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Internationally acclaimed trumpeter and Merit School of Music alum Marquis Hill at City Winery

By Raymond Ward, The New 411

THE 411 1Chicago’s Merit School of Music presents its 2nd Annual “Play On” concert benefiting music education, to be headlined by Merit alum, internationally renowned musician, composer and bandleader Marquis Hill, at City Winery Chicago, 1200 W. Randolph St., on Monday, March 2, at 7:00 p.m. Joining Hill will be fellow Merit alumni, Detroit-based jazz pianist Alexis Lombre and Chicago singer/songwriter Christine Whack as emcee. Opening the concert will be the current Merit Honors Jazz Combo, Merit’s highest-level Conservatory jazz ensemble. “Play On” is presented by @properties.

Recently cited by the New York Times as releasing one of the nation’s Top Jazz Albums of 2019, Hill breaks down the barriers that divide musical genres, effortlessly fusing contemporary and classic jazz, hip hop, R&B, Chicago House, and neo-soul. This thrilling artist, born and raised on Chicago’s culturally rich South Side, became a presence on the global scene virtually overnight after winning the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz International Trumpet Competition in 2014. Hill attended Merit from 2002-05, studying under the late Michael McLaughlin, who also trained fellow Merit alumni and renowned trumpeters, Nico Segal and Will Miller.

Said Hill: “My Merit experience was absolutely amazing. Merit helped me prepare mentally and musically for college and the real world. I am honored to ‘pay it forward’ at this concert by helping raise funds to provide access to the quality music education I was fortunate to receive. Though I travel the world, Chicago will always be my home and Merit my foundation.”

For more than 40 years, Merit School of Music has been dedicated to helping young people transform their lives by providing equal access to a high-quality music education, with nearly 70 percent of students benefitting from need-based financial aid and low-cost instrument rental. Merit enables motivated students, regardless of economic circumstance, to develop their talent and to use music as a springboard for achieving their full personal potential, with virtually 100 percent of conservatory graduates going on to college.

“Play On” benefit concert tickets are priced from $25-$45 and are on sale now by visiting or calling (312) 733-9463. A limited number of special MOJO VIP package tickets are available for $100 and include premium seating, a specially-curated “Play On” bottle of City Winery wine and special edition Merit t-shirt.

For more information on Merit School of Music and its 2nd Annual “Play On” benefit concert, visit

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