I had the pleasure of interviewing Mary Luehrsen and Bernie Williams during the Democratic National Convention this past Tuesday evening, September 4.
Mary Luehrsen, director of Public Affairs and Government Relations and executive director of the National Association of Music Merchants and Bernie Williams, an All-Star Yankee turned Latin Grammy nominated Jazz musician, were both there to support the mission of the NAMM organization. While I did my best to show them true southern hospitality, it was Mary from Los Angeles and Bernie from New York that showed the most warmth and grace throughout the evening. It was easy to see just how close this cause is to both of them. It was a wonderful evening full of beautiful music, but more importantly it was an evening that raised awareness about arts and music education for children.
One of the National Association of Music Merchants main purposes is to support arts education in schools and ensure all children have access to music and musical instruments. We are all familiar with arts and music programs being cut within schools, but this national association wants to see that change. Bernie Williams clearly believes that sports and the arts should be equally available to all children, one is not more important than the other and, if anything, they work well together.
In fact, he wrote a book, Rhythms of the Game, which discusses the similarities between sports and music. If you visit the Support Music site, you will find a wealth of information on how you can assist within this movement. You will also find current information on grants and programs as well as other efforts that are occurring throughout the country. NAMM wears numerous hats, but a few things they do regularly include hosting trade shows, conducting NAMM U, professional development and providing ongoing representation in Washington, D.C. on issues that impact the music products industry.
If you want to get involved, it is easy. Anyone from a PTA parent to a business owner can join this movement and get the information out to people. Even though they were at the DNC, NAMM is not affiliated with the Democratic Party, as they also attended the RNC last week. They just want to spread the word on the importance of this cause.
If you visit the public affairs page of NAMM, Mary has listed a great music education advocacy to-do list as children head back to school this fall. Just start there, and you will be working towards the goal of ensuring that all children across the country have access to arts and music education, as they all deserve!
For additional information, please visit supportmusic.com