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Home > About > News and Events > News > Member News > City of Chicago Declares Tuesday, June 30 Duffie A. Adelson Day

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City of Chicago Declares Tuesday, June 30 Duffie A. Adelson Day

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Jun 29, 2015

Duffie Adelson, president of Merit School of Music and National Guild board member, is retiring after 33 years of devoted service giving thousands of Chicago-area children – especially children living in economically disadvantaged communities – the opportunity to grow through a high-quality music education.

In recognition of Duffie's commitment to arts education and community development, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago City Council have declared June 30, 2015 "Duffie A. Adelson Day" in Chicago. Hired in 1982, Duffie has been integral to the growth and success of Merit School of Music. Among other achievements, she:

  • Began as a teacher, served as associate director, executive director and subsequently president.
  • Founded Merit’s now thriving Bridges program in 1984, which brings music to Chicago classrooms, community centers and homeless shelters.
  • Grew Merit’s student body to 5,000 musicians annually.
  • Increased the annual operating budget from six figures to more than
  • $5 million.
  • Led Merit’s purchase of its own home in the West Loop after completing a successful, $20 million campaign.

About Merit School of Music

Since its founding in 1979, Merit School of Music has successfully motivated and inspired more than 50,000 young people with high-quality music instruction. Our non-profit community music school is based at the Joy Faith Knapp Music Center in Chicago’s West Loop, and we also provide programs at nearly 50 locations in Chicago’s neighborhoods.  Our skilled faculty provides a multi-leveled, structured curriculum to youth—from newborns to teens—regardless of their ability to pay. Merit transforms the lives of Chicago-area youth by providing the highest quality music education – with a focus on underserved communities – inspiring young people to achieve their full musical and personal potential.

Merit offers a continuum of programs including Early Childhood Classes, Instrumental Music Instruction, Private Lessons and the Alice S. Pfaelzer Tuition-free Conservatory, for the most advanced and motivated young musicians in a college preparatory environment. In recent years, some of Merit’s talented students and alumni have played at Chicago’s 2011 Lollapalooza, President Obama and Chicago Mayor Emanuel’s inauguration ceremonies, and hold principal chairs in the Seattle Symphony Orchestra and the Metropolitan Opera, to name a few.

This resource brought to you by the National Guild for Community Arts Education.