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The Carroll-Farwell Institute

PRESENTED TO YOU BY: The Carroll-Farwell Institute

A.L.M.A. is an art, language, and music education service located in Oak Park, IL, committed to providing arts programs to people in our community and beyond. We offer personalized art, language, and music instruction that invites each student to explore their own unique styles of learning and creating. Lessons are designed to engage multiple intelligences and to follow the interests and natural talents of the student.

Eleanor Carroll Farwell was a community member at Hull House during the time of Jane Addams. Eleanor was a child prodigy in music and theater, remaining at Hull House into her adult years when she became one of the main musical contributors. She was also one of the earliest students of the Montessori methods in the United States and became the first teachers to introduce the Montessori philosophy in her pre-school classrooms in Oak Park, IL. Eleanor’s own children were also immersed in the rich culture of Hull House.

Joseph Farwell

Joseph Farwell was born in Chicago and moved to Oak Park in his early childhood. His parents  met at Hull House where his father Ralph J. Farwell was playing drums in a dance band, and his mother Eleanor Carroll was studying concert piano. As a child, Joe also visited Hull House, performed in holiday events, and observed his mother’s piano accompaniment of Miss Nacrede’s music and theater classes. The activities at Hull House inspired Joe to take up the trumpet, which he continued studying throughout his adolescence.

At 17, Joe graduated from Oak Park River Forest High School; the day after, he joined the Chicago Musicians Union. He became a band leader and played in the first-ever jazz concert in Oak Park. While performing in Chicago, Joe was asked by older musicians to record bebop jazz arrangements making Joe one of the first musicians in the country to play this avant-garde form of music.

Joe met Brazilian native Rita Cassiano when she was singing with a local jazz band, and they quickly became close friends. Joe later met another professional vocalist, Gingi Lahera, and was delighted to watch Rita and Gingi’s relationship develop and grow. He felt inspired by their musical collaboration and creative energy, which reminded him of the experiences he had as a child at Hull House. Joe encouraged them to open an arts-based institution and is very proud to have helped establish the Carroll-Farwell Institute and A.L.M.A.