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Music Education Champions Honored at 10th Annual FAME Dinner

Posted in News on March 12, 2006
MENC: The National Association for Music Education presented awards to BMI songwriter/artists the Oak Ridge Boys, First Lady Laura Bush, Elmo from Sesame Street, orchestral instrument manufacturer Conn-Selmer, Inc. and cable network the History Channel at the 10th annual FAME (Fund for the Advancement of Music Education) Dinner on March 9 at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. Sponsored by BMI, the FAME Awards honor individuals and organizations for their generous commitment to improving music education in our nation's schools.

BMI artist Dionne Warwick and Sesame Street's Bob McGrath

The Oak Ridge Boys -- Duane Allen, Joe Bonsall, William Lee Golden and Richard Sterban -- received a FAME Award for their work as the official musical ambassadors of MENC's National Anthem Project, the campaign to restore America's voice through music education.

With more than 30 successful albums and countless awards from peers and fans alike, including Grammy, Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music Association awards, the Oak Ridge Boys have had one of the most distinctive and recognizable sounds in the music industry for more than three decades. They have made numerous appearances at military bases across the U.S., offered their time and name to government projects such as Take Pride in America sponsored by the Departments of Education and Agriculture, and became part of the National Anthem Project in 2005. Jim Halsey, longtime manager of the group, accepted the FAME Award on their behalf.

(Seated) Sesame Street's Bob McGrath, Gibson Guitar Chairman & CEO Henry Juszkiewicz, Oak Ridge Boys manager Jim Halsey, (standing) MENC President David Circle and BMI's Robbin Ahrold

Other recipients included First Lady Laura Bush, who received an award in absentia for supporting music education as Honorary Chair of the National Anthem Project, and Elmo, that lovable 3 1/2-year-old furry red monster from Sesame Street who was honored for his dedication to school music programs. Elmo performed for dinner attendees with Sesame Street veteran Bob McGrath, who has been playing Bob the music teacher since the show's inception in 1969.

The first SupportMusic Advocacy Awards were presented to BMI artist Dionne Warwick and Denny Senseney, Founder and Chair of NAMM's Government Relations and Music Education Committee. The award recognizes the significant contributions of those who have advanced access to music education on a local, regional or national level. In addition, Partnership of Professionals Awards were presented to cable network the History Channel and orchestral instrument manufacturer and distributor Conn-Selmer, Inc. for their contributions to the National Anthem Project.

MENC President David Circle, Oak Ridge Boys manager Jim Halsey, MENC Executive Director John Mahlmann and BMI's Robbin Ahrold

The Fund for the Advancement of Music Education (FAME) is an MENC-administered program that seeks to improve and expand music education for all by affecting changes in the general public's perception of its importance. The program's goals are to increase public awareness of the importance of music education and to promote public support for music education at the local, state and federal levels. FAME funding enables the music education community to reach out beyond the parameters of the teaching profession to the world in which Americans learn about and make music.

MENC: The National Association for Music Education, the world's largest arts education organization, is the only association that addresses all aspects of music education. More than 120,000 members represent all levels of teaching from preschool to graduate school. Since 1907, MENC has worked to ensure that every student has access to a well-balanced, comprehensive and high-quality program of music instruction taught by qualified teachers. MENC's activities and resources have been largely responsible for the establishment of music education as a profession, for the promotion and guidance of music study as an integral part of the school curriculum, and for the development of the National Standards for Arts Education.

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