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Special Events


Saturday, June 3, 2017

Merit School of Music proudly presented its 19th annual Stringtacular performance featuring 300 string students and 20 faculty members performing 34 musical selections to a crowd of 750+ enthusiastic audience members. Stringtacular is a free community event in Pilsen that is open to the public. Featured performers are members of Merit’s Suzuki-Alegre Strings program, a vibrant music ensemble of violin, viola, cello and bass students under the direction of Mónica Lugo. Many of the specially selected pieces in the program feature beloved Latin folk songs that represent favorite melodies of generations of music lovers in their families. All of the songs are performed from memory, an important component of the Suzuki training method.

Students are taught in three off-site Merit programs: El Valor Guadalupe Reyes Center, Pilsen’s Whittier Elementary School, and in Merit’s Alice S. Pfaelzer Tuition-free Conservatory in the West Loop. Students range in age from 4- 18.

We are sincerely grateful to Stringtacular’s Presenting Sponsor @properties for their generous support of the concert. We also wish to thank our generous sponsors including the Oppenheimer Family Foundation and Carnicerias Jimenez.

View Photos from Stringtacular 2017

Gala 2017

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Learn more about Merit’s successful Gala 2017 that raised nearly $1 million.

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Merit In Music

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Merit School of Music and the Chicago Media Project co-hosted Merit in Music, a unique benefit screening on opening night of the second annual DOC10 Film Festival. The first-ever dinner-and-a-film fundraiser for Merit was chaired by Jeffrey Breslow from the West Loop’s Jeffrey Breslow Gallery.  This exciting new event was held March 30th at Grassroots restaurant and the Music Box Theater, and attracted more than 100 guests raising $50,000.  Proceeds support Merit’s mission to transform the lives of young people by removing barriers to high-quality music education.

The festival’s opening night screening featured Sweet Dillard, an inspiring documentary about the 2014 school year of Florida’s Dillard Center for the Arts Jazz Ensemble and their irrepressible bandleader, Christopher Dorsey.  Due to its true story about the transformative power of music education, Sweet Dillard was an ideal fundraising fit for Merit.

A number of Merit’s top Conservatory students were featured performers both at the pre-screening dinner at Grassroots, and at the Music Box Theatre.  A lively post-screening Q&A with filmmaker Jim Virga closed the event which not only raised critical funds for Merit and the important work being done, but awareness as well.

View Photos from Merit in Music


Friday, February 24, 2017
Saturday, February 25, 2017

Performathon 2017 was a whirlwind of performances from students in the Alice S. Pfaelzer Tuition-free Conservatory –over 100 performances in two days. An eclectic mix of classical, jazz, chamber, and vocal ensembles was taken in by the over1,000 concertgoers who joined our students at the event. Free of charge and open to the public, Performathon was presented by William Blair in memoriam of Merit Life Trustee Dick Kiphart.

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