis in 2004, Music for All has started a tradition of hanging a photo of our most recent Bands of America Grand Champion on our “Fall Championship Wall”. The wall has everything from the humble beginning when Bands of America was our Summer National Championships, to all of the stadiums we hosted Grand Nationals in, to the faces over the years, and of course our Champions. Lawrence Central H.S., IN was honorable number one in 2004 with their 2004 “La Rosa” (fun fact, Lawrence Central won Grand Nationals without winning a single caption!).

Fall Wall

With our 40th anniversary and 2015 Grand Nationals in the book, it is time for the annual tradition and changing of the guard. We salute our 2014 Grand National Champion, Tarpon Springs H.S., FL, as they had the honor and prestige of hanging up in the office for a year. Now we make room for our 2015 Grand National Champion, Broken Arrow H.S., OK. 

Tarpon Springs Wall Art

BA Wall Photo

Don’t worry; those photos don’t go to waste, as we still recognize all Champions on our “Wall of Champions”. Every year we look forward to adding to our collection of memories and building on the rich tradition and history that is the Bands of America Grand National Championships.

Wall of Champions

Will we see you this upcoming fall for a BOA Regional, Super Regional, or our Grand National Championships? We want you and your school to be a part of our history. You never know - your school might be the next band featured in the office as the 2016 Grand National Champion!

Published in Stories

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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, participants, and music education. 2016 inductees were announced during the Finals of the 2015 Bands of America Grand National Championships, presented by Yamaha, Saturday, November 14th, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. 

Music for All has announced the industry leaders who will be inducted into the 2016 Bands of America Hall of Fame: Frank Bischoff and Frank Troyka. 

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. 

Music for All will induct these newest members into the Bands of America Hall of Fame on Saturday, March 12, 2016 during the Music for All National Festival 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.

Bands of America Hall of Fame Members

Remo D. Belli
Richard L. Saucedo
Mark Jolesch 
Dr. Nicholas Valenziano

Eugene Migliaro Corporon
Fred and Marlene Miller
Camilla M. Stasa

James Campbell
Bruce Dinkins
Vic Firth (1930-2015)

Chuck Campbell
Chuck Henson
Stu and Sharon Holzer

Debbie Laferty Asbill
Richard Floyd
Michael Rubino

Anthony Maiello
L. Scott McCormick
H. Robert Reynolds

James F. Keene
Norman Ruebling

Marie Czapinski
Colonel Arnald Gabriel
Alfred Watkins

Gary Green
Michael Kumer
Wayne Markworth

Ray E. Cramer
Gary Markham
George N. Parks (1953-2010)

Greg Bimm
Bob Buckner
Richard and Gayle Crain

Tim Lautzenheiser
Tom McLeRoy (1929–2003)
Kenneth M. Snoeck

Col. Truman W. Crawford (1934–2003)
Frederick Fennell (1914–2004)
L.J. Hancock (1952–2002)
Larry McCormick
John P. Paynter (1929–1996)
Dr. William D. Revelli (1902–1994)

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The Patrick John Hughes Parent Booster Award recognizes the extraordinary commitment, dedication, support and sacrifice of music parents and boosters across the nation by shining a spotlight on a recipient who exemplifies these qualities.

The award is named in honor of Patrick John Hughes, the father of Patrick Henry Hughes. Patrick Henry is a remarkable young man who, despite physical challenges that would seem overwhelming to many, has excelled as a musician and student, singing and playing piano and trumpet with the Louisville Marching and Pep Bands, with the help of his father, who tirelessly maneuvers his son’s wheelchair through the formations with the other 220+ members of the Cardinal Marching Band.

On Friday night during Grand Nationals the 2015 Patrick John Hughes Parent Booster award was awarded to Derek Greer of Owasso, OK. 


Every winner of the Patrick John Hughes Parent/Booster Award shares the common traits of selflessness, savvy, and passion to better the band. Derek Greer of Owasso, Okla., is no different, but his desire to help others has extended beyond the barriers of the school to touch the life of a young band alumna with a life-threatening condition. Greer and his wife April began working with the Owasso Band Patrons of the Pride of Owasso band when their eldest son Nate entered the program in the fall of 2006. They became mainstay volunteers, working in the pit crew, selling at concession stands, and sponsoring events.  

“Derek and April have always been involved with the band, giving of their time and efforts in every way imaginable...and now, unimaginable,” said Cindy Craft, Owasso Band Director. 

While chaperoning a band trip Greer met band member Yennifer Gutierrez. He noticed she was ill and later learned she was battling lupus, an autoimmune condition that greatly impacted her life. While the two didn’t develop a close relationship at that time Derek didn’t forget her. 

In 2011, he ran across a Facebook page Gutierrez created seeking help to find a kidney donor. Lupus had attacked her kidneys, leading her to dialysis to stay alive. Moved by a childhood friend who had received a life- saving kidney donation, Derek jumped into action, going through the initial tests and screenings to learn if he was a match. 


“It came as no surprise when we heard Derek had volunteered to donate his kidney to help save Yennifer’s life,” said Owasso Band Patrons Club co-presidents Pam & Rob Braisted. 

But his generosity alone wasn’t enough. He wasn’t a match.

Despite the setback he was still determined to help, agreeing to join the Paired-Donation registry with Gutierrez. This program lists a willing donor and recipient together to be matched with another incompatible pair. His quick and selfless decision to join the registry led to the kidney she needed. 

In 2014, Greer and Gutierrez were notified they were compatible with a Texas pair. Despite the fact Greer had undergone shoulder surgery in the months prior, complete with a scary moment of recovery when he momentarily stopped breathing during rehabilitation, he returned to the hospital with Gutierrez.

They underwent the transplant process in the summer of 2014. Gutierrez received the kidney of Texas band mom Susan Clark, while Greer’s kidney was donated to a man in Texas. Theirs was the first paired kidney donation surgery for the state of Oklahoma. Although The transplant programs at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas and Baylor All Saints Medical Center in Fort Worth have together performed nearly 3,000 kidney transplants since the kidney transplant program began in 1985, theirs was the first paired kidney donation surgery that Baylor performed.

The surgeries were a success, with Yennifer so far making great progress with her new kidney Susie, which she named after her donor.


Despite Greer’s own recovery period, he didn’t miss a beat with a band.

“Derek is on the mend and right back to work with the Pride of Owasso,” said Ammie Sullivent, a Owasso Band Patrons member who also nominated him for the award.

As an engineer his skillset has been well utilized by the band through the years.

“He has created innovative designs for much of our equipment and has spent countless hours constructing them,” said David Gorham, Owasso High School’s retired band director. 

The Greers participation as band boosters hasn’t waivered. Their son and daughter Natalie graduated from the program, and daughter Noelle is currently a member.

“It takes a special kind of compassion and patience to be with one activity for almost ten years, but the Greers have never shown any sign of regret in their involvement. Their efforts are truly inspiring,” said Maggie Matheny, Student Band Council President. 

“The dedication Mr. Greer has provided to the stakeholders of the Owasso Band program has raised everyone to the next level of musicianship, success, and humanity,” said Chris Barber, Associate Director of the Owasso High School Band.” For lack of better words, Mr. Greer is the Batman of band parents, always waiting for the beacon.” 

Even in talks of nomination for this award Mr. Greer remained humble.“Derek expressed his hope that it would be a great way to raise awareness for paired donation, leading to more donor matches,” said Shawn O’Kelley, Assistant Director of Bands at Owasso High School.

But his participation in just one match will be felt for a lifetime by Gutierrez.

“Derek Greer is an amazing man,” she wrote on her Facebook page following the transplant. “It’s because of his choice to stick with me for the past three years, that I have received my Gift of Life.”

Read more about Patrick John Hughes and his family and the Parent/Booster Award and find out how to nominate the exceptional parent or booster in your music program here.

Published in News

Rebecca Palmer, alumna of Henry Clay High School in Lexington, KY and Music for All programs, tells us first-hand about her experience with the Bands of America Honor Band that marched in the 2013 Rose Parade®

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It was my first day in California for the Rose Parade® and we were getting fitted for uniforms. We were all waiting in line and talking with the other students, it was so interesting because I met someone from Alaska on one side of me and someone from the South on the other side of me. Also, one of the drum majors was going up and down the whole line memorizing everyone’s name, instrument and favorite color or food, which was pretty impressive! Just the immediate chemistry between everyone was astounding.

We had many rehearsals over the next week, but the one that sticks out most is the last rehearsal for the parade. We started with a fun dance warm-up and then after that we had the most impressive rehearsal I have ever been a part of. They had taped off the parade corner and we only had a handful of hours to master the turn. The work ethic from my fellow band members was outstanding. After every set, we all sprinted back and you could just feel the energy everyone was putting into the rehearsal. I remember the directors telling us to slow down and pace ourselves but everyone was so dedicated that we just wanted to go all out so we could be the best we could possibly be. 

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The day of the parade came and I couldn’t believe it. Along the route there was a spot where we went under a bridge and all of the sound echoed back on the band and it blocked everything else out. To just be so immersed in the marching and the music and to be surrounded by so many people I had grown close with was an amazing feeling.

My happiest memory from the Rose Parade® was at the end of the parade route when we stopped and played “Firework” one last time. The drum line started dancing and that energy trickled down to the rest of the band. By the end of the song we were all jumping around and playing our hearts out. We were all so proud of what we accomplished, and to have that moment together of just pure joy brought tears to my eyes. 

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Being a part of the 2013 Bands of America Honor Band in the Rose Parade® helped me as a musician because I got to work with talented instructors like Matt Harloff, who really brings the best out of anyone he directs. Also, I developed a much greater appreciation for playing music as a group because it was amazing how everyone focusing beyond their own sound improved our overall sound. In life, it showed me how much more effective you can be when everyone gives it their all. The dedication and passion that was exhibited in this group was something that I haven’t experienced since because it was just that strong. It truly demonstrated to me what teamwork means and that is something I will always hold near and dear to my heart.

I was a member of the Bands of America Honor Band almost three years ago and it truly changed how I view music and band. Though I have not pursued a career in music, this experience is one I will never forget and Music for All helped make my high school band experience incredible. I still regularly talk to some of the people I met in California as part of the Rose Parade® and we are from all over the U.S. (Texas, Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, to name a few). It’s great that when people from this unique group are traveling across the U.S. they will post in our Facebook group and see if people can meet up every so often. Music for All really provided me with a second band family through this Rose Parade experience and I am truly thankful for that. In fact, my younger sister plays clarinet and is applying to become a member of the Bands of America Honor Band marching at the 2017 Rose Parade®! I hope she makes it so I can go to California and remember my experience again by cheering on her ensemble!

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If you are interested in marching with the Bands of America Honor Band at the 2017 Rose Parade®, applications are still be accepted until January 15, 2016. Learn more and apply at

Published in Stories

Music for All’s efforts to create, provide, and expand positively life-changing experiences include awarding a number of scholarships each year. This year, at one of the organization’s largest events, the Bands of America Grand National Championships, three students were given substantial support to use for upcoming college tuition expenses. 

The 2015 recipient of the Yamaha Marching Band Scholarship, a $1,000 award presented by Music for All’s National Presenting Sponsor, the Yamaha Corporation of America, was Lisa Gudan, senior drum major at Homestead High School in Cupertino, CA. Gudan was a Music Ambassador for 2015 World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles Conference and was invited to perform with the All-State Honor Band Wind Ensemble for California. 

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The Fred J. Miller Family Fund, a $1,000 award through the Music for All Foundation, was presented to Clayton Ehlers, senior at Waukesha North High School in Waukesha, WI. Ehlers showcases the high caliber of passion, talent, and dedication that Mr. Miller had for music education and the marching arts. Playing several instruments such as bassoon, mellophone, trumpet, oboe, piano and ukulele, Ehlers is eager to continue learning and teaching music. 

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Another scholarship presented by the Miller family was the Fred J. Miller Music Education Fund, which was awarded to Rebecca Singletary, senior drum major at Fred J. Paige High School in Franklin, TN. Singletary received this $2,000 scholarship based upon her many impressive accomplishments including her participation in the 2015 Music for All Honor Band of America, selection to be a Myra Jackson Blair Vanderbilt Scholarship Recipient and leadership in the Tennessee All-State Band. 

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To learn more about Music for All and stay up to date on scholarship opportunities offered through the organization, please visit

Published in News
Thursday, December 03, 2015

2015 Grand National Finals Review

By Michael Boo
(With assistance from bloggers Michael Reed, Megan Bonfield, and Christopher Drake.)

November 14, 2015
Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN

The Bands of America Grand National Championships Finals festivities, held inside the magnificent Lucas Oil Stadium, put a grand exclamation mark on 40 great years of spectacular events by the foremost organization of its type. Yamaha once again presented the four days of events in Indianapolis, reminding all that their mission is the same as that of Music for All.

With all the celebrating and looking back on the first 40 years, it’s important to remember there’s still much to come. The Music for All National Festival will be in Indianapolis March 9-12, 2016, followed by the Music for All Summer Symposium at Ball State University June 27-July 2, following up on the Leadership Weekend Experience June 25-27, also in Muncie. And after the 2016 Bands of America Grand National Championships November 9-12, the BOA Honor Band will march in the Tournament of Roses Parade on January 2, 2017.

In the Indianapolis Marching Band Tournament, held on Wednesday night, November 11, Arsenal Technical HS captured 1st place in the Corps Style division, and also won the caption awards for General Effect, Visual, and Music. Emmerich Manual HS took 2nd place. Broad Ripple HS took 1st place in the Show Style division, taking General Effect and Music Honors. Crispus Attucks HS captured 2nd place, Visual Honors, and a $1,000 check for being named winner of the Spirit Award.

Of special interest from Prelims is the Grand National Championships witnessed the first bands ever to compete from the distant states of Hawaii and Alaska.

After 95 bands competed in Prelims on Thursday and Friday, the following 34 bands (listed in performance order) advanced into Semi-Finals: Beechwood HS (KY), Bellbrook HS, (OH), Father Ryan HS (TN), Saint James School, (AL), Kiski Area HS (PA), Larry A. Ryle HS (KY), Jenison HS (MI), Miamisburg HS (OH), Franklin HS (TN), Ben Davis HS (IN), Lawrence Township (IN), Harrison HS (GA), Homestead HS (CA), Dobyns-Bennett HS (TN), Homestead HS (IN), Blue Springs HS (MO), Keller HS (TX), The Woodlands HS (TX), Center Grove HS (IN), Keller Central HS (TX), Broken Arrow HS (OK), Centerville HS (OH), William Mason HS (OH), Lake Central HS (IN), Avon HS (IN), Carmel HS (IN), Round Rock HS (TX), Marian Catholic HS (IL), Hebron HS (TX), Bentonville HS (AR), Adair County HS (KY), Milford HS (OH), Goshen HS (IN), and Green Hope HS (NC).

After the performances of all Semi-Finals bands and the exhibition of the Western Carolina University Pride of the Mountains Marching Band, caption highest achievement awards and caption placement awards were presented to the top bands in each of the four competitive Semi-Finals classes.

In Class AAAA, 1st place Hebron HS (TX) took the Outstanding Music Performance and Outstanding General Effect awards, and 2nd place Broken Arrow HS (OK) captured Outstanding Visual Performance. Avon HS (IN) took 3rd place. In Class AAA, 1st place Harrison HS (GA) won all caption awards, followed by 2nd place Franklin HS (TN) and 3rd place Dobyns-Bennett HS (TN). In Class AA, 1st place Marian Catholic HS (IL) won all caption awards, followed by 2nd place Kiski Area HS (PA) and 3rd place Miamisburg HS (OH). In Class A, 1st place Adair County HS (KY) won all caption awards, followed by 2nd place Beechwood HS (KY) and 3rd place St. James School (AL).

The Finalist bands were randomly announced as being The Woodlands HS (TX), Avon HS (IN), Hebron HS (TX), Broken Arrow HS (OK), Marian Catholic HS (IL), Round Rock HS (TX), Carmel HS (IN), Harrison HS (GA), Keller HS (TX), William Mason HS (OH), Homestead HS (IN), and Blue Springs HS (MO). Representatives from each band drew for their performing position in Finals. In addition, Finals performances concluded with an exhibition performance by Class A Champion Adair County HS, as Class Champions present an exhibition in Finals if they aren’t in the top-12.

After the performance of all finalist bands, Music for All presented its first Advocacy in Action Award to the Country Music Association’s Music Makes Us campaign, which has pledged $10,000,000 to school music programs. Then it was time to bring out the finalist bands and announce the placements and special awards. Once all the finalist bands were on the field and received their individual accolades, a video montage of all the bands from that participated in Grand Nationals was presented, leading into the presentation of the Semifinals Class Champion awards to the Class Champions and the finalist special awards.

The Al Castronovo Espirit de Corps Award was presented to the Colony HS (AK). Hebron HS won the Grand Finals Outstanding Music Performance Award and The Steve Brubaker Outstanding Visual Performance Award was a tie between Avon HS and Broken Arrow HS. Broken Arrow HS won the Outstanding General Effect Award.

Broken Arrow HS, 1st place, 97.50
“Wild Blue Orchid” featured the searing and soaring music of Dmitri Shostakovich, the opening blue sea of flags swallowing the field and leading one to wonder how the winds were going to swim to shore. Among intriguing visuals were horse heads on the guard, a reference to The White Stripes’ video, “Blue Orchid,” which featured a horse with raised hooves…the show and orchids both relying upon cross pollination.

Avon HS, 2nd place: 97.00
With several counterbalanced pumpjacks and oil derricks dotting the arid landscape, “Black Gold” told the story of the discovery, removal, and exploitation of oil in the developing days in the American Southwest. A huge oil-coated tarp covered much of the band as a well experienced a blowout, accompanied by the shale flags of the oil slick-costumed guard turning gold to represent the riches that were to follow.

Hebron HS, 3rd place: 96.25
In “360,” we learned that what goes around, turns and spins around…and around, and around…in ways that would make the average person dizzy. Who knew there were that many variations on curves and circles? From the mesmerizing oboe solo to the hotter-than-the-sun tenor saxophone feature, this show caught us in a circle of wonder, which unlike circles; had an end that unfortunately came about three hours too soon.

William Mason HS, 4th place: 95.35
With enough scaffolding to supply four blocks of New York City tenement fire escapes, “Somewhere” told the timeless story of doomed lovers Tony and Maria with mostly unexpected non-“West Side Story” music. Multiple Tonys and Marias tried to live their life apart from the violence and hatred surrounding them, as the outside world brutally intruded upon their dreams, ripping them (and our own emotions) apart.

Carmel HS, 5th place: 94.40
“9 Lives” was a veritable homage to our feline friends, with tall scratching posts across the field and a large ball of string tempting the curious tabbies, guard members whose hair was made up to look like cat ears. A glistening jewel was far too much a temptation to the cat burglars who clawed through the laser beams to prevent the jewel from falling into any other’s paws. A purr-fect way to enjoy 11 minutes.

The Woodlands HS, 6th place: 93.70
“TimeBenders” explored opposing elements that make up time, these two disparate elements often split from side-to-side. The representation of “mechanical time” was both musically and drill-wise rather jagged and relentlessly machine-like, and the simultaneous “body time” was curvier and far less structured. The band started and stopped at the command of the announcer, who obviously had time on his side.

Round Rock HS, 7th place: 93.00
“This is My Letter to the World” featured Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring” and the peacefully pastel vision of a 19th Century spring on the rural open prairie. Enthusiastically embracing the challenges of what could be a rugged and unforgiving life, the hard work of pioneering settlers was rewarded with the gift of a simple peace, making daily life a continuous journey offering up unending opportunities.

Marian Catholic HS, 8th place: 90.90
When Marian Catholic first made Finals for the first of 32 consecutive years, the concept of string theory was still in its infancy. Only slightly less complex than the world of quantum mechanics, “String Theory” delved into a magical world of marionettes who were first controlled by outside forces, then used their control bars to turn the tables, stringing their aggressors along in a grand act of turnabout.

Harrison HS, 9th place: 90.25
“Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary” was inspired by the story of Mary, Queen of Scots. Music and visuals were regal and demur at times, impetuous and treacherous elsewhere, (with the conflicting emotions sometimes expressed simultaneously). The show provided a Cliff Notes encapsulation of Mary’s life and aspirations; perfect for those who didn’t know how things panned out for her because they never read the book.

Blue Springs HS, 10th place: 89.10
Large digital screens amongst the pit percussion kept trying to manipulate the thoughts of the audience in “Subliminal,” with 40 television test pattern sets across the field reminding all why the great electronic babysitter is to be mistrusted as much as it is to be enjoyed. We know we should adhere to the instruction, “DO NOT LOOK AT THE TELEVISION SET,” but hey…nothing else is on and it’s too nice to go outside.

Keller HS, 11th place: 88.70
A famed Dylan Thomas poem provided the catalyst for the emotional angst that powered “do not go gentle…” Barren, snow-covered tree sets added a sense of foreboding chill. Like the poem on which it was based, the show didn’t plunge into despair, but embraced the affirmation that life is to be embraced and lived to its fullest, sensed in the victorious fanfare-like nature of the music that grew out of the darkness.

Homestead HS, 12th place: 88.25
In “Poiesis – An Act of Creation,” the art of the creative process was brought to the fore as the guard continually adjusting Tinker Toy-like poles to create whimsical assemblages that would have been right at home at a modern art gallery opening. Often, imperceptible drill forms snapped into position as some unseen artist finally experienced a Eureka moment, then sat back to admire their creative masterpiece.

For many years, Michael Boo has covered a large variety of pageantry events. He is the Staff Writer for Drum Corps International and has written for BOA and WGI for much of the existence of the two organizations. Michael Reed writes and blogs for WGI Indoor Marching Percussion and Color Guard events. Megan Bonfield and Christopher Drake are both Staff Writers for

See the list of all Grand National Finals results, as well as all 2015 BOA Championship awards results.

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Music for All has earned 17 industry awards from the International Festival and Events Association (IFEA).The awards in recognition of the best festival and event programs in the world were given at the International Festivals and Events Association’s 60th Annual Convention and Expo in Tucson, Arizona on September 21st-23rd, 2015.

“Music for All is thrilled to have been recognized by its festival and event peers again this year,” said Debbie Laferty Asbill, Music for All’s Vice President of Marketing and Communications. “These awards are a recognition of the talents, hard work and dedication of everyone who is a part of the Music for All family.” 


Music for All received 17 Pinnacle Awards – 5 Gold Pinnacles, 7 Silver, and 5 Bronze in various categories for events, multimedia, marketing, sponsorship and merchandise. 

Music for All received the following IFEA/ Haas & Wilkerson Pinnacle Awards:  

Gold Pinnacle Awards

  • Best Event/Organization E-Newsletter (Music for All Summer Symposium)
  • Best Event/Organization E-Newsletter
  • Best Event/Organization Newsletter
  • Best Cover Design (Music for All National Festival)
  • Best Educational Program (Music for All Summer Symposium)

Silver Pinnacle Awards

  • Best Miscellaneous Multimedia (Chamber Music National Festival)
  • Best Miscellaneous Multimedia (United Sound Partnership)
  • Best Promotional Brochure (Music for All Summer Symposium)
  • Best Cover Design (2014 Bands of America Grand National Championships)
  • Best T-Shirt Design (Bands of America Super Regional Championships)
  • Best New Event (Chamber Music National Festival)
  • Best Vendor/Supplier (Jolesch Enterprises)

Bronze Pinnacle Awards

  • Best Company Image Pieces (40th Anniversary Logo)
  • Best Single Newspaper Display Ad (Summer Symposium)
  • Best Event Promotional Photograph (Bands of America Grand National Championships)
  • Best Miscellaneous Clothing (Bands of America Grand National Championships)
  • Best Event Within an Existing Festival (Future Music Educators’ Experience)


We are immensely honored to have recieved these presigious awards and we'd like to thank the rest of the Music for All team, friends, sponsors, directors, instructors, parents and, most importantly, students who have made it possible for us to do great work.

Music for All is a proud member of the International Festivals and Events Association (IFEA), an organization that has more than 2,000 member festivals from around the world. Each year, the IFEA Pinnacle Awards competition honors the best special events, festival materials, promotions and ideas among the organization’s membership. Learn more about what they do at


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