Martinis for Music: Chicagoans Party to Save Program

sos1.jpgJoanna Burgraf has created a project out of Landmark’s Education’s Self-Expression and Leadership Program that is raising substantial sums of money towards saving the music program at the Armor Elementary School in the south side of Chicago.

Named S.O.S., or Save Our Song, the initial idea for the project came from a partnership between Burgraf’s employer, CashNetUSA, had with the elementary school to save its art program. Burgraf and some of her fellow employees were involved with that project and together they teamed up to take it a step further to help save the school’s music program, which is also in jeopardy.

They wanted the project to be something fun, so she has created a series of after work parties at popular Chicago bars. The fist event took place at Martini Park, the second event was at Sushi Samba, and the next event is on Thursday, October 2, back at Martini Park. Each event has a $20 cover, all of the proceeds of which go directly to the school. About 100 people have attended each event. Burgraf has also gotten a liquor sponsor for each event, as well as appetizer specials, while the clubs get traffic they otherwise wouldn’t ordinarily get. And of course, the elementary school benefits in a badly needed way.

In her description of the latest event, Burgraf describes the dilemna faced by the shcool:

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“For the students of Armour Elementary School on Chicago’s Southside, music means everything: expression, self-confidence, a reason to stay in the classroom and off the streets. Sadly, like many Arts departments, the Armour music program faces the chopping block in 2008 due to lack of funding. Without emergency financing to keep this inspirational program afloat, these young musicians will be forever silenced. Save Our Song is dedicated to ensuring that the melodies at Armour School continue to play.”

So far, Burgraf and the attendees have raised over $4,500 towards the music program, with an eye toward raising $10,000. Thursday’s event will be at the Martini Bar at 151 W. Erie, from 6:00 – 7:30 pm.


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