NYSSMA Celebrates 48th Annual Joseph R. Sugar Day
during Music In Our Schools Month®
With a stroke of his pen, Governor Andrew Cuomo claimed March 2021 as Music In Our Schools Month in New York State. The forty-eighth (48th) annual event was originally formed in New York in 1973 as a single-day concert held at New York City’s Lincoln Center and was the first coalition that advocated support for music education programs throughout New York State.
In 1980, the legislature of the State of New York later showed its support of this event by financing a weekend of music by the all-state band, orchestra, and chorus in the Convention Center in Albany. This event expanded into one known as The Capital Experience, a program that included daily concerts by student bands, choruses, and orchestras throughout the Plaza from all over New York State. This event gave students who might not otherwise have had the opportunity to visit the capital to perform for a large audience.
“Music transcends time, and we know from the earliest day of mankind, music played a role in education, communication, and enjoyment. March reminds us about the POWER of music.”
On March 1, 2021, music educators and administrators visited state senators and members of the Assembly to kick off NYSSMA’s 48th annual Joseph R. Sugar NYSSMA Day in Albany, the first to be held virtually.
“Music In Our Schools Month® is filled with performances and learning,” said Dr. David M. Brown, NYSSMA President. “Usually you can walk the halls of the Capitol Building and hear a different ensemble perform on any given day in March. While we couldn’t host live performances this year, music is still happening each and every day. Music transcends time, and we know from the earliest day of mankind, music played a role in education, communication, and enjoyment. March reminds us about the POWER of music.”
The late-Joseph R. Sugar was a professional trumpet player, music educator, and school district music administrator. He served as NYSSMA’s president from 1980 to 1981, and as NYSSMA’s Government Relations Chairperson for many years after. He also served as Eastern Division President of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME). He passed away in 2009.
To obtain national exposure for the event, NYSSMA had passed the event on to NAfME in 1985. Since then, MIOSM® has become a time of year when music education becomes the focus of communities across the nation who celebrate with concerts and other activities based on a theme. Classrooms, concert halls, civic buildings, clubs, parks, libraries, and shopping malls are just some of the arenas in which the public can observe the processes and results of music education.
In 2021, NYSSMA celebrates its eighty-ninth (89th) year as one of the largest state affiliates of NAfME. NYSSMA’s mission is to advocate for and improve music education across New York State by promoting and producing appropriate activities and programs for its membership and students in member school music programs.
Dr. John J. Gallagher, State Chairperson, Public Relations and Information, May 5, 2021