And so it begins: the small town of Normal, Illinois has been invaded by over 2000 directors and 1700 students! WELCOME TO MUSIC FOR ALL (formerly known as Bands of America)!

Of the 1700 students, 623 are enrolled in the Drum Major Academy. Yes, you read that correctly, 623! Students are here from all over the country. We have 8 staff joining Mr. Parks for the week and MFA has upped the number of SWAGS (their version of IMPACT TEAM) to 19! So 27 total staff plus Mr. Parks = OUTSTANDING!!!

This week is jam packed with “positively life changing” experiences. This slogan that was coined by BOA a number of years ago is incredibly accurate. Between the educational curriculum the students are engaged in daily, their exposure to some of the most outstanding performers during the evening events is beyond comprehension. Visit the MFA Website and see for yourself!

We started yesterday afternoon at 2:00 PM. Mr. Parks talked to the whole group about just what being a leader (a drum major) is all about. The basic introduction to conducting was covered and then we moved outside and started breaking into our small “families” for the week. At 4:30 we had our first march off winner!

Now this march off was a little different than the usual ones. With 623 students and about 500 of them being “rookies” Mr. Parks decided to have them learn by watching. So the first march off was for Vets Only! This meant that 1) all commands were legal because it is “ASSUMED” that the vets know the marching program; and 2) the intensity level shot through the roof earlier than ever before!!

Congratulations to the Vet Only March Off Winner:

Liz Chaten from Cathedral High School, Indianapolis, IN

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