Two Merit Students Named 2020 Chicago Rising Stars

Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, First Lady Amy Eshleman, and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) have named two talented Merit School of Music students, along with 48 other outstanding young artists, to the 2020 Rising Star Honor Roll presented by Allstate. Merit Conservatory students Javier Martinez (guitar and bass) and Rafael Noriega (bass trombone) were both honored for their creative leadership and exceptional musical talents. Rafael is also a student at fellow Chicago music organizations Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras (CYSO) and Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative (CMPI).

Grammy Award-winning producer, artist, and Merit alum Peter CottonTale was invited to perform during a special tribute video honoring the 2020 Rising Star Honor Roll recipients.

Presented annually, Rising Star honorees are nominated by their mentors from Chicago-area arts organizations, school arts programs, and community organizations in music, theatre, dance, visual arts, media arts, and literary arts. In 2020, the City of Chicago and Allstate honored 15 more young people than in past years due to an overwhelming number of nominations and in support of the Mayor and First Lady’s new citywide youth initiative, “My CHI. My Future.”

> View the full 2020 Rising Star Honor Roll and watch Peter CottonTale’s performance.


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