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The Chicago Public Library Sounds Off

By Veronica Murtagh in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 28, 2009 9:45PM

2009_08_28_SoundOff.jpg Libraries have long been fighting the stuffy, academic stereotype and seeking ways to engage the community and incite a spark for learning and discovery in young people. The Chicago Public Library (CPL) has done a particularly good job of this in 2009, first with CHIPUBLIB.ORG Design Contest and now with the Sound Off music competition.

You may wonder how much the library has to do with music. The CPL boasts an impressive collection of sheet music and CDs as well as hosts concerts and offers music downloads so it's only natural that the next step would be to get involved with Chicago musicians. Between August 27 and September 27, local musicmakers are invited to create and submit original compositions inspired by Chicago. Some of our favorite local music authorities including Alarm magazine editor Chris Force and writer Jessica Hopper will act as judges for a contest that lets winners perform live at the CHIPUBLIB Sound Off Concert to be held in late October at Pritzker Park. The grand prize winner will not only headline the show, but also receive a studio package.

Between September 28 and October 3, a people's choice leg of the competition will be unveiled, with the public weighing in on the top 10 submissions via a Vimeo channel and casting their votes on a tumblr blog. Gone are the dusty books and senior citizen associations of the libraries of the past, the CPL is every bit a modern institution, saavy to the times and tuned in to the interests of patrons.

Full information on Sound Off can be found here and includes full submission guidelines.