The fight to keep music and the arts funded at schools will be on the national stage. Educators and organizations are headed to Capitol Hill to ask for more money.
When the bell rings at Mira Mesa High School, senior Andy Hoang said he heads to the band room.
“The first place that I enter is this room and the last place I come to before I leave, is this room,” Hoang said.
It’s a place he’s called his home away from home for the last four years.
“This building has become a place that I hold super close to my heart,” he said.
Students from all walks of life speaking 14 different languages make up the award-winning Mira Mesa High School Sapphire Sound.
“You dawn a uniform, you hold an instrument, you have a great sense of pride, and it transforms your life,” said band director Jeanne Christensen.
Christensen has been teaching music for 33 years, 30 of those years have been with Mira Mesa High School.
“We are prideful. Equity allows us to be equal to any school across the nation, no matter how much funding they have,” said Christensen.
When asked where her students would be without music, it was an answer she couldn’t bear. She said music is a universal language.
“Every celebration in this world and every mournful moment has music,” said Christensen.
To keep Christensen, her students and many others just like them in and around San Diego and the country from having to face the music, the National Association of Music Merchants or NAMM, is headed to Capitol Hill to fight for more funding.
Every time there’s a budget, we have to make sure that that budget is fully funded,” said John Mlynczak, the President and CEO of NAMM.
This is the first time since 2019 that a group of music industry leaders will travel to Washington, D.C., and advocate for music and arts programs in American schools. They’re asking Congress to fund Title IV part A to its fully authorized amount of $1.65 billion.
“That money is granted to various states. Our state delegates then make sure we educate the districts and state on how to apply for that funding,” said Mlynczak.
Christensen said she’d normally be there, advocating on Capitol Hill, but it’s band season and the show must go on.
“You dig in and realize you have friends just like you. You can become one and work well through music,” said Christensen.
NAMM will be on Capitol Hill to advocate for equity and access to music and arts education in K-12 schools, on Nov. 13.