Rita's Open Road

RITA SIMO

Founder
People's Music School

“Being petrified is part of everything, but you don't stop doing it. You're scared to death, but you keep on going. If you fail, then you try it another way.”

INTERESTS:

Education Music Non-Profit Organizations

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Culture Talent Fear

TAGS:

convent, democracy, Dominican Republic, Juilliard, Juilliard School of Music, learning, music school, organizations, paying for classes, Philanthropy, piano, stepping stone

BIOGRAPHY:

Born in the Dominican Republic 'many, many, many years ago,' Rita Simo grew up during the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo. Her family had no running water at home. Despite the hardships of living in the third world, Rita gained access to the classical arts. When she was a small child, a chance event occurred that altered her destiny and paved the way for her to move to the United States. Rita ended up going to the National Conservatory and establishing a reputation as a gifted classical pianist. For winning a competition in which she played Bach concertos, Rita received a scholarship to study at the Juilliard School of Music in New York City. Rita believed that to realize her dream of starting a free music school, she needed to be involved with an organization. Since the Catholic Church was the only organization with which she was acquainted, she became a nun. To her regret, the music school she envisioned never materialized under the church's auspices. Feeling a sense of despair after she left, over time she has learned to see that experience in a positive light. Fortunately for her, she crossed paths with a Jesuit priest who was teaching a course at the Catholic Worker House on 'The Theology of Hope.' Impressed by his outlook, she told him her story and rather than give up on her dream of starting a music school, she started it.

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