This Throwback Thursday, I thought I would share a recent trip I made to the original home of Music for All: Whitewater, Wisconsin. While driving through a cold and snowy Wisconsin late last month, I decided to take a short detour to the quaint town of Whitewater. I can't imagine what this town looked like during the summers of the 1970s and 1980s, high school students and music educators teaching, practicing and performing. Starting in the summer of 1976, Whitewater became the center of marching music education when McCormick Enterprises took a huge risk and decided to invest in the success of young music students.
As I drove up to Perkins Stadium (originally Warhawk Stadium) in Whitewater, I was overcome by the memories made here. I could imagine the students and fans walking up the large hill to the stadium, overlooking the rolling fields of Wisconsin farmland. Bands of America Hall of Fame band directors Michael Rubino, Bob Buckner and Greg Bimm would be preparing their ensembles for a performance in the Marching Bands of America (MBA) Summer Nationals. MBA clinicians such as William D. Revelli would be providing valuable insight to young music students and band directors. If you were a music student or educator in the 1970s and 1980s, Whitewater was the place to be.
Driving through the small farm town, I wondered, "Why Whitewater?" Whitewater not only served as the home of Marching Bands of America, but also previously hosted the very first Drum Corps International Championships in 1972 and 1973. Both DCI and MFA provided placques to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater honoring the college, which still stand out today on the stadium wall. Last year, DCI providing a fascinating look at the beginnings of drum corps at Whitewater. I also looked to Music for All founder Larry McCormick's book God Is My Drum Major for more information on Whitewater: "It was a perfect location with a beautiful stadium and facility with dorm housing available at reasonable prices."
William D. Revelli, Gene Thrailkill and Mike Davis at the 1976 Summer Nationals
Participation in the Summer Nationals and music workshops grew and grew after the inaugural year. The original purpose of Marching Bands of America stands true to Music for All's mission today to create, provide and expand positively life-changing experiences through music for all. In fact, you may recognize some of the language from MBA's original purpose statement: "An individual's choice to participate in the band, and that band's participation in the broadening experience of competition, is a postive step toward becoming a winner in life." That's right, even in 1976, each of the participants was a "winner in life!"
1976 Grand National Champions, Live Oak H.S., CA and director Michael Rubino
Whitewater was home to Music for All during the formative years of the organization. From the decision to move to a fall marching band championship in 1980 to restructuring as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Whitewater was home to some of the earliest memories and first positively life-changing experiences. Still today, Perkins Stadium remains a venue for marching ensembles, including a yearly DCI show and the Wisconsin State Marching Band Championships. Although Summer Nationals ended after 1988 and the Summer Band Symposium moved to Illinois State University in 1992 to accomodate the growing camp, Whitewater remains an important part of Music for All's story. My short trip to Whitewater was well worth the detour and provided a fulfilling look into Music for All's earliest history.
For Throwback Thursday we are heading back to the first year we called Lucas Oil Stadium home to the Grand National Championships- 2008!
Pictured above are the very first Grand National finalists to ever grace the field of Lucas Oil Stadium:
Class A Exhibition: Bourbon County HS and Finalists: Avon, LD Bell, Lawrence Central, Marian Catholic, Carmel, Broken Arrow, Tarpon Springs, Kennesaw Mountain, Centerville, Ben Davis, Plymouth-Canton Ed. Park and Lafayette! (If you can't help yourself and want to check out scores after reading this list- you can find those here.)
And who was the very first band to be named Grand National Champion in Lucas Oil Stadium? That would be Avon H.S. from Avon, Indiana!
We are excited to be back in Lucas Oil Stadium again this weekend for the Bands of America Super Regional Championship at Indianapolis and then once again next week for the 2013 Bands of America Grand National Championships!
Question: Who was the first Grand National Champion to receive “The Eagle” Grand National Traveling Trophy?
Answer: Center Grove H.S., IN (1995)
In celebration of BOA’s 20th Anniversary, Bands of America debuted the Grand National Traveling Trophy, commonly referred to as “The Eagle.” Center Grove High School, under the direction of Thomas Dirks, was awarded the travelling trophy in 1995 for their show “A Journey into the Adventure Zone.”
The trophy quickly became the quintessential and recognizable icon of the Bands of America Fall Championships. Still today, the Eagle is kept with the reigning Grand National Champion. During this weekend’s Indianapolis Super Regional, 2012 Grand National Champion Carmel H.S. Marching Greyhounds will return the travelling trophy to Music for All in preparation for next week’s 2013 Bands of America Grand National Championships, presented by Yamaha.
It's Throwback Thursday! You didn't think we'd forget did you? Today we are heading back to 1995!
This photo is of Jenison High School from Jenison, Michigan when they came to the 1995 Grand National Championships at the RCA Dome!
In 1995 the Jenison Marching Band was under the direction of Tom Weidner with drum majors Matt Reed, Ryan Wood and Amanda Darby.
The Jenison band's show entitled Brazilian Impressions included: Brazil, Brazilian Impressions, Danza Final from "Estancia", Gabriel's Oboe and The River from "The Mission," Suite Popular Brasilera, Desifinado and Symphonic Dance #3.
Were you at the 1995 Grand National Championships? Perhaps you remember this program book!
Do you have a favorite memory or photo from the 1995 Grand National Championships? Share it in the comments!
Question: In our last Throwback Thursday: Color Guard Edition blog post, we mentioned that Bands of America used to present an Outstanding Auxiliary Award at its Grand National Championships. What is the last year that Bands of America awarded an award for outstanding color guard at Grand Nationals?
Answer: The 1994 Grand National Championships
Bands America awarded the last Outstanding Auxiliary Award at the 1994 Grand Finale on November 5, 1994. The Centerville Jazz Band received the award, also receiving 8th place that year with their program featuring the music of Chase. In addition to flags and weapons, the color guard utilized hula hoops to reflect the 1970s era of Chase. The Marian Catholic H.S. band was awarded their fifth Grand National Championship title in 1994 as well. Although the Oustanding Auxiliary Award ended after 1994, color guards remain an integral part of the visual design for marching bands across the U.S., and it is always exciting to observe the many innovations in color guard over the years.
Question: What venue has hosted Bands of America events for the most consecutive years?
Answer: Georgia Dome (20 years)
Photo courtesy of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (2001)
The Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia will be hosting its 21st Bands of America event on October 25-26, 2013 for the Bands of America Super Regional Championship. The Dome opened in 1992 as the largest cable-supported dome structure in the world and has served as the home of the Atlanta Falcons, as well as hundreds of other sporting events including the 1996 Summer Olympics. For 20 years, BOA Championships at the Georgia Dome have been capstone events for bands across the Southeast. The first Regional Champion at the Georgia Dome was Seminole H.S., FL (1993). Tarpon Springs H.S. has won the most Regional Championships at the Dome (8, including 2009-2012).
Last fall, Music for All and the Georgia Dome celebrated 20 years of partnership, and a commemorative football sits in the MFA office lobby to honor the occasion. The second-longest running venue is a tie! The RCA Dome hosted the BOA Grand National Championships from 1989 – 2007 (19 consecutive years), as well as 1984 – 1986. Additionally, Illinois State University hosted the Summer Symposium 19 consecutive years from 1992 – 2010.
Click here for more information on the 2013 Bands of America Atlanta Super Regional October 25-26 at the Georgia Dome. you can purchase advance tickets to this event and other Bands of America Marching Championships here.
We’re staying in the 90’s for Throwback Thursday this week, honoring the Lassiter H.S. Trojan Marching Band and their director for more than 30 years, Alfred Watkins. At their third ever Grand National appearance, the Lassiter band won the 1998 Bands of America Grand National Championship. The 1998 event marked the beginning of the 12-band finals tradition that continues today at Grand Nationals.
Utilizing Jerry Goldsmith’s music from the 1975 film “The Wind and the Lion,” Lassiter enchanted the RCA Dome crowd with virtuosic woodwind runs and a beautiful Oboe solo. Just watching the show again today on MFA Video, I was blown away by the incredible student achievement, even 15 years later.
The tradition of achievement continued at Lassiter H.S. for many years under the baton of Alfred Watkins, even earning a second Grand National Championship in 2002. The Lassiter band not only enjoyed success on the marching band field, but also in the auditorium, attending the National Concert Band Festival three times and the Midwest Clinic four times. The Lassiter band received the Sudler Shield for Marching Excellence and the Sudler Flag of Honor, and Alfred Watkins was inducted into the BOA Hall of Fame in 2008.
Watkins has also trained many of the finest music educators at clinics across the nation such as the MFA Summer Symposium and as educators in his program at Lassiter. Dr. Catherine Sinon Bushman served as an assistant director at Lassiter from 1998 - 2007. She has just joined the faculty of the St. Cloud State University Department of Music and will even be adjudicating at the Texas Dairy Queen® Bands of America Regional Championship at Dallas-Fort Worth this weekend!
Alfred Watkins retired from Lassiter H.S. this past spring, and the Lassiter Band produced an incredible video highlighting his impact on music education in Lassiter, Cobb County, Georgia and the nation.
Bands of America has a long history of marching band events in Texas. What year and at which location was the first BOA event held in the Lone Star state?
Answer: 1980 Southwestern Regional Championship, East Texas State University, Commerce, TX
1980 was an important year for Bands of America, then Marching Bands of America(MBA). MBA launched the first ever Grand National Championships later that fall in Jacksonville, Florida and also expanded the Regional Championship format to 8 Regionals across the country. The Southwestern Regional Championship was held November 8, 1980 at East Texas State University, now Texas A&M University—Commerce.
Our host for this weekend’s Texas Dairy Queen® Bands of America Regional Championship at Dallas-Fort Worth, the Allen Eagle Escadrille, even performed in BOA’s first Texas event! Be sure to check out the 800-member Escadrille and 22 other bands from across the Lone Star state at the beautiful new Allen Eagle Stadium on October 12. Click here for the schedule and additional show information.
Today I nearly forgot about Throwback Thursday. It was a day full of writing and formatting our e-newsletter and spending way too much time looking at lines of code to make sure everything was just right (by the way- keep a look out for your September e-newsletter hitting your email Saturday morning!)
But the good news is, I remembered. Throwback Thursday is probably one of my favorite things to do- so I didn’t mind having to quickly skim through a few piles of photos I pulled from an archive box last week.
As I was flipping through photos- this one made me pause right away. There was something about the faces in this photo that just drew me in.
This is Plymouth Centennial Education Park (Plymouth-Canton, Michigan) in 1990 after they were announced as the Grand National Champions. Under the direction of Glen Adsit, they came in first place with a score of 95.35
So what strikes me about this photo?
It’s so familiar. When I saw this photo I couldn’t help but smile. The happiness on their faces just jumps out at you. I’ve seen those looks before.
Do you see what I mean? This is a photo of the Carmel High School Marching Greyhounds after they were announced as the 2012 Grand National Champions. 22 years between these photos. But the look on their faces is the same: pure joy.
Uniform styles change, hairstyles definitely change- but the joy felt when you are a Bands of America Grand National Champion is timeless!