An Update On The Efforts To Save Military Music

It’s time for an update on current efforts to help block proposed a funding amendment in the 2017 Defense Appropriations bill designed to gut military music programs. If you’ve been keeping up with what has been going on, you already know that the next step in the process was to get the amendment removed prior to the Senate vote (if this is new to you, start here to get up to speed).

Adaptistration People 088The goal was to get the amendment removed, or at least the wording edited, which would force it back into a conference committee where Senators and Representatives meet to resolve disagreements. This would then be the final stage in the process where the amendment could be finally removed before the appropriations bill is sent to the president for approval.

Thanks to a wonderfully detailed report published on 7/20/2016 and written by Tooshar Swain, Legislative Policy Advisor at the National Association for Music Education, we now know everything is up for grabs thanks to a good bit of political jockeying related to the national election coming up in November, 2016.

The Senate failed to approve a version of the Defense Appropriations bill prior to congress going on recess. As a result, we’ll likely see a number of 11th hour efforts to pass very short-term resolutions that will dictate funding on a temporary basis until congress reconvenes and the process begins anew. During this interim, it is important to continue efforts related to putting an end to this amendment and send a strong signal to its sponsor, Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ), and co-sponsors Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) and Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN).

What You Can Do To Help Stop This Amendment

You need to contact both of your Senators and ask about ongoing efforts for any short term funding.

  • When: ASAP!
  • What to ask: Strike Section 10010 from S 3000, or modify the language so it does not include any funding cuts. Conversely, assure that any proposed cuts or restrictions on performance activity to military music not appear in the stop-gap funding appropriations.
  • Contacting Senators:

If congress returns to the prescribed process, you need to contact your representatives to make sure the discrepancy between the two original versions of the bill will end up in a conference committee, where Senators and Representatives meet to resolve disagreements on a particular bill. This is the stage where you need to keep up pressure on your Senators and your Representative to leave out Section 10010 and to continue to allow the DOD to fund military musical unit performances.

  • Contacting Your Representative:

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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