Unlike some of the other posts in our The Year in Q series, this one happily isn’t just a look back at a past highlight, but an ongoing concern.
One of the causes that Quincy championed in 2008 was his call for a secretary of the arts. That call was heard loud and clear by Q fans around the world, including Jaime Austria, who plays bass for the New York City Opera and the American Ballet Theatre Orchestra.
Inspired by hearing Quincy call for a secretary of the arts on a podcast of WNYC’s Soundcheck, Austria created an online petition to President-elect Barack Obama asking him to heed Quincy’s call and create a secretary of the arts post.
When we first reported on the petition, back in late November, it had more than 1,000 signatures. Austria recently notified us that the number of signatures has multiplied tenfold and now includes more than 10,000 signees. He also pointed out that the list sports many famous names, including singers Marni Nixon and Joan Wile; saxophonists James Moody, Charles Lloyd, Phil Woods, and Branford Marsalis; composers Snuffy Walden, John Corigliano, and David Amram; conductor Marin Alsop, instrumentalist/composer/arranger Jimmy Heath; and drummer Jack DeJohnette.
The petition also continues to garner press attention. First Philanthropy.com reported on it and today The Baltimore Sun classical music critic, Tim Smith, highlighted the petition in his Clef Notes column. You can view it here.
During the question-and-answer segment at Q’s book signing of The Complete Quincy Jones: My Journey & Passions at Barnes & Noble in Santa Monica in December, noted music journalist Don Heckman asked Quincy what he’d do first if Obama created a secretary of arts post and appointed him to the position.
In his response, in the video clip below, Quincy praised Obama’s cabinet appointments, mentioned the music summit announced during the Q Prize honors (made possible by Audemars Piguet and The Harvard School of Public Health), and the recent dedication of a performing arts center in his name at his Alma matter, Garfield High School in Seattle.