Mardi Gras will be over, but the Music Institute of Chicago will catch the spirit on Saturday, Feb. 16, with the Evanston Escola de Samba’s Carnaval Celebration for families.

The 10 a.m. event at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., features features art projects, music, mini-lessons, and more.

Founded in 2003, the Evanston Escola de Samba’s mission is to bring the spirit of samba to the Chicago area through education and performance of Brazilian music and dance.

The idea for EEDS was inspired by the samba schools of Rio de Janeiro, which gather large groups of percussionists, dancers, and singers from all backgrounds to parade during the Brazilian Carnaval each year.

Advanced students serve as assistants and section leaders at classes, residencies, and workshops, creating a unique mentoring system that promotes the development of leadership and communication skills, a sense of personal responsibility, and self-esteem. Students need not have prior musical training, and EEDS provides high-quality instruments.

EEDS offers classes at the Music Institute, free to under-served and at-risk youth and at family-friendly rates to the general population, which offer students opportunities to participate in public performances.

Admission to the Feb. 16 event is $10 for adults and $5 for children with a maximum of $30 per family.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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