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Merit School of Music Celebrated 40 Years at Its 2019 Gala

Honoring Merit Life Trustee and Former President Duffie A. Adelson, the music school raised over $1.2 million


Merit School of Music held their 40th Anniversary Gala on Wednesday, May 8 at the Four Seasons Chicago. Over 350 attendees were greeted by Merit’s spectacular, advanced Suzuki-Alegre Strings Ensemble, a diverse group of young violin players, who dazzled attendees as they climbed the staircase to the gala. Hosted by WGN’s anchor and Merit alumna Gaynor Hall, guests gathered from across Chicago and the North Shore to honor Chicagoan and longtime Merit leader Duffie A. Adelson of Hyde Park with the Alice S. Pfaelzer Distinguished Service to the Arts Award for her decades of unparalleled service and dedication to Merit and her commitment to making music education and inspiring thousands of Chicagoland youth.

Throughout the evening, guests were treated to performances by Merit students and video messages honoring Adelson and the school’s 40-year history. Roughly $1.2 million was raised to support Merit’s mission to transform lives through music by providing access to in-depth, expert, inspirational, and motivational music education that also provides children with confidence, communication skills, perseverance, and the joy of music-making.

Since 1979, Merit School of Music has been transforming the lives of Chicago-area youth through its high-quality music education – regardless of economic circumstance. Today, Merit is a Chicago-based, nationally accredited institution, engaging thousands of promising student musicians through sustained introductory, preparatory, and conservatory-level music instruction across classical and jazz, featuring band, voice, and orchestra courses as well as guitar and piano. Nearly 70% of Merit students receiving need-based aid and virtually 100% of graduates from Merit’s Alice S. Pfaelzer Tuition-free Conservatory go on to conservatory, college, or university.

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