BOSTON — The soundtrack to Massachusetts government might features the bangs of a gavel, the shouts of a roll call vote or the notes of "All Hail Massachusetts," the official state song.
A bill the Senate passed last Thursday would bolster that tracklist with original compositions and pieces chosen by a musician for their historical context or other significance.
The bill (S 2225) would create the new position of musician laureate in Massachusetts. The chosen artist would be appointed to a two-year term and serve as the governor's advisor on musical matters. The laureate could choose to write or perform pieces to commemorate important events, ceremonies, and anniversaries.
"It would demonstrate not only the value of music but also the ties between music and government, oddly enough," composer Cinzi Lavin said. "If you think about any famous political campaign, there's probably a song attached. If you think about Bill Clinton, it was 'Don't Stop.' John F. Kennedy, 'Happy Days Are Here Again.'"
Lavin, a Hull resident, worked with Sen. Patrick O'Connor to file the musician laureate bill. She began the effort about six years ago, when Weymouth Mayor Robert Hedlund held the seat and O'Connor was his aide.
"Raising the status and esteem of musicians is an important thing, especially for a state like Massachusetts that not only has so much native talent but has been such a forerunner of the arts in America," Lavin said.
Under the bill, Massachusetts residents would be able to submit their nominations for musician laureate to a five-person committee, who would select three nominees "on the basis of their overall excellence and their dedicated commitment to the arts in Massachusetts" and submit those names to the governor, who would make the appointment.
The bill is now before the House Committee on Steering, Policy and Scheduling, and would need to pass the House and be signed by Gov. Charlie Baker to become law.
Speaking on the Senate floor last week, O'Connor said creating the post of musician laureate would allow Massachusetts to recognize and reward mastery of what he described as possibly the most expressive art form there is.