Tuesday, May 03, 2005

A Red Apple Salute For Sister Rita Simo

Music should be an integral part of any child's education. That's why we were delighted when we learned that Juilliard School of Music graduate Sister Rita Simo gives away free music lessons at The People's Music School in Chicago. As reported by CNN:

The narrow hallway of the People's Music School was cluttered with musical instruments, but it didn't slow the children noisily making their way to lessons.

The scene, a blend of serious music study and youthful laughter, was a longtime dream of Rita Simo, who left an impoverished upbringing in the Dominican Republic for the Juilliard School, became a concert pianist -- and then a nun -- and eventually opened the school in 1976.

She believed high quality, classical music instruction should be available to everyone, regardless of economic status.

The school, in Chicago's gritty Uptown neighborhood, provides tuition-free music instruction to anyone. Each semester, hundreds of people like Maria Ugarta stand in line for hours to grab one of about 350 slots for themselves or their children.

Ugarta registered her 6-year-old son, Lautaro, in a guitar class after seeing him strumming an imaginary instrument as he roamed the house.

While a half-hour violin lesson often costs at least $40 elsewhere, those attending the school pay only a $15 registration fee.

Despite the lack of tuition, the students have to meet standards, including practicing and participating in fundraisers. Adults and the parents of children volunteer two hours a month, doing everything from stuffing envelopes to painting walls.

There is much more to be read right here.

For Sister Sima and all of the Music teachers out there that donate endless hours in the cause of making music accessible to all children, we offer our Red Apple Salute.
For the latest edition of The Carnival of Education, please click here. Don't forget to send Carnival entries this week to Jenny D's place by 10:00 PM (Eastern) tonight. Get the details right here.

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