PLAY ON: A Benefit Concert to Support Music Education



Doors: 5:00pm | Show: 7:00 pm

Join Merit School of Music for a special concert benefiting equal access to music education. Merit alum and Grammy award-winning musician, composer, producer, and music director Peter CottonTale will headline the 4th Annual Play On concert.


Peter Wilkins, better known as Peter CottonTale, has been making waves in Chicago for over a decade enriching the music of our “hometown heroes” like Jamila Woods, Vic Mensa, Chance the Rapper, and The Social Experiment. But Peter has a sound and voice that’s all his own, with a “nuanced blend of neosoul, gospel…R&B tenderness, pop moodiness, and sensuality to create atmospheres that feel divine” (Leor Galil, The Chicago Reader).

His accolades include a GRAMMY Award for Best Rap Album (Coloring Book – 2016 with Chance the Rapper), a #8 song on Apple Music’s Gospel Charts (CATCH – 2019 Album), and a Top 25 Billboard Gospel Airplay Chart (Pray for Real – 2019 Single). Peter also wrote and produced the song “Together” for Google’s Year in Search campaign in collaboration with Chance the Rapper, Cynthia Erivo, the Chicago Children’s Choir, Matt Jones (of Re-Collective Orchestra), Rachel Robinson, and Jamila Woods. Moreover, Peter has an impressive roster of shows and appearances, including as Music Director for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Saturday Night Live, The 59th Annual Grammy Awards, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Peter CottonTale’s first solo album, CATCH, was released in 2020. Beyond his solo work, he’s collaborated with many artists over the past decade, with a focus on Chicago artists but also others from around the country and the world as a composer, producer, and music director, as well as a featured artist primarily on keys.

Peter often mentions that we all talk a lot about what inspires us. He works to put that into music. Through the music he makes, and through his leadership in the studio when working with other artists, Peter always hopes to make people feel free to express what they believe and who they are.


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Call Emma Harmon, Merit’s Individual Giving Manager, at 312-267-4480 or email [email protected] with questions or for more information.