Founded in the Fall of 2015 by Annie Palomino, BandWith is a Chicago-based, non-profit organization, whose mission is to provide lasting access to instrumental music instruction and ensemble play to children in underserved Chicago communities.
Since its inception, BandWith has addressed the need for access to music and creativity in Chicago’s East Garfield Park neighborhood, where it is too often sorely lacking. Annie Palomino launched BandWith when the band program was dropped from LEARN Campbell Campus due to budget cuts. Starting a nonprofit allowed Annie to continue providing free access to music instruction to students at the LEARN Campbell Campus while increasing reach to new students.
Since then, BandWith has developed into a stable organization offering individual and small group instruction, weekly ensemble play and performance opportunities to participants throughout the year. In the past year, BandWith expanded its programs in East Garfield Park to offer after-school programs at Hope Jr. Marillac Center, which include growing the after-school and All-Star Band and a newly formed Drumline.
In addition to grants and two main fundraising events, BandWith offers band programs at 3 additional sites that are fee-for-service, where students’ pay for participation in the band and purchase/rent their instruments. The sites of these are St. Procopius School in Pilsen, St. Helen School in Ukrainian Village, and St. John Berchman’s School in Logan Square. The three fee-for-service programs ensure BandWith’s financial viability and stability, and help subsidize the cost of our free programs. All other fundraising efforts are used to support these free programs.
In its first year, BandWith served 90 students including 35 students in the free program in East Garfield Park. The program currently serves 148 students, ages 3-18, 65 of which are a part of the free program. BandWith plans to continue to grow its free program each year.
BandWith’s free band programs, for which we do not charge tuition and instruments are provided to students free-of-cost, are located in East Garfield Park. They include our longest standing program, the Titan Band, within LEARN Charter School, and our after-school programs at Hope Jr., in the Marillac Social Center which include the All-Star Band and the newly formed Drumline.
The Titan Band offers quality instrumental music instruction and ensemble play to students. We believe in the importance of giving children a venue to share their talents with both their immediate community as well as the community at large. As with each of our sites, we participate in regular assemblies and celebrations. Currently 38 students are in the Titan Band.
The Drumline was formed in 2019 after partnering with Hope Jr. and aided by equipment donations. The Drumline not only offers students an enriched music experience during after school hours but also provides a sense of community. They first performed at the October Arts in the Dark Parade. Currently the Drumline serves 15 students with the opportunity to immediately grow to up to 40.
ALL STAR BAND
The All-Star Band offers students that have graduated from the elementary school program at LEARN to continue with music lessons and band. It also provides a special space for our older, exceptional musicians from our various programs to meet, rehearse and perform together as musical peers throughout the year.