MENC Executive Director Attends White House Event Celebrating Country Music, Meets with Education Secretary

On July 21, MENC Executive Director John Mahlmann attended an event at the White House celebrating country music. Country superstars Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss were featured performers. The evening was the second of the White House’s music series celebrating the arts and demonstrating the importance of arts education. Both President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama were present.

Earlier in the day, Krauss (who is among the artists who have recorded PSAs for MENC’s “Why Music?” series) and Paisley also participated in a songwriting workshop with 120 middle and high school students.

The first event of the White House Music Series took place June 15, spotlighting jazz and featuring trumpeter Wynton Marsalis. The next event, planned for the fall, will feature classical music. The program was launched by Michelle Obama to encourage the arts and arts education.

The next day, Mahlmann participated in a meeting of arts education advocates with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Massie Ritsch, Deputy Assistant Secretary for External Affairs and Outreach. The meeting was organized by United Voices for Education (UVE), a group whose mission is to mobilize the combined resources of its member organizations to create the conditions in schools that are conducive to the healthy growth and development of children and youth. Musician Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul and Mary; also an MENC PSA contributor) is among the leaders of the group.

Read President Obama’s remarks at “An Evening of Country Music.”

Watch Brad Paisley perform at “An Evening of Country Music.”

Elizabeth Lasko, August 21, 2009. © MENC: The National Association for Music Education