City of Chicago Declares Tuesday, June 30, Duffie A. Adelson Day

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Chicagoan Duffie Adelson, President, Merit School of Music, is retiring after 33 years of devoted service giving thousands of Chicago-area children – especially children living in economically disadvantaged communities – the opportunity to grow through a high-quality music education.

CHICAGO, IL – Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago City Council have declared June 30, 2015 “Duffie A. Adelson Day” in Chicago in honor of Adelson’s dedication to Merit and her 33-year commitment to making music and building lives for countless Chicago children.

Duffie A. Adelson Day is a city-wide celebration.

Merit School of Music is located at the Joy Faith Knapp Music Center, 38 S. Peoria  St. in Chicago’s West Loop.

June 30 is Adelson’s last day at Merit. Hired in 1982 by Merit’s founders, Emma Endres-Kountz and Alice S. Pfaelzer, Adelson:

  • Began as a teacher, served as associate director, executive director and subsequently president.
  • Founded Merit’s now thriving Bridges program in 1984, which brings music to Chicago classrooms, community centers and homeless shelters.
  • Grew Merit’s student body to 5,000 musicians annually.
  • Increased the annual operating budget from six figures to more than $5 million.
  • Led Merit’s purchase of its own home in the West Loop after completing a successful, $20 million campaign.


For 35 years, Merit School of Music has been home to a diverse community of talented young musicians and a springboard for exciting personal transformations.  Since its founding in 1979, Merit has inspired and motivated more than 50,000 students to realize their full musical potential.

Currently home to nearly 5,000 students, on-site and off, Merit continues to provide vital access to music training, while deepening and broadening instructional offerings, and increasing financial support so that more motivated students can transform their lives through the Merit experience.  At Merit, students of every income level and from every corner of Chicago have the rare opportunity to learn together, dream together, and build inspiring lives through music.

Merit School of Music is located at the Joy Faith Knapp Music Center, 38 S. Peoria St. in Chicago’s West Loop. To learn more, visit or call 312.786.9428.

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