The Dr. William P. Foster Project, supporting school band programs from historically underserved communities, was initiated as the first major undertaking of the Music Education Alliance in the summer of 2016 and came to fruition on the stage at The Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic this past December (2017). The Music Education Alliance recognized the inaugural Division winners with Dr. Foster’s son, Anthony, announcing the first National Award of Excellence Winner. The reception, titled “Celebrating Musical Excellence Through Diversity” was a collaboration between the Music Education Alliance and The Midwest Clinic designed to honor the Foster Project award-winners, as well as all of the Midwest Clinic “L.E.A.D.” clinicians and performers. The Midwest Clinic Medallion of Honor winners, Alfred Watkins and John Southall, were also recognized at the reception.

Dr. William P. Foster Award of Excellence Division Winners

  • Eastern Division: Randolph High School, MA; Adam Shekleton, Director
  • Southern Division: Martin Luther King Jr. High School, GA; Travis W. Kimber, Director
  • Southwestern Division: S. P. Waltrip High School, TX; Jesse Espinosa, Director
  • Western Division: McKinley High School, HI; Donna and Thomas Hesch, Directors
  • Northwestern Division: Chiawana High School, WA; Kevin Clayton and Peter Blake, Directors

Dr. William P. Foster Project Award of Excellence National Winner

  • Chiawana High School, Kevin Clayton and Peter Blake, Directors Pasco, WA

The Foster Project consists of three levels. The first, reaching a small number of excellent programs, is the Award of Excellence, mentioned above. In addition, the mentorship program is designed to encourage band directors within low-resourced programs to engage with successful music educators in similar situations, developing a network of support and guided assistance to benefit students.Lastly, the Best Practices Initiative is a growing collection of articles, videos, and links for band directors to access for help and support of their students and schools. More information can be found at

Two and a half years ago, then-NBA President Rick Good, NBA 1st Vice-President and Music for All Education Team member Scott Casagrande, Music for All CEO Eric Martin and CBDNA President Patrick Dunnigan met for the first time to discuss working together for the greater good of our profession. Documents were created by all three organizations recognizing strengths and weaknesses and, after countless meetings and communications, the Music Education Alliance was born and shortly after that, the first major project, the Dr. William P. Foster Project came to fruition. Since the inception of the Music Education Alliance, the three organizations have collaborated on a clinic at The Midwest Clinic and are currently developing programs to encourage minority and women composers as well as developing a “Must Play” literature list that will be endorsed by all three organizations.

Learn more about the Music Education Alliance & Dr. William P. Foster Project at