AMP LAUNCHES 8TH YEAR OF PROGRAMMING WITH MAJOR PERFORMANCE AT MERCEDES-BENZ STADIUM

Media Inquiries:

Durand Bailey | Marketing Manager | 404-668-1611 | durand@atlantamusicproject.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ATLANTA MUSIC PROJECT LAUNCHES EIGHTH YEAR OF PROGRAMMING WITH MAJOR PERFORMANCE AT MERCEDES-BENZ STADIUM

IN 2017-2018 AMP TO SERVE 300 STUDENTS THROUGH SIX PROGRAM SITES

Atlanta, Ga., September 19, 2017 – The Atlanta Music Project (AMP) launched its eighth year of programming with a performance of the American National Anthem at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in front of 70,425 attendees, the most ever for a stand alone Major League Soccer (MLS) game. The game featured Atlanta United FC, Atlanta’s new MLS team, versus Orlando City SC. The Atlanta Music Project’s AMPlify Choir, comprised of students representing neighborhoods from the City of Atlanta and beyond, performed the anthem flanked by Color Guard and Military Salute. The match was televised nationally and streamed on Facebook via Univision.

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The 2017-2018 school year will be the Atlanta Music Project’s eighth consecutive year of programming, during which 300 children will be served across six program sites. AMP provides intensive, tuition-free music education to underserved youth right in their neighborhood. AMP requires no prior musical experience and welcomes participants on a first-come first-serve basis. In exchange for a full scholarship to AMP, participants must commit to attending all classes. AMP is a supporter of music in school and limits all programming to out-of-school times.

Local and national funders continue to support AMP’s mission to inspire social change by providing Atlanta’s underserved youth the opportunity to learn and perform music in orchestras and choirs. Funders who have committed to support AMP in its eighth year include Bank of America, Carnegie Hall, the Abraham J. & Phyllis Katz Foundation, the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, the Chick-fil-A Foundation, the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs, and the Georgia Council for the Arts. Funding supports the cost of AMP’s teaching artists, instruments, concerts, curriculum, professional development, and operations. AMP continues to pursue the establishment of a headquarters space to house offices, storage, rehearsal and performance facilities. AMP’s annual operating budget for its fiscal year ending July 31, 2018 will be $914,777.

The Atlanta Music Project Orchestra program, an eight-year partnership with the City of Atlanta Department of Parks and Recreation serving 90 students in grades 1 through 12, offers full symphony orchestra programming at three recreation centers. AMP Orchestra students rehearse six to eight hours per week on string, wind and percussion instruments. The top ensemble in this program is the Atlanta Music Project Symphony Orchestra based at Perkerson Park Recreation Center.  

Now in its sixth year, AMPlify, the choral program of the Atlanta Music Project, serves 150 students and offers an intensive choral music education with classes in vocal training, general music, composition, and improvisation. AMPlify students rehearse six hours per week. AMPlify partners with The Kindezi Schools to offer programming, and maintains a community-based performance choir based at the Zaban Recreation Center near East Lake.

Also in its sixth year, the AMP Academy provides advanced musical training to 55 of AMP’s most talented and dedicated students. Admitted by audition, AMP Academy students receive weekly private lessons with AMP teaching artists, participate in masterclasses with renowned artists and perform two solo recitals per year. AMP Academy students have been selected in Georgia’s All-State ensembles and have earned spots in summer music festivals in Los Angeles and Aspen.

Now in its third edition, the AMP Summer Series is a three-week music festival and school based in the communities AMP serves. Inspired by summer music education programs such as the Aspen Music Festival and School and the Interlochen Summer Arts Camp, the AMP Summer Series is comprised of a music day camp for 150 experienced middle and high school students studying choral and orchestral instruments, and a free concert series featuring guest artists, AMP teaching artists and students.

Over 30 public concerts are planned during AMP’s eighth year. Major concert dates for the year are listed here on the AMP website.

About the Atlanta Music Project   

Founded in 2010, the Atlanta Music Project provides intensive, tuition-free music education for underserved youth right in their neighborhood. Now in its eighth year of programming and serving 300 students at six sites, AMP provides all its students with an instrument, a teaching artist, classes in Symphony Orchestra; AMPlify, the choral program of the Atlanta Music Project; the AMP Academy, providing advanced musical training to AMP’s most talented and dedicated students; and the AMP Summer Series, a music festival and school. In 2015 Clayton State University established the Atlanta Music Project Endowed Scholarships, providing college scholarship funds for AMP students. AMP’s program partners include the City of Atlanta Department of Parks & Recreation, and The Kindezi Schools. AMP is the recipient of the prestigious 2016 Bank of America Neighborhood Builders award. In 2016 and 2017 the White House named AMP one of the top 50 after-school arts programs in the nation. For more information: http://ift.tt/1y14GV7.

 

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Anita Senkowski: Is Your State Superintendent of Education a Weasel? Mine Is.

This is a repost, because I forgot to put in the link to the article.

Anita Senkowski is a blogger in northern Michigan who strikes fear in the hearts of frauds and phonies. Her last target, a charter entrepreneur who made off with millions, is in prison.

In this post, she declares the State Superintendent of Public Education in Michigan a weasel. She has a photo of a cute little weasel.

Superintendent Brian Whiston said on a public radio show that school Choice hadn’t worked in Michigan.

“During the segment Whiston drew a hard line in the sand on charter schools — one of Michigan Republicans’ favorite education schemes.

“Asked about the performance thus far of U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Whiston said it was too early to make a complete call, but he skewered the idea that “school choice” — i.e. charter schools — were the silver bullet to Michigan’s education woes.

“While I do support choice – and I want to be clear on that – it’s probably taken us backwards overall.”

“School choice is important. I support school choice, but Michigan has proven that school choice isn’t the answer,” he said. “If school choice was the answer, Michigan would be the top performing state because we have more choice than just about any other state.”

After the show, he began backtracking, trying to explain that he didn’t mean what he said, looking over his shoulder at the choice-loving governor and legislature.

Weasel.

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New Mexico Eliminates Climate Change from Its Science Standards

Andy Kroll of Mother Jones reports that New Mexico has scrubbed its science standards of anything that might offend the far right.

He writes:

“New Mexico’s public education agency wants to scrub discussions of climate change, rising global temperatures, evolution, and even the age of planet Earth from the standards that shape its schools’ curriculum.

“The state’s Public Education Department this week released a new proposed replacement to its statewide science standards. The draft is based on the Next Generation Science Standards, a set of ideas and guidelines released in 2013 that cover kindergarten through 12th grade. The NGSS, which have been adopted by at least 18 states and the District of Columbia, include ample discussion of human-caused climate change and evolution.

“These changes are evidently intended to placate creationists and climate change deniers.”
But the draft released by New Mexico’s education officials changes the language of a number of NGSS guidelines, downplaying the rise in global temperatures, striking references to human activity as the primary cause of climate change, and cutting one mention of evolution while weakening others. The standards would even remove a reference to the scientifically agreed-upon age of the Earth—nearly 4.6 billion years. (Young Earth creationists use various passages in the Bible to argue that the planet is only a few thousand years old.)”

New Mexico seems determined to dumb down its students.

How can anyone speak about the U.S. standing in global “competition” when many of our students will be ignorant of the basic facts of science?

The example is set in Washington, where the Trump administration has declared war on science, removed references to “climate change” from its communiques and records, and has a person in charge of “environmental protection” who does not believe in protecting the enrvironment?

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Mueller Is Obviously Zeroing in on Paul Manafort

Both CNN and the New York Times published stories recently about the role of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort in the current Russia investigation. In the latter, we learn that sources told the Times that, after receiving a warrant to search Manafort’s home, prosecutors told him that Mueller’s team planned to indict him. The folks at Lawfare Blog suggest that this story probably came from someone on the defense side. While we have no proof of that, the message of the entire article is how aggressive prosecutors are being in their investigation of this case, which lends some credence to the idea that it came from Manafort’s team.

We learn a bit more from the CNN scoop. Apparently Manafort has been the subject of surveillance on two occasions. The first was back in 2014 and unrelated to his work on the Trump campaign.

The FBI interest in Manafort dates back at least to 2014, partly as an outgrowth of a US investigation of Viktor Yanukovych, the former Ukrainian president whose pro-Russian regime was ousted amid street protests. Yanukovych’s Party of Regions was accused of corruption, and Ukrainian authorities claimed he squirreled millions of dollars out of the country.

The second started sometime after June 2016.

It is unclear when the new warrant started. The FBI interest deepened last fall because of intercepted communications between Manafort and suspected Russian operatives, and among the Russians themselves, that reignited their interest in Manafort, the sources told CNN. As part of the FISA warrant, CNN has learned that earlier this year, the FBI conducted a search of a storage facility belonging to Manafort. It’s not known what they found.

Of course, the second round of surveillance will ultimately be of more significance to the Trump/Russia probe. But the leakers didn’t provide any information about the content that was gathered—other than the reference to the fact that it led to the search of a storage facility.

To avoid getting too far ahead of this story, it is simply important to point out that we now know of at least two members of Trump’s campaign who had previously been investigated for ties to Russian interests: Carter Page and Paul Manafort. Of course there is also Michael Flynn, but that investigation came later. CNN reminds us of what is required in order to gain a warrant for this kind of surveillance.

Such warrants require the approval of top Justice Department and FBI officials, and the FBI must provide the court with information showing suspicion that the subject of the warrant may be acting as an agent of a foreign power.

It is Mueller’s task to determine whether or not there is evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians to influence the 2016 election. That second round of surveillance on Manafort could certainly go a long way in proving a connection. In the meantime, we can notice that the president not only has consistently defended the interests of Vladimir Putin, but his campaign gravitated towards people who had previously been the subject of investigations as possible Russian agents. That hardly looks like a coincidence.

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Nancy Bailey: DeVos’ “Let’s Get Rid of Public Schools” Tour

Nancy Bailey valiantly followed Betsy DeVos’s national tour, from a distance.

Her message everywhere was the same: Public schools suck! Private schools are awesome!

In public schools, children sit in desks arranged in rows. In private schools, well, maybe the same but it doesn’t matter.

In public schools, children hate going to school. In private schools, they are enthusiastic and happy.

This woman is an ideologue. She knows nothing and learns nothing. Whatever she proposes is meant to damage public schools and communities.

Education is a learning profession, and she is not open to learning anything!

We will wait her out, fight her at every turn, and return to the task of improving and strengthening public schools for all children, a concept unknown to her.

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What Whiteness Looks Like From a Black Perspective

Anyone who is interested in wresting with how race and politics intermingle in this country should definitely watch these two segments from Chris Hayes’s interview with Ta-Nehisi Coates.

Overall, these two had a fascinating conversation. But I’d like to highlight two things that stood out to me.

First of all, Coates did an even better job of describing what his intentions were in writing the article in which he defined Trump as the first white president. Here’s the money quote from the article:

Replacing Obama is not enough—Trump has made the negation of Obama’s legacy the foundation of his own. And this too is whiteness. “Race is an idea, not a fact,” the historian Nell Irvin Painter has written, and essential to the construct of a “white race” is the idea of not being a nigger.

A study of the history of race demonstrates that Coates is right. The whole concept was “invented as a folk idea, not the product of scientific research or discovery.” Race was mainly used to differentiate what we now call “white people” from everyone else. In that way, being white primarily means, as Coates suggests,  “not being a n****er.” Here is how he explained it to Hayes:

Whiteness has to come from a certain place, and throughout American history what it’s come from is the negation of blackness—the idea of not being a n****r…We’ve had white presidents before, but we’ve never had a president who so much defined himself by the president before him, who just so happens to be our first black president. My argument  in the piece is, in fact, that you can’t have the idea of a white president without having a black president before him, much as you can’t have a white American in this country without a black America.

The other part of the conversation I’d like to highlight comes towards the end when Hayes asks Coates to respond to the reality that things are pretty bleak right now for white working class Americans. Here is his response:

Even within our language, when we say something like “white working class people are suffering x,y, and z, implicit in that is that white people shouldn’t be going through that—something about being white should somehow make you immune to that…There are a number of writers who get something out of that fact. It gives them a kind of moral high ground—a relationship to a victim that they don’t have with black people…I don’t ever want to allow my insistence that folks focus on the force of white supremacy to elide the fact of any group anywhere suffering. But I also don’t want to endorse the notion that whiteness should somehow give you immunity to the kind of suffering that black people have been enduring since we got here in 1619.

The power of what Coates is doing in both his written piece and this interview is that he is putting aside the attempt to explain black people to white people, which is what a lot of African Americans try to do. Instead, he’s holding up a mirror to white American and saying, “this is what we see when we look at you.” That makes us uncomfortable because what we see in that mirror isn’t very attractive. And so a lot of writers respond by saying, “I mostly agree with Coates, but…” In that sense, they miss the point, as Jonathan Odell defined it:

The emphasis is not getting it right, just on getting it: You have to step out of the “right or wrong” dilemma. The point is not to agree or debate, or to win, but to understand.

I’m not saying that Coates is some kind of god we need to defer to on everything. But he is particularly gifted at being able to articulate what whiteness looks like from a black perspective. I believe that what he is passionately attempting to do is engage in what Martin Buber called an “I and thou” relationship on race—which is one of the most significant ways we begin to understand ourselves.

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