MSM Alegre ElValor 2

Isabella Ibarra, 12, has played violin with Merit School of Music for five years, and will travel to Matsumoto with other members of the Suzuki-Alegre Strings program.

Eighteen talented Chicago youngsters, all students in Merit School of Music’s Suzuki-Alegre Strings program, will soon check their suitcases and string instruments and board a flight to Japan to represent Chicago at the 16th Suzuki Method World Convention, March 27-31, 2013.

At the convention, Merit’s eighteen delegates, ranging in age from ten to eighteen and carefully selected from among more than 200 students participating in Merit’s Suzuki-Alegre program citywide, will join more than 2,100 young musicians from all over the globe in the birthplace of the Suzuki method, Matsumoto, Japan.

Most of Chicago’s Suzuki method conventioneers have received five or more years of violin or cello instruction with Merit. More than half are Latino, and many live in Chicago’s Pilsen and Little Village communities, where Merit has concentrated its Latin-infused Suzuki Method instruction for more than ten years.

Merit’s Suzuki-Alegre Strings, led by co-directors Monica Lugo and Herine Coetzee Koschak, is a particularly rigorous program, with high expectations established for student attendance, practice and performance outcomes. Students admitted to the program must make a commitment of at least two years, and parent participation is required throughout. Currently, more than 200 students across the city are enrolled in the program.

The 16th World Suzuki Method Convention is sponsored by the Talent Education Research Institute. The convention theme is “The World will be One, Joined Together by Children Making Music.” For more information, visit

Merit School of Music, , is a non-profit community music school providing high-quality classical music education to more than 6,000 Chicago-area students, from newborns to age 18. Founded in 1979, 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’s esteemed faculty teaches a continuum of instrumental programs leading to the Alice C. Pfaelzer Tuition-Free Conservatory for the most advanced and motivated young musicians.