The young musicians from Merit School of Music's Suzuki-Alegre Strings program packed their suitcases and instruments and traveled to Matsumoto, Japan Saturday-- the site of the 16th Suzuki Method World Convention from March 27-31, 2013.
The students are learning a blend of the Suzuki method of classical music instruction with traditional Latin folk music. In fact, the school reports that half of the Merit students are Latino, hailing from Chicago's Pilsen and Little Village neighborhoods.
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime honor for these talented, hardworking students to represent not only Merit School of Music, but Chicago and the U.S. at one of the most prestigious music education conferences in the world," said Thomas Bracy, Executive Director of the Merit School of Music. "Chicago can be proud, because the Suzuki Method World Convention will put some of this city's most promising young classical string musicians on an international stage."
The students are between 10 and 18 years old. Andrea Aguilera, 13, a resident of Brighton Park says: "I'm so grateful to have this opportunity. There's really no way I can repay everybody who has gotten me involved in this trip. I guess the only way I can is by playing my best at the World Convention in Japan."
Merit School of Music is a nonprofit organization devoted to giving all children the opportunity to grow through high quality music education.