Legislative Memo: SupportMusic Coalition Hits the Road with the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus


The SupportMusic.com coalition, led by the NAMM foundation and the National Association of Education (NAfME), is in the middle of a 2013–14 school year kickoff. The event is a celebration of music education and a gathering of community and education leaders who are working to ensure that music and the arts are part of the core curriculum for all children. The tour is being held in conjunction with the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus.

Two live webcasts in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia this week will allow a wider audience to participate virtually.


Register for the Pittsburgh tour stop and webcast, 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, October 3


Register for the Philadelphia tour stop and webcast on Friday, October 4


Mary Luehrsen, executive director, NAMM Foundation, said, “For us at NAMM, back to school means a chance to rev the engines again for targeted and increased action as music education advocates. And this year, the term ‘rev the engines’ takes on new meaning as we converge with the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus in five communities across the U.S. for the presentation of SupportMusic Community Forums.”

She said the Lennon Bus staffers are sharing web-based technology “that allows these events and messages to reach a wide audience.”

In the past month, SupportMusic Community Forums were held at NAMM headquarters in Carlsbad, California, Lansing, Michigan and Indianapolis, Indiana.

The Pittsburgh event is hosted by the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association and the Education Policy and Leadership Center.  Pittsburgh panelists and guests are:

  • Ron Cowell
    President, The Education Policy and Leadership Center
  • Margaret Bauer, Executive Director, PMEA
  • Angela Abadilla, Senior Program Officer, Arts Education, Pittsburgh Public Schools
  • Greg Steele, Band Director, Baldwin High School
  • Mark Despotakis,  Director of Market Development, Progressive Music
  • Laura Abbott , Manager, Policy Projects, The Education Policy and Leadership Center
  • Megan Kraus, General Music Teacher, Whitehall Elementary School, Baldwin-Whitehall School District
  • Sarah Tambucci, Director, Arts Education Collaborative
  • Jamie Kasper, Associate Director, Arts Education Collaborative


Panelist Bauer said PMEA is pleased to be participating in the panel discussion. “We believe it is a great opportunity for us to collaborate with other arts and art education groups. That is a mission of PMEA and the National Association for Music Education (NAfME).  We share in that mission of orchestrating success for music educators, our members. These kinds of joint efforts further the goal of ensuring that music and the arts are part of the core curriculum for all children.”

The bus tour heads to Philadelphia on Friday. The Philadelphia stop will include special performances by the Martin Luther King High School Drum Line, Shawn Robinson, director, and the High School for the Creative and Performing Arts String Quartet, Nanette Foley, director.


Guests and Panelists for the Philadelphia stop are:

  • Virginia Lam–Retired Music Content Specialist, School District of Philadelphia
    Frank Machos– Director of Music Education, School District of Philadelphia
    Paul Cothran– Vice President, Executive Director, VH1 Save The Music Foundation
    Jason Chuong– Class Instrumental Music Teacher, Percussion Specialist, School District of Philadelphia
  • Don Liuzzi– Music Director, Philadelphia All City Orchestra; Principal Percussionist, Philadelphia Orchestra and Music Director


Additional Information About NAfME’s Advocacy Efforts

For more information or questions, please contact the SupportMusic team at supportmusic@namm.org


Roz Fehr, NAfME Managing Editor for News, October 2, 2013. © National Association for Music Education