Founded in 2003, the Evanston Escola de Samba (EEDS) is a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to teach, perform, and promote Brazilian music and dance as a vehicle for arts education and community engagement in Chicagoland.
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. Based on this framework, the EEDS fulfills its mission while building bridges across ethnic, generational, and social groups. All ages and levels are welcome to participate in EEDS. EEDS offers workshops and residencies in the greater Chicago area as well as ongoing classes.
The Evanston Escola de Samba began as a professional ensemble offering educational and interactive in-school Brazilian music concerts in Chicago Public Schools in 2003.
The program was designed to educate students about world music as well as to introduce them to classical instruments like the violin, cello, and flute in a different musical genre. Due to the success of this program, a student Escola de Samba program was created in partnership with the Music Institute of Chicago (MIC). The Escola de Samba offered classes in Brazilian percussion and samba dance. In 2007, the student Escola de Samba (EEDS), based at MIC, began to run its own events, including in-school PTA cultural arts performances, classes, and workshops at Evanston schools. In summer 2013, Evanston Escola de Samba became an independent organization. EEDS has done countless performances and workshops in Evanston and the greater Chicago area throughout its 10+ year history.