Hall of Fame 2023

The MEPA Hall of Fame Committee has reviewed the letters and we are excited to announce the induction of Fred J. Miller and Cathy Barnes into the Mid East Performance Association Hall of Fame, class of 2023!

The inductees will be formally honored at our Circuit Championships on April 1st and 2nd.


A Dayton native, Fred J. Miller was drum major of the band while at Chaminade High School and at University of Dayton. He met his future wife Marlene at a summer camp for baton twirlers and drum majors. After two years in the U.S. Army, Fred became director of bands at Fairborn High School.

A master showman, Fred hosted band festivals and competitions, was co-founder and first president of the United States Twirling Association in 1958, founded the Ohio Color Guard Circuit which would later become the Mid East Performance Association, and inducted into the Winter Guard International and Music For All Hall of Fames. Fred developed the Miller’s Blackhawks Musical Corps, which evolved into the Miller’s Blackhawks, co-directed by Fred and Marlene. It entered the winter guard world to become one of the most revered groups of the 1980s and 90s.

Fred and Marlene Miller’s Fred J. Miller, Inc. is a leader in pageantry uniform design and manufacturing, outfitting many of the world’s best marching bands, drum corps and winter guards. The creation of FJM allowed Fred to apply his eye for showmanship to marching uniform design and costume production, with Marlene designing flags and color guard outfits.

For their contributions to music education, the Miller Family was recognized as the Texas Bandmasters Association 2013 Music Industry Award winner. FJM is the proven leader of the marching pageantry world, outfitting Bands of America Grand National Finalists and DCI Finalists in FJM uniforms more than any other manufacturer.

Fred and Marlene were married for 53 years. Fred was 80 when he died in 2012. FJM remains a family enterprise, Marlene is President and CEO, and twin sons Mark and Mike Miller, daughter Mary Lynn Dorow and grandson Andy Dorow are all part of the family business. The impact of the Miller Family and Fred’s legacy continues through their industry leadership, college scholarships, and their support of music education.


In the history of the Mid East Performance Association, no organization has matched the continued tradition of success of the Miamisburg Winter Guard program. One of the founding members of Winter Guard International and MEPA, the program has brought international notoriety to the entire city of Miamisburg. The reason that the guard program has been so successful has been the leadership of Cathy Barnes-Miller.

In the fall of 1980, Cathy, then a teacher at Mound Elementary, was approached by new band director Robert O’Neil to take over the color guard program at the high school. Cathy had had a storied performing career as a member of the famed Miller’s Blackhawks organization. In short time, Cathy also started the winter guard program at Miamisburg.

It did not take long for Cathy to build a guard powerhouse at Miamisburg. In her third year as director, the guard won their first of fifteen circuit championships they would win under Cathy’s tutelage. By her fifth year as director, the guard had earned a place as a Winter Guard International World Championship finalist. In her time leading the high school guard, Miamisburg would earn a place in the highest division finals fourteen times.

Cathy’s finest achievements at Miamisburg reside in the three World Championships she earned, in 1991, 1992, and 1998. The group also finished second overall an additional five times, while also consistently placing in the upper echelon each year. The 1991 show, “Candle in the Wind,” is still considered by many to be one of the best and most influential shows in the history of the activity.

Upon retiring from the high school guard in 1998, Cathy then started the Miamisburg Elementary and Junior Guards, training the next generation of Miamisburg guard students. This allowed for Miamisburg to continue its unmatched legacy of success among Ohio color guards. In addition to her duties as a Miamisburg color guard coach, she also served on the Board of Directors and Steering Committee for WGI and in a leadership role with MEPA, helping to shape the activity into what it has become.

Upon retiring from teaching, Cathy has continued to teach color guard, but now to a completely different set of students. Cathy is the creator and founder of the Miami Valley Adaptive Color Guard, teaching color guard skills to students with special needs from throughout the Dayton area. This may end up being the most enduring part of her legacy.

Cathy Barnes-Miller is revered as one the most successful directors in the history of the Mid East Performance Association. She started a program that has won 40 of the last 43 circuit championships and is a 36 time world championship finalist at the highest level of the activity.

Congratulations to Fred J. Miller and Cathy Barnes, Class of 2023 inductees of the inaugural Hall of Fame!

Championship Group Tickets

Attention Band Directors, Music Teachers, School Administrators:

Student Groups of 10 or more can receive discounted tickets at $10 each in the General Admission Spectator Seating throughout the Nutter Center. Student Group ticket orders must be placed by the Band Director, Sponsoring Teacher, School Principal or another group leader by March 30th at 11:59pm. Your groups must arrive together as a group. Wristbands will be distributed and must be placed on the student at time of entry. Bus Parking is free.

To place your Student Group Ticket order, CLICK HERE. Cash, Check, or Card accepted at the time of entry. This offer is not valid for Adult or Senior Tickets.

2023 Championships

MEPA Circuit Championships one month away!

This April 1st and 2nd marks the culmination of a tremendous season for the Mid East Performance Association. Hundreds of performances taking place at two different venues over the weekend-long event will showcase thousands of performers, allowing spectators to enjoy the best indoor pageantry that Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky has to offer.

With over 125 performances taking place at the Nutter Center and Northmont High School during the two day event, it’s certain to be one of the largest Circuit Championships MEPA has ever put on, all while hosting it at one of the premier venues in the activity.

While the tradition of competition and awarding medals to the highest scoring groups continues, MEPA is excited to announce that starting with this season Class Champions will receive a championship banner to hang, as well as a newly designed custom trophy. Both of these awards are proudly made with local talents and resources from Ohio. “When I saw the prototype of the new trophies, I knew that we’re onto something really special for our performers and ensembles,” said Jodi Fairbanks, MEPA President.

Another new addition includes Checkmate Photography, MEPA’s official photographer, who will be taking group and individual photos backstage to capture additional moments in addition to the action shots performers and their supporters have come to love.

Additionally, there are several new recognitions and enhancements coming to the MEPA Circuit Championships this season that will shine a light on members of our community. The highlight of these include inducting the inaugural Class of 2023 to the MEPA Hall of Fame. In addition to recognizing the significant contribution from some of our finest and sometimes unsung contributors, performers and spectators alike will be treated to new video boards in the arena and ways to cheer each other on around the concourse area, highlighting the 2023 campaign: BE CONFIDENT! MEPA will also continue its tradition of awarding over $2,000 in scholarships for performers through the generosity of FJM, Inc and other donors and sponsors.

Since taking on his role in 2021, Jonathon Shaw realizes that this monumental task has its challenges. “There are many details that go into making this magical event happen. We’ve really put the performers front and center at what MEPA does, and we haven’t held back at offering them some really unique and memorable experiences both at Championships and throughout the entire season,” Shaw said. "As Director of Operations, I'm dreaming big and trying to offer high quality events which is no easy task, but it’s been a beautiful organic process, one that really never stops growing. Even on our days and weekends off, the team has been full steam ahead at designing great events and experiences for our ensembles and spectators. Circuit Championships will be special for so many people.”

The Mid East Performance Association Circuit Championships will take place on Saturday, April 1st with the Color Guard Finals all day at the Nutter Center. Tickets are $20 at the door for Adults, $15 for Students and Seniors 62 and above, Children under eight are free. Running simultaneously is Percussion Prelims at Northmont High School. Tickets are $10 for all spectators. The annual contest wraps up on Sunday, April 2nd with the Percussion and Winds Finals at the Nutter Center. Tickets are $20 at the door for Adults, $15 for Students and Seniors 62 and above, Children under eight are free. Ticket Discounts for Students in groups of ten or more are available for both events at the Nutter Center by visiting MEPA’s website:

Hall of Fame

MEPA Hall of Fame nominations are now open for the inaugural Class of 2023. In 2022, the MEPA membership voted to establish the Mid East Performance Association Hall of Fame as a way to help recognize individuals who have made an impact in our community.

Anyone can nominate anyone, and your nomination letter needs to be submitted with two (2) letters of support at the link below by 11:59pm on Friday, March 17th.

New members of the Hall of Fame will be announced at our year end Championships event held at the Nutter Center in April.

If you have any questions about the process, please contact our Hall of Fame Chair Person at



The MEPA and Fred J. Miller Scholarship application opens annually towards the end of the indoor season. Each year we give four $750 scholarships. Applicants must be a high school senior or college student performing in a MEPA member group.

Applicants need to fill out the application and have two (2) letters of recommendation sent in by 11:59pm on Friday, March 17th.

Scholarships will be announced at our year end Championships event held at the Nutter Center.

If you or your student(s) have any questions, please contact our scholarship chair person at


Please note the link only works during the application submission process timeframe.