I will be performing with members of the Boston Pops next week in a ceremony honoring those killed and injured last year in the Boston Marathon bombings. Knowing that we live in a land of caring citizens who cherish the tenets of freedom gives all of us reason to feel proud.
During a recent lecture I asked a group of college students to raise their hand if “Made in USA,” was meaningful. Surprisingly, nobody raised a hand.
“Made in USA” is not merely a slogan; it is a significant benchmark, important to those of us who call America home. Manufacturing companies like Grover Pro ensure that Americans are paid a living wage, provided good working conditions, offered health care benefits, paid time off and provided other life enhancing benefits. We care deeply about the well being of our employees. Around the world (and ironically overseas), American made products are regarded as a hallmark of quality. They perform on, and in many cases define, a “world-class” level. This is particularly impressive given the fact that the playing field is in no way level.
Many larger percussion manufacturers have outsourced their operations to countries with low wages. Countries like China, Indonesia, and Pakistan, not only have very cheap labor, but, their track record on human rights is despicable.To those manufacturers, quality and pride of craftsmanship has become secondary to corporate profit. Often, the governments of these countries are oppressive and undemocratic. Child labor, substandard working conditions, and lack of safety laws run abundant. In addition, the manufacturers in these countries do not have to conform to pollution standards. They often dump waste into the soil and water, not to mention polluting the air we breathe. Sure it helps the bottom line, but there’s a hidden cost to all of us on this planet.
In addition, buying American means that the money you made here – stays here. Our taxes go to help support school music programs and non-for-profit musical organizations. There is something troubling about public funded school music programs spending our tax dollars by purchasing product from overseas competitors. The next time you are in the market to purchase a piece of percussion gear stop and ask yourself, “Where was this made?” Are you sending money overseas to a foreign, possibly hostile, nation? Be assured that when you buy “Made in USA” you are helping to keep democracy alive and America strong.
It seems fitting that as a percussionist, when you play a Grover Pro product, you are helping to “let freedom ring”.
Music says it best. This performance says it all. I am so proud to have been part of this celebration of freedom, performing on the very spot where my grandparents first landed in their pursuit of liberty and opportunity.