October 2013 SupportMusic Community Forums – Pittsburgh and Philadelphia

The SupportMusic Coalition and the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus teamed up this fall to produce a series of SupportMusic Community Forums in various cities across the U.S. 

EPLC co-hosted two of the forums — one on October 3 at Baldwin High School in Pittsburgh, and another on October 4 at Martin Luther King High School in Philadelphia.

Videos of the Pittsburgh forum and Philadelphia forum are archived on the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus’s YouTube channel.

Both events brought together arts and education leaders in Pennsylvania to discuss the importance of music education and advocacy efforts.  Each forum included pre-show interviews and student performances, followed by a panel discussion moderated by Mary Luehrsen, executive director of the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation.

EPLC President Ron Cowell spoke in Pittsburgh about the role EPLC – an education policy organization – plays in arts advocacy, particularly with the newly formed Pennsylvania Arts Education Network, a coalition of arts, arts education, and advocacy organizations and individuals working together to strengthen public and policymaker support for Arts Education in Pennsylvania. 

Also alongside Mary during the program was Margaret Bauer, executive director, Pennsylvania Music Educators Association; Angela Abadilla, senior program officer of arts education, Pittsburgh Public Schools; Greg Steele, band director, Baldwin High School; Mark Despotakis, director of market development, Progressive Music;  Laura Abbott, manager of policy projects, EPLC; Megan Kraus, general music teacher, Baldwin-Whitehall School District; Dr. Sarah Tambucci, director, Arts Education Collaborative; and Jamie Kasper, associate director, Arts Education Collaborative.

The Philadelphia forum focused on the ways community and education leaders are working to assure that experiences in music and the arts remain opportunities for all children through the core curriculum even during tough economic times.

The Philadelphia forum guests and panelists included from the School District of Philadelphia William Wade Ed.S., principal, The Promise Academy at Martin Luther King High School; Virginia Lam, retired music content specialist; Frank Machos, director of music education; and Jason Chuong, class instrumental music teacher and percussion specialist.  From the community was Don Liuzzi, music director, Philadelphia All City Orchestra; Elizabeth Sokolowski, division head of music education, The University of the Arts; and Paul Cothran, vice president and executive director, VH1 Save the Music Foundation. 

 SupportMusic Coalition


SupportMusic.com is a public service initiative that impacts resolve and support for music education in local communities around the United States and abroad. This advocacy effort now unites 588 national, regional and international organizations comprised of parents and community leaders seeking to improve access and opportunity in music and arts learning. Tens of thousands of concerned citizens visit the website every month and use its resources to keep music education strong in their schools and communities.

THE SUPPORTMUSIC COALITION is building a proactive and unified approach to federal, state and local level advocacy for music education as a core academic subject in schools. The coalition is united in its support of a complete education that includes music and arts instruction for all children.

The coalition invites individuals and all interested arts, education, civic engagement and youth-serving organizations to become affiliates, and encourages affiliate organizations to actively participate via task force efforts, dissemination of pertinent information to constituents and members, and by adding tools and materials to www.supportmusic.com that advance the advocacy mission and messages.

The music education coalition and SupportMusic.com are led by NAMM, the National Association of Music Merchants, and NAfME, the National Association for Music Education.

John Lennon Educational Tour Bus

The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus is a non-profit 501(c)(3) state-of-the-art mobile audio and HD video recording and production facility.

The Bus is highly adaptable, designed to provide students, their schools and communities with performances, demonstrations, remote recordings, and studio sessions customized for their needs, levels of experience and interest. The Bus travels the country visiting schools, musical and technology conferences and events, and partners with newspapers and other media to host Battles of the Bands with the national winner selected online.

 All projects created on board are available for viewing on lennonbus.org, YouTube, and Facebook.

The Lennon Bus is committed to providing students with increased access to music, audio, video, and broadcast technologies. The program works together with local partners to create free events for middle, high school, and college age students to tour the bus, and participate in the production of music, video and digital photography projects reflective of their ideas and concerns, regardless of their levels of expertise.


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