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.
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.
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!
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
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
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
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.
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
“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
"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
“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
“I am very proud and happy that I've been able to give my two boys the gift of music and the gift of an MYA experience. MYA offers the highest caliber education and I'm certain that many of our next generation great musicians will come from here. For me though, what made me fall in love with its programs is that MYA also helps to develop students character and helps them find their voice. They do this in a way that is fun and encouraging. Having watched many of the students for years I've seen them develop and grow and spend countless hours of practice. It's always an emotional experience for me to watch them in concert because I not only see the talent but their growing confidence and pride from hard work and joy of working together and performing.
If you have a child who loves music, I strongly encourage you to consider also giving him or her the gift of MYA. I believe that when they are near graduation you will look back and be thankful for a great musical education and much more.”
-Mary Beth Arzac, MYAC Parent
While in the middle of another international tour with a band that I'm currently in, I began reflecting on how I caught the tour and travel bug because of Midwest Young Artists. As a freshman in high school, I went on my first musical tour to Spain& Portugal, a trip that completely changed my life... the sense of wonder and excitement that came with traveling in a foreign country, performing music that you love with your friends for people from different cultures and backgrounds. I can still close my eyes (and do regularly) to imagine Dr. Dennis conducting Shostakovich's 5th Symphony and can hear all the instruments so perfectly as they bounce off the walls of a little Spanish plaza, circulate within the halls of a palace in Lisbon or waft into the night sky. It always brings tears to my eyes.
I don't think I'll ever be able to thank everyone at MYA enough for all of the love and opportunities & inspiration that you have afforded me and so many other young people.
How cool that even as a young man, I am still traveling and sharing music with people around the world. What a dream come true ... and it's all MYA's fault!!
They all (staff, teachers, directors, parents) are fully committed to one common goal: to give the best possible level of education. As a new parent last year, I got very fast engaged on the vibe. The orchestra director my kid started with, Dr. D., for instance, is a great director and educator besides being a caring, respectful, always happy and positive teacher and role model.
Conclusively, MYAC is a great place for youth to grow their talents.
As the parent of a serious musician, I'm delighted that our family has found MYAC. I'm awed by the sheer numbers of amazingly talented kids. MYAC offers a tremendous variety of orchestras, choirs, jazz ensembles to choose from, each led by dedicated and experienced faculty. It's a wonderful hub of musical activity and when you walk in on a Saturday morning, you can tell that everyone - students, faculty, administrators, volunteers -- is happy to be there.
MYA is a great place for young people to foster their musical talent. There is so much going on - it's a wonderful community of educators, parents and talented students. The only downside for my family is that we drive an hour to reach MYA. I wish my home community had a jewel like this wonderful resource!
Midwest Young Artists is an incredible organization. My son has been a part of MYA for three years, and it is very important to him. The MYA directors and staff are warm, dedicated, and highly professional individuals who do a great job with all students. My son has learned a lot about music and had a really good time too. MYA provides a fabulous opportunity for young musicians to practice and perform incredible music, make friends at the same time. Love it!
We have 2 sons who participate in MYA orchestras. Although we have only been there for 2 years, we see that volunteers really make the organization run. All the parents participate and contribute in very meaningful ways. I'm very glad we found this organization and look forward to many years of great music with them.
My daughter is a part of this wonderful organization. It provides an inspiring and nurturing environment for the young musicians. The staffs are very supportive and professional.
My son has participated in many high level musical programs outside of school but MYA has been his favorite! The jazz program is exceptional for high school students! He is working with professional musicians and college instructors. This has been so valuable in his senior year as he prepares his college auditions. I am certain I will want my younger son to pursue some MYA programs as well!
Our daughter participated in the MYA Conservatory's jazz program throughout high school. It provided her musical opportunities and rigorous instruction that exceeded our expectations. Through MYA Conservatory, she has been exposed to curriculum and venues that were not available at our local high school, and has been pushed and instructed by dedicated professionals who make teaching their priority. It is truly a community-based organization- engaging students from all over the area to come together and make beautiful music.