Young student violinists greeting you as you walk up the grand staircase of the Four Seasons on your way to the ballroom. Catching up with old friends you haven’t seen in two years and making new ones. The roar of applause at the end of a performance. It’s experiences like these that made the in-person return of Merit School of Music’s annual Gala on May 18th such a special event for all 400 guests.
Lori Julian received the Alice S. Pfaelzer Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts at Merit’s Gala 2022. In this touching video tribute, Lori’s friends and colleagues share what makes her such a “humble and mighty” philanthropist.
Gala 2022 honored Lori Julian and William Blair for their contributions to the arts. It was heart-warming to see how many friends and family of our honorees came out to show their support. Merit’s Honors Jazz Combo provided lively entertainment during the reception. The program opened with a crowd-pleaser: 8-year-old Merit piano student Nikhet Sathish who played a piece by William Gillock just like a pro. Peppered between remarks and awards, guests were treated to beautiful student performances by Merit’s Alegre Conservatory Violin & Cello Choirs, the Quintent Hervor (brass), and Luke Magee & Elio Gaviria (piano duo) who stole the show with their lightning speed performance of the Finale from Saint-Saens’ Carnival of the Animals. Throughout the evening, Merit alum and WGN News reporter Gaynor Hall added sparkle and shine with her signature smile and infectious energy as she returned to the Merit gala to emcee the event.
We also heard from Merit students themselves about what Merit School of Music means to them. The #1 thing they’re grateful for? The Merit community.
Together we raised over $1,125,000 in support of Merit’s mission to remove barriers to high-quality music education so that all children can experience the transformative power of music. There’s something incredibly energizing about coming together as a community of music-lovers to support the next generation of musicians. Thank you to each and every one of you, and your companies, for supporting Gala 2022. We couldn’t do what we do without you!