BENEFITING: Children First Fund
A world without music would be a sad place for anyone. But for the students of the Chopin School -- a public school in inner city Chicago where 95 percent of students live in poverty -- a world without music is unimaginable.
For these students, music is opportunity. It is power. For them, music is a way out -- and up.
The orchestra, part of the Merit School of Music "Bridges" program, began at Lafayette Elementary School in the city's Humboldt Park neighborhood, one of dozens of Chicago neighborhoods where public schools closed in 2013. The school's staff and many students -- along with the orchestra -- shifted a few blocks south to the Chopin School in the nearby Ukrainian Village neighborhood.
Though the transition hasn't always been easy, the orchestra and its leaders have done a lot with what they have.
Already, many orchestra alumni have gone on to selective-enrollment high schools in Chicago -- and done so much more with their lives because of music.
Already, 80 students -- 3rd through 8th graders -- are members of the current orchestra, a key component for Chopin's after-school programs that help keep kids off the streets and safe.
But even more students are on the orchestra waiting list -- and with school budgets forever shrinking, resources are very tight.
The small school is packed with students. There's no space for a music room, so orchestra members and their music teacher, Arturs Weible, have to set up and practice each day on the auditorium's small stage.
For now, Mr. Weible and his students can only dream of their chance to grow the orchestra into something truly, truly special.
That's why we're coming to you.
You can help these students' dreams come true! You can help the Chopin School grow its orchestra and take it to the next level.
Music is … our chance.
*from the Chopin School website