On February 3, 1934 the Southeastern Michigan Band and Orchestra Association was formed. This single district organization gained the attention of other areas of the state. It was through the efforts of Dale C. Harris of Pontiac and Mac E. Carr of River Rouge that MSBOA was founded.
Eugene F. Heeter of Holland was delegated to serve as President pro-tem to facilitate the organizing of the state-wide organization in 1935. He met with newly appointed University of Michigan Band Director William D. Revelli who assisted in the formulation of the association. The individual directors in the state were dissatisfied with the actions of the State Director of Music Education and in particular his decision to end contests in the state. On February 8, 1936 the ratification of the MSBOA constitution at the Olds Hotel in Lansing saw the beginnings of the statewide association. Heeter was elected the first President of MSBOA. Once MSBOA was officially formed, a state-wide Solo and Ensemble Festival was planned for May of 1936. The association also scheduled clinics and workshops for teachers and an all-state band was formed for students.
In 1938 the first state-wide Band and Orchestra Festival took place. The format was similar to what is in effect today, with the exception that sight-reading was optional. Due largely to the success of the festivals and workshops, MSBOA had grown to solid structure and respect by 1938. MSBOA had assumed the leadership role in instrumental music affairs in the state of Michigan.