Mark Despotakis joins music industry leaders on Capitol Hill to push for legislation that would bring music education access to all children
McKEESPORT, PENNSYLVANIA, (May 27, 2014)– McKeesport business leader, Mark Despotakis took the nation’s capital by storm, making the case for comprehensive school music education programs. Despotakis joined together with 65 other music industry leaders and celebrity artists on the National Association of Music Merchants’ (NAMM) Music Education Advocacy Fly-In. The three-day advocacy effort works to shore up congressional support to build access to music education for all children into national education legislation.
Despotakis’ Advocacy Fly-In efforts included meetings with staff members from the offices of Senator(s) Robert Casey and Pat Toomey and Representatives Tim Murphy, Mike Doyle, Tom Marino and Scott Perry about the significance of music education and the support needed to insure that each student has the opportunity to learn music in school. The visit also included joining NAMM Foundation in awarding the SupportMusic Award to the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities Turnaround Arts program. The week began with a day of service, where Despotakis helped students at D.C.’s Savoy Elementary learn to play drums, ukulele and guitar.
The NAMM PA Delegation includes (from left to right) Laura Abbott of the Education Policy and Leadership Center, Chris Martin of Martin Guitar, Mark Despotakis of Progressive Music, Senator Robert Casey, Jr. D-PA, Cindy McAllister of Martin Guitar, Greg Paul of Martin Guitar and Andrew Reitz of Korg USA.
“We cannot underestimate the power of music and the arts when it comes to student learning,” noted Despotakis. “And it’s crucial that as citizens we share that power with our elected officials so no student will ever miss out on music and arts education.”
To prepare for his efforts on Capitol Hill, Despotakis participated in advocacy training at the Kennedy Center, during which Despotakis and fellow NAMM member industry leaders were apprised of current issues facing public school music programs.
This was Despotakis’ fifth trip to Washington, DC as part of the NAMM delegation. The work in Washington, DC compliments the work Despotakis and Progressive Music are doing at the state and local level in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Music Educator’s Association and the Pennsylvania Arts Education Network to advocate for a complete education for all students that includes music and the arts.
The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) is the not-for-profit association with a mission to strengthen the $17 billion music products industry and promote the pleasures and benefits of making music. NAMM’s activities and programs are designed to promote music making to people of all ages. NAMM is comprised of approximately 9,000 Member companies located in more than 87 countries. For more information about NAMM or the proven benefits of making music, interested parties can visit www.namm.org, call 800-767-NAMM (6266) or follow the organization on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
About Progressive Music
Progressive Music is a business with a mission to enrich the quality of life serving as a cultural and community center for all who make music for a living or personal enjoyment, regardless of age of ability. Progressive Music is the link between the public and suppliers of quality musical merchandise. The Progressive Music staff are professionals whose expertise assist, guide, and motivate people in the selection of music industry products as well present music education to the public through lessons, seminars and advocacy. Progressive Music is committed to their products with an experienced and knowledgeable service center. To learn more, visit www.progressivemusiccompany.com or visit Progressive Music on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.