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2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Midwest Young Artists Conservatory

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: 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

31 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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

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

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

Volunteer

Rating: 5

“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

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Laura279

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Our son's experience from sixth grade through highschool at MYAC has been positively inspiring and he has made friends from all over Chicagoland. The Jazz faculty is remarkable in their ability to work individually and collectively with all the students to create excellent music time and again. There is such comfort and satisfaction knowing he's had this experience.

Anu R.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

MYA is a tremendous "like family" experience all round. The cause is worthy, the team beyond compare, and every child is made to feel like a star.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was an MYA student for many years and wish I was still young enough to participate! It's the most supportive and high performance organization of its kind. Now I volunteer there a lot and I have nothing but good things to say about the staff and faculty. Top notch people + excellent music= fun!

Previous Stories
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Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was a student in MYA from 7th-12th grade. The level of musicianship exhibited by the students and faculty is second to none. The quality that sets this organization from its competitors is culture. It is a perfect place for students to develop musically and personally. I got so much out of the program that after college i started volunteering for MYA to give back to the organization. Today, i serve as the president of MYA's Young Professionals Board. We work closely with the Board of Directors, faculty, and administrators. I would highly recommend MYA to anyone looking for a fulfilling volunteering opportunity where you can make as big or little of a contribution as your time allows.

Joy_19

Volunteer

Rating: 5

MYA not only provides the top level music educations and performance oportunities to all level music students, but also created the most friendly and warm environment for any parents / families coming to MYA. We feel so lucky being part of MYA!

Joseph L.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Mya is blessing for kids, parents, and community.
My kids are attending orcestra and chamber music.
They are amazingly motivated by music.
Thanks mya

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Hello, I play piano in the Jazz Program at MYA, and I have had a great time since I started here just over 3 years ago. The directors are great, and I have learned a lot. Right now I am in the top band in my high school and I could not have made it here without playing with MYA.

David107

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My daughter just finished her seventh year with MYA. She loved every minute of it, and I'm convinced that it helped her to get a music scholarship in college. But the most important part was the sense of community and cooperation that exists there.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Our daughter has been involved with MYA for six years, and it has been the best experience of her childhood. Dr. Dennis creates a highly supportive and cooperative environment through positive reinforcement. It is truly a special place, and I could not recommend an organization more highly.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been part of the MYA community for the past 7 years. My oldest son started playing in one of their orchestras 7 years ago, and his brother began last year. It is a truly amazing place, where learning, community, and above all, music are nurtured in young people. Saturdays are orchestra rehearsal days, and they have been my sons' favorite day of the week since they began playing there. There is a place where everyone can feel comfortable, and while excellence is valued, and the standards are very high, it is an inclusive, non-elitist place. High standards apply equally to how you treat others, as well as how you play your instrument. In addition to all the great qualities of community and character building, MYA offers unparalleled musical opportunities - master classes with renowned musicians, orchestra performances in world-class venues, weekly coaching for chamber music, as well as orchestra, opportunities to connect with both peers and mentors every single week. It's a musical home away from home!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

MYA offers such a wonderful musical opportunity for children in this area. It is always so much fun and such a satisfying experience when I volunteer- its like being part of a family of like minded individuals - from the director to the instructors to the children - all dedicated to one goal - learning and spreading the joy of music!

Patti16

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Every time I volunteer for Midwest Young Artists it makes me feel like Snoopy when he's doing the happy dance!!! Being able to give my time to an organization that ALWAYS puts their students first has been so rewarding for me.

We are so blessed to have such outstanding teachers/mentors in the MYA faculty and staff (and alumni!) for our young musicians!!! Our daughter has been a member of their Orchestra program since the beginning of 6th grade and upon graduation from High School this year, can't wait to begin her undergrad in music performance. MYA has giving her the tools and confidence to take her to this next stage of her life and I couldn't bee more proud of her.

I will continue to voluneer even after she has graduated. YES, they are that good!



Tom_25

Volunteer

Rating: 5

MYA is not only the reason I was able to qualify for a scholarship to college, but a huge part of why I was able to get in the first place. If it wasn't for the 1st class musical education I received there, my playing ability wouldn't have been anywhere near impressive enough to qualify for a scholarship. If it wasn't for the 1st class mentoring and personal attention I received I would never have matured enough to be successful as an undergraduate. This is by far the best K-12 private music school in the Midwest, and maybe the country.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!