League Ivory Comments, IRA Rollover Status, Arts Education Updates, and More
October 8, 2015
League Calls for Progress and Clarity in New Ivory Rules
On behalf of member orchestras nationwide, the League filed comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) on September 28, supporting proposed exemptions for musical instruments from new rules restricting commerce and international travel with items containing elephant ivory, and calling for further improvements and clarifications to proposed policies that will impact the future use of violins, bows, bassoons, and other musical instruments legally made with small quantities of ivory. The proposed rules deal primarily with future sales of ivory-containing items, but also provide one form of relief related to travel that was requested by the League and its partners in national music organizations. The League website provides an overview of this complicated topic that includes a summary of our comments, and also provides updated guidance for musicians preparing for international travel as rules continue to change. The timeline for finalizing the draft rules is uncertain, as USFWS must now take into account the many thousands of public comments prompted by the proposed new policies. The League comments also urge USFWS to adopt immediate policy improvements to the rules for international travel, which are expected to be taken up in a separate rule-making process later this year. We remain in close dialogue with USFWS, music industry stakeholders, and conservation interests as orchestras pursue policy solutions that will both protect endangered species and support international cultural activity.
IRA Rollover Status Still Uncertain
With less than three months remaining in the 2015 tax year, Congress has still not taken final action to reinstate the IRA Charitable Rollover provision. This charitable giving incentive has produced new and increased contributions to support orchestras and the full array of nonprofit organizations serving local communities, but expired on December 31, 2014. The League's membership of orchestras is partnering with Feeding America, United Way Worldwide, American Red Cross, Independent Sector, and dozens of other national organizations calling on Congress and the Administration to make the IRA Rollover permanently available. We will share further developments on the possibility of permanence, reinstatement for 2015, or a two-year reinstatement and extension of this important charitable giving incentive.
Federal Government Averts Shutdown: Appropriations Still Unfinished
Mere hours before federal funding was set to expire last week, Congress passed a stopgap bill to fund the government through December 11, 2015. Under these continuing resolutions (CR), most agencies enter a new fiscal year operating under the previous year's spending priorities. The Interior bill, which funds the National Endowment for the Arts, was making rapid progress in both chambers until heated debates in the House over policies unrelated to the NEA sidelined further progress. Similarly, neither the House nor the Senate were able to advance an education spending bill to the floor for a full vote, which leaves the status of the currently $25 million-funded Arts in Education program at the U.S. Department of Education unresolved once again. As Congress continues to debate overall spending limits and priorities, the League will keep you posted on important opportunities to weigh in.
Education Act Re-Write Awaits Action
The 14-year wait for Congress to re-write the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) has grown longer as changes in leadership of the House of Representatives slows progress on a number of legislative issues. The League coordinated a September 15 letter from national arts and education organizations to House and Senate Chairs and Ranking Members of the committees responsible for next steps on ESEA, calling specifically for support for the Arts in Education programs. After each chamber passed their respective ESEA bills, the next step is for a committee of conferees to work together on a compromise bill to resolve differences between the House and Senate versions. While the timing of further action is uncertain, advocates have plenty of reasons to feel optimistic about the progress arts education has made. As always, the most immediate action on arts education policy happens at the state and local level. See the League's resources to help orchestras be active partners in these efforts.
EdCE Survey Extended to Nov. 2
Help us communicate the value and impact of Education and Community Engagement work by participating in our survey. New deadline: Nov. 2.
Volunteer Notes Summer 2015
Essentials 2015 Reading List
R – Required
S – Suggested
For Artistic Planning and Vitality Sessions
- Australian Council for the Arts (R)
- Music Director Search Handbook (S)
- New World Summary – concert formats (S)
- NYT article on James Roe and Mark Niehaus (S)
For Digital Media and Content session
- Like Link Share site (R)
- What is Code? Paul Ford in Business Week (S)
- Digital Engagement in Culture, Heritage, and the Arts (S)
For Education and Community Engagement session
- Civic Engagement Assessment tool (R)
- Jesse Rosen interview with Bo Young Lee on Diversity (R)
- American Orchestras: Making a Difference for Our Communities by Polly Kahn (R)
For Marketing session
Artistic Programming with a Focus on Social Issues and Community Dialogue
- Seattle Symphony, to further expand the NativeLands Community Composition Project. The NativeLands Project will include a performance of the Potlatch Symphony, a co-created composition for Seattle Symphony Orchestra musicians and members of Native American communities, and a five-week classroom residency series led by a Native teaching artist. The project will provide artistic and cultural engagement for approximately 600 people, including multi-generational populations from several Native American nations participating in creative work, learning, and observing as audience members. Seattle Symphony will conduct trainings designed for project personnel, other Symphony staff, musicians, and Board members. Ongoing professional development provided to project personnel includes social justice symposia, off-site training sessions, and symphony-led training sessions for teaching artists and project staff.
Health and Wellness Programs in Hospitals, Nursing Homes, and Treatment Centers
- Central Ohio Symphony, for Reconnecting, the symphony’s criminal justice program for adolescents and adults with substance use disorders or mental illnesses. A required part of the Delaware County Specialty Docket courts’ multi-phase treatment program, Reconnecting utilizes therapeutic drumming to treat youths 14 to 18, and adults, many of whom have lost custody of their children due to heroin abuse, a growing local problem. In partnership with the courts and treatment provider, Maryhaven, Reconnecting will serve 90 participants and their supporting family members, with each participant attending a session every two weeks for a total of 22 sessions in 2015. This is an active program where protocol-trained Central Ohio Symphony musicians and a licensed treatment counselor build on positive steps for growing self-awareness, esteem, and daily skills to help participants function in everyday society. This year, symphony facilitators will receive training in the highest level of methodology attainable through the Remo HealthRHYTHMS certified training, qualifying them to train other musicians.
- Grand Rapids Symphony, for Music for Health, a new health and wellness program in collaboration with Spectrum Health and Perrigo Company Charitable Foundation. Music for Health serves patients at Spectrum Health who suffer with a neurological impairment, such as stroke or traumatic brain injury, or who are experiencing some level of dementia. The program targets patients served by Spectrum Health’s Music Therapy program, currently available at six campuses, as well as their families and the Spectrum Health professionals caring for them – approximately 450 patients, family members, and caregivers in all. Symphony musicians work directly with the music therapist to provide goal-directed interventions to patients, presenting live music to enhance vocal strength; making music interactively with patients, helping them practice attention skills, impulse control, and socialization; facilitating movement rehabilitation as patients move to the music; and enhancing patient-created songs for therapeutic purposes.
- Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, to further expand its KSO Music & Wellness program at the University of Tennessee Medical Center’s Cancer Institute. The program, which currently provides live musical performances for patients to enhance the healing process and employs a part-time board certified music therapist, also includes a professional development practicum for the musicians in the program, and the creation of an observational study that will measure positive and negative responses of patients exposed to live music, providing quantitative data to support music in healthcare settings. KSO musicians play in public areas of the hospital and work with individual patients in chemotherapy, oncology, the cardiovascular and neonatal intensive care units and on the cardiovascular in-patient floors, Lobby performances and work with individuals also occurs at additional facilities. The five KSO musicians working in the program have become Certified Music Practitioners though the Music for Healing and Transition Program, a not-for-profit therapeutic music educational organization.
- Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, for Soul Strings, a new health and wellness program that increases the quality of life for adults with developmental disabilities through music-informed therapy. Magnolia Community Services, an organization that provides support to adults with intellectual and other development challenges in the Greater New Orleans region, is a long-standing partner of the philharmonic, with the orchestra currently providing education concerts and materials to 395 Magnolia Community Services clients. The orchestra is now deepening engagement with the new Soul Strings program. Twelve Louisiana Philharmonic musicians (three string quartets) will administer sensory and intellectual stimulation through an intimate and direct music therapy to 60 clients, with the guidance of a licensed music therapist. Future efforts might include a collaborative performance in which musicians and Magnolia Community Services clients play side-by-side. The orchestra also plans to analyze program data following this pilot season and to share lessons learned.
- Phoenix Symphony, for The B-Sharp Music Wellness, a W.O.N.D.E.R. Project: Alzheimer’s Expansion Pilot Initiative, a program evaluating the impact of music on Alzheimer’s patients in need through a 12-week program of musical intervention. The pilot launch will focus on 48 Huger Mercy Living Center patients and their families and caregivers (an approximate total of 165 individuals receiving weekly musical therapy over a 3-month period). Fifteen Symphony musicians will participate in ensembles that will perform at Huger Mercy Living Center in a variety of environments: individual cottages, community areas, and other locations throughout the center. The musicians and Arizona State University Music Therapy experts will measure a variety of criteria to determine the efficacy of the music therapy and its ability to reduce stress, including sleep levels, pharmaceutical interventions, caloric intake, memory recall, compliance with daily living skills and related routines, and mental wellness of caregivers.
Long-term In-school Partnerships and After-school Programs with Social Development Components
- Allentown Symphony Orchestra, for El Sistema Lehigh Valley, an arts-based after-school social initiative at two sites for 105 students. Of the over 18,000 students in the Allentown School District, 88% come from low-income families. El Sistema Lehigh Valley helps young people who are underserved or who have special needs develop life skills learned by participating in music instruction, large ensemble performances, academic tutoring, field trips, and a mentoring service. For the past three years, participants who regularly attended the program surpassed reading and math testing goals set by the Allentown School District. The program is run in cooperation with the Allentown School District and additional partners including United Way of Greater Lehigh Valley, the Boys and Girls Club of Allentown, Kutztown University Orchestra, DeSales University, Moravian College, Muhlenberg College, and Allentown Parks and Recreation.
- Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, for OrchKids, an El Sistema-inspired program providing music instruction, mentorship, instruments, academic tutoring, healthy meals, field trips, and holistic family services at no cost to more than 825 students at five school sites. In the average OrchKids neighborhood, 71.2% of young people live in single-parent, female-headed households and the high school completion rate is 75%. The orchestra’s numerous partners include the Baltimore City Public School System, University of Maryland Baltimore County, and the Peabody Institute, among others. In the 2014-2015 academic year, OrchKids will implement an enhanced curriculum and a new string pedagogy incorporating a diverse range of traditional American string playing techniques and musical genres, including folk fiddling, jazz, world music, and classical music. The orchestra is using a longitudinal self-evaluation that compares an OrchKids cohort with non-OrchKids peers on test scores, school attendance, rates, musical skills, and social behaviors.
- DC Youth Orchestra Program, to develop and implement a pre-orchestra curriculum for pre-kindergarten children ages 3 to 5. For nearly 60 years, the DC Youth Orchestra Program (DCYOP) has fostered the musical development of nearly 50,000 young people in the Washington, D.C. region, ages 4 to 18. Partnering with DC Public Schools and Colombia’s Batuta Foundation, the second-largest El Sistema-inspired national program in the world, DCYOP will pilot the pre-kindergarten program with 50 students. The curriculum will then be made available to DC Public Schools music education teachers for use in their pre-kindergarten classes. More than 5,500 students are enrolled in pre-kindergarten at 60 elementary schools. Until now, DC Public Schools music teachers have not had access to an early childhood curriculum. DCYOP seeks to provide quality music education -- regardless of ability, background, or socioeconomic status -- through group lessons and ensemble training on all orchestral instruments.
- El Paso Symphony Orchestra, for Tocando, an El Sistema-inspired after-school program offering immersive music instruction, field trips, academic support, and mentoring four days per week and free of charge for students in grades 1 through 5, as well as summer classes. The first program of its kind in the El Paso region, Tocando will expand to serve 90 students at two campuses from El Paso’s El Segundo Barrio neighborhood, in the heart of a federally recognized Empowerment Zone. Census data from 2010 confirms that this neighborhood is one of the poorest and least educated in the country, with 60% of households in the area living below the poverty level and 70% having not completed high school. A historic entry point into the U.S. from Mexico, El Segundo Barrio has been the starting point for many immigrant families, many fleeing from ongoing violence in Juarez due to the drug war.
- Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, for the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra, a youth and family development program reaching 235 low-income students in grades K through 12. The program’s goal is to engage students early in elementary school and have the participants continue through high school by providing music education, positive role models, mentoring, and family support services. Priority enrollment is offered to students living in Center Township, the area with Indianapolis’ lowest graduation rate and one of the highest number of families living in poverty. Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra musicians conduct private lessons and participate in rehearsals and concerts; the program also includes several professional development workshops.
- Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, to further expand its Kalamazoo Kids in Tune after-school music and youth development program, based on the El Sistema model and serving up to 85 students during the school year and 40 in the summer. A partnership between the orchestra, social service agency Communities in Schools of Kalamazoo (CIS), and the Kalamazoo Public Schools system, the orchestra-immersion program infuses an existing CIS after-school program with accessible and ongoing ensemble-based music learning. Activities include a daily nutritious meal, small group music lessons, orchestra rehearsals, choir, musicianship training, and dance classes. Daily homework help is provided, as well as periodic field trips and one-on-one tutoring with volunteers for students with identified needs. The grant will lay the groundwork for an enhanced curriculum that reflects an increased level of rigor, with more time dedicated to instruction from professional music teachers.
- Kidznotes, an organization serving 275 children and their families in Durham and Southeast Raleigh’s most impoverished neighborhoods. Inspired by El Sistema, Kidznotes seeks to lift children out of poverty through the riches of classical music. Beginning as early as pre-kindergarten and kindergarten, Kidznotes students receive approximately ten hours of classical music instruction each week at no cost. They participate in four after-school sessions per week, as well as two-hour orchestral rehearsals each Saturday. In addition, Kidznotes hosts a three-week summer camp for all enrolled students, providing 24 hours of instruction and practice each week. Kidznotes partners include East Durham Children’s Initiative, North Carolina Symphony, Duke University, Durham Public Schools and Wake County Public Schools, National Alliance for El Sistema Inspired Programs, and Communities in Schools of Durham and Wake County.
- Los Angeles Philharmonic, for Youth Orchestra LA (YOLA). Serving 700 students at three sites, the El Sistema-inspired program currently provides free after-school instrumental instruction, ensemble performance opportunities, and academic support. The students participating primarily attend Title I schools and live in neighborhoods with 75% of families’ household incomes at or below $20,000 per year. Students receive 700 hours of instruction per year including music instruction, sectionals, tutoring, and rehearsals, with Los Angeles Philharmonic musicians spending more than 100 hours in residency with YOLA students. The grant will be used to add new woodwinds and brass sections to YOLA’s third site and increase YOLA’s leadership development offerings as the program’s oldest students begin to apply to college and enter the workforce.
- Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra, for Progressions, its string training program for students in grades 3 and 4. The program, now in its twelfth season, provides private instruction; orchestral training in violin, viola, cello and bass; and enrichment offerings including music theory instruction, side-by-side instruction with the orchestra’s higher-level ensembles, and opportunities to learn other art forms, such as dance, theater, and jazz. Seventy-two students engage in programming three times per week for the 35-week academic year; support for summer instruction is also provided. All students receive full scholarships for instruments, private lessons, membership, and transportation as needed during the two-year program. At the end of the two years, students audition for the next level of the youth orchestra; matriculation rates since inception for those second-year students have been as high as 90-100%. Program partners include the City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee Public Schools.
- New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, for NJSO CHAMPS (Character, Achievement and Music Project), an after-school music instruction program inspired by the El Sistema model. The program currently takes place in partnership with University Heights Charter School in Newark, with plans to expand to public, private, and other charter schools. As many as 60 students in grades 4 through 8 will participate in the program in the 2014-15 season, receiving weekly instruction totaling 4.5 hours over 3 days per week for 30 weeks. They will also participate in public concerts, peer exchanges, and attend NJSO performances. Students receive group lessons in violin, viola, or cello and musicianship lessons, where they learn theory, dictation/ear training, and composition. They also participate in larger ensemble rehearsals to prepare for public performance. Three NJSO musicians serve as coaches-in-residence, working with participants monthly, and providing students with direct contact with professional musicians.
- Orchestra of St. Luke’s, for Youth Orchestra of St. Luke’s (YOSL), an El Sistema-inspired after-school music program in partnership with the Police Athletic League (PAL) and three area elementary schools. Approximately 90 students in grades 2 through 7 will participate in more than 850 hours of programming this season, with the program now including community-wide rehearsals at the Orchestra’s new rehearsal/recording facility, The DiMenna Center, as well as increased opportunities for Orchestra of St. Luke’s (OSL) musicians to coach advanced students. The program serves children in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood, an area lacking enriching arts experiences despite its proximity to the city’s cultural destinations. Additionally, Orchestra of St. Luke’s collaborates with five other El Sistema-inspired programs, providing leadership expertise and giving students in these programs access to OSL musicians and The DiMenna Center for coaching, attendance at OSL open rehearsals, and shared professional development sessions.
- San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory, for Community Opus Project, three after-school instrumental music programs, and its close partnership with Chula Vista Elementary School District (CVESC). The El Sistema-inspired program provides access to high-quality, affordable music education for children in one of San Diego County’s low-income communities near the Mexican border. The Opus Project includes the Opus Strings Orchestra and Opus Band, for elementary students, and the Opus Honor Orchestra, open to middle and high school music students. The program also provides in-school general music lessons for third graders, and Opus students are participating in a 5-year longitudinal research study with the University of California, San Diego’s Center for Human Development to learn how musical training affects children’s brain development and skills such as language and attention. The Opus program was a critical catalyst for CVESC’s decision to provide a standards-based music education program for all 45 schools in the district by 2025, with plans to reach more than 29,000 students by then.
- Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras, for SYSO in the Schools, incorporating two programs: the Southwest Seattle String Project, seeking equitable access to public school arts education within the Seattle Public School District and diversity in orchestra musicians, audiences, and supporters, and the Endangered Instruments Program, addressing the persistent shortage of players of oboe, bassoon, viola, double bass, horn, trombone, and tuba in orchestras at all levels. SYSO in the Schools serves 700 public school students from grades 4 through 12 in 24 schools in the Seattle area, providing free before-school, after-school, and in-school music lessons; side-by-side rehearsal and concert opportunities for students; professional development opportunities for teachers; and instrument pedagogy training for SYSO teaching staff. The program’s teaching artists are all professional orchestral musicians.
- Spokane Symphony, for Music Heals, a music education program for the children and youth on the Spokane Indian Reservation, in collaboration with the Wellpinit School District. 360 students, grades 1 through 12 will be served by the program, which will include Spokane Symphony music director Eckart Preu, Spokane Symphony musicians, tribal teachers, and the Wellpinit Schools music teacher. The students will create drums and flutes using traditional Native American methods and materials taught by experts from the Spokane Tribe’s Culture Department. The children will then learn to play their instruments and read music, with instruction provided by Spokane Symphony musicians. The students will also learn the Salish language, and participate in interactive, hands-on musical performances, including a culminating concert at the Spokane Tribal grounds, when the Symphony and students will pay alongside each other.
- Stockton Symphony, for Harmony Stockton, a daily, free after-school music and academic enrichment program serving 68 students in grades 3 through 7 at Marshall Elementary School, a Title 1 school with a diverse population, 90% of which is eligible for free or reduced price meals. The El Sistema-inspired program is the result of a partnership among the University of the Pacific, Stockton Unified School District, United Way of San Joaquin, and the Stockton Symphony. Students are given academic tutoring and homework help, and the remaining hours are spent in music study. The program will be expanded to include a week-long songwriting residency for both Harmony Stockton students and two classes of second graders from Marshall. Some of the songs composed during the residency will be professionally arranged for full orchestra and performed by the Stockton Symphony.
- Yakima Symphony Orchestra, for Yakima Music en Acción (YAMA), a daily El Sistema-inspired after-school music program with summer session. Hosted at a Title 1 elementary school, 51 students ages 8 to13 in two orchestras will receive instruction and participate in performances and special events. Yakima Ensemble for Strings (YES), a new YAMA leadership program, has been formed for older, advanced students who are transitioning into middle school. YAMA also addresses needs of the Yakima Symphony Orchestra (YSO), which has struggled to attract and retain talented musicians as many musicians migrate to larger metropolitan areas. Through the YSO’s Teaching Artist program, one team teaching artist and two private teaching artists, all three of whom are YSO musicians, will work with the students. Additionally,20-25 YSO musicians will present workshops, ensuring that YAMA students have regular contact with high-caliber professional teaching artists and musicians.
Getty Grants, Round 3 (2014-2015)
For a third year, the League of American Orchestras awarded Getty Education and Community Investment Grants to orchestras across the United States. The Round 3 grants support 22 orchestras in offering either long-term in-school partnership programs; after-school educational programs with social development components; health and wellness programs in hospitals, nursing homes, or treatment centers; or artistic programming with a focus on social issues and community dialogue.
For first-hand video accounts from grantee program stakeholders and others, visit the League’s online story bank. Community partners, parents, musicians, orchestra administrators, and students are all spotlighted in a regularly updated array of videos, articles, and infographics, all showing the many ways in which orchestras serve communities.
Find brief descriptions of the programs here:
- Long-term in-school partnerships and after-school programs with social development components
- Health and wellness programs in hospitals, nursing homes, and treatment centers
- Artistic programming with a focus on social issues and community dialogue
The Getty Education and Community Investment Grants are made possible by a generous grant from the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation.
Your U.S. Senator is Key to Next Step in FY16 NEA Funding Process
June 11, 2015
Special Alert! Your U.S. Senator is Key to Next Step in FY16 NEA Funding Process
On Tuesday, June 16th, the Senate Interior Subcommittee will debate a bill that includes the FY16 budget for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Your Senator serves on this committee, and will play a key role in determining this year's NEA funding level. The budget process began earlier this week with the House Interior Subcommittee recommending level funding of $146 million, and both chambers of Congress are expected to advance their respective bills quickly, so it is vital to weigh in now.
The total pool of funds available for the Subcommittee to allocate to various accounts is subject to budget caps that make all non-defense spending vulnerable to reductions. Orchestras and the broader arts community are requesting an FY16 budget of $155 million for the NEA.
The League advocates on behalf of orchestras in support of NEA funding throughout the year. In March, we joined with Opera America to bring Melia Tourangeau, President & CEO of the Utah Symphony | Utah Opera to testify before the House Interior Subcommittee, and the next month, the League submitted its annual written testimony to the Senate, highlighting the work of orchestra grantees throughout the country. Throughout the year, we encourage orchestra advocates to tell their members of Congress how the NEA provides critical funding for projects that increase access to music in communities nationwide.
There is a small window of time for Congress to pass its funding bills, and the Senate Subcommittee deliberation is an important opportunity to weigh in directly with the influential members who will set the tone for the NEA's FY16 budget allocation. Please use the League's online Advocacy Center to tell your Senator how important NEA funding is to your community and to the nation. Your voice matters!