Fine arts high school auditioning for students

The Chicago High School for the Arts will highlight its different conservatories at a series of open houses throughout November, beginning with a showcase of the music department on Tuesday.

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Students play instruments in a hallway at The Chicago High School for the Arts.

Students play instruments in a hallway at The Chicago High School for the Arts.

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A woodwind ensemble from The Chicago High School for the Arts will have an unusual audience at a special concert scheduled for Tuesday.

The musicians won’t be playing for their parents but for a group of eighth graders administrators hope will apply to attend what is the only CPS high school dedicated to the arts.

“We’re open to novices,” said Tina Boyer Brown, director of the five art conservatories at the school, 2714 W. Augusta Boulevard in Humboldt Park.

“What we’re looking for is promise, that desire to learn.”

The high school has scheduled several open houses throughout November to showcase its conservatories, starting this week with music. The other four conservatories: theater, dance, creative writing and visual arts.

Founded in 2009, the school has about 600 students.

Tuesday’s open house runs from 6 to 8 p.m. Families looking to attend can sign up online. Prospective students can meet faculty, see a mock voice audition, learn how to apply and learn about the school’s academics (students attend regular college preparatory classes).

After regular classes, students devote three hours every day to their chosen conservatory.

Over four years, that’s roughly 2,500 hours of arts training, giving the budding artists enough to continue practicing their art after graduation.

“It’s more like a technical education in that way,” Boyer Brown said.

Michael Loria is a staff reporter at the Chicago Sun-Times via Report for America, a not-for-profit journalism program that aims to bolster the paper’s coverage of communities on the South and West sides.

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