Summer 2012

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Michelle Edgar with musician Kid Cudi. Photo by Gene Bradley.

Michelle Edgar: Music Unites

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Ever wonder about those strange designations we use throughout Northwestern to identify alumni of the various schools of the University? See the complete list.

When Michelle Edgar (BSM05, J05) landed in the magazine publishing world in New York City, the classically trained pianist knew one important thing was missing from her life: music.

So in 2009 she founded Music Unites, an organization dedicated to funding after-school music education programs in underserved public schools in her native New York. Edgar’s nonprofit brings in industry executives for career panels, sets up studio recording sessions with local artists and provides songwriting workshops and performance opportunities for local high school students.

“We’re not just teaching kids the fundamentals of being a better musician,” says Edgar, now director of brand partnerships for Warner Bros. Records. “We show them the different career paths and opportunities that are out there.”

With support from Rolling Stone magazine, Music Unites celebrated the January launch of the Music Unites Youth Choir at the Women’s Academy of Excellence in the Bronx, part of an initiative to fund five youth choirs across New York City’s five boroughs.

Music Unites also has a pilot project in Chicago. In 2011 the organization worked with Benito Juarez Community Academy principal Juan Carlos Ocon (SESP96) on a donation of $15,000 worth of instruments, allowing the school to expand its music education offerings.