The NAMM Foundation and the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus Celebrate Excellence in Music Education in Milwaukee

In This Article:

Bruce-Guadalupe Community School (BGCS) located just outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and the surrounding community hosted the NAMM Foundation’s SupprortMusic Community Forum on September 5, 2014.  Hosted by Executive Director of the NAMM Foundation, Mary Luehrsen and moderated by NAMM Chairman and President of Hal Leonard Corporation, Larry Morton, the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus-produced event brought together an impressive panel of community leaders, students, administrators, and educators to discuss the successes and challenges or running a robust music education program.  

Panelists included:

  • Deanna Tillisch, United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF)
  • Michael Reyes, Latino Arts Board of Directors
  • Pascual Rodriguez, Bruce-Guadalupe School Principal
  • Dinorah Marquez, Director, Latino Arts Strings Program
  • Fatima Gomez, BGCS/Latino Strings Program Alumnus
  • Jair Ramirez BGCS student


The program kicked off with s vibrant performance from the Latino Arts Strings Program.  Immediately following, Larry Morton engaged panelists in a lively discussion about what drives the faculty and administration at this unique school to keep advocating for a strong music education program. Director of the Latino Arts Strings Program Dinorah Marquez shared her views on the importance of music in schools:

“Music is a tool for social justice… Music became my voice and it became the bridge to a larger culture… [Bruce-Guadalupe Community School] has created a culture that considers the music education part of our programming, as a real partner in the full development and academic achievement of our students.”

Principal of the Bruce-Guadalupe Community School Pasqual Rodriguez shared his commitment and passion to the social and academic development students achieve through BGCS’ music programs. 

Panelists Deanna Tillisch of UPAF and Michael Reyes of the Latino Arts Board of Directors both stressed that music should be viewed as important to student development as is Math, Science, and English. They further commented that ”A” for ”Arts” must be restored (STEAM, not STEM!) for students to have a  complete educational experience.    

At the conclusion of the event, Mary Luehrsen invited school administrators and faculty, Executive Director Brian Rothschild of the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, and all attending NAMM members up to accept  a generous gift of instruments for the school’s music programs.  Donated Instruments included:

Audio-Technica System 10 Digital Handheld Wireless System (ATW-1102)
Epiphone Casino guitar
Genelec M030 Studio Monitors
IK Multimedia iLoud
Mackie ProFX8 Mixer
Neutrik JLETB Cable
Yamaha YPG-235 Keyboard & SKD2 Survival Kit

Please join us for upcoming SupportMusic Community Forums throughout the fall and winter!

“Music Is a Tool for Social Justice!” –Dinorah Marquez, Director of Latino Arts Strings Program