Even before his school became a Merit Music in Communities site, Gunsaulus Elementary Principal Kiltae Fernando Kim had a special relationship with Merit School of Music. “My daughter Inae is a clarinet student at Merit!”
And Inae isn’t the only young person connected to Principal Kim to study music with Merit; 50 of the elementary students in Principal Kim’s building study violin, viola, cello, or bass with Merit faculty members three times a week, last year in Gunsaulus’ auditorium and now online.
“We call the arts ‘essentials’ at our school. And if it’s essential to one’s development and well-being, we as adults have to do whatever it takes to make sure that access to what’s essential is never taken away.” That’s why Gunsaulus partners with Merit, to make sure that every student has access to the city’s best music education and, by extension, access to the life skills, sense of community, and mentorship that a strong arts education can provide.
Many Gunsaulus students have truly thrived in their musical studies, with some students going on to study in Merit’s prestigious Alice S. Pfaelzer Conservatory. Thanks to Principal Kim’s commitment to the arts and the generous support of Merit donors and foundation partners, Gunsaulus students will discover the power of music for many more years to come.