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No joke: violist to lobby Congress

Posted at 10:05 AM on April 17, 2007 by Don Lee

The American Symphony Orchestra League is excited to report that a musician will champion the orchestra cause before Congress this week. In what the League describes as "a rare on-the-record opportunity," Karen Bea of the Phoenix Symphony will testify Thursday before the House Interior Appropriations subcommittee in support of NEA funding. She's both a violist and a trustee of the orchestra (not to mention a triathlete).

How much money is at stake? Well, in the most recent funding rounds, the League says the NEA last month gave 11 American orchestras grants of $10,000 each for outreach to "underserved populations." In December the endowment handed out $1,430,000 to 53 orchestras (an average of just under $27,000 each) in support of programming.