Merit School of Music

Merit’s Conservatory Class of 2022 is Ready to Take On the World

Conservatory students attending their graduation

On April 24, celebration was in the air as Merit School of Music proudly hosted an in-person graduation ceremony for our talented Conservatory Class of 2022! The morning was full of moving performances by students, remarks from notable friends of Merit, including a keynote speech by Blake-Anthony Johnson, CEO of Chicago Sinfonietta.  Presentations of numerous awards and college scholarships followed. This year’s graduating class is as impressive as they come! Merit is proud to send off our 52 seniors at a 100% college acceptance rate to a collective 98 colleges, conservatories, and universities. They have spent a combined 335 years studying at Merit—including one student who has participated in Merit programs for a whopping 18 years—her entire life! And most importantly, all of them will move on to the next chapter of their lives more prepared and empowered to take on the world equipped with everything they’ve learned through music.

Among the student performances at graduation, a senior trombone quartet particularly stands out. Their coach, Tim Riordan, Director of Chamber Music and Trombone Faculty, shared from our graduation stage what made this performance so remarkable: “What I love especially about this group of four students is that they come from four different ensembles. So, despite all being seniors, these students have never played in the same group together over their time, so they put this [quartet] together themselves—which is pretty cool, that they did it on their own.” These students were drawn together by their friendship, love of trombone, and their Merit education to create music together. As they took to the stage during graduation to perform Londonderry Air in beautiful harmony, everyone in the room could feel the transformative power of music.

trombone quartet performance at graduation
The Senior Trombone Quartet performs “Londonderry Air,” also recognized as “Danny Boy,” at Conservatory Graduation 2022


Throughout the ceremony, our students, families, faculty, and guests witnessed the impact of Merit in so many ways. By far, the most exciting part was the presentation of awards for outstanding achievements and financial college scholarships to our students, made possible by generous Merit donors. Our students and families arrive the morning of graduation completely unaware of who will be receiving various honors and awards. This makes these announcements even more exhilarating, as proud families and excited students walk the stage to claim their well-earned accolades. One Conservatory parent shared the incredible significance of her daughter’s Merit graduation college scholarship, which “was not just a financial support for us/her, but a confidence booster as well.  The accolade for her having learned and played the cello (for 9-10 years now) and feeling like there are so many other students who are just as deserving, if not more, made her feel especially humbled and honored.”

Thank you to our students, families, supporters, Board of Trustees, faculty, and staff for making our first in-person graduation ceremony in three years such a meaningful celebration. We cannot wait to see what comes next for our graduates!

graduates of 2022 statistics

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