Yamaha Sponsors 2019 BOA Grand National Championships in Support of Music Education

Mike Lawson • News • November 25, 2019

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The 2019 Bands of America (BOA) Grand National Championships concluded on Saturday, November 16, with Yamaha leading the way as National Presenting Sponsor of the event, a relationship the company has been honored to maintain for more than two decades.

As part of the company’s mission to empower music teachers to build strong programs through professional development, program advocacy and access to resources, Yamaha participated in the Future Music Educator roundtable to support and encourage new music teachers entering the profession. To bolster participants’ experiences at the event, Yamaha welcomed attendees to its booth to experience Yamaha SILENT instruments, a line of innovative instruments that allow players to practice silently using headphones. Family and friends were allowed to create signs to cheer on their favorite group at the company’s Cheerful Station, as well as take photos at a photo booth.

“Supporting music education in a meaningful way is what Yamaha stands for wholeheartedly, and our partnership with Bands of America and Music for All has helped us achieve that mission for more than 20 years,” said Heather Mansell, segment marketing manager, Education, Yamaha. “The Grand National Championships allow Yamaha to affect thousands of new music-makers from all over the country, and support students and educators in achieving amazing heights of musicality and creativity through the marching arts activity.”

The Championships, held November 14-16 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, attracted more than 12,000 participants, representing more than 90 high school bands from more than 20 states, as well thousands of live spectators and those watching the events via live stream. The marching event is the culmination of the BOA season, which includes 22 regional events held across the country.

The participating bands competed in preliminary contests last Thursday and Friday, with each band vying to become one of the top 38 bands to advance to Saturday’s semi-finals. The top 12 bands from semi-finals then competed in the Finals Saturday night, where their performances were judged by a panel of nationally-recognized music educators and marching band experts. In the end, Mike Howard, band director, led Vandegrift Band & Vision Dance Company from Vandegrift High School in Austin, Texas to the Grand National Champion prize. Jay Webb, director, and Matt Harloff, assistant director and Yamaha Performing Artist, led the Avon High School band from Avon, Indiana to a silver medal finish. Among the winning ensembles, Carmel High School, led by Yamaha Master Educator and director of bands, Michael Pote, as well as Yamaha Performing Artist and director of percussion, Matthew Black, gave an outstanding performance in the Finals, as did The Woodlands High School, led by Band and Percussion Director and Yamaha Performing Artist Andrew Salmon.

“It’s wonderful to have the reliability of Yamaha products, as well as the support of the company during this event. The staff really cares about the future of these young musicians, and it’s evident by the way they support the competition,” said Harloff.

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