On April 24, celebration was in the air as Merit School of Music proudly hosted an in-person graduation ceremony for our talented Conservatory Class of 2022! The morning was full of moving performances by students, remarks from notable friends of Merit, including a keynote speech by Blake-Anthony Johnson, CEO of Chicago Sinfonietta. Presentations of numerous awards and college scholarships followed. This year’s graduating class is as impressive as they come! Merit is proud to send off our 52 seniors at a 100% college acceptance rate to a collective 98 colleges, conservatories, and universities. They have spent a combined 335 years studying at Merit—including one student who has participated in Merit programs for a whopping 18 years—her entire life! And most importantly, all of them will move on to the next chapter of their lives more prepared and empowered to take on the world equipped with everything they’ve learned through music.
Among the student performances at graduation, a senior trombone quartet particularly stands out. Their coach, Tim Riordan, Director of Chamber Music and Trombone Faculty, shared from our graduation stage what made this performance so remarkable: “What I love especially about this group of four students is that they come from four different ensembles. So, despite all being seniors, these students have never played in the same group together over their time, so they put this [quartet] together themselves—which is pretty cool, that they did it on their own.” These students were drawn together by their friendship, love of trombone, and their Merit education to create music together. As they took to the stage during graduation to perform “Londonderry Air” in beautiful harmony, everyone in the room could feel the transformative power of music.