It is with a certain degree of nostalgia that I write this final President’s Message. I hope that there has been a thing or two that I’ve been able to impart in this column that has given you insight into our community or encouraged you to reach that next level in your respective careers. I thank Lori Barth for her dedication in putting together this world-class publication and providing an outlet for my thoughts over the years.
Of the things that I’m proud of, nothing has pleased me more than hearing about all of the new and talented members that have come into our organization over the past years. I’ve met so many of you who have come to Los Angles to seek your dreams, like I did so many years ago. Your passion, drive and talent have been an inspiration to me. I’ve also been proud to watch as interns from our mentor program, such as celebrated Nashville songwriter Chris DeStefano, move into a prominent places in the industry and my friend, Michael Giacchino move from a newcomer into the leading role he now serves in the film composing world.
It seems like only yesterday when I attended my first SCL meeting at the urging of my agent, Stan Milander. There were just a handful of us in the room, including Arthur Hamilton, Jim Di Pasquale, Bruce Broughton and Charles Bernstein, but somehow I knew that this organization was going to play a special part in my professional career. Many years later, Ray Colcord had to lobby me several times before I accepted the leadership role that ended up being the most fulfilling position of my life. To interact with a group of professionals who can engage and reason together, is critical to our well being as a community and the opportunities that you have afforded me have helped me learn and become more well rounded in return.
Serving with the talented board of directors present and past has taught me what a diverse and talented group of composers and songwriters we are. The time and effort that they have expended in furthering the advancement of our profession has been inspirational. To single out any one person is by its very nature exclusionary, so suffice it to say that like a wise athlete who surrounds himself with superior colleagues to improve his game, I have had the benefit of some of the most talented and informed people sitting around the table who have informed and educated me along the way.
I am proud to have seen the growth in our organization over the last decade. Not only has the prestige of the Society of Composers & Lyricists grown globally, but we also continue to attract the brightest of the new wave of composers and lyricists into the organization. I have you as members to thank for the outreach that you have done to encourage your fellow creators to join with us, and our educational partners around the world who have helped us in this endeavor as well. Executive Director, Laura Dunn has shared my vision of uniting our community and welcoming new members to join our quest to expand our organization, and I thank her for this.
Seeing the progress that we have made in enlisting the New York community has been a high mark for me and it was always an ambition of mine that what we are seeing now would one day come to pass. The talented steering committee, under the leadership of Joel Beckerman has done exceptional work in uniting their fellow creators through world-class events over the past few years. I know that their presence will only continue to flourish as years go by. It is a vibrant community and they are playing a dynamic role in growing this organization.
Honoring those that have made substantial contributions to our profession was another ambition of mine. Seeing the Ambassador program come into existence and we, as an organization, have the opportunity to celebrate the careers of twenty-five exceptional talents has been a joy. The significance that they have made to the world of music cannot be underestimated and their genius will be a bench- mark for the future of our industry for years to come.
Fostering the relationships of the Performing Rights Organizations has been important, not just as a means of staying financially afloat, but most importantly as valued partners in an ever-changing world, where our interests run the risk of marginalization. I believe the SCL has been the ideal catalyst to bring ASCAP, BMI and SESAC together to work in tandem as we explore the challenges and intricacies of intellectual property.
I am pleased to welcome in an energetic new Board of Directors and look forward to participating with them and you as we continue down the path with this great organization. My good friend, Ashley Irwin is taking the helm and I know that we have many exciting things in store for us in the coming months. I must say that having my wife, Cheryl and my children, Matt and Lauren by my side cannot be underestimated. There were sacrifices that they necessarily made over the years that I dearly appreciate.
Finally, along with all of the challenges that we face in the ever-evolving digital world, there are opportunities out there to create like never before. I am confident that the platforms available in every arena, from movies, to television to games and beyond will sustain careers for years to come. I’m proud to continue my role in, not only creating beside you, but also doing what I am able to do in protecting our rights and seeing that we are compensated fairly for what we as artists do. Thank you for this rare opportunity to serve this organization as your president.
Published in THE SCORE quarterly newsletter [Vol. XXVIII, Number Two, Summer 2013]