students playing harmonica

On May 17, Mr. Podlasek’s second grade class brought music, singing, and lots of smiles to the residents of Belmont Village. The Longfellow second graders have been working with local musician John Milan as part of OPEF’s Art Start program.

Milan has been working with OPEF since its beginnings in 1998 and has been joining forces with “Mr. Pod” to teach harmonica since 2009.

As a group, the students sang and played a variety of music including Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Martin Luther King, and Go Cubs Go. Several students also performed piano solos, and Milan performed a stirring anti-war medley on an Australian drum. At the end of the program, Milan surprised students by gifting each of them with a coupon good for two free private lessons on the harmonica or piano.

Milan’s program is just one of several hands-on visual and performing arts programs brought to the schools by Oak Park Education Foundation’s Art Start.


Photography courtesy of Marcela Rafea Photography