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Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. MANCHIN. Mr. President, I rise with great pride that my home State of West Virginia received special recognition today for its support of music education in our public school system. The recognition came from three organizations that are committed to music education--the VH1 Save The Music Foundation, the National Association of Music Merchants--NAMM, and the National Association for Music Education--NAfME.

I want to extend my personal thanks to the leaders of all three organizations for recognizing West Virginia, for their support of our efforts to rebuild music programs in our State and for making a special day even more special--with an award ceremony today that included performances by singer-songwriter Vanessa Carlton, jazz guitarist and former New York Yankees champion Bernie Williams and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith.

I enjoyed their performances, but I also was moved by their stories of personal and professional benefits from their music education. Their stories made clear how the opportunity to learn about the arts and to perform as an artist helps students' ideas and realities beyond words and numbers in textbooks.

But even more special was the fact that the Save The Music award ceremony included a performance from a student jazz ensemble from Shepherdstown Middle School, which received a VH1 Save The Music grant in 2012. I was so proud to listen to these young musicians. They are a wonderful example of the extraordinary way music can impact the lives of students, not just in West Virginia but all over the country.

I would like to congratulate these students on their performance today and on their many accomplishments leading up to this special day--and I wish them many more successes in the future. Also, I would like to especially thank Shepherdstown Middle School Principal Elizabeth Best and Shepherdstown music teacher Mrs. Chad Conant for their generous contributions and assistance.

On behalf of the State of West Virginia, I was honored to accept, along with fellow West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller and Randall Reid-Smith, Commissioner of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, a Support Music Award from NAMM, which works in partnership with the VH1 Save The Music Foundation and NAfME.

I deeply appreciate the acknowledgement of our efforts to support music education. And, of course, I deeply appreciate the contributions to music education that these organizations make in West Virginia and throughout the United States.

The VH1 Save the Music Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to restoring instrumental music education programs in America's public schools, and raising awareness about the importance of music as part of each child's complete education. To date, VH1 Save the Music has provided more than $49.5 million in new musical instruments to 1,850 public schools in more than 192 school districts around the country, impacting the lives of over 2.1 million children. Research sponsored by NAMM shows clearly that students participating in music education do better in school and go on to college.

Since 2009, the VH1 Save the Music Foundation has given instrumental music education grants valued at $1.05 million to 35 schools in 30 counties throughout West Virginia. And I am informed that the Foundation is committed to funding music education in all 55 counties of the Mountain State. This initiative started when I was Governor, and I am pleased to see it moving forward so positively.

This collaboration is a true example of the huge benefits of public-private partnerships. It is also a strong incentive for all of us to work for more Federal and State funding to enhance music education in our public schools.

In today's global economy, creativity is essential. Consequently, education in the arts is more important than ever because education in the arts helps students be inventive, resourceful and imaginative. Music education is not just a privilege--it is essential.

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