In May of 2017, we participated in the Annual NAMM Fly-In. During this event, music education supporters unite on Capitol Hill to advocate and discuss policy issues with elected officials. The Fly-In also includes an intensive training with policy experts to learn about the policies and priorities of the current administration.
One of the elected officials we met with was Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona. He is both a music education supporter and father to Adelita S. Grijalva, who serves on the school board for Tucson Unified School District in Arizona (TUSD). We spoke about our continued work in the state of Arizona, having granted to 21 schools there since 2000.
Conversations like those led to a special event in August 2017, when VH1 STMF had the pleasure of delivering our Keys+Kids piano grant to the students of Tucson Magnet High School. With the support of the NAMM Foundation, students received 1 Casio Grand Celviano piano as well as 3 WK-7600 Workstations. Notable attendees included Rep. Grijalva, himself, who witnessed the high school students unveil their new instruments.
Music teacher, Khris Dodge (pictured above in burgundy), was overjoyed with the piano grant, and felt it would be a catalyst to Tucson Magnet’s ever-growing music program:
For the first time in more than a decade, our orchestra program has a viable piano to use in their room, which has allowed the orchestra to do program pieces this semester for piano and string orchestra as well as give the students an instrument to use with small ensemble rehearsals and performances… this is just the beginning of many more years of music to come.
Stories like Tucson Magnet High School inspire us to continue our advocacy work at the federal, state, and local levels. We’re committed to making sure music in each community is supported from the top-down: including District Arts Coordinators and Principals, but also Superintendents and Policymakers who play an important role in budgeting for music education in schools. From Capitol Hill to Tucson, our mission remains the same: to help kids, schools, and communities realize their full potential through the power of making music.