For a place that's mostly devoted to the visual arts, Galleria Evangelia was alive one recent evening with sound.

For a place that's mostly devoted to the visual arts, Galleria Evangelia was alive one recent evening with sound.

"The whole place was just jumping with music," gallery co-owner Evangelia Philippidis recalled last week. "It was absolutely amazing."

The late-September event was a benefit concert put on by students at the Clintonville School of Music and administrator Chayim Mehl, who eventually wound up jamming on the gallery's piano with some other musicians and even a woman who performed torch songs.

The purpose of that fundraiser, and another planned for Dec. 11 at Galleria Evangelia, is to enable the Clintonville School of Music to offer instruction to young people who couldn't otherwise afford to learn to play a musical instrument.

"The kids came in and they all were so well behaved and so talented and played this really nice concert for us," Philippidis said.

The school, located at Weber Road and Calumet Street, directly across from Indianola K-8, is owned by Chayim Mehl's mother, Myrtle "Mickey" Mehl.

The Clintonville School of Music, Mickey Mehl said, resulted from a happy marriage of available space and the musical abilities of her son. It's in what was at one time home to her husband's mail-order camera business, which eventually grew and moved to a retail location.

"I had this nice little space and I have a talented son, a gifted man who could teach piano," she said.

"My parents instilled music in me," Chayim Mehl said. "They were musically inclined, in the sense that they were culturally inclined."

Chayim Mehl has been doing teaching, as well as playing, since his high school days. About 10 years ago, at his mother's urging, he and a guitar player and a viola player started teaching in the structure at 3007 Calumet St.

"The original guitar player has moved on, but we've got others," Mickey Mehl said.

Indeed, there are many others who offer instruction through the Clintonville School of Music.

In addition to Chayim Mehl teaching piano, the others include Cathy Callas and Rina Grow, also on piano; Steve Wald on guitar; Kelly Jakubowski on violin; Collin Martin on saxophone and woodwinds; Daniel Zwelling on drums; and the husband and wife team of Nate and Leslee Wood on, respectively, strings and voice.

Looking back on the hundreds of people he has taught, and tried to teach, to play the piano, Chayim Mehl said that his approach has evolved over the years.

"It still continues to evolve," he said.

When he first began, Mehl said, "I pursued music very seriously, so I tried to teach it that way."

"Now I'm much more relaxed," he added. "It's more about adapting to each student."

"He's really dedicated to kids and he's really trying to expand on the curriculum of the school," Philippidis said of Chayim Mehl.

"I just think it's a really great school because the whole point of the fundraiser was to help get the word out that he does help kids, at-risk kids, to learn music, because music and the arts are such a great way to help kids stay out of trouble," she said.

Although the parents of many of the school's students from Clintonville can afford to pay the full price of music lessons, Mickey Mehl said that she and her son want to open instruction up to young people from throughout the city whose parents would perhaps have a difficult time coming up with the fee to introduce their children to an instrument.

"I think music would enrich anybody's life," Mickey Mehl said. "I don't know how anybody does without it, but maybe that's just me."

In addition to the fundraising benefit concerts to provide scholarships for potential students, Chayim Mehl said that he is contemplating opening a small retail shop within the school's building to sell items such as strings and metronomes, with a percentage of the sales going to help underprivileged young people.

Eventually, Chayim Mehl said, he would like woo some corporate sponsors in order to be able to not just supplement the cost of lessons but also help pay for musical instruments and even transportation to and from the school.