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2009, September

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Conn-Selmer’s Steinway Piano Contest for Music Educators
Conn-Selmer is giving music educators a chance to win an Essex EGP-155C Classic Steinway Piano for their school or institution. The contest will start September 2nd and end November 15th. With over 15 million students learning music and life lessons as part of a school band or orchestra the professional educators who are charged with all details of organizational management, and providing clear educational guidance to every individual student, need valuable tools to be effective. By providing these resources on their educator Web site, Conn-Selmer hopes to help music educators to find more time to focus on performance and positive results.

To enter the contest, visit the Web site at www.educators.conn-selmer.com and fill out the entry form.

Manilow Launches Instrument Drive for L.A. School District
Palm Springs resident Barry Manilow will expand the Manilow Music Project he started with Coachella Valley schools into the Los Angeles Unified School District. He’ll perform a benefit for the fund October 24th at the Hollywood Bowl with a VIP reception starting at 5 p.m. and a concert beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Manilow donated $500,000 worth of music instruments and sheet music to 20 Coachella Valley schools in January with sponsorships from the Yamaha music company, Hal Leonard Music, and the Toys R Us Children’s Fund.

He said at the announcement of the distribution at Palm Springs High School he wanted to do more music projects in other regions and he hoped to inspire more donations of musical instruments around the country.

News of the project soon inspired a donation of instruments in Pennsylvania. Manilow followed up his donation in May by inviting Palm Springs High School music students to watch his Las Vegas show, “Ultimate Manilow: The Hits” show at the Las Vegas Hilton.

Los Angeles is the first region outside of the Coachella Valley in which he has begun a campaign for musical instruments for local students.

For more information, visit www.manilowfund.org.

Erich Kunzel, Cincinnati Pops Director, Dies at 74
Erich Kunzel, the award-winning conductor who headed the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra since it was founded three decades ago and who won international fame through sales of more than 10 million recordings, has died at age 74.

On July 4, Kunzel conducted a concert at the U.S. Capitol with Aretha Franklin. He had led the National Symphony on the Capitol lawn in nationally televised Memorial Day and Independence Day concerts since 1991. This year, he also conducted a concert in Beijing, where he and the Cincinnati Pops last year performed in opening festivities for the Summer Olympics. Kunzel also led the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Pops in many performances.

The Cincinnati classical pops ensemble has been one of the most active in the world, maintaining a year-round performing and recording schedule and making numerous television appearances. Kunzel recorded more than 125 albums and was named Billboard Magazine’s Classical Crossover Artist of the Year for four consecutive years.

Kunzel received the National Medal of Arts from President George W. Bush in 2006 for outstanding contributions to the arts and was inducted into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame in 2008.

U.S. Secretary Of Education Reinforces Importance of the Arts in Schools
The NAMM Foundation recently hosted a live, public teleconference with U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan to discuss his recent letter sent to school and education community leaders outlining the importance of the arts as a core academic subject in U.S. public schools.

More than 1.75 million national music and arts education advocates were encouraged via a national network of coalitions to participate in the call to hear Duncan express his concerns about access to arts education in U.S. public schools, and how these programs can be supported in the future.

The call was initiated after Duncan issued a letter to school and education community leaders stating, “At this time when you are making critical and far-reaching budget and program decisions for the upcoming school year, I write to bring to your attention the importance of the arts as a core academic subject and part of a complete education for all students. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) defines the arts as a core subject, and the arts play a significant role in children’s development and learning process…”

“The arts can help students become tenacious, team-oriented problem solvers who are confident and able to think creatively,” he stated. “These qualities can be especially important in improving learning among students from economically disadvantaged circumstances. However, recent National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results found that only 57 percent of eighth graders attended schools where music instruction was offered at least three or four times a week, and only 47 percent attended schools where visual arts were offered that often.”

“Concerned citizens in cities, towns and communities should share this letter with state and local school leadership,” said Mary Luehrsen, NAMM’s director of public affairs and government relations and executive director of the NAMM Foundation, who moderated the call. “The Secretary has clearly stated that arts education is part of the core curriculum and is vital to a complete and quality education for all children.All of us need to work together to assure that all children have access to a complete education that includes high quality, standards-based learning in music and the arts.”

The SupportMusic Coalition conference call also reiterated the points in Duncan’s letter about how state and local actions can be reinforced to assure access to arts education. Duncan reminded listeners that under the ESEA, states and local school districts have the flexibility to support the arts through Federal Title programs and U.S. Department of Education programs, including professional development of arts teachers as well as for strategic partnerships with cultural, arts and other nonprofit organizations. In addition, Duncan stated that local school districts can use funds under the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for the arts along with other district expenses.

Surveying elementary classroom teachers next spring as well as music and visual arts specialists at the elementary and secondary levels about their programs and resources.

Reporting findings from this comprehensive profile in early 2011, the first report like this since the 1999-2000 school year. The data is expected to help practitioners and policymakers make more informed decisions about arts education.

During the call, Duncan highlighted the series of music events at the White House that demonstrates the administration’s ongoing efforts to stress the importance of arts education beginning with a Jazz Education workshop in June with 140 students from across the country. At the July White House event reinforcing the importance of arts education, he joined the President and First Lady in featuring country music artists Alison Krauss and Brad Paisley.

To view Secretary Duncan’s letter, visit the U.S. Department of Education’s Web site at www.ed.gov. The letter is also available along with the full transcript of the teleconference at www.supportmusic.com.

Inner-City Youth Receive Berklee Scholarships
Eleven young musicians from urban Boston neighborhoods and City Music Network partner sites around the country accepted full scholarships to attend Berklee College of Music starting this fall at an emotional presentation at the Berklee Performance Center on August 11. The Berklee City Music Continuing Scholarships were handed out by Roger H. Brown, Berklee president J. Curtis Warner, associate vice president for education outreach/executive director of Berklee City Music; Krystal Banfield, director of City Music Boston; and Lynette Gittens, associate director of City Music.

The students have all been participants in Berklee City Music, a scholarship, tutorial, and mentoring program that gives teens from Greater Boston and other urban areas access to music education at no cost to them or their families. If all 11 students complete four years of study at the college, the collective amount of the scholarships awarded will be worth $1.3 million dollars. Individually, each scholarship is worth over $100,000.

The 11 Continuing Scholarship recipients were among 72 young musicians ages 15 to 19 who were enrolled in Berklee’s Five Week Summer Performance Program on City Music Summer Scholarships.

To learn more, visit www.berklee.edu.

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