The message of the important role the music community plays in the nation's culture and economy was brought to Washington on Sept. 7 by more than 100 music professionals at Recording Arts Day on Capitol Hill, produced by The Recording Academy and hosted by more than 20 music organizations. Leading musicians, songwriters, producers and others representing every interest in the industry were involved in the event.
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina's devastation, the musicians also noted the outpouring of support by the music community, capped by an announcement from Academy and MusiCares President Neil Portnow noting the two organizations' contribution of $1 million to help music people affected by the events.
While announcing the contribution, Portnow also noted the important role of the region in the nation's musical life. "American music is Southern music - blues, jazz, gospel, Cajun, zydeco, country, and rock and roll. The deepest roots of all these and more can be found in that golden triangle - the area that has been hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina. The events of last week have dealt a catastrophic blow to this region, its history, and its music community."
The day consisted of numerous briefings by members of Congress, such as Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) and House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), more than 25 breakout meetings with individual members of Congress, and a special "Power of Music" event, hosted by the GRAMMY Foundation and Recording Arts And Sciences Congressional Caucus. At the event, recording artist Gloria Estefan mentored young music students who performed for the distinguished audience of artists and congresspeople. The event closed with a special jam session by the Congressional GRAMMY Band: artists, students and members of Congress, performing Estefan's hit, "Reach."
Recording Arts Day closed with GRAMMYs on the Hill, an event honoring Estefan, Sen. Lamar Alexander, Rep. Hoyer and GRAMMY Foundation Signature School, Danville High School. Honoring the legislators were their friends, songwriter Richard Leigh ("Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue") and Crystal Gayle, who made the song a hit. Estefan was serenaded by her friend and fellow artist, Jon Secada. Other presenters included hit producers Jimmy Jam and Desmond Child, GRAMMY-nominated sax player Dave Koz, and Paul Corbin of BMI, the event's lead sponsor.
Portnow used his keynote address at GRAMMYs on the Hill to discuss the new spirit of unity in the music industry, and encouraged the industry leaders assembled to continue that spirit to solve industry issues. [read the entire address here]
Joining the Recording Arts Day message promoting the important role of music in America were host organizations representing every facet of the music industry, including artists, songwriters, producers, engineers, labels, publishers, distributors and music managers. Host organizations included: A2IM; American Federation of Musicians; American Federation of Television and Radio Artists; BMI; Church Music Publishers Association; Digital Media Association; Gospel Music Association; GRAMMY Foundation; Harry Fox Agency; Jazz Alliance International Inc.; Music Managers Forum - US; National Association of Recording Merchandisers; National Music Publishers' Association; Producers & Engineers Wing; R&B Foundation; Recording Artists' Coalition; Recording Industry Association of America; SESAC, Songwriters Guild of America; and SoundExchange.
The success of the first Recording Arts Day on Capitol Hill assured that this will become an annual event each fall to raise the profile of the music community among the nation's elected leadership.
(Read Mary Bono’s (R-Calif.) entry into the Congressional Record on behalf of Recording Arts Day here.)