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Marching Arts Division

Marching Arts Division

Medal of Distinction

Marching Arts Division

Medal of Distinction

Global Initiative for Talented Students (GIFTS) a 501 (c) (3) organization in collaboration with Perform America – TX, LLC is excited to offer a new educational opportunity for high school marching bands. The Marching Arts Division of Medal of Distinction, will be an unique recording submission process designed to celebrate excellence in performance while simultaneously offering practical and exciting opportunities of growth for both students and directors. All participants will have access to a wealth of knowledge from evaluators with a variety of musical and visual backgrounds.. The Medal of Distinction program serves as a means to bring together a community of musicians and educators striving to better themselves, their programs and the art of music-making through the marching arts.


In our inaugural event, our focus will be on the educational and achievement aspects of your performance and work to provide feedback that will help elevate your bands to the next level.  In the following years, we will add a competitive component with the focus still on providing an educational experience.  Marching Band video recordings will be evaluated by 8 nationally recognized educators and designers. After viewing each group’s recordings, the adjudicators will share a video commentary of their review of each show to provide feedback for each program. In addition, the top 10 bands will be named, next 10 will be listed as commended, an outstanding ensemble from each caption will be selected and the top 5 ensembles will have one of the evaluators visit and work with their program the following year. This is what makes Medal of Distinction a truly educational experience!


Bands will submit a full run-through video of their fall 2020 show to be assessed by the following educators. This submission can be a full uniform performance or a full run through at rehearsal. This year will look very different for groups across the world and no group will be excluded by any restrictions put on them that are out of their control. 


Jason Robb


Andy Toth


Mike Howard


Jeremy Spicer


Dan Morrison

GE Visual

T. André Feagin

GE Music

Heather Graham

Color Guard

Joe Hobbs



  • All participants will receive feedback through Screencastify from each adjudicator on their 2020 fall performance.
  • All participants will have exclusive access to an online forum as soon as they register where both directors and contest evaluators can share discussions about rehearsal procedures, performance considerations, programming, and other questions and topics that arise along the performance preparation and educational journey.
  • 1 video conference with one of the evaluators and your performers during the marching season
  • All participants will have exclusive access to evaluator’s methods and strategies videos on how they approach different aspects of teaching and ensemble performance and/or UDB Virtual Curriculum 
  • Every participant that enters will have a chance to have 1 adjudicator visit their program the next fall 
    • The top 5 bands from mixed classifications will have an evaluator visit their program, plus the winner of each classification! 
    • Travel accommodations and Honorarium will be provided by GIFTS/Perform America – TX, LLC.  The school/director would only be responsible for provide funding for any meals/social gatherings
    • Schools would be able to select the time as to when adjudicators will come to visit their programs (clinicians will be selected by GIFTS/Perform America – TX, LLC and will based based on their availability)


Each ensemble will submit a press box video recording of their bands performance

Recording Considerations:

  • Videos must be from the Fall 2020 school year
  • .MP4 or .MOV is preferred, but not necessary 
  • Stationary camera from press-box or as high up as possible to capture most/all of the field
  • Must be one continuous take/unedited


  • October 1st – Entry registration opens, payment of $350 should be processed upon registration, once registered and payment received you will have access to Online Community Forum, UDB Virtual Curriculum and we will plan a video conference with one of the evaluators
  • January 1st – Videos are due
  • Results/Feedback will be sent to all in March

Payment can be mailed to:

Medal of Distinction – Marching Arts Division
2601 La Frontera Blvd. #1114
Round Rock, TX 78618

Checks can be made out to: Global Initiative for Talented Students or GIFTS

Recordings should be submitted through the registration form.  If having trouble, please email with school/director information with videos in a google or dropbox folder.


Medal of Distinction for Marching Bands is open to all marching bands (Domestic and International) from every classification, no penalties, no disqualification, we just ask that you Bring ALL you got!!!


  • International Division
  • Class A – up to 600 students in schools enrollment
  • Class AA is 601 – 1250 students in schools enrollment
  • Class AAA is 1251 – 1750 students in schools enrollment
  • Class AAAA is 1751 and above students in schools enrollment


  • Facebook group, everyone that registers has access.
  • Entry to the group is available once the participant has registered and closes on Jan. 1
  • Participants will be able to bounce ideas off each other as well as receive feedback from judges throughout the season.
  • Each judge will post 1 mini instructional video. These will be released weekly beginning on Oct 1. and/or receive UDB Virtual Curriculum