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Strong Heritage, Strong Future

TPMS family & friends:

The strength and growth of The People’s Music School is the product of many special forces: our generous supporters, a still-inspiring founder, a lean multi-dimensional staff, talented teaching artists, committed students, heroic families. Also a quieter, less visible group – a circle of “angel advisors” who have provided critical guidance during an unprecedented time – some Board members, some longtime friends of the school, and others who just came to know us last year and jumped right in with their passion and smarts.

One of these “angel advisors” has been telling me repeatedly that our greatest challenge is going to be retaining the essence of this incredible jewel of an organization as we grow, keeping all the special forces we rely on still intimate and impactful while our scope increases. When he first told me this last year, as we strove to overcome a deficit and steady the ship, I laughed out loud – I’ll take that problem! But as I round the corner in my second year of leadership, I see he was right. And as we come upon the holiday season, I’m thinking of heritage and the traditions and values we share: cultivating excellence, nurturing creativity, embodying community, working hard, providing opportunity.

The People’s Music School remains strong because of our ongoing, shared commitment to these values.  We will expand from a strong core, starting with you and the other individuals who have made this possible over decades. We rely on our shared history and heritage to guide our future growth, to be torch bearers of our culture. To this end, I wanted to share a bit from a recent conversation with one of our longtime students, Christian.  Christian started violin with us 10 years ago, and is now an accomplished senior at Northside College Prep High School. In his time at TPMS, he has performed in the Chicago Youth in Music Festival and with the Piano Guys at the Chicago Theater. But when asked what he’s most proud of, he responds first with his impact on those around him:

“I’m proud of being able to develop musical skills to lead the younger students. In our chamber music groups, I’ve developed the ability to listen and play with others instead of just being an island on my own. I love working with people, being a leader, and being able to teach others in our chamber groups. Being the oldest and most experienced, I add those three together so that I can pass on the ideas that were passed to me.” 


Will you join Christian in keeping our heritage strong, by supporting this one-of-a-kind institution as we bring our impact to more students off our waiting lists? We are proud to be a national treasure rooted in our hometown of Chicago, and rooted in the humble efforts of our incredible community members like you, who have supported us for 39 years. Your support today will ensure that our 500 students from 40 zip codes can receive 100,000 cumulative hours of musical instruction this year to achieve excellence, in music and beyond. 

And a bonus surprise: An inspired supporter has offered to match every dollar that new donors give, and every dollar above what our committed donors gave last year. When you give today, your impact is doubled. 

We are grateful for so many things this holiday season, including you. On behalf of The People’s Music School, I wish you the very best as you celebrate heritage, tradition, and values with your loved ones.

Warmly,
Jennifer Kim Matsuzawa
President & Artistic Director

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