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Review for Midwest Young Artists Conservatory, Highwood, IL, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

My son has had the privilege of participating in the music programs at MYA for 5 years. Through the years, he has risen through three levels of orchestras into the Symphony Orchestra, and he participates in the outstanding Intensive Chamber Music Program. He has played in the Honors Wind Symphony, and has had the opportunity to perform in the Walgreen's Concerto Competition, and the Discover Chamber Music Competition. Although he's only in the ninth grade, he has already performed in every major music venue in the Chicago area: Symphony Center, Lyric Opera House, Harris Theater, Ravinia's Bennett-Gordon Hall, Northwestern's Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, and Waukegan's Genesee Theater. These have all been incredible experiences for him. The range of opportunities that MYA offers students of every age and level in classical, jazz, choral and chamber music is phenomenal. But that's not what makes MYA so special.
What makes MYA truly special lies within: it is the amazing ensemble directors, faculty and staff that have created the warm and nurturing environment at MYA, where each student is encouraged to strive to be the best musician and citizen that they can be. The caliber of the faculty is second to none, but it is their passion for music and their unending dedication to the growth and success of their students that stands out. They inspire students to work hard. They promote camaraderie over competitiveness. Students of all ages, from all edges of the Chicago-land area come together each week to make music, but in the process, they gain so much more. Work ethic, teamwork, discipline, confidence, self-esteem, community and life-long friendships are what I see being developed each week. Many students from MYA go on to attend the best music conservatories in the country. Some students continue on to top universities and colleges in order to pursue other professions. The tools students gain at MYA will help them be successful in anything they choose to do in life. But what will they remember about MYA for the rest of their lives? The warm fire, the homemade goodies, the unending support of their directors and coaches, the sense of community, and the incredible joy, and excitement of having made beautiful music together.

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

Watching MYA students make a positive difference by enriching the lives of others through their music performances at underserved schools, nursing homes, senior centers, and community and civic events. One of the highlights for my son last year was performing Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf with the MYA chamber orchestra for children at 3 underserved schools in North Chicago and Waukegan. MYA is clearly committed to teaching students to give back to the community and to share their talents with others.

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

MYA students are blessed to have a wonderful music facility in Fort Sheridan - one that most consider their second home, but there is definitely a need to expand. Although nearly 1,000 students currently traverse the halls and rehearsal rooms each week, it is MYA's mission to ensure that even more children have the opportunity to be enriched through music. MYA needs room to grow!

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Role:  Board Member & Parent, Board member, volunteer.