Midwest Young Artists celebrates 20 years
Karen Dennis of Evanston, administrative director for Midwest Young Artists and Carl Jasieniecki of Buffalo Grove, MYA marketing and communications director. | Lee A. Litas~Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 16, 2012 6:02AM
The Event: For the past two decades, Midwest Young Artists, a full curriculum, pre-college music school in Highwood, has enriched the lives of students and their communities with the joy of music.
In celebration of this achievement, on Oct. 28 more than 500 MYA prodigies spent the day performing everything from big band jazz to Shostakovitch for the more than 1700 guests assembled at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall of Northwestern University in Evanston.
Founded in 1993 by Dr. Allen Dennis at the Lake Forest Country Day School with just 55 students, today’s MYA boasts 1000 yearly students representing 79 different communities from throughout the metropolitan Chicago area and the Midwest.
Cause célèbre: “Music has fallen off the radar in a lot of schools so it is not part of mainstream educational focus,” said Dennis. “We use the power of music to build a home where kids feel safe to come to learn and be nurtured.”
Board member and parent Ken Michaels, whose 17-year-old daughter has been in MYA for nine years, praised the organization for promoting good values. “Not just that hard work is necessary to succeed,” explained Michaels, “but also that when they fail, they have to get back into the game and push themselves.”
And administrative director Karen Dennis called MYA a vehicle for teaching children life lessons. “A lot is riding on the next generation given the state of the world today. Through the music we are really teaching the leadership skills, teamwork and collaboration and how to care about other people so that the next generation of leaders will be great,” said Dennis.
The Bottom Line: MYA will hold its big fundraiser on April 20 at the Sanfilippo Estate in Barrington.