A West Side nonprofit devoted to teaching kids the performance and business side of music is looking to host a live music concert in the community this summer.

Chicago West Community Music Center, which has been around since 1999, has provided programs including how to get started in the music biz and starting your own company. Youth also learn to play and perform music.

Howard Sandifer, co-founder of the nonprofit with his wife Darlene, is looking to bring more live music to the West Side. Sandifer wants to find funding for a one-day music fest to be held this summer.

Other neighborhoods have musical festivals but not so much on the West Side, according to Sandifer.

“There are no annual summer festivals on the West Side, especially in the Austin and Garfield Park communities,” he said. “As an art patron, I would like to see high quality music from across the musical spectrum represented in the community.”

The music center is seeking a $25,000 grant to host the event. By next year, the goal is to expand the fest to three days.

A local venue would host the fest, which is slated for June just as school is out. Sandifer’s location preference is the large outdoor space at Garfield Park Conservatory, 300 N. Central Park. The music center is located just south at the Garfield Park Golden Dome, 100 N. Central Park.

Sandifer has a potential sponsor lined up for the fest and expects to hear back about his grant request sometime this month.

“A music fest can be a costly affair,” he said. “You have to pay the artists, installation of the stage, security at the event, and lighting.
You also have to assure that the venue has enough room to accommodate all of the people expected to attend. But in the long run it will be worth it.”

Performing festival musicians, he adds, will be less contemporary but more positive.

“I don’t have a problem with rap music per se, but we want the bands that would perform to reflect a more unified vision of Chicago and the community,” Sandifer said. “Some rap can be divisive and somewhat negative at times.

It’s all about bringing people together for us.”

The music center has served more than 1,200 kids in the last 14 years.

Sandifer, his wife and another volunteer serve as instructors. The kids learn music ranging from Brazilian to jazz to classical. The summer music fest would feature those genres.

Such music, according to Sandifer, gives youth a greater appreciation for more eclectic styles.

“The great thing about festivals is that they give people the opportunity to experience cultures and musical disciplines they may not have been exposed to otherwise,” he said.

To learn more

  • The Chicago West Community Music Center
  • 708-386-5315
  • www.cwcmc.org

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