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Music Stuff For A Good Cause, And For Your Cause

By Alexander Hough in Arts & Entertainment on Mar 2, 2010 6:40PM

Photo of a student at New Sullivan Elementary School from MusicianCorps's blog
The Charitable Cause
If you're not involved in the Chicago school system, you may not have heard of Music National Service, a San Francisco-based nonprofit started by a former Clinton White House staffer who helped create AmeriCorps in the early 1990s. MusicianCorps, MNS's inaugural fellowship program, models itself on preexisting programs like its namesake and Teach For America, with twenty-one fellows in the Bay Area, Seattle, New Orleans, and, of course, Chicago charged with developing educational programs, both in-school and extracurricular, in underserved communities. The seven Chicago fellows, managed locally by Urban Gateways, are working in schools and park district locations in Back of the Yards, Bucktown, Englewood, Garfield Ridge, Humboldt Park, North Lawndale, and South Chicago.

From music education's inherent value to its necessity for alleviating the effects of the habits of what New Yorker music critic Alex Ross calls the "fatal x," there's no shortage of reasons to support what MNS does. Therefore, we have no problem directing you to Pepsi's website to help them get a $250,000 grant. Not content to merely ply us with corn syrup-based drinks, Pepsi is also giving away $1.3 million each month to various user-suggested causes. Folks like you and me vote daily for the causes we think are most worthy. The winners get money. Dig? Check out MNS's website, take a peek at "Chicago Tonight"'s recent story, and click here to vote them up through the end of the month.

The Purely Selfish Cause
If you're more into helping yourself, put down your dog-eared copy of Atlas Shrugged for a couple minutes and make a short video to win a pair of subscriptions to the Chicago Opera Theater's Spring Festival. Your three minute video should be your interpretation of the one of the three operas being performed in April and May, Gioachino Rossini's "Moses in Egypt," Francesco Cavalli's "Jason," and Jake Heggie's "Three Decembers." Two videos will win the grand prize, and runners-up will get two free passes to the final dress rehearsal of their choice. Full details can be found here.