Introduction

If you are involved in an orchestra in any capacity, and you care about the future of your orchestra and the community it serves, being an effective public policy advocate is essential.

The League of American Orchestras originally took shape as an association representing the full array of orchestras when it became necessary for large and small orchestras to join together to convince Congress to repeal a “temporary” World War II excise tax on ticket sales, which had lingered on after the war. That effort could only succeed when orchestras across the country collaborated to show that there was a sizable constituency for the issue at hand.

“E Pluribus Unum” is emblazoned on the great seal of the United States, and was our country’s official motto until 1956. Translated, it means, “Out of Many, One.” It communicates both what is possible through our collective action to influence civic policy and describes what can happen through the unique power of the music-making that orchestras do in communities every day. It also speaks to the promise of partnering with others beyond orchestras to renew a common purpose at a time of deep divides in our country.

For 75 years, the League has been and continues to be a leader in federal advocacy, mobilizing our members for action when pivotal policy moments are upon us. But especially now, from my perspective, the most effective advocate for the arts these days is you—the orchestra volunteer, the trustee, the musician, the staff member, the audience, the community member.

Through this guide, the League offers simple, easy-to-read advice on how to build successful relationships with policymakers. Our goal is to support and empower you to play your part in influencing public policy in order to advance the orchestral experience for all. Acting together, we can make a difference.

Jesse Rosen
President and CEO
League of American Orchestras
June 2017