This week, Chris Syllaba, President of Jordan Kitt’s Music, and over 60 fellow members of NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) gathered in Washington DC from across the country to advocate for music education in the public schools. During this 10th anniversary of the annual NAMM Advocacy Fly-In, over 130 meetings were held with Members of Congress and their staff about the importance of music education.
NAMM Delegates started the week with a “day of service” event, making music with students at Savoy Elementary School in Anacostia, in SE Washington DC. Savoy is one of eight Turnaround Arts project schools, a program of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH). Delegates first met with Patrick Pope, principal, and Carol Foster, Chief Creative Officer, after which students part of the Savoy Players performed a dance routine for the group. They then participated in a drum circle, a guitar workshop, and a ukulele workshop, with assistance from NAMM members. Bernie Williams, former Yankee’s baseball player and Latin Grammy Nominated jazz musician and Chad Smith, drummer for the band Red Hot Chili Peppers, were both on hand to assist as well.
Chris Syllaba with Chad Smith
At the first “White House talent show” where the Savoy Players performed the next day, First lady Michelle Obama declared “with the help of this [Turnaround Arts] program and some school improvement grants, math and reading scores have gone up in these schools, attendance is up, enrollment is up, parent engagement is up, suspensions have plummeted, and two of the schools in our pilot improved so dramatically that they are no longer in ‘turnaround’ status. That’s amazing.”
Chris Syllaba with Bernie Williams
Monday evening, NAMM Delegates convened at the Capitol Hill offices of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough for a NAMM Foundation reception honoring Senator Tom Harkin with a SupportMusic Award celebrating 10 years of NAMM Fly-In’s.