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2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Midwest Young Artists Conservatory

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Music, Symphony Orchestras

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.

Target demographics: children and young adults learn life skills through performance in music ensembles

Direct beneficiaries per year: almost 1,000 students

Geographic areas served: 78 Communities in Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana

Programs: Orchestra, Jazz Combos & Ensembles, Big Band, Chamber Ensembles, Early Childhood Music & Movement, Choral Ensembles and Music Theory classes.

Community Stories

126 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

A great community for musically-minded kids! From the big ensembles to the smaller chamber groups, the conductors, coaches and teachers are focused on improving the technical and lyrical skills as well as the comfort and coordination of playing in a group. My daughter's knowledge of orchestral pieces, composers and music history has not only grown, but given her the desire to be a better (and life-long) musician.

Donor

Rating: 4

Midwest Young Artists was an amazing orchestral music experience for our budding clarinetist, who is now off studying clarinet performance at Northwestern University's Bienen School of Music. He enjoyed his participation for two years at MYAC, and only wishes he had started with them earlier in high school. Grew as a clarinetist and composer. Had opportunities to perform and learn that he wouldn't have had anywhere else in the Chicago area. Made friends he'll keep and share music with for life. And we, as his parents, enjoyed every minute of every performance over his two years with MYAC. Truly a surprise to find such a world class experience so close to home for us! Worth every penny and every minute.

Kayla B.5

Client Served

Rating: 5

MYAC has really helped me grow not only as a musician, but as a person. I have been in both the vocal and the Orchestras, and I can say with full certainty that it was one of the best decisions I have ever made to audition. I have met some of my best friends there and Stevie Marks, Gary Fry, and Allan Dennis are all spectacular teachers and mentors. I would highly recommend MYA to anyone who had the dedication to not only learn an instrument, but to be in a truly spectacular ensemble. (Pixtures from Lang Lang 2018)

Client Served

Rating: 5

MYAC was integral in my development as a musician, and I cannot put into words how much I valued my time spent there. The education that MYAC provides is, in my opinion, unparalleled by any other institution in the country. Having graduated from MYAC last year, I find myself missing the community, musical standards, and wonderful teachers and mentors that I feel so lucky to have had. MYAC has opened so many doors for me, and I cannot thank them enough.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My oldest son had the privilege to work with amazing educators and talented young musicians through Midwest Young Artists Conservatory. He participated in both the Jazz and Orchestral programs which helped him take his musicianship to the next level and to secure an amazing scholarship to study jazz performance in college. I couldn’t recommend the program enough and look forward to my youngest child having the same opportunity to participate there as well! Thank you MYAC fircall you do for our young musicians!

Joanne F.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

This is my daughter’s third year playing with MYA. What a great experience! She has gained so much knowledge and advanced her playing dramatically. This organization has helped her realize she wants to pursue a career in music. She absolutely loves it!!

Board Member

Rating: 5

I've been involved with MYAC since I was in the 8th grade (I now have two small children) and I have nothing but great things to say about the musical and personal experience I had while studying and working there. As a student, faculty member, and now board member, I have met the most incredible people who have inspired my life in so many wonderful ways. I look forward to having my children partake in the program!

Jay B.3

Board Member

Rating: 5

My son is in his third year with MYAC. Although he attends a high school with an extraordinary music program, the quality of the instruction, musicianship, and community at MYAC is even better.

I am so "sold" on MYAC that I agreed to join their board this year. A world class organization from top to bottom.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We belong to the family of Steve de Shazer and Insoo Berg, authors , and developers and pioneers of solution focused brief therapy and our daughter Amelie enjoys rehearsing and practicing her instrument, Clarinet at MYAC. she can nurture her passion for music and learns how to work in team. It is a musical high quality experience in a fun and supportive environment.

tsharp

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been involved with MYAC in one capacity or another for 15 years, from volunteer to ad-hoc committee member to board member to president, and now treasurer. MYAC has been so impactful in the lives of our children, with 2 of three becoming professional musicians. The musical education was important, but of equal or greater importance was the social growth of our children and others. The dedication of the founders, Allan and Karen Dennis, continues to be a driving force at MYAC. Their love of education, music and nurturing growth sets MYAC apart from the rest.

Previous Stories
1

Board Member

Rating: 5

MYA has a 20 year history of helping young musicians mature as musicians, and importantly, as children moving into young adulthood. We have a very nurturing environment which allows our students to flourish. Strong friendships and a true sense of accomplishment are recurring comments which come back to us. I happily serve as MYA's president.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

MYA is the most beautiful environment for our young people. What they are doing is quite an accomplishment. Bringing children together making music. Every Saturday, I watch them rehearsing, practicing, all ages, just bring tears! I’m so very proud to be part of this community. Alan and Karen are very inspiring. And we can’t be thankful enough for them that they provide this such an important and beautiful environment for our young generation. My son and I are always looking forward to it. MYA is a Wonderful place to be: dedicated faculty and staff, talented, happy students!

Adam S.3

Client Served

Rating: 5

Very good with communication and helping young artists grow.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

There is no better place for young musicians than MYAC. Dr. Alan Dennis and his wife are the most dedicated and caring people you will ever meet and have created this amazing educational program. Their professionalism and musical knowledge are priceless, and I am forever grateful for everything they have done at MYAC for my kids, and I know every other parent here can say the same. I encourage all to experience the joy of being part of this amazing organization!

-Marta Dudek, MYAC Parent

Client Served

Rating: 5

MYAC changed my life forever. It's not only the most welcoming community, but also most inspiring. The music standards are extraordinarily high because of the professionalism, encouragement, and dedication from the faculty, coaches, directors, and students. In all honesty there are no words to describe how special MYAC really is. You just HAVE to take the opportunity to experience it! My only regret is not joining MYAC sooner!

-Peter Dudek, MYAC Student

Volunteer

Rating: 4

MYAC provides pre-K through 12th-grade students from the Chicago tri-state area with outstanding opportunities to play in orchestras, bands, vocal ensembles, chamber groups, and master classes at various levels, with regular performances. They also offer music theory classes (free!), and a sonata class. MYAC provides exceptional opportunities for students to develop musically and personally, make friends with similar interests, and experience fine mentoring. The professional musicians who work with the students are highly qualified, kind, dedicated, and experienced. MYAC also provides a uniquely wonderful family environment. Parents and siblings can choose to stay in the building while students rehearse. Families can listen to rehearsals, catch up on work or studies, chat with other families, relax or nap by the fireplace, stroll or bike the gorgeous grounds of Fort Sheridan. Being a part of MYAC these past four years has been an awesome experience for our son, and our entire family. Our Saturdays at MYAC have become a highlight of our week. We very enthusiastically recommend MYAC to other students and families!!”

-Laura Gottardi-Littell, MYAC Parent

Client Served

Rating: 5

Being a part of the Midwest Young Artists Conservatory has been an inspirational experience for our family. Our daughter has learned self-confidence, how to relate to and collaborate with others, and how to appreciate the rewards of working together. The instructors are top notch and serve not only as teachers, but as role models. The "parents as volunteers" aspect encourages everyone to get to know each other, which in turn contributes to a feeling of being part of a family. With a full calendar of performances all year long across the North Shore, MYAC enriches the lives of not only the students but of the surrounding communities. It is truly something special.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The environment at MYAC has proven to be both challenging and supportive. All of the faculty consistently provides excellent feedback while helping me to achieve my personal goals. I love coming to MYAC and learning professional level repertoire alongside some of the finest young musicians in the Chicago area.

-Krista Hagglund, MYAC Student

Volunteer

Rating: 5

“We are in our 3rd year of participation in MYAC. When I first looked into MYAC, I was trying to find a place for my youngest son to play in an orchestra since his grade school did not have one. After researching multiple groups, I decided to have him audition for MYAC. What most attracted me was the various levels of orchestra they have from introductory to their highest level, Symphony, which is as good and as well regarded as any established symphony.

MYAC has made my sons strive to be better musicians. The quality of student at MYAC pushes them to also push their limits. I especially appreciate the commitment the Dennis family and all the staff has to the institution and to the art of music.

I would describe MYAC as a family. The family volunteer requirement exemplifies the grass roots founding of MYAC and makes all families equally responsible for its continued viability and reputation.

All incoming families should know that MYAC is a place of excellence, a refuge for music lovers and a home for families looking to contribute in any way they can to the success and continued development of music in our communities. The value it brings to my family and to the community at large is priceless.”

- Martha P. Arroyo, MYAC Parent

Eric106

Client Served

Rating: 5

"MYAC has been an amazing experience for our son this year! He has learned from professional musicians and significantly improved his technique. He is excited to attend rehearsals and be in company with other students who are as as dedicated to music as he is. There are many outstanding performance opportunities for both the combo and the big band at venues throughout the Chicagoland area. As parents and music teachers ourselves, we have been continually impressed with the knowledgeable and dedicated staff and the quality of instruction they provide."
-Eric and Amy Bachmann, MYAC Parents

Client Served

Rating: 5

“Our son loves being involved in the MYAC Jazz Big Band and Jazz Combo. He has a passion for Jazz, and wanted to be with kids who share that passion. While he is active in his school band program, MYAC provides that extra stimulation he needs to really stretch his abilities. He has grown so much as a musician and an ensemble member during his time at MYAC!”
-Mary Sharon Kastler, MYAC Parent