The People’s Music School is always hosting events that bring the students and the community together to celebrate music. Students in all programs have recitals and concerts throughout the year to show off their musical growth to their family and friends. However, we’ve never had an event where students from all of People’s locations congregated to perform at a single venue. This year we made it happen at Performapaloozathon! With students from all locations of the People’s Music School – Uptown Academy, Hibbard Youth Orchestras, Back of the Yards, and the South Side Band Program – we created an event that will no doubt be looked forward to year after year.
This year, Performapaloozathon was hosted at North Park University. There were hundreds of students coming in throughout the day, all excited to perform on stage. Volunteers manned booths outside that sold food, raffle tickets, and T-Shirts. There were also games spread out around the plaza. Parents and families mingled the auditorium, applauding all the groups of students. Everyone was smiling and enjoying themselves while music rang through the performance hall.
When my group, the Jazz Ensemble, went up to perform a Jazz rendition of Beat It by Michael Jackson, the crowd was really into the groove of the songs. Having the whole music school present for my last performance was a special way to send me off to college. Still, People’s Music finds ways to turn special into extraordinary. After the performance, Jen surprised me with a $1,000 scholarship with the purpose of not only supporting me in college, but also to make sure music remains a consistent part of my life.
This meant a lot to me, since it really shows the type of community the People’s Music School is. Sure, I received a fantastic musical education in my time here, but even more than that, they have been preparing me for the “real world” and for college. The music school cares about creating well-rounded individuals who will go out and inspire change in the world, just like Rita Simo did many years ago.
I don’t think that she expected her small, free music lessons to turn into a vast community. Although the community is split by different programs in different areas of Chicago, Perfromapaloozathon brought them together to remind us all of what the People’s Music School is and why we love it so dearly.