Positive point: the People’s Music School has a new leader


A People’s Music School student learns guitar in a secluded outdoor setting last summer. Photo courtesy of People’s Music School.

A school that has given free music lessons to thousands of Chicago kids has a new leader.

  • Francis “Frank” Graffeo arrived this week to direct the popular music school at 901 W. Eastwood, where it has been since 1995, with satellite spots in Albany Park, Back of the Yards and Grand Crossing.

Fund: The school was founded in 1976 by Rita Simo, a old nun with a piano donated to an Uptown hair salon. She died in 2020.

How it works: Professional musicians teach students music theory, performance, and ensemble collaboration.

  • The parents of the students help with the maintenance and operation of the school as payment of school fees.

The results: The school attracts students from all 50 Chicago ZIP codes and boasts a 100% high school graduation and college attendance rate.

Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to indicate that the People’s Music School has been located at 901 W. Eastwood since 1995 and is not a new location.


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