Anthony McGill, the principal clarinetist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in New York, is a Merit School of Music alumnus who played alongside Yo-Yo Ma at the Presidential Inauguration in January 2009. "So many things I learned at Merit have influenced me to this day," Anthony said. McGill grew up on the South Side of Chicago and enrolled at Merit in grade school. He would play on Saturdays and after school. Merit introduced him to Larry Combs, longtime principal clarinetist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and helped him apply for summer school at the Interlochen Arts Camp. "I have traveled to many cities around the world and know for certain there are vey few places as special as Merit. Through Merit, a story like mine is not only possible, it is a reality." Anthony encourages anyone thinking of making a charitable donation this year to consider Merit School of Music. "Without the generosity and support of people like you, I would have had fewer chances to succeed. Make more music possible for more children. There are thousands of other stories out there of children who found their path in life through, if not to, music. Merit will use your contribution and change children's lives."