Winnetka, Community

Families to help families with Music Institute’s fundraiser Oct. 9-11

The Music Institute of Chicago believes that a quality music education should be accessible to everyone.

To ensure that’s the case, despite the challenges presented by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the school is presenting a weekend-long fundraiser designed to raise money for scholarships and financial aid.

The Families in Concert fundraiser will run Friday-Sunday, Oct. 9-11. 

The Music Institute will present two programs of virtual performances — one at 7 p.m. Oct. 9, the second at 5 p.m. Oct. 10 — to raise funds. Both programs will feature students from the Music Institute’s Community Music School and its academy for gifted pre-college musicians, many of whom attend the school’s Winnetka location.

Prerecorded recital performances, which were filmed at Nichols Concert Hall, will be available at with a minimum of a $30 donation. 

Mark George, president and CEO of the Music Institute of Chicago, said the school added about 15 percent to its financial aid and scholarship budget in advance of its fall semester. The school has more than $400,000 in scholarships and financial aid for this year, he said, adding that the school wanted to have a fundraiser for donors to support families in need.

Students enjoyed having the chance to perform at the concert hall, George said, while adding that having programs recorded there allowed for a safe environment. 

Northfield residents Evie Hsu (left), 8, and Jaiden Hsu, 12, perform “Into the Unknown” from “Frozen II.”

“We have a large space at the concert hall and had very few people doing the recordings, so it was very safe, and students were very happy to come in, get dressed up and record their piece,” he said. “And also take a bow afterwards even though there was not an audience at that time.” 

The Chen String Quartet, featuring Chicago Symphony Concertmaster Robert Chen, will perform a free live concert from Nichols Concert Hall at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 11. The concert is available as a live audio stream on 98.7WFMT and

Ticket-buyers and sponsors who donate at least $100 will have access to an exclusive pre-concert backstage pass to visit with Chen and his family of musicians at 2:25 p.m.

The fundraiser also will serve as a way to kick off the school’s 90th year, which is one that will unquestionably be unlike any prior season. But George believes it will still remain true to the school’s longstanding values.   

Ingrid Updegraff (violin), 9, of Wilmette, performs “Country Dance,” by Carl Maria von Weber.

“We’re coming up on our 90th birthday, which is a reason to look back and see what we’ve done in 90 years but also to look forward,” he said. “Instead of the many large, in-person events that we had originally thought of, we’re doing a lot of virtual events and we’re concentrating on really the three things that we’ve found a throughline in our history: excellence, innovation and accessibility. So what we do on the 90th will all be related to those words, and this fundraiser is all about accessibility.” 

“The Music Institute of Chicago is a community music school, and you can underline the community in that description, and that is why we’re doing this fundraiser.” 

Those interested in contributing, or getting more information, should visit

Local musicians from The Record’s coverage area performing:

• Eric Wang (piano), 9, of Wilmette, performing “Impromptu, Op. 90, No. 2” by Franz Schubert

• Armin Norton (guitar), 8, of Winnetka, performing “Bourrée,” by Leopold Mozart

• Ingrid Updegraff (violin), 9, of Wilmette, performing “Country Dance,” by Carl Maria von Weber

• Simon Updegraff (cello), 13, of Wilmette, performing “Prelude from Cello Suite No. 2,” by Johann Sebastian Bach

• Evie Hsu, (voice), 8, and Jaiden Hsu, (voice), 12, both of Northfield, performing “Into the Unknown” from “Frozen II,” by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez

• Trio Vivace — Elle Cho (violin); Ella Wimbiscus (cello), 9, Wilmette; Shixun Song (piano) — performing “Allegretto from Piano Trio in G Minor, Op. 17,” by Clara Schumann.

• Eli Trokenheim (cello), 15, Wilmette, performing “Allegro Appassionato,” by Camille Saint-Saëns

• Trio Primavera — Esme Arias-Kim (violin); Jan Vargas Nedvetsky (cello), 14, Wilmette; Yerin Yang (piano) — performing “Piano Trio in E minor, Op. 90 Dumky,” by Antonín Dvořák

martin carlino
Martin Carlino

Martin Carlino is a co-founder and the senior editor who assigns and edits The Record stories, while also bylining articles every week. Martin is an experienced and award-winning education reporter who was the editor of The Northbrook Tower.

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