Last month the New York Times carried an article and photo about efforts by Harold O. Levy, interim chancellor of the New York City Public Schools, to involve school superintendents more deeply in promoting arts education. Local 802 President Bill Moriarity responded immediately, with strong support of the initiative. The text of his letter follows:
On behalf of the 10,000 members of Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians, let me just say, Bravo! Bravo! Bravo! The picture of Isaac Stern giving a violin lesson to New York City school superintendents (New York Times May 11, 2000) is priceless, as are your efforts to promote arts education in every NYC public school. We salute both you and Isaac Stern, a stellar member of Local 802 who has long been a crusader for music education.
New York City is the music capitol of the world, home to the greatest musicians and the greatest music of every genre and style. The performance and visual arts are vital to our city’s economy. How is it possible that our city could have so neglected our children as to deny them music and arts education?
Music education has been a cause espoused by Local 802 for decades. In the 1980s we began “Strike Up the Band,” an instrumental music instruction program, and made it available to any public school that wanted it. We have continued that program to this day.
We couldn’t be more supportive of your efforts to promote music education in the New York City public school system. Please call on Local 802 if there is any way we might help your efforts. Our best wishes.