Press Release – Music Education’s Past Celebrated, Future Examined at Centennial Congress and Celebration

Music Education’s Past Celebrated, Future Examined at Centennial Congress and Celebration of MENC: The National Association for Music Education   Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee to Address Arts Education Leaders at Gathering in Orlando, Florida   RESTON, VA (June 11, 2007) — MENC: The National Association for Music Education marks one hundred years of advancing music education in 2007 with the “Centennial Congress and Celebration” June 25-28 in Orlando, Florida. The event brings together leading music educators and advocates, including a keynote address by former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, a long time arts education supporter. Huckabee’s address and a panel discussion with National School Boards Association Executive Director Anne L. Bryant and National Association of State Boards of Education Chief Executive Officer Brenda Lilienthal Welburn will be featured in a live Webcast on Tuesday, June 26, at 12:30 Eastern Time. Founded in April 1907, at a meeting of 104 music supervisors in Keokuk, Iowa, MENC has grown to more than 130,000 active and retired music educators, collegiate students studying to become teachers, high school music honor society members, corporate members, music supervisors, and parents and community supporters of school music. MENC’s mission is to advance music education by encouraging the study and making of music by all. “Numerous dramatic comparisons can be made between music education in 1907 and 2007, but the most significant similarity is how the founders of 1907 and music educators today share an optimistic belief in the endless possibility of music education,” said Lynn M. Brinckmeyer, president of MENC and assistant professor of music at Texas State University-San Marcos. “High quality music education in American schools, which began as the dream of a few determined individuals, is no longer the privilege of a few, but a necessity for all.” MENC Centennial Congress: Meeting the Goals of Music Education At the Centennial Congress, the MENC leadership will meet with and interact with other stakeholders in education to discuss two key issues: review of shared goals for music education, and why, in light of longstanding agreement on goals, music education is not yet universal. “Even without strong, exact data on the status of music education programs around the nation,” said John Mahlmann, executive director of MENC, “it seems clear that some large percentage of American children — estimates hover around half of the total population — do not receive a credible music education.” Presentations will be made by leaders from the music education policy, research, and professional development areas; and by leaders from the fields of school administration, state boards of education, and school board associations. “Our goal is to determine what conditions must be met if we are to reach our shared goals for music education,” continued Malhmann. “We will use the answers developed at the Congress as a foundation for the Association’s ongoing Strategic Planning Process and to influence grass-roots advocacy, other organizations, and decision-makers to take actions calculated to meet music education goals in the foreseeable future.” Mike Huckabee (Keynote Speaker) From 1996-2007, Mike Huckabee served as the 44th Governor of Arkansas. He is recognized as a national leader, having been honored by several renowned publications and organizations for his numerous accomplishments. Governing Magazine named him as one of its “Public Officials of the Year’ for 2005, Time Magazine honored him as one of the five best governors in America, and in 2007, he was presented with the Music for Life Award by NAMM, the International Music Products Association for his commitment to music education. Under Huckabee’s direction, Arkansas has been recognized as having created one of the nation’s best school accountability programs. Huckabee pushed through reforms in Arkansas that have significantly increased the number of charter schools and established new approaches to workforce education. One of his proudest achievements as governor was signing legislation creating ARKids First. The program provides health insurance coverage for more than 70,000 Arkansas children who otherwise might have gone without. In a May 2007 speech, Huckabee said that musical instruments can be “weapons of mass instruction” and schools should not be allowed to cut music and art education classes. As governor, he backed a phased-in plan which ultimately forced every public school in Arkansas to offer music and art education classes, taught by a trained instructor. Huckabee’s efforts to improve his own health have received national attention. Diagnosed with Type II diabetes in 2003, he lost 110 pounds and has completed four marathons. He enjoys playing bass guitar in his rock-n-roll band, Capitol Offense, which has opened for artists such as Willie Nelson and the Charlie Daniels Band, and has played the House of Blues in New Orleans, the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Denver, CO and for two presidential inauguration balls. Live Webcast Members of the media are invited to view Mike Huckabee’s address “Changing the National Environment for Music Education” and the panel discussion with Anne Bryant and Brenda Welburn “Translating Policy into Practice — Perspective of School Boards and State Boards of Education: Influence at the State and Local Levels” on Tuesday, June 26, at 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time either in person in Orlando (at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort) or via live Webcast. Complimentary internet connections are available to members of the media courtesy of the Music Lives Foundation, which provides support for MENC’s Advocacy Webinar series. To register, contact Elizabeth Lasko at or 800-336-3768. For more information on MENC’s 100th anniversary celebration, visit the Web site. MENC: The National Association for Music Education, the world’s largest arts education organization, marks its centennial in 2007 as the only association that addresses all aspects of music education. More than 130,000 members represent all levels of teaching from preschool to graduate school. 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. ###