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Dear Friends and Family of the Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative,

It seems like so much has changed since I wrote to you at the end of 2020: COVID vaccines are being administered; there’s new leadership in our government; even the weather has shifted dramatically! I find myself optimistic and eager to embrace these changes in this new year. Let me tell you why.

First, with the new administration in our nation’s executive and senate leadership (shoutout to my home state of Georgia!), we get to celebrate Kamala Harris as the first-ever black, south-Asian woman in the Vice President’s office. With Joe Biden and Harris in the White House, I’m optimistic there will be a renewal of interest in, and support for, the arts. Combined with continuing vaccination distribution, this change will begin the path for a return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy.

To acknowledge this rejuvenated hope, and to accommodate as many deserving students as possible, I am pleased to announce that CMPI has extended the new members application deadline to Monday, March 15. Please help us spread the word by sending the application link to your friends, family, and teachers.

Another thing making me happy is the attention afforded to February’s Black History Month. While this celebration begs a lot of questions, it also is okay to set aside time to celebrate and elevate the myriad accomplishments of the African diaspora in this country – and specifically to classical music. Moreover, I believe that CMPI—its mission, supporters, and, of course, its fellows—perfectly embody the objective of this month-long holiday: to seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history. Check out this article from Minnesota’s classical music station to learn more.

Finally, I would like to offer a Happy Valentine’s Weekend to all of you reading this! To celebrate, let’s play some of our favorite popular love songs that also feature traditional orchestrations. For example, K-Ci & JoJo’s “All My Life”; Selena’s “I Could Fall in Love Again”; Bruno Mars’ “Just the Way You Are.” There are so many great ones from which to choose!

Have a wonderful weekend and thank you for your continued support of CMPI. If you’re able, please consider making a donation to our organization at

With gratitude,

Adrienne Thompson
Project Director | Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative

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