Press Release: Celebrities Join Why Music? PSA Lineup for MIOSM

Musical Stars of Stage and Screen Answer the Question “Why Music?” for Music In Our Schools Month®

Mandy Patinkin, Martha Wash, Joshua Redman and Others Explain the Importance of Music Education in Award-Winning Radio PSA Series Produced by MENC: The National Association for Music Education

RESTON, VA (February 26, 2010) — MENC: The National Association for Music Education released the newest edition in its series of radio public service announcements featuring top pop, country, and classical musicians for March, Music In Our Schools Month® (MIOSM®). The series, called Why Music?, features musical stars talking about the value and importance of music education.

Artists joining the MIOSM lineup for the first time in 2010 are Mandy Patinkin, Martha Wash, Joshua Redman, Lew Soloff, and Anne Drummond. Returning artists include Darius Rucker, Steven Van Zandt, Mark O’Connor, Marty Stuart, Clay Aiken, The King’s Singers, The 5 Browns, Trisha Yearwood, Al Jarreau, Kathy Mattea, Bonnie Rideout, Edgar Meyer, Gloria Estefan, Boys II Men, Joshua Bell, Vanessa Williams, Patty Loveless, Janis Ian, Faith Hill, Chely Wright, Tim McGraw, Roger McGuinn, Bonnie Raitt, Billy Taylor, and many others. (View a complete list of artists participating in the series since 1997.)

Each PSA in the Why Music? series features an artist talking about the importance of music education for today’s youth or a personal experience he or she had with music in school. The PSAs are available online for radio stations to download.

The PSAs are part of MENC’s unceasing efforts to keep music programs strong in America’s schools. “MENC’s mission is to advance music education by encouraging the study and making of music by everyone,” said John J. Mahlmann, MENC’s executive director. “We believe that the celebrity messages significantly raise the public’s awareness of the positive effect music education has on kids.” Previous Why Music? MIOSM editions have generated as many as 206 million verified gross impressions over the month of March.

“Music is intrinsically valuable on its own, of course,” continued Mahlmann, “but it doesn’t hurt, at a time when school budgets are so tight, to spread the word about the other ways learning music can benefit students. If today’s students are going to succeed tomorrow, they need a comprehensive education that includes music education provided by exemplary music educators. Music study keeps kids engaged – it is linked to higher graduation rates and success in school. Students who study music are less likely to become involved with drugs and alcohol. And music study helps kids develop skills they will need to succeed in the 21st century, such as collaboration, teamwork, creativity, and problem-solving.”

MENC releases Why Music? twice a year — in March to coincide with Music In Our Schools Month, and in September as children head “Back to School.” Why Music? has been the recipient of several prestigious communications awards, including the League of American Communications Professionals 2002 Magellan Awards Publicity Campaign Competition Bronze Award for Community Relations and The Communicator Awards 2002 Audio Competition Crystal Award of Excellence. In addition, MENC was awarded Honorable Mention in the PR News 2002 Platinum PR Awards for PSA Campaign, and the 2001 Bronze Anvil Award for Best Radio Public Service Announcement by the Public Relations Society of America. The series was awarded the Mercury Awards 2003 Honors for the Campaign/Public Service Announcements category and the APEX 2003 Award of Excellence in the Public Relations and Information Video and Electronics Publications Category.

Read on for information about the new participants in this series. For more information, contact Elizabeth Lasko at 800-336-3768. MENC’s Web site is

After attending the University of Kansas and the Juilliard School of Drama, Chicago-born singer/actor Mandy Patinkin debuted on Broadway in 1980, winning a Tony Award® for his role as Che in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Evita. He has since appeared in numerous acclaimed roles both on Broadway and Off. Feature film credits include The Princess Bride, Yentl (1984 Golden Globe nomination), Ragtime, and Impromptu. In the television medium, he won a 1995 Emmy® Award (as well as a Golden Globe nomination) for his critically acclaimed performance in the CBS series, Chicago Hope, and recently starred in the CBS series Criminal Minds as FBI profiler Jason Gideon. In 1989, Patinkin began his concert career at Joseph Papp’s Public Theater, coinciding with the release of his first solo album, Mandy Patinkin. Since then he has toured extensively, appearing to sold-out audiences across the United States, Canada, London, and Australia, performing songs by Stephen Sondheim, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Irving Berlin, Randy Newman, Adam Guettel, and Harry Chapin, among others. He has since released several more recordings, including Mamaloshen, a collection of traditional, classic, and contemporary songs sung entirely in Yiddish. Patinkin recorded his MIOSM PSA in February 2010 at the Yale Repertory Theatre where he is starring in Rinne Groff’s Compulsion.

Saxophonist, recording artist, and composer Joshua Redman won first place in the 1991 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition. Subsequently he released a series of highly acclaimed records for Warner Brothers, including the Grammy-nominated Joshua Redman and Wish, featuring Pat Metheny, Charlie Haden, and Billie Higgins. He was artistic director of SFJAZZ Spring Season for seven years. Between 1991 and 2009, Redman performed and recorded with artists including Dave Brubeck, Chick Corea, The Dave Matthews Band, Jack DeJohnette, Bill Frisell, Herbie Hancock, Roy Hargrove, Roy Haynes, Quincy Jones, Big Daddy Kane, Geoff Keezer, B.B. King, The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Yo-Yo Ma, Branford Marsalis, Pat Metheny, Leon Parker, Dianne Reeves, The Rolling Stones, The Roots, and Stevie Wonder and Sam Yahel. In 2005, Redman released his first record on Nonesuch Records, the Grammy-nominated Momentum. On the recently-released Compass, he takes the concept of “playing trio” in surprising new directions, literally and figuratively stretching the shape of the trio approach; on the most audacious of these tunes, he performs with the entire lineup in a double-trio setting.

The uncredited powerhouse vocalist behind C+C Music Factory’s classic “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now),” Martha Wash began her musical journey in the late ’70s as one half of the disco group Two Tons of Fun. Later, as part of the Weather Girls, Martha scored a Grammy nomination for “It’s Raining Men.” In the early ’90s, she became one of the most sought-after session singers and recorded for numerous acts. Her lead vocals on five singles helped to put the group Black Box on the music map. In 1993, Wash issued her first solo CD, Martha Wash, which produced three #1 dance singles: “Carry On,” “Give It To You,” and “Runaround.” Wash began her own record company, Purple Rose Records, in 2004 and immediately saw the first single, “You Lift Me Up,” reach the top 5 on Billboard Magazine’s Club Play Chart. She is currently recording material for her upcoming project which she says will be “inspirational and uplifting.”

A high-note trumpeter long in demand for big bands and session work, Lew Soloff is also a distinctive soloist and an expert with the plunger mute. Born in New York City, Soloff was raised in Lakewood, New Jersey, taking up the trumpet at 10. As a teen he worked in the Catskills in the summer and graduated to the New York scene during the ’60s, playing club dates and concerts at Radio City Music Hall. After studying at Juilliard, Soloff played jazz trumpet with several leaders, notably Maynard Ferguson and Gil Evans and the Latin groups of Machito, Tito Puente, and Chuck Mangione. He first came to prominence in 1968 with the Grammy Award-winning jazz/rock band Blood Sweat & Tears. Soloff’s extensive performances have included gigs with Ornette Coleman, Frank Sinatra, the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Big Band, Machito, Marianne Faithfull, Barbra Streisand, Dizzy Gillespie, and numerous others. Soloff has recorded 16 albums with the Manhattan Jazz Quintet, Pocket Brass Band, and the Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra. He continues to lead The Lew Soloff Quartet and is a regular member of the Carla Bley Big Band.

In jazz, flutists are a rarity. Seattle-bred Anne Drummond transforms the flute’s sound and contemporizes its style with a fresh artistic outlook. Whether leading her quintet or performing alongside pianist Kenny Barron, vibraphonist Stefon Harris, or bassist Avishai Cohen, Drummond is an original voice, both lyrical and powerful, subtle yet driving. As a 2003 graduate of the Manhattan School of Music, she had already become established on the jazz circuit, touring the US and Europe with Canta Brasil, and recording several albums with Barron. She has toured the world with indie rock band Bright Eyes. Well known as a teacher, Drummond travels to give master classes and adjudicate competitions, in addition to teaching privately in New York City. She has been adjunct faculty at the New School for Social Research and has coached at Manhattan School of Music. Her debut record Like Water (May ’09) features her original compositions played by a Brazilian rhythm section and strings. Drummond has repeatedly been named a Rising Star in Downbeat Magazine‘s Critics Poll.

MENC: The National Association for Music Education, among the world’s largest arts education organizations, marked its centennial in 2007 as the only association that addresses all aspects of music education. Through membership of more than 75,000 active, retired, and pre-service music teachers, and with 60,000 honor students and supporters, MENC serves millions of students nationwide through activities at all teaching levels, from preschool to graduate school. MENC’s mission is to advance music education by encouraging the study and making of music by all. Since 1907, MENC has worked to ensure that every student has access to a well-balanced, comprehensive, and high-quality program of music instruction taught by qualified teachers. MENC’s activities and resources have been largely responsible for the establishment of music education as a profession, for the promotion and guidance of music study as an integral part of the school curriculum, and for the development of the National Standards for Arts Education. MENC is located at the National Center for Music Education in Reston, VA.