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Merit School of Music to Host PERFORMATHON, 2/28 & 3/1

Related: Merit School of Music, Performathon
Merit School of Music to Host PERFORMATHON, 2/28 & 3/1

Nearly 300 students from Merit School of Music's Alice S. Pfaelzer Tuition-free Conservatory will share the spotlight at Performathon, a special evening followed by a full day of non-stop classical and jazz performances Friday, February 28 from 7-9 p.m. and all day Saturday, March 1 starting at 9 a.m.

The public is invited to drop in at Performathon anytime to enjoy the many talents of Chicago's top youth musicians at Merit's Joy Faith Knapp Music Center, 38 S. Peoria St., in Chicago's West Loop. The free, 32nd annual event allows Chicago's top young musicians - who attend the Conservatory at no charge - to perform before a live audience and raise crucial funds for the non-profit community music school.

Music lovers can expect to hear a nearly constant, eclectic mix of classical, jazz, chamber and vocal ensembles and performers throughout Performathon, including in Merit's 372-seat Anne and Howard Gottleib Hall, one of the premier chamber music venues in Chicago. Performathon also will feature an ethnic food fair, silent auction, raffle and Merit merchandise.

Friday night's program kicks off at 7 p.m. with the Junior Band performing "Joy," a set from the Symphonic Band, and two songs by oboe soloist Lisa Lutgen. The Merit Wind Symphony wraps Friday's night Performathon with a set concluding with "El Camino Real."

98.7 WFMT will broadcast live from Performathon Saturday morning from 9 to11 a.m. The broadcast kicks off with a performance of the "Hungarian March from the Damnation of Faust" by the Merit Chamber Orchestra. Top Merit students and alumni also will be interviewed live throughout the morning on WFMT's Introductions show.

On Saturday at 10:45 a.m., current Merit student Tanner Jackson, a senior at Tinley Park High School, will play "Stephansdom," a solo for bass trombone and trombone choir composed by Merit alum Ryan Diefenderfer. Jackson was one of two Merit trombone players who performed this summer in the inaugural season of the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America. Diefenderfer, a recent Indiana University graduate with degrees in trombone and composition, won the International Trombone Association composition contest two years ago with this piece and it has now been published. All Merit alumni in attendance will be recognized at 11 a.m.

Parents and children interested in learning more about Merit School of Music's Conservatory program are also strongly encouraged to attend Performathon. Students are accepted into Merit's Tuition-free Conservatory by audition only and receive free of charge a college preparatory level of musical training, valued at $2,500 per year. Conservatory students represent an economically and ethnically diverse cross section of the Chicago area, and most graduates continue their music studies at top colleges, universities and music conservatories.

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