Performapaloozathon: A letter from our President & Artistic Director

“Welcome to The People’s Music School. If you think all you are doing is learning music here, you are missing half of what we are trying to teach you.”

This is a familiar refrain for the 10,000 kids and families we’ve served in the last 40 years. In the 6 years they spend on average with us, we are bound in a pact to grow in music, in society, in character. Through music, we raise determined and creative leaders who understand what it takes to excel despite circumstances.

The month of June is absolutely crazy-town for us. Months of hard work culminate in students nailing the right notes in their jury exams and scoring high on their behavioral and service evaluations. And we wrap up the long school year with #Performapaloozathon – a day of engagement that brings our community of performers, friends, and supporters together from all across the city.

#Performapaloozathon (the name is a story for another letter!) started as a family fundraiser many years ago. It has evolved to become a lesson in advocacy. We ask each of our 500 students to speak to 25 people about our school – we tell them they might raise $5, or they might raise $5000. But the point is to learn how to give voice to a cause.

So our kids are crawling all over the city, talking to their neighbors, their church members, their librarians, the corner store owner, the security guard at the bank, the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker… They are pitching the school and our mission to bring the benefits of music to change the trajectory of underserved youth.

And in the quest to learn how to advocate, our students collect email addresses and a not-so-shabby amount of money (over $30k last year from more than a thousand people!) We are humbled to count envelopes packed to the brim with loose change and dollar bills.

Will you join our kids in doing the same? In honor of our 40th Anniversary this year, let’s do a “4 for 40” – help sign up 4 new people for our newsletter by forwarding this email, and give $40 to inspire the kids that there are others pounding the pavement along with them!

Join us June 11th for #Performapaloozathon2016. 10am kickoff, 2pm all-school rally, 4pm awards and performances all day. This year’s event is at North Park University’s Hamming Hall. We’d be delighted to see you!

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