While the tragic passing of Whitney Houston and the monumental victories of Adele drew much of the focus at last night’s Grammy Awards, another story took center stage for at least part of the show; the connection between music and charity.
Nods to activism could be seen throughout the ceremony with Coldplay performing in shirts boasting the Oxfam International logo and the Chipotle ‘Back to the Start’ commercial commanding one of the ad breaks. A significant portion of the show was also devoted to reviewing the work of the Grammy Foundation.
Neil Portnow, President of The Recording Academy which hosts the Grammys, took the stage during the show to discuss the Foundation’s work. The organization aims to both preserve music education programs and ensure public awareness of the cultural significance of the art form.
The most compelling piece of Portnow’s presentation may have been his discussion of the annual GRAMMY Camp, a 10 day residential program offered to high school students across the country. The camp culminates in a concert presented by the students and affords participants the opportunity to meet some of their music heroes.
Aside from the Foundation’s GRAMMY Camp program, they also run an initiative in schools to recognize some of the nation’s most outstanding school music programs. The GRAMMY Signature Schools project allows students and schools to nominate their teachers and music classes for a grant and the title of being a ‘Signature School’. Currently, there are recognized schools in cities and towns across the country, each having earned their honor based on categories ranging from need to overall excellence.
The Grammy Awards show was held just days following the Foundation’s biggest annual event, a concert benefiting their Music Preservation Project. This year’s performance took place on February 9th and featured performances from Jonny Lang, Mavis Staples, and Bret Michaels among others.
Though the Grammy Awards are over until next year, The Grammy Foundation will continue to work to benefit music in America in the weeks and months ahead. For more information visit http://www.grammy.org/grammy-foundation.