Bands of America’s mission is to create and provide "positively life-changing" experiences for students, teachers, parents and communities. Featuring performance opportunities on the national level for concert bands, percussion ensembles and marching bands (including the Grand National Championships), as well as workshops and symposiums for students and directors – BOA offers a comprehensive educational and performance venue for the scholastic musician.

Vic Firth Inc. takes pride in being a sponsor of this great organization and its activities. Additionally, Vic Firth is honored to sponsor the HBOA timpani chair endowment. In 2000, The Revelli Foundation launched a new program to endow chairs for the Honor Band of America. The goal is to raise endowed scholarships for select students to rehearse and perform annually at the National Concert Band Festival, so any student chosen to participate has the ability to make the trip without financial concern.

This March 20-22, the 12th Annual National Concert Band Festival and Honor Band of America will be hosted by BOA in Indianapolis, Indiana. HBOA percussion coach John Pollard shares some insight from past experience in this month’s Education News feature. It is our hope that you will further investigate all of BOA’s opportunities for your students!

THE HONOR BAND OF AMERICA: VIEW FROM THE INSIDE
by John Pollard

Dear high school band students: Imagine meeting 100 of the best high school musicians in the country. Imagine the opportunity to stay with them for 3 days in a luxurious hotel and create lasting relationships with them. Imagine rehearsing in a lavish banquet hall under the baton of a master conductor, and performing for thousands in a majestic theater with world-renowned musicians. Now stop imagining, because each year members of the "Honor Band of America" experience this wonderful reality.

Each year, Bands Of America hosts the National Concert Band Festival -- an event unparalleled in scope for serious high school wind and percussion students. This noncompetitive festival is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for students, parents and directors to come together in a celebration of high school music at the highest levels. A number of outstanding concert bands and percussion ensembles gather in Indianapolis for 3 days of performances, master classes, workshops and evaluation by panels of distinguished conductors, performing artists and educators. The Festival’s regular clinicians and evaluators include the most distinguished names in wind ensemble and percussion education and performance.

The centerpiece of the National Concert Band Festival is the 100-piece “Honor Band of America”. Talented high school musicians from every area of the country submit tapes for evaluation. The very best are selected for membership in this elite organization which rehearses and performs under the baton of a master conductor. Colonel Arnold Gabriel (USAF retired) has twice conducted this prestigious group. Last year’s Honor Band was directed by Craig Kirchoff (University of Minnesota).

What a distinction. Members of the Honor Band were transported from the airport by limousine to the downtown Indianapolis Marriott where they rehearsed for 3 days in a beautiful banquet hall. Master classes, sectionals and socials took place onsite. The Honor Band, along with the other 1500 festival participants, was also treated to a concert by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.

Vic Firth, a NCBF sponsor, supplied the Honor Band percussionists with necessary equipment. Over 30 different models of mallets/drumsticks and more than a dozen gong and bass drum beaters were required to coax the prescribed sound colors from instruments used in the ensemble’s demanding repertoire.

The last night of the festival included a formal banquet for all participants followed by the Honor Band of America’s performance in the historic, opulent Murat Theater. Illustrious composer Shelley Hanson and virtuoso guest artist Eddie Daniels shared the stage with the elite high school musicians, who received numerous standing ovations from an enthusiastic sold-out audience.

It was an exhilarating experience in an atmosphere charged with emotion. Selection as a member of the Honor Band of America may be one of the highest honors a high school musician can achieve as an individual. Having shared the experience firsthand, I know with certainty that it is one of the most rewarding.

To those of you selected for the 2003 Honor Band of America... Get ready, you are about to have the experience of a lifetime. To ambitious juniors, sophomores and freshmen... Start preparing NOW for next year's auditions!

For more information on Bands of America and The Revelli Foundation – visit www.bands.org


Bio Information
John Pollard is a Yamaha Artist/Clinician and an educational endorser for Vic Firth Inc. He serves as Percussion Coordinator for the Honor Band of America and Marching Percussion Director for BOA’s Summer Symposium. He is an associate band director at L.D. Bell High School, TX.