Press Release: Musical Stars Answer the Question Why Music? for 2011 MIOSM

Musical Stars Answer the Question “Why Music?” for 2011 Music In Our Schools Month®

Harry Connick, Jr., Pat Benatar, Backstreet Boys 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 15, 2011) — 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. MIOSM , sponsored by MENC, is an annual event during which schools and communities focus attention on the importance of school music programs.

Artists joining the MIOSM lineup for the first time in 2011 are Harry Connick, Jr., Pat Benatar, and the Backstreet Boys. Returning artists include Mandy Patinkin, Martha Wash, Joshua Redman, 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, and many others. (A complete list of artists who have participated in the series since 1997 is posted at The late jazz great Billy Taylor is also featured.

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 for radio stations to download at

The PSAs are part of MENC’s unceasing efforts to keep music programs strong in America’s schools. “At MENC, we are driven by the knowledge that for today’s students to succeed tomorrow, they need a comprehensive education that includes music taught by exemplary music educators,” says MENC president Scott C. Shuler. “These celebrity messages can 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.

MENC’s MIOSM slogan is “Music Lasts a Lifetime,” a variation of the theme “Music Education for Life” that is the cornerstone of Shuler’s presidential message. “Children have always needed the inspiration and energy that music classes provide,” continued Shuler, “but the need is even greater now, to prevent students from being turned off by schools that focus narrowly on test preparation. Of course, research shows that students who study music consistently achieve higher test scores and better grades, and that impoverished students in urban schools benefit even more than others. Can we afford not to have schools that are exciting and engaging, whose students enjoy their education even as they strive for excellence? It is important that we get the word out to all citizens that music enriches all of us, throughout our lives, and that the earlier we have access to music instruction, the more we benefit.”

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.

Other MIOSM activities include the World’s Largest Concert® on March 10 and a “Music Education Fact a Day” on MENC’s Facebook and Twitter feeds throughout the month. For information on what MENC members are doing to celebrate MIOSM, visit in the coming weeks.

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

Harry Connick, Jr.’s career has been studded with awards and recognition, including several multi-platinum and gold albums, Grammy and Emmy awards, a starring role in a Tony-winning Broadway musical and more. His 2009 CD, Your Songs, features his arrangements for big band and string orchestra of contemporary standards identified with iconic artists including Elvis Presley, Elton John, Frank Sinatra and the Beatles. Connick boasts album sales of over 25 million; endless accolades in the music, film, television, and theater worlds; and a growing profile as a responsive public citizen who is making a significant difference. Visit

The Backstreet Boys — Nick Carter, Howie Dorough, Brian Littrell, and AJ McLean — have sold over 130 million records worldwide, making them one of the biggest selling groups of all time. They rose to fame with their debut album, Backstreet Boys (1996) and to superstardom with Millennium (1999) and its follow-up album, Black & Blue (2000). After a three-year hiatus, the band regrouped and have since released three albums: Never Gone (2005), Unbreakable (2007) and This Is Us (2009) and play to sold-out crowds around the world. Visit

Pat Benatar is a certified rock ‘n’ roll superstar, a four-time Grammy winner with six platinum and four gold albums to her credit as well as such hit singles as “Heartbreaker,” “Hit Me with Your Best Shot,” Shadows of the Night,” and “Love Is A Battlefield.” She was the first female artists to appear on MTV. Long acknowledged as one of the leading female rock vocalists in the industry, Benatar also has a best-selling memoir, 2010’s “Between a Heart and a Rock Place.” Visit

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 in Reston, VA.

Follow MENC on Twitter and on Facebook for a “Music Education Fact a Day” during Music In Our Schools Month 2011.