Music Education in Burlington will soar to new heights at the end of September when the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, a mobile ambassador for music education, and the SupportMusic Community Forum roll into town for a two-day residency sponsored by the NAMM Foundation.
The NAMM Foundation, a non-profit organization that celebrates and promotes the intrinsic value of music education, invited its 2014 Best Communities for Music Education and SupportMusic Merit Award designees to submit a one-minute video for an annual contest illustrating the unique greatness of its music education program. Burlington Public Schools achieved the NAMM Foundation recognition in Spring 2014.
Burlington is one of only seven school districts nationwide chosen for the the SupportMusic event. Several Burlington High School music department students will spend the first day of the residency exploring the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus’s mobile recording studio, composing songs, recording music and creating a music video to commemorate the winning submission. Participating Burlington High School students are Neil Bhammar, Shivam Gandhi, Joshua Meroth, Steven Gelberg, Xavier Little and Gabrielle Goulette.
Produced in collaboration with the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, day two of the event will focus on the SupportMusic Community Forum, a live webcast that will spotlight Burlington’s music education program, celebrate access to music making in the community and its network of support, and provide a forum for tactics that keep quality music education in school.
The live webcast will include interviews, a panel discussion and an opportunity to hear performances by students from every level of Burlington Public Schools. In addition to Burlington music educators, panelists include Peter Cokkinias (professor of music education at Berklee College of Music), Patrick Larkin (Assistant Superintendent at Burlington Public Schools), Christine Monaco (Burlington School Committee) and Bob Hogan (Selectman, Veteran’s Affairs, Rotary Club).
John Middleton-Cox, performing arts director for Burlington Public Schools, is an integral part of the program and attributes much of its success to “an administration that has continued to fund the instruments, equipment and facilities to ensure the teachers can do a great job.”
Middleton-Cox is committed to the ideal that the department be open and accepting of all students, stating, “Every student has full access and opportunity to participate. In my 14 years in Burlington I have seen the support and pride grow. We are thrilled to have the national attention on this important topic and thank the NAMM Foundation for the opportunity.”
The two-day residency is a result of the winning submission by 2014 BHS graduate Pranav Menon illustrating “What Makes Music Education Great in My School.” The video depicts performances from all levels of the town’s music program accompanied by Menon’s commentary expressing how doubly blessed the town is with a program that is not only well funded by the community but also has teachers who will go the extra mile for students.
“90% of my high school highlight reel has its roots in the music program,” states Menon, “colored by faculty members that not only foster excellent musicians but help build character traits that are central to success in any field, like confidence and dedication.”
Mary Luehrsen, executive director of the NAMM Foundation, is overwhelmingly positive about the video contest and its affects. “These student-produced videos are another example of the power music programs have to motivate and transform students’ lives,” adding that the fall visits are “a tremendous way to kick off the school year—another year to create music education opportunities for every student.”
The NAMM Foundation SupportMusic event will take place at Burlington High School on September 25 and 26. The community forum is open to the public and will be held in the Fogelberg Performing Arts Center. The live webcast will begin with special guest interviews promptly at 8:30 am followed by the panel discussion from 9-10 am. RSVP online by visiting NAMMFoundation.org. For more information, please phone 781-270-1860.