After 33 years of devoted service, providing  children (many of which emanate from economically disadvantaged communities) with a high-quality music education, Chicagoan Duffie Adelson, president of Merit School of Music, is retiring.

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. A city-wide celebration, Duffie A. Adelson Day takes place on 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.

During her tenure, she successfully founded Merit's now thriving Bridges program in 1984, which brings music to Chicago classrooms, community centers and homeless shelters. Adelson is responsible for growing Merit's student body to 5,000 musicians annually and Increasing its annual operating budget from six figures to more than $5 million. She also led Merit's purchase of its own home in the West Loop after completing a successful, $20 million capital-raising 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.

Duffie A. Adelson Day will take place Tuesday, June 30, 2015. For more information about Merit School of Music, located in Chicago’s west Loop, visit or call 312.786.9428. 

President of Merit School of Music Duffie A. Adelson (photo courtesy of Merit School of Music).

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Proclaims June 30 Duffie A. Adelson Day

Merit School of Music President retiring after 33 years of service to the Chicago community.