Our History and Timeline

Music for All is a non-profit 501(c)3 educational organization and has been providing educational and performance programs and events for school music programs since it was founded in 1975.

Music for All has served more than 1.75 million music students through its Bands of America and Music for All programs. It serves more than 600,000 music students, their families, music teachers, and fans each year. Instrumental programs know Music for All through its programs and events including the Music for All National Festival, the Music for All Summer Symposium camp for students and teachers, and the Bands of America Grand National and Regional Marching Band Championships help across the United States each fall.


  • The Bands of America Honor Band marched in the Rose Parade for the fifth time on New Year’s Day.
  • The Music for All Summer Symposium returns for in-person camp after a two-summer hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Bands of America (BOA) presents the most Championships ever in one fall, with 28.


BOA is Back

Music for All live in-person events resume with the 2021 Bands of America Championships after nearly two years without in-person events due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


45th Anniversary

  • Founded in 1975, Music for All celebrated its 45th anniversary in 2020.
  • Dr. Jeremy L. Earnhart succeeds Eric L. Martin as President and CEO of Music for All.
  • Unable to hold in-person events in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Music for All launched virtual performance and educational opportunities, including Live Showcases and virtual event services.
  • Music for All launched new educational podcasts and webinars, including: Teaching Social Emotional Learning Through Music, Mind the Gap, With a Little Help from My Friends, and a Live Pledge Event.


Advocacy in Action Awards

  • First year of Advocacy in Action award winners announced, with nearly 100 winners in its debut year.
  • Music for All is awarded 16 Pinnacle Awards by the International Festivals & Events Association (IFEA), bringing the total of IFEA awards received since 1989 to 179.


  • The National Choir Festival premieres as part of the Music for All National Festival.
  • Music for All’s Advocacy in Action Awards program is launched.
  • Music Production Boot Camp added to the Music for All Summer Symposium.


  • The Bands of America Honor Band performs in the 2017 Tournament of Roses® Parade.
  • Peer Teaching Program debuts at Music for All Summer Symposium.
  • BOA Atlanta Super Regional held in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
  • BOA Championship schedule expands to include six shows in Texas.


  • Music for All announces its launch into choral programming with the National Choir Festival in 2018.
  • MFA joins with National Band Association and College Band Directors National Association to create the Music Education Alliance.
  • Middle School Concert Band Camp debuts at the Music for All Summer Symposium.


40th Anniversary

  • Music for All celebrates 40 years of providing positively life-changing experiences.
  • Chamber Music National Festival debuts at the Music for All National Festival.
  • The Bands of America Honor Band receives invitations to march in the Rose Parades in 2017 and 2021.


Affiliate Regional Music Festivals

  • Music for All National Festival expands to include an additional “Invited Stage” for concert bands.
  • Music for All partners with Festivals to present Regional Concert Band Festivals across the USA.


New Drum Major Institute

  • The BOA Honor Band performs in the 2013 Tournament of Roses® Parade.
  • The Bands of America Drum Major Institute debuts at the Music for All Summer Symposium.
  • MFA long-time volunteer Christopher Protho is named IFEA Volunteer of the Year.


Summer Symposium Moves to Ball State University

The Music for All Summer Symposium moves to Ball State University, only the third location for the camp since 1976.


Eric L. Martin named president and CEO of Music for All.


  • BOA Honor Band performs before millions, January 1, in the Tournament of Roses® Parade as part of the President’s Award-winning unit created with NAMM and Sesame Street.
  • The BOA Alumni Campaign reaches its fundraising goal of $250,000, raised in 81 days, prior to Feb. 28, 2009.
  • Music for All debuts the Middle School National Music Festival.


BOA has first marching event in new Lucas Oil Stadium

  • Gayl and Beverly Doster donate $100,000–the largest individual gift ever received by the organization.
  • BOA’s Sound Check is the first marching event in the new Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
  • The Grand National Championships are held for the first time at Lucas Oil Stadium.
  • Music for All is awarded its largest grant to date, $495,000 from the Lilly Endowment, to support implementation of a mature fundraising program.



  • Music for All launches a new website, www.musicforall.org.
    BOA hosts a record 20 events during the fall marching band season.
  • The Jazz Band of America debuts.
  • The National Concert Band Festival becomes part of the newly named Music for All National Festival, which include programs for orchestras and percussion ensembles.
  • 2007 Grand National Championships is the final marching event in the RCA Dome.


Bands of America Merges with Music for All Foundation

  • BOA and Music for All Foundation merge to create Music for All, Inc. Bob Morrison, founder of the Music for All Foundation, named chairman emeritus.
  • The Orchestra America National Festival debuts in Hilbert Circle Theatre in cooperation with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.
  • INergy, Indy’s Official Musical Ambassadors, debuts as a co-production of BOA and the Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association.
  • Music for All’s California research and policy efforts pay off: Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and the California State Legislature allocate $500 million as a reinvestment into music and arts education in public schools.


30th Anniversary

  • BOA celebrates 30 years of Positively Life-Changing Experiences!
  • BOA Honor Band performs before millions January 1 in the Tournament of Roses® Parade with more than 330 outstanding high school band members from across the nation.
  • Orchestra America, a division of BOA, debuts the Honor Orchestra of America at the National Concert Band Festival.
  • BOA and The Cavaliers host a two-day camp in San Antonio, TX.
    Music for All Foundation, in partnership with other organizations, works in Arkansas to secure the first legislative mandate for music and arts education for any state.
  • Music for All Foundation launches “Music for All” awareness campaign and cause-related product line.


Sound of Silence

  • BOA and the National Band Association agree to partner to present the NBA conference in conjunction with the BOA Summer Symposium.
  • Music for All Foundation releases Sound of Silence: The Unprecedented Decline of Music Education in California Public Schools, documenting the 50% decline in music participation in California Schools.


Bands of America Relocates to Indianapolis

  • BOA holds first Super Regional in San Antonio, TX, at the Alamodome.
  • BOA opens new headquarters in historic Union Station, downtown Indianapolis.
  • BOA creates the Bands of America Hall of Fame and inducts the inaugural class.
  • BOA receives an invitation for the Bands of America Honor Band to perform in the 2005 Tournament of Roses® Parade.
  • Music for All Foundation is founded with a mission to expand access to music and arts education programs through pioneering research, public policy and advocacy efforts.


Orchestra Debuts at Summer Symposium

  • BOA debuts the Orchestra Division at the Summer Symposium.
  • The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra presents a special Bands of America tribute concert at the National Concert Band Festival and National Percussion Festival.
  • New www.bands.org is unveiled featuring online event registration.


The BOA Summer Band Symposium hits enrollment of more than 1,900 student, director, instructor and booster participants.


25th Anniversary

Bands of America celebrates 25 years.


Honor Band of America Concert Tour of Japan

The Honor Band of America, conducted by H. Robert Reynolds, presents a concert tour of Japan, performing exchange concerts with top Japanese bands.


The Bands of America Regional Championship schedule expands to 12 events nationwide.


Yamaha Becomes National Presenting Sponsor

  • The National Concert Band Festival moves to Indianapolis, IN.
    Percussion ensembles perform for the first time.
  • The Honor Band of America travels to Europe for performances, including at the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles conference in Austria.
  • The first BOA Regional Concert Band Festival is held at the University of North Texas.
  • Yamaha Corporation of America becomes BOA’s first National Presenting Sponsor.


Semi Finals

  • Grand Nationals expands to 80 bands–three day prelims/semi-finals/finals format.
  • The Regional Championship schedule expands to 10 events nationwide.
  • The first BOA Express summer camp is held in Texas.



BOA website www.bands.org is launched.


National Concert Band Festival

  •  The National Concert Band Festival debuts as a non-competitive performance event for high school concert bands held at Northwestern University, hosted by John P. Paynter.
  • The Summer Band Symposium moves to Illinois State University.


Percussion at the Summer Symposium

The Summer Band Symposium expands to include the World Percussion Symposium.


Jazz at the Summer Symposium

The Summer Band Symposium expands to include concert band and jazz band.


Final Summer Nationals Held in Whitewater, WI

  • The final Summer National Championship is held at the Summer Workshop/Festival at University of Whitewater, WI.
  • The first Bands of America Marching Percussion Festival is held during the Grand National Championships weekend.


Not-for-Profit Status

  • The Internal Revenue Service recognizes Bands of America, Inc. as a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization, retroactive to 1984 when BOA filed for status.
  • BOA is now governed by the laws regarding non-profit organizations by the IRS.


Grand Nationals at the Silverdome

Grand Nationals is held in the Pontiac (MI) Silverdome in ‘87 & ‘88.


Leadership Added to the Summer Camp

The Student Leadership Workshop is added to the Summer Workshop.


Bands of America

  • Grand Nationals moves to the newly completed Hoosier Dome, Indianapolis, IN.
  • 1984 marks a major turning point in Bands of America’s history. Formerly part of a parent company, the organization separates to become a new, self-supporting organization renamed Bands of America, Inc. (from Marching Bands of America).
  • On November 15, 1984, BOA files for not-for-profit status with the IRS.
  • Scott McCormick becomes executive director.


Dave Gillum named executive director.


  • Tim Lautzenheiser succeeds Nick Valenziano as executive director.
  • Grand Nationals held at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City in 1981, 1982 and 1983.


First Fall Grand National Championships

First fall BOA Grand National Championships held at the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, FL.


First Marching Bands of America Regional

  • First Marching Bands of America Regional Championships held.
  • Dr. Nicholas Valenziano succeeds Gary Beckner as executive director.


First Marching Championship

First Marching Bands of America marching band championship is held – the Summer National Championship in Whitewater, WI, part of the Summer Workshop/Festival.


The Beginning

  • Bands of America is founded by Larry McCormick, as “Marching Bands of America,” a subsidiary of McCormick Enterprises, a band supplies company.
  • Gary Beckner is the first executive director.