Merit School of Music

Grant Park Music Festival Showcases Merit Students, Alums

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Music lovers of Chicago know that there’s no better season than summer to take advantage of all the music that the city has to offer. From north to south and from the lakefront to the suburbs, spectacular outdoor concerts can be found in almost every corner of Chicagoland.

Notably, under the downtown skyline, the Grant Park Music Festival offers dozens of free concerts for the enjoyment of Chicagoans and tourists alike. But it’s not only the professionals who perform at this iconic venue. On certain days throughout the summer, you can find Merit School of Music students featured in Grant Park Music Festival’s “Young Artist Showcase”. In fact, just recently on July 1st, you could feel excitement and curiosity building on the Millennium Park lawn as four Merit alumni trombonists readied their instruments and delighted early concertgoers with ragtime tunes and jazzy favorites.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”28781″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]

Julian Bradford, Chris Tam, Jacob Dikelsky, and Omar Tlatelpa-Nieto perform at Grant Park Music Festival’s “Young Artist Showcase”.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]For one trombonist, Omar Tlatelpa-Nieto, this performance created a “full circle” moment. Six years ago—to the day—he was at Grant Park Music Festival performing with Merit’s trombone ensemble, the Bone Rangers. He shared with the growing crowd, “It’s amazing to be back here. We all met at Merit’s Conservatory program, which was really an important experience for all of us. [Merit] is such an incredible place and we’re glad to be back here representing it today.” Passersby, concertgoers, and Grant Park Symphony musicians alike—who were filing in for their own performance—stopped to take in the awesome experience of seeing four young, dedicated trombonists doing what they love most: playing music together in the heart of their city![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”28788″ img_size=”full”][vc_column_text]

The Bone Rangers at Grant Park Music Festival. Photo courtesy of Hilary Mercer.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]Although these students have graduated from Merit programs, their commitment to Merit continues to grow year after year. In fact, these talented alumni had just spent the week teaching as coaches at Merit’s highly regarded Trombone Camp, led by Tim Riordan at the Joy Faith Knapp Music Center. Trombonist Chris Tam shared with the crowd the impact that Merit had on him too: “I learned so much more than music at Merit. We have all had great teachers there, who not only taught us to be great musicians but great people.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]We cannot wait for what the rest of the summer brings as Merit students and faculty return several more times to perform, learn, and grow with the Grant Park Music Festival. Several highly anticipated events are coming up right around the corner. Join us at the Pritzker Pavilion lawn on July 15 at 5:30 pm, where our Alegre Strings will perform prior to the Grant Park Music Festival’s concert featuring Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony and violinist Rachel Barton Pine‘s performance of the Billy Child’s Violin Concerto No. 2.

Then, save the date for two spectacular masterclasses featuring Merit students and faculty: a Music Composition Masterclass with composer and instructor Billy Childs on Saturday, July 16 at 11:00 am and a Clarinet Masterclass with clarinetist Afendi Yusuf on Tuesday, July 19 at 4:00 pm. Both masterclasses will take place in the Choral Rehearsal Room at the Pritzker Pavilion.

“Merit students are happy and fortunate to have so many wonderful opportunities to participate in the Grant Park Music Festival. The festival is a summer treasure for thousands of Chicagoans, and we thank our friends at the festival for including Merit School of Music students and alums,” stated Charles Grode, Merit’s President & Executive Director. We are grateful to the Grant Park Music Festival for our continued partnership, which makes Merit part of the sounds of Chicago’s summer. We look forward to many more years of making music together in the heart of our city.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row full_width=”stretch_row” content_placement=”middle” disable_element=”yes” el_class=”cta” css=”.vc_custom_1635456113048{padding-top: 40px !important;padding-right: 100px !important;padding-bottom: 60px !important;padding-left: 100px !important;background-color: #0168b2 !important;}” el_id=”email”][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”ADD A LITTLE MUSIC TO YOUR INBOX:” font_container=”tag:h3|font_size:20px|text_align:center|color:%23ffffff” use_theme_fonts=”yes” el_class=”cta” css=”.vc_custom_1602536504162{padding-bottom: 20px !important;}”][vc_raw_html]JTNDZGl2JTIwY2xhc3MlM0QlMjJlbWFpbC1mb3JtJTIyJTNFJTBBJTA5JTA5JTA5JTNDJTIxLS0lMjBCZWdpbiUyMENvbnN0YW50JTIwQ29udGFjdCUyMElubGluZSUyMEZvcm0lMjBDb2RlJTIwLS0lM0UlMEElMDklMDklMDklM0NkaXYlMjBjbGFzcyUzRCUyMmN0Y3QtaW5saW5lLWZvcm0lMjIlMjBkYXRhLWZvcm0taWQlM0QlMjIxMTRiZTkyZS05NDM2LTQxZjMtOWZkOS1hYzBjYzI3YTY4YmElMjIlM0UlM0MlMkZkaXYlM0UlMEElMDklMDklMDklM0MlMjEtLSUyMEVuZCUyMENvbnN0YW50JTIwQ29udGFjdCUyMElubGluZSUyMEZvcm0lMjBDb2RlJTIwLS0lM0UlMEElMDklMDklM0MlMkZkaXYlM0UlMjAlMEE=[/vc_raw_html][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row full_width=”stretch_row” content_placement=”middle” el_class=”cta” css=”.vc_custom_1635456118135{margin-bottom: -40px !important;padding-top: 40px !important;padding-right: 100px !important;padding-bottom: 60px !important;padding-left: 100px !important;background-color: #0168b2 !important;}” el_id=”cta1″][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”GIVE THE GIFT OF MUSIC” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:center|color:%23ffffff” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_custom_heading text=”Your gift supports high-quality music instruction for Chicagoland’s most talented and driven youth musicians.” font_container=”tag:h4|text_align:center|color:%23ffffff” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_btn title=”DONATE TODAY!” style=”custom” custom_background=”#e4701e” custom_text=”#ffffff” align=”center” link=”|title:Donate” el_class=”cta-1″][/vc_column][/vc_row]