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Welcome 11 New Associate Board Members!

2021 has certainly been a year of change and challenge, but here at Merit School of Music, we’re thrilled that amidst all of that, the year brought 11 new members to our Associate Board’s doorstep! We’re so pleased to welcome Adam Birnbaum, Angie Chiesa, Conrad Devin, Eduardo Lopez, Michelle Michelini, Sabrina Junger Mikuta, Maureen Miller, Richard Riedle, Tom Severson, David Umbriaco, and ‘Tine Ziekis. Most came to Merit by referral, either by other members or trustees, others found us by conducting their own online search for a top-notch non-profit music education. Although not a requirement to join the board, every one of our new members is a trained musician and has a deep and personal connection to music, having fallen in love with music growing up.

Collectively, they want to “give back” to a music organization that’s doing so much to provide access for young people to learn music. They’re drawn to Merit’s mission as studying music growing up had such an important influence in their own lives. Two of our new members, Conrad Devin and Eduardo Lopez, are Merit alums so they know firsthand the benefits of a Merit music education. In his own words, Conrad’s “instructors and classmates made his experience unique and ignited a passion for playing and listening to music that he continues to nurture each day.”

Merit is fortunate to have not only the energy and enthusiasm that the members bring to the school, but also the variety of skills, talents, and networks. Their tech skills, fundraising, public speaking, and business acumen, in addition to quality assurance, legal, engineering, and management consulting experience lend themselves well to all the incredible activities that this board gets involved in through the course of the year.

“We’re so delighted to welcome such a dedicated and diverse cohort of new members to the Associate Board. Each new member has something unique to offer Merit and our students. With so many new members, we have an exciting energy to the whole Board. I can’t wait to see what the year brings!” says Catie Wloch, Associate Board President.

Associate Board members have the opportunity to participate as philanthropic leaders and make an impact in their community through serving on one of the board’s three committees. Fundraising – to help raise awareness and funds for the school, primarily through our annual PLAY ON benefit concert; the School Relations committee that coordinates informational college prep sessions for students, helping to prepare them for a bright future; and Member Relations – recruiting and engaging members through activities and social events like wine tastings and outdoor concerts.

Interested in joining or know a Chicago-area young professional who might be? Contact Merit’s Member Relations co-chairs John Kalil at [email protected] or Annette Sayre at [email protected] for more information, or fill out this short Associate Board interest form.

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