‘Musical Pen Pals’ Plays the Right Note

January 4, 2022 | From the Chicago Tribune: “From February through May, the Music Institute of Chicago paired 25 music students, age 6 to 18, with adults age 65 and over. Every other week, the pairs met to share music and conversation. Victor Ribadeneyra, director of community engagement for the Music Institute, credits the school’s President and CEO Mark George with coming up with the concept for this program.

“We have an initiative at Music Institute of Chicago called Music as Service,” Ribadeneyra explained. “The goal is to serve anyone who doesn’t have access to music.” He said that means playing music for seniors who are isolated, at soup kitchens and at homeless shelters, among other locations.

“The older adults were selected through a group called Senior Connections, which is part of Chicago Methodist Senior Services. Then we got a grant from the RRF Foundation for Aging that allowed us to expand the program.” That grant made it possible for the music institute to partner with five social service agencies to locate seniors for the program: Highland Park Senior Center, North Shore Senior Center in Northfield, Senior Connections in Evanston, The Village Chicago in Lincoln Park and Westminster Place in Evanston.” Click here to read more.