Bands of America

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Bands of America
Bands of America.svg Music for All.svg
Division: Music for All, Inc.
Activity: Marching band, concert band, jazz band, and orchestra
Founded: 1975
Country: United States
Current Grand Nationals Champion: Tarpon Springs High School, FL (2014)
Official Website:

Bands of America (BOA), a division of Music for All, is an organization that promotes and organizes marching band competitions for high school students. Competitions include both Regional and Super Regional Championships as well as the Grand National Championships. The BOA Grand National Championships is considered the largest and most prestigious national marching band event available to high school marching bands. This annual three day competition is currently held in the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis with 80 to 90 high school marching bands participating from around the country. More than 50,000 participants and spectators attend the event annually. No performance qualifications are required to compete.

BOA considers music to be the most important aspect of the performance and this is reflected in their scoring system with 60% value placed on music, 40% value placed on visual, 60% value placed on general effect and 40% on performance.[1]

In addition to marching band events, Music for All, Inc. organizes concert band festivals and symposia, musical and leadership clinics, as well as the Honor Band of America and the newly formed Jazz Band of America. One of the largest events of the year is the annual Summer Symposium, which offers a week of instruction from some of the most renowned musicians in the world. High school students from across the nation come together on the campus of Ball State University. The week includes camps for concert band, jazz band, percussion, marching band, colorguard, and the famous George N. Parks Drum Major Academy.

History of Grand National Championships[edit]

In 1976, the first Bands of America (originally founded in 1975 as "Marching Bands of America") marching band championship was held during the Summer National Championship in Whitewater, Wisconsin, as part of the Summer Workshop/Festival. Four years later, the first Grand National Championships (now commonly referred to as "Grand Nationals") was held at the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida, which was won by the J. M. Tate High School.

Beginning in 1984, the organization officially changed its name to Bands of America. In 1984, the competition was moved to Indianapolis, Indiana's Hoosier Dome (later renamed the RCA Dome). Except for 1987 and 1988, when the Grand Nationals were held in the Pontiac Silverdome, the event has remained in Indianapolis.[2]

In 2006 BOA merged with Music for All Foundation to create Music for All, Inc. Bands of America is used as the organization name for all marching band competitions through the Music for All, Inc.[3]

With the start of the 2008 marching season, the Grand National Championships has been held in the Lucas Oil Stadium located immediately south of the former site of the RCA Dome. Fans and competitors who were previously thrilled by the sight of the dome's roof appearing on the city's skyline were disappointed to learn of its deflation and subsequent demolition which allowed for the expansion to the Indiana Convention Center and the construction of Lucas Oil Stadium. The expansion has ultimately benefited the competition's student workshops and various demonstrations held there during the Grand National Championships.[4]


The Music for All/Bands of America headquarters is located in downtown Indianapolis at the historic Union Station. BOA's headquarters were previously located in Schaumburg, Illinois and Arlington Heights, Illinois before relocating to Indianapolis in 2003.

BOA Honor Band in the Rose Parade[edit]

Bands of America has three times (in 2005, 2009, and 2013) been invited to have an Honor Marching Band perform at the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California. The Parade takes place on January 1. Under the direction of George N. Parks, the former director of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Minuteman Marching Band, the first two years being present and Bob Buckner, former director of the Western Carolina University Pride of the Mountains Marching Band, being head of the program the most recent time present, the 300-member marching band was composed of select high school band students from all 50 states. In 2009, the ensemble marched adjacent to four floats sponsored by NAMM, the International Music Products Association, which is a major sponsor of Bands of America. Each float featured a character from the TV show Sesame Street: Big Bird, Elmo, Abby, and Oscar the Grouch. Each float also carried a soloist or small ensemble that represented a different type of music. On the lead float was Bob McGrath, two backup singers, a jazz combo, and a string quartet; the next float carried a vocal soloist, the third float carried a Latin guitarist, and the final float carried a garbage can percussionist. Both the 2005 and 2009 bands played music by Gloria Estefan and "The Stars and Stripes."[5]

Honor Band of America[edit]

Formed in 1992, the Honor Band of America (HBOA) is an honor concert band assembled by BOA every year. This ensemble is formed entirely of high school students. It has risen to become one of the finest, most respected honor ensembles in the United States. Most often they have the opportunity to be the first band to play newly commissioned concert band pieces. Students may learn more and apply for the HBOA by visiting the Music for All website.[6]

Jazz Band of America[edit]

A new ensemble first launched by Music for All in 2007, the Jazz Band of America consists of high school musicians who apply by taped audition. They have the opportunity of playing with world-class jazz musicians live on stage.[7]

2014 Bands of America Regional Schedule and Winners[edit]

Bolded events are Super Regionals.

September 20 - Louisville, Kentucky (Papa John's Cardinal Stadium) - Castle High School, IN (74.85)

September 20 - Monroeville, Pennsylvania (Gateway High School) - Kiski Area High School, PA (74.95)

September 27 - Austin, Texas (Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex) - James Bowie High School, TX (84.30)

September 27 - Dayton, Ohio (Welcome Stadium) - William Mason High School, OH (77.40)

September 27 - Powder Springs, Georgia (McEachern High School) - Harrison High School, GA (78.40)

October 4 - Denton, Texas (Apogee Stadium) - Hebron High School, TX (86.30)

October 4 - Toledo, Ohio (Glass Bowl) - Goshen High School, IN (79.40)

October 11 - Conroe, Texas (Woodforest Bank Stadium) - Claudia Taylor Johnson High School, TX (85.60)

October 11 - Jacksonville, Alabama (Burgess-Snow Field at JSU Stadium) - Harrison High School, GA (82.70)

October 11 - Winston-Salem, North Carolina (BB&T Field) - Dobyns-Bennett High School, TN (81.05)

October 17-18 - St. Louis, Missouri (Edward Jones Dome) - Broken Arrow High School, OK (88.30)

October 18 - Tacoma, Washington (Tacoma Dome) - West Salem High School, OR (74.20)

October 24-25 - Indianapolis, Indiana (Lucas Oil Stadium) - Avon High School, IN (91.55)

October 25 - Newark, Delaware (Delaware Stadium) - Norwin High School, PA (80.80)

October 31-November 1 - Atlanta, Georgia (Georgia Dome) - Tarpon Springs High School, FL (93.90)

October 31-November 1 - San Antonio, Texas (Alamodome) - Claudia Taylor Johnson High School, TX (93.35)

November 1 - St. George, Utah (Desert Hills High School) - American Fork High School, UT (90.40)

November 8 - Long Beach, California (Veterans Memorial Stadium (Long Beach)) - Ayala High School, CA (89.20)

Past Grand National Marching Band Champions[edit]

BOA Super Regional Competition Award Ceremony, St. Louis, Missouri, 2005
From left to right: BOA Regional Finalist medal, BOA Super Regional Finalist medal, and a BOA Grand National Championships Finalist medal.
  • 2014 - Tarpon Springs High School - Tarpon Springs, Florida[8]
    • Show Title: Man vs. Machine
    • Musical Selections: Human by Christina Perri, Symphony No. 3 by Aaron Copland, Symphony in B-flat by Paul Hindemith, Smiling by Harry Gregson Williams, Original Music by Frank Sullivan and Kevin Ford[9]
  • 2013 - The Woodlands High School - The Woodlands, Texas[10]
    • Show Title: Crossing Boundaries
    • Musical Selections: Symphony No. 4 "Heroes" by Phillip Glass; Different Trains by Steve Reich; The Angel by Alexandre Desplat; Fastest Trains by John Best, Andy Salmon, and Brian Perez; Symphony No. 3 by Aram Khachaturian
  • 2012 – Carmel High School - Carmel, Indiana[11]
    • Show Title: What a Tangled Web We Weave
    • Musical Selections: Original Music (Richard Saucedo)
  • 2011 – Broken Arrow High School - Broken Arrow, Oklahoma[12]
    • Show Title: Destiny Leaves You No Choice
    • Musical Selections: My Immortal by Evanescence; Message For The Queen by Tyler Bates; Tannhauser by Richard Wagner; Lohengrin: Prelude to Act III by Richard Wagner; Elsa's Procession to the Cathedral by Richard Wagner
  • 2010 – Avon High School - Avon, Indiana[13]
    • Show Title: Iconoclash
    • Musical Selections: Magnum Opus ("Kashmir" by Led Zeppelin and "Symphony No. 5" by Beethoven); Everybody Hurts ("Everybody Hurts" by R.E.M. and "Moonlight Sonata" by Beethoven); Schadenfreude ("Symphony No. 9" by Beethoven and "Adagio for Strings" by Barber)
  • 2005 – Carmel High School - Carmel, Indiana[18]
    • Show Title: Suspended Symbols
    • Musical Selections: Original Music (Richard Saucedo)
  • 2004 – Lawrence Central High School - Indianapolis, Indiana
    • Show Title: La Rosa
    • Musical Selections: Desolation (Arturo Rodriguez); Danzon (Arturo Marquez); Spanish Fantasy, Part IV (Chick Corea)
  • 2003 – Westfield High School - Houston, Texas
    • Show Title: Because We Are....
    • Musical Selections: Oh Lois! from Metropolis Symphony (Michael Daugherty); Dead Elvis (Michael Daugherty); Lex from Metropolis Symphony (Michael Daugherty); Water Night (Eric Whitacre); Original Music (Mark Higginbotham)
  • 2000 – Marian Catholic High School - Chicago Heights, Illinois
    • Show Title: The Tragic Medusa
    • Musical Selections: Gorgon (Christopher Rouse); Flute Concerto (Christopher Rouse); Phantasmata (Christopher Rouse)
  • 1997 – Marian Catholic High School - Chicago Heights, Illinois
    • Show Title: Images of the Orient
    • Musical Selections: Music from 'Heaven and Earth' by Kitaro; "Three Japanese Dances Mvt 1: Dance of Pennons" by Bernard Rogers; Music from 'Joy Luck Club' by Rachel Portman; "Three Japanese Dances Mvt 3: Dance of Swords" by Bernard Rogers
  • 1993 – Spring High School - Spring, Texas
    • Show Title: The Music of Paul Hindemith
    • Musical Selections: Symphony in Bb (Paul Hindemith); Symphonic Metamorphosis (Paul Hindemith)
  • 1992 – "The Centerville Jazz Band" Centerville High School - Centerville, Ohio
    • Show Title: Tower Of Power
    • Musical Selections: So Very Hard To Go (Kupka & Castillo); Down to The Nightclub (Kupka, Castillo & Garibaldi); You’re Still A Young Man (Kupka & Castillo); What Is Hip? (Kupka, Castillo & Garibaldi)

Summer National Championships[edit]


  • The most BOA Grand National Championships won by any school is seven by Marian Catholic High School of Chicago Heights, Illinois. The band program also holds a record 19 BOA Grand Nationals Class Championships and an unprecedented five BOA Summer National Championships.
  • The highest score ever posted in a Bands of America Event was 97.75 by Avon High School (Avon, Indiana) at the 2008 Grand National Championship Finals.
  • The highest score at a BOA Regional Championship was by Marcus High School (Flower Mound, Texas) with a 96.20 at the 2007 Bands of America San Antonio, Texas Super Regional Championships.
  • The longest consecutive and uninterrupted national championship streak is three years, held by Marian Catholic High School (1987,1988,1989) and Avon High School (2008,2009,2010). Rocky Mount High School of Rocky Mount, North Carolina, won in three consecutive appearances (1983,1984,1986).
  • The longest streak of consecutive BOA Grand National Finals appearances is held by Marian Catholic High School (1984- ).
  • The largest scoring gap between 1st and 2nd place at BOA Grand Nationals was 5.60 set in 1988 by Marian Catholic High School over Lake Park High School. The following year the two high schools set another record [at the time] for smallest scoring gap at .3 (Marian over Lake Park).
  • The smallest margin of points between 1st and 2nd place at Grand National Finals was 0.05 points, which occurred in 1990, 1994, 2001, and 2003.
  • The 2001 Grand Nationals presented the closest scoring gap between several groups, with 1st (Lawrence Central High School) and 5th (Marian Catholic High School) places separated by less than 0.95 points.
  • The only two Grand Nationals "A-Class" Champions to place in the top five at Grand National Championship Finals are Danville High School of Danville, Kentucky in 1982 and Western High School of Russiaville, Indiana 1984.
  • The only band ever to win at least one regional in the past five decades (70's-present) is Norwin High School (North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania) with 25 regional wins.
  • The longest streak of winning consecutive BOA Regional Championships belongs to Centerville High School (Centerville, Ohio). The "Centerville Jazz Band" holds 8 wins from 2002-2006. They were Regional Champions at the Toledo,OH, Massilon, Ohio (twice), Pontiac, Michigan (3 times), Youngstown OH and Atlanta, Georgia Regionals.
  • 5 Class A (A-Class) bands to ever make the Grand National Championship Finals are Danville High School (Danville. Kentucky) in 1981 and 1982, Western High School (Russiaville, Indiana) in 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, and 1990, Adair County High School (Columbia. Kentucky) in 1990, Jackson Academy (Jackson, Mississippi) in 1993, and Bellbrook High School (Bellbrook, Ohio) in 2000.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]