Merit School of Music and Hopewell Brewing Co. join forces to fundraise for the next generation of Chicago’s musicians

Merit School of Music, Chicago’s nationally accredited music school that has produced several award-winning musicians, will host a fundraising event on Saturday, November 4, from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Hopewell Brewing Co, in Logan Square. The proceeds will be used to help provide music instruction and instruments for Chicago youth.

“Chicago has, in its young people, an abundance of talent and musical opportunity, but unfortunately many young people are forced to give up their dreams because they lack access or the financial means to study and play music,” said Charles Grode, President & Executive Director of Merit School of Music. “This fundraiser brings together two great Chicago institutions, Merit and Hopewell Brewing Co., to offer the community a chance to support the next generation of our city’s emerging young talents.”

For many years, Chicago Public Schools have faced significant financial challenges, often leading to the reduction or elimination of staff and resources for in school and after-school arts programs, which has limited students’ access to music education. The programs of Merit School of Music — of which a significant portion are provided to students at little or no cost in their school or neighborhood to remove financial and geographic barriers — are helping bridge the gap. In many cases, Merit provides participating students with a safe space for learning and musical, personal development – off of the streets and away from potential trouble.

Each year, Merit School of Music offers a continuum of programs in a wide range of musical genres to nearly 5,000 students across the city. More than one-third of the school’s annual budget of $5.6 million is dedicated to direct student support and scholarships. Since its establishment in 1979, in response to an initial wave of reductions in Chicago Public School arts programs, the school has fostered some of the countries’ best best-known musicians, including Nico Segal, Anthony and Demarre McGill, Marquis Hill and Marisa Buchheit.

“At Merit, we want our students to learn, dream and grow together through music,” Grode explained. “We are devoted to helping them fulfill their personal, musical aspirations by removing the financial barriers that often stand in their way.”

Merit School of Music has partnered with Hopewell Brewing Company to host the event. The pairing of a long-standing, West Loop music institution with one of Chicago’s newest, hippest bars in Logan Square, reflects Merit’s mission to engage young Chicagoans across the city.

“It is a great pleasure to host the fundraiser with Merit, as we believe music, beer and friends make life fun and enjoyable,” said Samantha Lee, co-founder of Hopewell Brewing Co. “We know that it’s important to invest in the next generations of Chicagoans so that they, too, can become citizens that contribute to the city’s vibrant culture.”

Merit School of Music is also using the event to raise awareness for another upcoming benefit concert, headlined by The JuJu Exchange, a young jazz band founded by Nico Segal. All Chicago natives, the entire band attended Merit School of Music. Segal is well known for his work with the Grammy Award-winner, Chance the Rapper.

“We’re excited to see Merit alumni returning to their home city and showcasing how the power of music has transformed their lives. Their success will inspire young people to pick up their instruments and carry on the legacy of Chicago’s rich musical history,” Grode said.

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