Play On 2023

Wednesday, November 1 · City Winery Chicago

1200 W. Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60607

Doors 5:00pm · Show 7:00pm

Join Merit School of Music for a special concert benefiting equal access to music education.

We are thrilled to announce that The JuJu Exchange will headline the 5th Annual Play On, with additional performances by King Melik and Merit’s very own Honors Jazz Combo.

Three students play saxophone on stage under purple stage lights.

Interested in sponsoring Play On? Fill out the form and submit it to Amy Riske. Payments can be processed online on our Donations page.

The JuJu Exchange sits on the floor in a room with CDs on the walls and a purple light. Nova Zaii holds a soundboard, Julian Davis Reid holds a small keyboard, and Nico Segal holds a trumpet.

The JuJu Exchange

featuring alumni Nico Segal, Julian Davis Reid, and Nova Zaii

The JuJu Exchange is a musical partnership of three childhood friends from Chicago: Nico Segal, Julian Davis Reid and Nova Zaii. They create exploratory and nuanced music that call us all to wonder and trust. Their music, mostly instrumental, blends acoustic and digital instruments to further meaningful exchange among seemingly disparate cultures. They hope their music inspires the listener to participate in the kinds of exchange the world desperately needs. Their latest record is JazzRx, a project of sonic medicine and vitamins made with you in mind. Listen on all streaming platforms.

King Melik

King Melik (aka Bryce Thompson) is a 21-year-old Merit alum and classically trained recording artist and violinist from Chicago, Illinois. King Melik began his musical genesis at a very young age of 6 with playing the violin. Homeschooled his entire life, he had a substantial amount of time to thoroughly practice after his studies.

For the past 3-4 years he’s been studying new age rap and finding ways to keep his lyrics more relatable and cleaner for a diverse audience, all while maintaining his melodic flow crediting his mainstream appeal. His highly anticipated project “Sanctuary” has garnered an early buzz and recognition from the city.

The four band members stand behind King Melik, who is crouching near the ground. They are outdoors in front of a body of water with a cityscape behind them.

Merit alums Bryce Thompson and Bruce Thompson with James Watts, Gabriel Alex, and Zach Vaz.

Honors Jazz Combo

The Honors Jazz Combo, under the direction of Alex Beltran, is Merit’s premier jazz performing ensemble comprised of the Alice S. Pfaelzer Conservatory’s most advanced student jazz musicians. Students audition for the program on an annual basis and hail from all over the greater Chicagoland area.

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