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MENC Celebrates 100 Years

Mike Lawson • Archives • May 23, 2007

Our unique field of education benefits from the support of a large number of organizations and the largest one, MENC – The National Association for Music Education, is now celebrating the historic event of their 100th anniversary. This extraordinary milestone places a marker on the side of the mountain that we continue to climb in order to provide a sound musical education for every student in the United States. Although this goal may never be 100 percent achieved, the leadership and staff at MENC is certainly working creatively and effectively to make this dream a reality.

According to the MENC Web site, the humble beginning of the organization was in 1907 with just 64 founding members. It has since grown to 130,000 members from all levels of music education, including pre-school through college, friends of music, and corporate and outside sponsors. This tremendous number of affiliates provides MENC with the resources necessary to accomplish projects such as the highly successful National Anthem project, their three-year program to restore recognition and understanding of the “Star Spangled Banner” and to get the country singing again.

When you consider the depth of accomplishments of this organization it is not difficult to imagine the widespread visibility it has generated for music education. By partnering with some of the nation’s great corporations and organizations, such as Jeep, Texaco, Oscar Meyer, NAMM, The Smithsonian, and many others, MENC has brought together disparate groups to foster support for their many pro-music education initiatives. Most notable have been the development of the National Standards for Music Education, sponsorship of the National Music in Our Schools Month, and the Harris Poll on how music programs contribute to higher school attendance and graduation rates, along with many other programs. MENC continues to support our efforts as music educators with both the Washington establishment and the country at large.

In commemoration of their 100th anniversary, and true to its own roots, MENC sponsored a composition contest in which “Perpetual Canon in Four Voices” by educator Sean Boyle was the winning composition. According to the MENC site, “This canon will serve as a musical focal point for the celebration of our centennial,” said MENC member Judy Herrington, chair of the Centennial Adjudication Committee.

We at SBO are very proud and appreciative to have had the opportunity to work very closely with MENC on a number of successful projects, especially SBO’s annual Essay Contest which has provided tens of thousands of dollars in scholarship awards toward the college education of many music students.

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