It has been a real pleasure for me to advocate for symphonic musicians as chair of the ASAP board. I have the added pleasure of being in a position to lobby and educate Congress and the executive branch of the United States federal government on the virtues and advantages of support for symphonic musicians. Since we last had an opportunity to speak, I have met with over 50 members of Congress and several members of the Obama administration, to discuss the important role that symphonic musicians play in the fabric of our society. In fact, we have been able to take it one step further: we are identifying several specific projects that we can pursue together in the interest of symphonic music and the American people.
Additionally, I have also met with a number of mayors and governors to discuss the importance of symphonic musicians to their respective communities. From Honolulu to Charlotte, Minneapolis to Miami, I have had the distinct honor to advocate for you and your important work. I can say without a doubt that I’ve been well received, and able to make progress in each one of these jurisdictions. One thing is clear: we have a great deal of work to do. It is very much apparent that the identity of symphonic music is principally controlled by symphony “brands” in the minds of most politicians. Management finds this convenient, while individual musicians, who so often get subsumed into the anonymity of these brand names, find that their individual personalities and talents disappear into the whole. While it is a challenging process to change this point of view, both in the minds of the public and of management, I am confident that our continued and persistent efforts will yield significant individualized benefits, community by community.
The American Symphonic Advocacy Project
- Promote the Value of Symphonic Music: The mission of the American Symphonic Advocacy Project, or ASAP, is to promote the value of symphonic music through engagement with the political leadership of the nation, and to promote a cohesive relationship with citizens and the lives of the communities that we serve.
- Public Policy Advocacy: ASAP is designed to effectively communicate the importance of symphonic music to stakeholders, including thought leaders; federal, state, and local government; the business community; and American families across the nation.
- Economic Policy Advocacy: ASAP provides access to programs, services, publications, and resources that enhance the quality of symphonic musical activities.
- Connect Symphonic Musicians with Communities: ASAP fosters a cohesive professional community through enhanced communication with the citizens in the communities that we serve, and in the nation and the world as a whole.
- Service to our Communities: ASAP advocates for the promotion of an expanded role for symphonic music programs through service to our communities by offering effective programs that promote the benefits of symphonic music through education, performance, community engagement, and entertainment.
Promoting the Value of Symphonic Music: As part of the mission of ASAP, we will seek to raise money and gain support to enhance the programs and activities of ASAP and its objectives. We believe that the development of a strong and comprehensive relationship with supporters of symphonic music and other arts programs is critical to the success of our mission. An economic connection will play a central role in allowing the American Symphonic Advocacy Project to support local symphonies and other service organizations with common objectives.
We have a comprehensive national board made up of musicians, and private sector supporters of symphonic music. One needs only to look at the prominent and central institutions that symphonic music represents in our communities to see that it is a symbol of progress, success and livability across the nation.
Public Policy Advocacy: We promote the value of symphonic music through engagement with the political leadership of the nation, and promote a cohesive relationship with citizens and the economic lives of the communities that we serve.
We believe that symphonic music serves an important and historic role in the progress of this country, and not just within the symphony halls of our city centers and in our schools, but also in major events in the history of our nation: during holidays and celebrations, on the battlefield and in times of national mourning. It seems fitting that symphonic music, so important to our nation’s history, should increase its collective efforts to serve our nation. Through its programs and advocacy, ASAP will seek to support the communities it has always supported. And also through ASAP we will become more visible, we will be more active, and we will engage in more areas to serve our communities and our nation.
Public policy advocacy is a critical part of shaping the future of our nation. We believe that ASAP has a key role to play in educating, collaborating and supporting our public policymakers as they consider issues that have an impact on the availability and strength of symphonic music in the lives of Americans.
Economic Policy Advocacy: In every community across the nation, orchestras and their musicians are symbols of progress, success and livability. We believe that ASAP can play an important role in advocating sensible private policies that not only support symphonic music but also support the economic lives of our cities, states and nation. Through ASAP, the economic impact of symphonic music can be enhanced and can play a major role in the economic development of our cities, and in the personal development of our children and our citizens, fostering tourism, education and pride both local and national. ASAP will work to provide access to programs, services, publications, and resources that inform the practice of quality symphonic musical activities in addition to the direct connection between symphonic music and the economic lives of the communities that we serve.
Connect Symphonic Musicians with Communities: ASAP is designed to create a cohesive professional community through enhanced communication with the citizens in the communities that we serve and the nation and world as a whole. While communities generally do recognize the great institutions of symphonic music in their communities, not all recognize that without musicians these institutions would only be buildings. ASAP believes that the heart of symphonic music rests with the musicians themselves. These musicians are educators, artists and members of vibrant communities. Without in any way diminishing the scope of their artistry, ASAP plans to engage these musicians in a process of collaboration in support of the communities they serve.
Service to one’s community has been recognized as one of the most valued of all community virtues. ASAP plans to support, organize and advocate to create and increase effective community service programs that link the symphonic music experience to the lives of citizens in their communities. We plan to do this through performances, educational programs and other forms of participation in the daily life of our nation that demonstrate the connection between symphonic musicians and their fellow citizens.
Musicians already fulfill a major role in the communities in which they live and work, and the American Symphonic Advocacy Project believes we can help to enhance, celebrate and to expand that role in support of the communities we depend upon. Throughout this engagement our objective will be to develop a deeper and more profound artistic and community connection that we believe will improve the lives of all.
I very much look forward to working with each of you. I always appreciate hearing your views so we can incorporate them into our efforts as we go forward. Please feel free to provide me with any feedback or direction that you believe will be helpful. I look forward to seeing you in Kansas City at the ICSOM Conference in August where we plan to unveil specific details of our new initiatives.