MIDWEST YOUNG ARTISTS

Rating: 4.94 stars   86 reviews

Issues: Arts & Culture

Location: 878 Lyster Rd Highwood IL 60040 USA

Mission: "To Build a Home with the Power of Music to Enrich the Lives of our Students and Community"
Results: MYA has gone from a single orchestra with 50 members and rented spaces in 1993, to an organization that now serves over 1,000 young people annually with a permanent rehearsal space in Highwood, Illinois that houses 9 orchestras, 65+ chamber ensembles, dozens of Jazz ensembles including combos and Big Bands, a wind symphony, choral ensembles, early childhood education classes, music theory & history classes, festivals, summer camps, and national concerto & chamber competitions.
Geographic areas served: 74 Communities in Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana
Programs: Orchestra, Wind Symphony, Jazz Combos & Ensembles, Big Band, Chamber Ensembles, Early Childhood Music & Movement, Choral Program, Music Theory, Summer Music Programs
2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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EIN 23-7179740
847-926-9898
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

Their is no finer organization for any age youth. We drove 4 hours each way every Saturday for 10 years to expose our two daughters to MYA and had no regrets. The faculty is outstanding truly caring. Keep up the great work!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2002

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Rating: 5 stars  

It is just a great organization that help young students grow and experience music!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

Midwest Young Artists offers incredible opportunities for your advanced music students to explore everything they can about making music. We are truly blessed to have MYA so close by. Don't miss an opportunity to expose your child to this fantastic organization.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

Midwest Young Artists provide so much for the community in terms of personal development and increased classical music access for not only local young people but also for entire families. My experiences at MYA have greatly impacted my life and will forever stay with me.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I have volunteered at competition events sponsored by MYA for many years. It is very rewarding working at these events, sharing in the excitement of the young performers. I frequently stay after my volunteer time is complete to enjoy the performances!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

MYA shapes both future musical artists and future audiences by fostering a love and appreciation for all types of music in a supportive, well-administered, nurturing, yet professional environment. Our son is now pursuing a career as a professional musician. This would likely not have happened without his experience at Midwest Young Artists.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my son's musical growth

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

add more scholarships for underprivileged youth

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Some

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

What one change could this group make that would improve your volunteer experience?

none - it was great

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

met new people

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

like I had a small part in helping a great organization

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Rating: 5 stars  

For six years, MYA provided the musical, social, and even spiritual center for our family. Saturday at MYA was the highlight of our week. When my eighth grade daughter participated in two chamber groups, Concert and Symphony Orchestras, she rehearsed from 8 am to 3 pm straight every Saturday. She grew immensely as a musician and gained in confidence and stamina. Meanwhile, my much younger daughter and I hung out in the lobby, making friends and enjoying the warm, positive, family atmosphere of the place. The little one grew up surrounded by her sister's music--when she was a toddler, she'd hum various themes from "Scheherazade" while playing with her toys. At age eight, she is now a promising musician herself. Even my older son, who has high-functioning autism, participated by taping Sunday soirees and converting the tapes to DVDs as part of his school's work-study program. In addition to all the opportunities it provides, the greatness of MYA lies in the inspirational and visionary people who founded and direct this wonderful organization. It is astounding that Dr. and Mrs. Dennis could have built such a rich and multifaceted institution in a such a short period of time. They are tireless individuals, dedicated to their work. After one winter concert, I clapped and cheered as Dr. Dennis and his orchestra, clad in tuxedos and fancy dresses, took their triumphant bows, then at midnight, I watched Dr. D and a handful of those same kids--now dressed in their dungarees-- unload music stands and equipment off the truck at MYA in the bitter cold. The Zen proverb, "After enlightenment, the laundry," certainly applied. MYA will remain a part of our lives through the alumni concerts and through keeping in touch with those friends we met in the lobby, whose children are now off at college or conservatory, taking with them the skills, experiences, and memories they got from those wonderful Saturdays at the Fort.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

seeing my children grow and benefit in their own individual ways though being involved in MYA.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

not have concerts in downtown Chicago.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

This is my son's 5th year at MYA. Every year, the Saturday mornings/afternoons he spends there are one of the highlights of the week. He has been part of the orchestra program, music theory, composition, and chamber music. The orchestra directors display a striking combination of empathy, professionalism, high expectations, love of music, humor and genuine interest in the students they work with, as people, not just musicians. It is a place for everyone to learn and grow and nurture their love of, and talent for, music. Hard work and responsibility to the group are emphasized, but each child is recognized as an individual. All staff are welcoming and inclusive, and there are many great ways for parents to get involved and be part of the MYA family. The orchestra members are very fortunate to get the opportunity to perform in extraordinary venues, such as Ravinia's Gordon Bennett Hall, Pick-Staiger Auditorium at Northwestern, and the Harris Theatre. All this, and master classes, great chamber music coaches, concessions where the home bakers can shine, a roaring fire on cold days, and a beautiful setting for a walk or run while your student is rehearsing! We love MYA.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

My son's development as a musician.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Bring it closer to my home. Give it a bigger living room.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

My three children have been a part of the MYA family for 9 musically and socially fulfilling years. When my oldest daughter was 12 she discovered MYA and gradually got the whole family involved with its mission. My daughter auditioned on the oboe and the violin. Afterwards she cried. She was convinced she did terrible. When the letter came with the good news that she was accepted into two different orchestra she was thrilled! Her Saturdays, most kids' day off of school, began at 8:00 a.m. with a chamber group followed by a short break and then 5 hours of orchestra rehearsals. Sounds, grueling. Not for kids who love music. My daughter found a home at MYA where there were kids, just like her, who chose to spend their weekend surrounded by music. She grew as a musician under the guidance of talented orchestra directors who understood how to bring out the best in every member of the orchestra, not only as musicians, but as caring and responsible members of the bigger MYA family. The opportunities my daughter had to perform in world renown venues in Chicago, Spain, Portugal, China and Korea will live with her forever. The 12 year old who decided to spend her weekends playing music at MYA is now 21 years old and finishing up her music education degree at the University of Illinois. She is determined to start a string program for young children in an under served area of the world. Sounds, idealistic, but I see her determination and I think she will truly be able to reach her goal.

Our family continues to be deeply involved with MYA. Our younger two children are now filling their weekends with music, as well. They play in chamber groups, orchestras and sing. How many 11 year olds can brag that they sang with the prestigious Chicago Symphony Orchestra? Well, my two 11 year olds did just that as members of MYA's Voices Rising Children's Choir. They loved being a part of the Chicago Symphony's Welcome Yule performances at Chicago Symphony Center during the month of December. Pretty cool, huh!? Play cello on stage at the Chicago Opera House? Yep, did that, too. Sing at Carnegie Hall? Yes, last spring. If your children, like mine, also have a love for music, they will find a warm, nurturing home in the MYA family. It's also a fun place to hang out. Just ask the MYA kids! Our lives have truly been enriched by the power of music MYA has share with our whole family.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

My 3 children have grown as musician as members of Midwest Young Artists.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would like to help the MYA organization find a way to expand their current facility. The jazz, choral, orchestra, chamber and private lessons opportunities for children of all ages have greatly expanded over the last few years and MYA needs more space!

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Rating: 5 stars  

The work MYA does is truly irreplaceable. The reasons are two-fold. One, there are simply an extraordinarily small number of music programs nationwide of the scale and caliber that MYA operates at. Second, even less - MYA is quite possibly unique, in fact - are the number of these schools that operate with warmth, heart and community in mind.

I am an alumni who has never once considered a career in music. Providentially, however, my talents allowed me to be placed in MYA's top orchestra through all four years of high school. Though there were at least a dozen students superior to me in ability (most considering music school), I never once felt denied opportunity or excluded in any way. MYA does this for people. It builds communities.

That idea - that music builds community and that community is an ends as well as a means - is not unique to MYA. It is unique to programs that produce musicians as talented as MYA, or offer opportunities to as many students as MYA. I can't say enough good things about the place. It remains my home away from home.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Music education.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Institute an organizational flowchart with clearly delineated roles; move somewhat away from a reliance on volunteers.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Okay

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

What one change could this group make that would improve your volunteer experience?

Organization.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

Was this review helpful?