CHICAGO, Illinois (AP) -- The narrow hallway of the People's Music School was cluttered with musical instruments, but it didn't slow the children noisily making their way to lessons.
The scene, a blend of serious music study and youthful laughter, was a longtime dream of Rita Simo, who left an impoverished upbringing in the Dominican Republic for the Juilliard School, became a concert pianist -- and then a nun -- and eventually opened the school in 1976.
She believed high quality, classical music instruction should be available to everyone, regardless of economic status.
"If you have a dream and don't work at it, what good is the dream?" Simo said as she sat in a room crammed with a battered grand piano and drum set donated by supporters.
The school, in Chicago's gritty Uptown neighborhood, provides tuition-free music instruction to anyone. Each semester, hundreds of people like Maria Ugarta stand in line for hours to grab one of about 350 slots for themselves or their children. The Rest of the Story