Associate Board

Whether you’re a musician, concert-goer, or avid music listener, Merit’s Associate Board welcomes young professionals who believe in the transformative power of music education.

The Merit Associate Board (Merit AB) is committed to furthering the Merit School of Music’s mission to remove barriers to high-quality music education. We are a group of Chicago-area young professionals who volunteer our time, expertise, and resources to support Merit and its students. Associate Board members strive to develop themselves as model philanthropic leaders and next-generation advocates for the musical arts.

Members support the school by:

  • Collaborating with students to enhance their personal growth and help prepare them for the future 
  • Growing our Associate Board by bringing diverse perspectives and skills to Merit 
  • Working to develop new sources of support to meet Merit’s mission and provide financial aid to students 
  • Increasing public awareness of Merit by serving as ambassadors for its mission and impact


Get Excited about Supporting
Music Education by:

Merit associate board event performance


Help host the Associate Board’s annual fundraising event that helps keep the cost of programming affordable for all Chicago families. 

associate board leadership institute meeting


Volunteer with Merit students to support music learning, enhance personal growth, and prepare students for the future.

associate board networking event


Work with a diverse group of Associate Board members at regular meetings, participating in a committee, and building your network through board social events throughout the city.

Meet the Associate Board Executive Committee

andy scroggins

Andy Scroggins

Seyfarth Shaw

What I love about the Merit: 
What I love about Merit is the sense of community – passionate students, supportive parents, engaged alumni, talented and committed instructors, inspirational leaders, dedicated staff, and active boards – and its deep roots in our city.

john kalil

John Kalil

Vice chair

What I love about Merit: 
The incredible talent that exists in each student and the happiness music education brings to them. It is palpable in the students’ energy in and around the school.

I would love to have dinner with: 

McKay harline

McKay Harline

By-Laws Chair
Mayer Brown LLP

What I love about Merit: 
Merit provides opportunity for Chicago students – and it’s an opportunity to learn and grow and engage in a powerful medium that can enrich a young person’s life.

I would love to have dinner with: 
My favorite violinist, Hilary Hahn

Maureen Miller

Maureen Miller

Finance Chair
Deyonne Wealth Advisors

Tom severson

Tom Severson

Fundraising chair
Morgan Lewis

My favorite Associate Board Event: 
Play On! I am so excited to bring back this event in person this year at my favorite music venue, City Winery!

Jamal elam

Jamal Elam

Membership Chair
Omni Los Angeles Hotel at California Plaza

My favorite Merit experience: 
Interviewing prospective Conservatory families during their audition process. I got to see both the parents and the students’ viewpoints while welcoming new students into Merit.

My favorite thing about Merit: 
Merit has always felt like a home away from home every time I walk in the building. I love the fact that there is an open arms feeling with both the students and staff. It’s very warm and welcoming.

angie chiesa

Angie Chiesa

School Relations Co-Chair
American Red Cross

What I love about the Merit: 
I love that Merit works to remove the economic barrier that keeps many kids out of classical music. I firmly believe finances should never keep a child from engaging with classical music, and Merit’s mission supports this fully.

Eduardo lopez

Eduardo Lopez

School Relations Co-Chair
Razorfish Health

Katie Schmelzer

Katie Schmelzerᴬ

Social Team Chair
KIPP Public Charter Schools