May 5, 2009

Student Marathon Raises $16,000 for People's Music School

EVANSTON, Ill. --- The Student Advisory Board of Northwestern University's Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music has announced that their Music Marathon, which took place May 1-2 on the Evanston campus, raised $16,000.  Additional funds are still arriving by mail.  All proceeds will benefit The People’s Music School, a tuition-free community music school located in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood.

The 26-hour event featured Northwestern students, faculty, alumni, and guest artists from the Chicagoland area in repertoire ranging from Rachmaninoff to Radiohead.  Artists participating raised $100 to "purchase" a 15-minute time slot in the performance schedule. Audience members paid a $5 per ticket for the opening night, with admission changing to a free-will donation beginning at midnight.

Russell Rolen, a doctoral student and chair of the Marathon Committee said, “I am thrilled with the success of this first Music Marathon and especially want to commend the very hard work of my committee.  From literally nothing, five students created and produced an event that included more than 200 performers and generated a level of donation that exceeded all expectation.  I am also very grateful to the many faculty members who made time to perform, help students, and donate to this important cause.”

Committee member Billy Robin noted, “It is essential for student musicians to learn how to reach out to their community and affect it in a positive way.  Music Marathon was the perfect opportunity to unite all facets of musical life at Northwestern while also helping the next generation of musicians.  I have no doubt that this is the beginning of a new tradition.”

Bob Fiedler, executive director of The People’s Music School, stated, “It is inspiring to see young people helping younger people, especially in the service of music education.  This wonderful event has resulted in a windfall which will enable us to admit more students next fall than we had originally planned.  The Bienen students have directly impacted our school in a very significant way.”

The People's Music School is the only tuition-free community music school of its kind in the United States. Founded in 1976, the School was set up to offer private music instruction to anyone, regardless of their financial resources. Today, the School offers free instruction in 13 instruments as well as voice and theory classes to more than 250 students each year and presents dozens of free concert performances. For more information, visit