Categories
Letters

Letter 2018

A year ago, I accepted the position of music director at Unity Lutheran Church of Berwyn. Throughout the year, I found myself constantly in awe of how eager this congregation was to be active in the community. Any idea with great potential was embraced with significant enthusiasm, passion, and optimism. It was through this experience that I realized my vision for a concert series at Unity could become a reality. The venue and the community had enormous potential to accomplish two tasks: establish a music program benefiting the talented youth with opportunities they couldn’t afford elsewhere and provide Berwyn and its surrounding communities with access to classical music. The positive feedback and support I received from the church and fellow musicians encouraged me to further pursue this endeavor. Many obstacles were anticipated as we developed the idea. We knew we would only be able to host the concerts if we had an instrument matching the caliber of the artists that had already volunteered to perform. The need for a better piano was the most immediate obstacle and an indispensable key to the success of this idea.

It was then that Project 88 was born. Named in reference to the number of keys on a piano, it aims to bring new opportunities to Berwyn. Our intent is to provide the community access to classical music through not only a series of concerts, but also through educational outreach to the area’s youth. We also desire to integrate other art forms into this project by engaging other talented members of the local community. Our ultimate mission is to establish a facility in which youth would have free access to high quality music education. It is, indeed, an ambitious idea that requires a substantial amount of time and dedication.

Fortunately, a group of talented volunteers who share a passion for the project embraced my vision wholeheartedly. One of the first advocates was Lucile Evans, who has been a patron of the arts in the Berwyn community, promoting artists and concerts for a number of years. We are dedicating the annual fall festival to her, in homage to her hard work and enthusiasm. Voluntarily giving of their time and talents, our artists are also invested in this project. Representing more than eight different nationalities, the cultures and backgrounds of our artists will enrich our community with knowledge and entertainment. They will bring opportunities to our youth and help us develop the talents we have in the community. 

As a branch of Unity Lutheran Church of Berwyn, Project 88 is a non-profit organization that will produce three different programs: Into the Musical World: Concerts for Youth, True Unity Classical Concert Series, and Lucile Evans Music Festival. These events will serve as fundraisers for the development of these music programs and for the music institution. While it is obvious that this project is not solely focused on the material instrument itself, we humbly acknowledge that a new piano is necessary to achieve the goals of this endeavor. Our first fundraising goal is for the purchase of this piano, which we will use to host concerts, masterclasses, and future student performances. 

It is my privilege to announce this season on behalf of Project 88 and everyone who helped make this possible. We are honored with your presence and thank you for your support. 

Welcome to our inaugural concert season!

Élider DiPaula

Executive and Artistic Director

Categories
Letters

Letter 2019

As I reflect on the inaugural season of Project 88, I cannot help but be overwhelmed with both pride and gratitude for the success that we enjoyed. What started as a seemingly outlandish idea became reality through the hard work and commitment of a dedicated group of individuals. Since its inception, the number of volunteers working on the project has grown, and our audiences grew exponentially throughout last season. We could not have asked for a more successful first season to propel us forward into 2019. This year, we have an even larger group of amazing artists scheduled to perform. Our line-up includes a wider variety of instruments and musical selections, a Grammy award-winning artist, and the premiere of new works, but our mission remains the same. 

Project 88, named in reference to the number of keys on a piano, aims to bring new opportunities to Berwyn. Our intent is to provide the community access to classical music through not only a series of concerts, but also through educational outreach to the area’s youth. We also desire to integrate other art forms into this project by engaging other talented members of the local community. Our ultimate mission is to establish a music academy in which youth will have free access to high-quality music education. 

As an initiative of Unity Lutheran Church of Berwyn, Project 88 is a non-profit organization that produces three music programs: Into the Musical World: Concerts for Youth, True Unity Classical Concert Series, and Lucile Evans Music Festival. These events serve as fundraisers for the development of these programs and for the establishment of a tuition-free music academy in Berwyn. 

It is my privilege to announce this season on behalf of Project 88 and everyone who helped make this possible. We are honored with your presence and thank you for your support. 

Welcome to our second concert season!

Élider DiPaula

Executive and Artistic Director

Categories
Letters

Letter 2020

Since its inception, the mission of Project 88 has been to make classical music accessible to the community, promote artistic development, and provide affordable, high-quality music education to the area’s youth. Here in our third season, this mission has continued to grow stronger, thanks to our audience, artists, volunteers, and supporters.

Upon learning that our concerts are free to the public, many people return a look of surprise, as this is a model that’s a bit unconventional. In our first two seasons, we’ve hosted musicians from over 16 different countries, from a variety of backgrounds, and with a wealth of diverse knowledge and skills. Season one presented 14 artists, season two 55, and now in season three about 80. We are proud to have been able to share classical music with the public in an approachable, non-intimidating manner. 

Guest artists have found our venue to be beautifully intimate, and our audiences to be warm, engaging, and appreciative. We’ve had musicians travel not only across states, but also continents, to perform in our space. As with the past two seasons, our artists in season 3 are also volunteering their time for the sake of the organization. We are privileged to host artists who are passionate not only about music, but about bettering the community at large. Similarly, our host, Unity Lutheran Church of Berwyn, and partners such as Guarneri Hall and the General Consulate of Brazil in Chicago, also hold strongly to our mission and walk alongside us in the work that we continue to do.

Finally, we are overjoyed to be opening Project 88 Music Academy in Spring 2020! Thanks to your loyalty and generosity, sixteen local students received full scholarships to study in the Preparatory Program, as the full Academy opens in Fall of this year. With a focus on not only musicianship, but also discipline and the value of hard work, we watch with pride and excitement as our students grow as musicians and as people. 

It is my pleasure to announce this third season of Project 88. We are grateful you are here, and we are thankful for your support. 

Élider DiPaula

Executive and Artistic Director