Violin and fiddle stuff

Chicago School Fights To Save Its Orchestra


Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Lafayette Specialty School

Lafayette Specialty School fighting to save its orchestra

CHICAGO — The violin isn’t pretty, but its scratched frame has been well-loved by the girl who cradles it now, and those who played it before her. Her mother calls it her daughter’s “soul mate.”The instrument doesn’t belong to Nidalis Burgos. It is on loan from her school, where the seventh-grader packs it up each weekday to bring it home.LINK: Resilience! Student Overcomes Cancer, Homelessness To GraduateLINK: Priceless! Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ Jacket Up For AuctionLINK: “The Wire” Creator To Eric Holder: End War On Drugs, Get New SeasonShe practices anywhere she can – in her bedroom, in the kitchen, on her back porch so she can hear the sound reverberate off the brick apartment buildings that line the alley. Usually, she warms up with “Ode to Joy,” her mother’s favorite song, and a fitting theme for a girl who truly seems to love playing.“Music brings a little peace to the mind,” the 13-year-old says.Her own frame is so tiny that she plays a violin that is three-quarters the standard size. But when she plays it, she feels big, powerful even.That is a common feeling among the 85 students who play in the after-school string orchestras at the Lafayette Specialty School, a public school in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood, where more than 90 percent of the students come from poverty.Though gentrifying with occasional upscale condominium buildings, this is a place where it’s not always easy to be a kid, where gang members are often seen standing on street corners, and where too many students are witnesses to violence.“They live in one of the wealthiest cities and wealthiest nations in the world, and some of these students have barely anything,” principal Trisha Shrode says. “Some of them don’t have clean clothes. They don’t have items for school.”

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