Holidays at Midwest Young Artists Filled With Music

Students with the help of amazing teachers created magical music to lift the spirit this holiday week. Allan and I took in the last Welcome Yule Concert at Symphony Center on Monday.  Through Gary Fry's creative genius in arranging the program, and Stevi Marks hard work, energy and enthusiasm rehearsing the students, our Voices Rising chorus lifted their voices and brightened the holidays for a last sold out performance, their 8th concert in the CSO series!  MYA parent volunteer, Karee Buerger put together this video montage of the Welcome Yule experience.  

Friday evening was our Alumni Concert, held in Bennett Gordon Hall at Ravinia.  It is always heartwarming to see the students (and their parents) come back, still passionate about the music that we all love.  The Alum Jazz Combo was amazing this year (Dan Chmielinski '12/bass; Ethan Kogan '09/drums; Daniel Berkey '13/saxophone; and Shane Simpson '11/piano) and Nick Hersh ('06 Alum, Cello) played a beautiful opening solo in Rossini's William Tell Overture, on a fabulous orchestra program of film music.

On Saturday and Sunday, we again held the 18th Annual Walgreens National Concerto Competition.  The MYA Orchestra Division at Bennett Gordon Hall on the Ravinia campus was covered by ABC 7 News.  Senior winners will perform with MYA's Symphony Orchestra on February 22, 2014, in Symphony Center at 3 p.m.  For two full days, we again witnessed what an incredible level of talent and disciplined hard work produces.  

$5,000 for Heat the Fort in 50 hours? Challenge accepted.


Thanks to the generosity of our friends and family this past weekend, Midwest Young Artists has raised $10,000 for our Heat the Fort campaign.

However, the battle is only halfway fought. We need your help to be able to replace our broken boiler and continue to maintain the system and keep our building heated. 

Now for our next challenge...

Can we raise $5,000 before 11:59 p.m. on Christmas Day?

Seems difficult, but think about it: if everyone gives just a little bit, we can reach our goal.
$5,000 is just 100 $50 donations.

Or 50 $100 donations.

Maybe even 500 $10 donations!

The impact of each donation, no matter the amount, will truly be felt by each and every student and family member that walks into the MYA Center.

CLICK HERE to help us reach our goal! 

29 days. $20,000. Help Heat the Fort today!

Pay it forward this holiday season on Giving Tuesday.
Help MYA Heat the Fort!

We know exactly what you are thinking: What is Giving Tuesday?  And what does it have to do with MYA?

#GivingTuesday is the pay-it-forward response to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Instead of buying material items for friends and family, the international movement encourages citizens to kick off their holiday giving seasons on Tuesday, December 3, 2013, and make contributions to charitable organizations or non-profit organizations that are important to them.

About a month ago, MYA was informed that the one of the three boilers that regulate the heat in the Fort Sheridan building we all know and love needs to be replaced. 

Midwest Young Artists must raise $20,000 before January 1, 2014 in order to be able to replace the broken boiler, install a new boiler, and continue to Heat the Fort. Every dollar that you are able to give will help MYA to continue to maintain the “home” part of their mission to “build a home with the power of music to enrich the lives of students and community”. 

CLICK HERE to join the nation on Giving Tuesday and kick off your holiday charitable giving by helping MYA Heat the Fort! 

Select "General Operations" from the drop down menu and 
make sure to write "Heat the Fort" in the box titled 
"Please share any other notes about this gift to MYA"

Don't forget to check out our Facebook and Twitter pages!

Chris Madsen on WDCB 90.9

Chris Madsen recently talked about MYA's Jazz Program on WDCB 90.9.  You can hear the interview and Chris perform at this link.  Mike Jeffers, host of the Chicago Jazz Revealed Show, and founder and president of Chicago Jazz Magazine is a former band director.  Chris (an MYA Alum and Director of MYA's Jazz Program) and Mike articulate why MYA is such a special place for young jazz students, and why school music directors love the work we do.

MYA Staffers are High Achievers!

Rebecca Rudy ('08 Alum/Viola and MYA's Private Lesson Program Administrator and Events Coordinator) and Ben Rusch (MYA's Volunteer Coordinator) crossed the finish line of the Chicago Marathon on Sunday not even a second a part.  They planned and trained for this event and feel a profound sense of accomplishment; one is already planning to do another marathon!

Is there a relationship between music and accomplishments like this?  A recent article in the New York Times, Is Music the Key to Success by Joanne Lipman offers numerous examples of high achievers who credit their musical training to success they have had in life.  If you didn't see the article, click here!

Nobel Medicine Winner Says: I owe it all to my bassoon teacher!

One of our board members sent us this link today.  October 9, 2013 by  (from artsJournalblogs)

MYA is more than music. . .  MYA has several wonderful bassoon Alums who studied other subjects after high school.  Sam Sogin ('07 Alum) majored in Economics as an undergrad and Civil Engineering as a grad student at U of I.  He is currently working for the Union Pacific Railroad in research and planning.  Ben Steinhorn ('08 Alum) went to MIT as an undergrad, Physics and Mechanical Engineering major.  He is currently at Harvard Medical School/MIT, studying Biophysics.  We like to think that they, too, will be music lovers for life and use the skills they learned and needed at MYA for their current pursuits.  Who knows?  We may have a future Nobel Prize recipient among our Alums.

:  T
homas Sudhof, who shares this year’s Nobel Prize for medicine and physiology, told The Lancet in August 2010 that he owes his powers of analysis and concentration to studying a musical instrument.
What apart from your family is the passion of your life?
I always try to understand everything I encounter—not only in science, but also historical and political events and music and movies—get to grips with the content, meaning, and process. This is immense fun, as strange as that may sound.
Who was your most influential teacher, and why?
My bassoon teacher, Herbert Tauscher, who taught me that the only way to do something right is to practice and listen and practice and listen, hours, and hours, and hours.
What is your favourite book, and why?
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Faust, because it is a microcosm of the world and Goethe’s beautiful language expresses all of our potential and contradictions.
You can have dinner tonight with a famous person—who would it be?
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, so that I could try and find out if his creativity was conscious or inherent.
h/t Gerhard Veith

Inside Information: Concert Tickets

Today's blog is submitted by Donna Schardt.

For the past 10 years I have been involved with Ticket Sales for Midwest Young Artists.  On concert days, there are always some parents, grandparents, and friends of MYA students who purchase tickets at the door and remark on how expensive the tickets are. Don’t be that person!   Purchase tickets now and save 33.3% on all MYA ticket sales and avoid the lines on Concert Days.

Ticket prices through October 20th are 50% less than they will be after that date and at the door.  For all concerts except the one at Symphony Center there is open seating so if you do decide to bring someone at the last minute you can still sit together.  Please complete the 2013-2014 Discounted Season Tickets Order Form and bring it in or mail it to us by October 20th.  You can also order the tickets on-line at the MYA website.

MYA’s first concert this fall is at Wentz Concert Hall at North Central College in Naperville on Saturday, October 19, and features Big Band and Symphony Orchestra. Click on this link to purchase tickets on-line. or the box office  phone number is 630-637-SHOW. Tickets will also be available at the door the night of the performance.

Our February 22nd Symphony Orchestra Concert featuring the Walgreens Concerto Competition Winners will be at Symphony Center this year. Tickets may only be purchased on-line at the CSO's website  or box office, 312-294-3000.   To coincide with our Season Tickets discount there is a 15% discount on any adult tickets purchased this month. Use MYAEarly to receive the discount.  For student ticket discounts (50% of the full price ticket) please call the Box Office. 

MYA's Crescendo of Ambition Season

What does the MYA staff do during the week?  It's a question similar to one asked of Dr. D when he first started MYA:  What's your job during the week?  You see all the activity on the weekend, but sometimes what it takes to deliver this activity is invisible.  

This past week is a good example of the teamwork that goes into producing our 2nd. Annual Partner Appeal which will be mailed out this week.  A team, led by Rebecca Rudy, wrote, designed, edited and produced the mailing that volunteers are assembling today at MYA.  If you can't wait until the mail delivers this appeal, click here.

We started this type of annual campaign last year when we celebrated our 20th Anniversary.  The idea is similar to the Chicago Botanic Garden or Ravinia seeking support through memberships and offering perks to members at various levels.  31 percent of our operating budget for this year has to be raised through contributions and fund-raising events.  In addition to MYA's ongoing music education programs, contributions support a concert season that includes:  
  • 28 large ensemble concerts; 
  • 15 chamber music soirees; 
  • two national competitions;
  • Bass and Viola Festivals; and 
  • over 40 performance and master classes 

Learning from the Masters

It's more than music!  MYA's Instrument Classes started up early this morning.  Gerardo Ribeiro, Professor at Northwestern University, is doing a class for violinists, and our own Dr. D is leading the basses.   The purpose of this MYA offering is two-fold: to improve technique and to promote learning from peers.  In the first half of the class all students participate in technique exercises and/or discussion about performance issues.  The second part is a master class.  Students who normally hear their colleagues in the section or in a chamber music ensemble, get to hear them as soloists, and the soloists receive feedback from a master teacher. Learning from others in a non-competitive setting is a life lesson.

Music and Movement Classes at MYA

You know you've come full circle when you see children of MYA Alum participating in MYA's Music and Movement classes.  What's even more touching is when we see grandchildren brought to classes by MYA's original board members Jon Bogie and Jan Bensdorf.  What a great gift to give children early exposure to singing and dancing and making music!

MYA did not offer any music programs for pre-school for many years, but we now are happy to have music and movement classes for ages 12 months to 4 years! They are currently under the wonderful direction of Teddi Koch who over many years of teaching this age group has developed just the right timing, materials and lessons to match the age groups she is working with.  Teddi is gifted and passionate about her work, and brings a rare teaching trait of discipline, care and kindness to all the students in all her classes.

The first session starts up September 9.  It's not too late to register.  We only wish our own grandsons lived close enough that we could take them to one of Teddi's classes!

I received an email this morning from one of our supporters at Hollister who asked if I knew any musicians who suffer from ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease).  One of their executives, an avid amateur musician, suffers from this disease and has created a website Does the Music Have to Stop?  You never know what's around the corner, and in life's downturns, it affirms that music brings so much peace and beauty throughout all phases of life.  Please check out Jim's website to hear and see his story and how much music means to him.  It's really beautiful!  If you know of musicians who suffer from ALS, please forward the website link to them.  He is creating an album of music with submissions from ALS patients who have music to share. I've copied the article I received in the email this morning below.  Reading something like this makes you stop and put life's priorities in perspective.

After Hawthorn Woods 55-year-old Jim Stupar was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis earlier this year, the accomplished musician and his family had a lot of questions.
But it was wife Kathy’s question that really made him think: “Does the music have to stop?”
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that leads to the gradual loss of voluntary movement, like walking, speaking, swallowing and eventually breathing.
Though Jim has since lost the ability to move his arms and can no longer play the piano — his lifelong passion — he and his family are working to build a community of past and present musicians living with Lou Gehrig’s Disease through the ALS Musicians Collaborative.
The effort encourages other musicians struggling with the disease to share their music for a digital compilation album that will be released on iTunes on Aug. 30.
Through his website, Jim Stupar aims to raise awareness about and money for ALS. He also shares his story and music, while allowing others to do the same.
Q: How did your site come about?
A: Music has been an important part of my life — writing music — and it was actually one of my goals after retirement to continue to compose music; but one of the unfortunate things that’s happened as a result of ALS is that it’s been impossible for me to play. After I was diagnosed, I received a call from my cousin, Bryan Harris, who is a skilled marketer that uses all different kinds of media. He has worked on the King Tut and Titanic exhibits, and he asked me if I wanted to do something about my condition... tell my story. The site itself is really something he created with my help. He talked to the ALS Foundation and told them about our two goals for the site: To raise money for research and glorify God. So, what we wanted to communicate in the website name was that there is hope, not only for me, but for others that come after me, by enhancing and accelerating the research in this area. So that’s the story of the music.
Q: What else do you hope people take away from your site?
A: That life is precious — you never know what’s around the corner — and to get the most out of every day, because every day is a gift.
Q: Is there a deadline for people to submit their music and personal stories?
A: We don’t have a strict format here. I’m not sure how many people are out there that fit into this category — musicians living with ALS — but the sooner the better, of course.
Q: Who are some of your favorite musicians? Who inspires you musically?
A: I was classically trained in piano for a number of years, until my teachers decided I played well by ear. Then, I played Elton John, the Eagles... they were early influences for me, along with the classical training. I was also writing quite a bit. I’ve been involved in the church throughout my life. I wrote and played songs for my nieces, nephews and my granddaughter’s baptisms.
Q: Who inspires you, in general?
A: First of all my parents who have taught me fundamental life lessons that have served me well. Second, many of my business colleagues throughout my career. I also like to read fictional history and business books, not because any one person inspires me, but because I like to learn about what people did that worked and what people did that did not work. You pick and choose the bits and pieces and develop your own way of thinking.
Q: Does one book, in particular, come to mind?
A: My wife and I went to Rome to see the Sistine Chapel and Cathedral, and when I came home, I had to read more about Michelangelo. It’s just incredible, all the things he did in his life... an incredible story about a human being that was so gifted.
Q: How has ALS changed the way you look at life?
A: I just finished reading Tuesdays with Morrie and there is lot in there that’s true — spend time with the people you love, do things you like to do and prioritize those things because you never know. Right now, I’m still working from home because technology allows me to communicate with the outside world, but I’m also spending a lot more time with my wife, friends and family. We have had a lot of people come for an evening, sit and talk. It’s been a nice reflective time from that perspective, despite living with this horrible disease. You have to take the good with the bad, though. I can get mad and upset, wonder “why me?” and “what am I going to do?” but you have to get on with living and do the best you can with the hand you have been dealt. The key is to make the most of it.

MYA String Quartet Takes 1st Place!

We let the blog go this summer . . . just realized this never got posted last April.  

Eight students from MYA, two string quartets, made the trip to St. Paul last week to participate in the St. Paul Chamber Music Competition.  The Quartet Morina (Rachel Stenzel and Genevieve Smelser, violins; Aiden Perreault, viola, and Christopher Gao, cello) received Gold Medals after a solid and convincing performance of Schubert's Death and the Maiden and Ginastera Quartet No. 1.  The jury for the 2013 SPSQC Final Round was the Shanghai Quartet.  The competition's aim is to celebrate excellence in string quartet playing, foster an increased appreciation for the chamber music art form, and enhance the music culture in this country.  The students might tell you it was the bus trip to St. Paul that they looked forward to and enjoyed!

Midwest Young Artists Seeks New Choir Director

This is your chance to make a difference in the lives of many students through your gift of music! The position is listed below, please pass this on to anyone you know that may be interested. Thanks!

Children’s Choir Job Opening:
Conductor, Voices Rising

Midwest Young Artists (MYA) is looking for a Director/Conductor to provide leadership and oversee all facets of MYA’s Voices Rising choral ensemble.  Possible additional teaching of Mini and Mighty Maestros.

Voices Rising Responsibilities include: 
·         Conducting Voices Rising (VR), MYA’s upper elementary, middle/junior high school chorus.
·         Conducting weekly Sunday afternoon/evening rehearsals plus extra rehearsals as needed.
·         Preparing VR for three MYA concerts in October, February and late April/early May each year.
·         Preparing VR to sing with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Welcome Yule, their holiday performances at Symphony Center, in the 2nd and 3rd weeks of December each year.
·         Recruiting students into all MYA Programs including handling auditions.
·         Continuing the development of a choral/vocal program that is based on basic music education values and goals.
·         Collaborating with other MYA Programs for concerts, rehearsals and tours.

Little and Mighty Maestros Responsibilities Include:
·         Teaching of Mini Maestros, a K-2 grade music experience which includes singing, music and arts enrichment.
·         Teaching of Mighty Maestros, a 3-4 grade music experience which includes singing, music and arts enrichment.

Experience Required: Degree in music education, or comparable training, and broad experience with stylistically varied choral repertoire. Ability to both inspire students and to create the highest quality music performances set in an educationally nurturing, socially-supportive and socially-responsible as well as organizationally and financially secure environment. Professional singing/conducting experience strongly preferred. The successful candidate will provide leadership for MYA’s choral/vocal program, which is seeking to develop in size as well as continue to be the highest quality of educational offerings, so good communication skills, organizational skills, and recruiting skills—including relationship-building with area school choral directors—are all very important.

Submit: resume, programs, a list of repertoire performed and references.  No tapes at this time.

E-mail (preferred), mail or fax to: Midwest Young Artists, 878 Lyster Road, Highwood, IL 60040.  Applications may be submitted electronically to    Fax:  847-926-4787  Web-site: Applications will be reviewed immediately.  No telephone applications will be accepted.

Salary commensurate with experience.  Part-time position based on $75/hour for contact conducting time.  2012-2013 Academic year Voices Rising payroll only—not including Mini and Mighty Maestro classes—will be in excess of $8,500.

Midwest Young Artists is the largest and most-comprehensive privately-run youth-music ensemble program in the Midwest. MYA is a full-curriculum music ensemble school. Presently, MYA has nine youth orchestras, more than 60 chamber music ensembles, three vocal ensembles, an all-inclusive jazz program, wind symphony, and an early childhood education program as well as classes in music theory and history. The program is for serious young musicians and dedicated amateurs. MYA is housed in its own state-of-the-art facility in the town of Fort Sheridan, which provides its students with large rehearsal halls, classrooms, a recording studio, and music library. MYA graduates are accepted at the most selective conservatories/colleges/universities in the country. Administrative website:; Podcasting Website:

20 Years Young Gala - Wrap Up

The end of the year has been a flurry of activity.  The past two weekends we had season finale concerts, but we are happy to report this year's benefit the week before was a record in both attendance (253) and funds raised ($172K).  We are hopeful to meet our fund-raising goals by the time our fiscal year ends at the end of this month.   Anyone in a position to ensure this happens, is encouraged to make a donation.   We are also making plans for next year.  If you attended the benefit, we'd like your feedback.  Is the extraordinary Sanfilippo Estate a been there, done that place, or would you look forward to a return to this venue again another year?  Please send us your feedback!  

Celebrate 20 Years of Building a Home with the Power of Music!

It's not too late to celebrate MYA's 20th anniversary as we also look to the future!  This year's gala is at the Sanfilippo Estate in Barrington Hills.  If you're like I am, maybe galas aren't your favorite thing, but please consider coming to this year's event.  You don't need a tuxedo or fancy gown!  In the planning process, I have visited the Place de la Musique four times, and each time, is an amazing experience.  You will definitely think the cost is worth it. . .not only will you be supporting MYA, but you will be seeing one of the most incredible collections of beautifully restored music machines, phonographs, arcade and gambling machines, chandeliers, Tiffany lamps, the world's largest restored theatre pipe organ, the most spectacular European salon carousel in existence, and more, in a setting that is so much better than visiting a museum.   Tickets may be purchased at this link.

The first hour and a half of the evening is a tour of the private estate.  Then off to the dining pavilion for a wonderful catered dinner, music, and sharing the evening with others who believe in the mission of MYA.  You might bring old friends or make new ones!  Tickets may be purchased at this link.

College + Music = ? The 2013 Midwest Young Artists College Night at The Fort, presented by the MYA Young Professionals Board

Good evening friends and MYA members. During this weekend off we are sure that some of your families will be talking about college plans. These are exciting times, planning for college. They can also be quite stressful. Since music is at the very core of the existence of many of our students, it is frightful to imagine having to give up the level of performance and good times associated with music in order to pursue a specific area of study. 

Fear not! There are an amazing amount of options out there for college-bound musicians. The problem is finding the time to research everything and

consolidating it all. This is where the younger, more casually dressed MYA Young Professionals Board comes in. They have again planned a free informational College Night at the Fort event for Friday, April 5th at 7pm at the MYA Center. We have amassed a brain trust of panelists as you can see below, and they are ready to answer your questions about the music college conundrum.

The 2013 YPB College Night at the Fort Panelists:

Chris Madsen: Professor of Jazz at Northwestern and Jazz Band Director at MYA

Don Meyer: Associate Professor and Chair, Music Department of Lake Forest College

Nathan Sackschewsky: Willowbrook High School, MYA

Frank Feger: Mercer, Northwestern University Alum 
Andrew Mall: Depaul University Admissions

Brea Murakami: Music Therapist

Ember Miller: Private Teacher, Civic Orchestra of Chicago

Last year’s event was extremely well received and exceeded attendance expectations. George Ferguson, an MYA alum and president of the Young Professionals Board, is pleased with the event planning, adding: “We are very excited and grateful to have such a wonderful panel this year.  The Young Professionals Board looks forward to planning this event every year because we understand how valuable it is to families in the community.
The evening will formally begin at 7:00pm in the South Performance Hall of the MYA Center in Fort Sheridan. There is no need to RSVP, no sign in, and no tickets. Invite your friends and family, the more the merrier!  Address: 878 Lyster Road, Highwood Illinois, 60040. Contact: (847) 926-9898 

- Carl Jasieniecki
Director of Marketing & Communications, MYA

The 2013 Chicago Viola Festival: Great Success and lots of Alto Clef

 2013 Chicago Viola Festival Recap

(Highland Park, Illinois) Violists took Ravinia by storm this past weekend to take part in the annual Chicago Viola Festival, a gathering organized by local non-profit music conservatory Midwest Young Artists. Over 50 musicians, 10 esteemed clinicians from as far away as Florida, and seven sponsors offering the highest quality instruments and accessories filled Bennett Gordon Hall, on the campus of the famous North Shore festival on March 17th
The 2013 event brought in new sponsors, almost twice as many attendees, and several new clinicians. Participants immersed themselves in a full day of classes and clinics, which included an Irish Fiddle workshop in honor of St. Patrick’s day, a lecture on the viola compositions of Brahms, and a class just for beginners to name a few. Also on the menu, an unprecedented number of master classes at the rate of almost two per hour. There truly was something for everyone, from beginners to veteran violists.
 The festival concluded with a recital by three festival clinicians, which inspired many of the students in attendance to practice with renewed vigor. Michael Strauss, principal viola of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and assoc. Professor of viola and chamber music at Oberlin, performed Lachrymae by Benjamin Britten. Dr. Katherine Lewis, assoc. Professor of viola at Illinois State University, performed Wild Purple by Joan Tower. Anthony Devroye, asst. Professor of viola at Northern Illinois University and member of the Avalon Quartet, performed the third movement of Brahms's E Flat Sonata for Viola and Piano.
After a splendid lunch donated by Giordano’s Pizza of Evanston, festival goers perused the beautifully crafted instruments and bows brought by local vendors whose sponsorship was integral to the continued success of the festival. One violist in particular was grateful for the assistance of top level sponsor Seman Violins of Chicago. Katherine Brown of Evanston encountered a malfunctioning door lock system that held her viola captive in her vehicle. Even with the aid of several staff and violists, it looked as though her much anticipated master class with Matthew Michelic of Lawrence University would be canceled. Seman Violins stepped in and loaned Katherine a top of the line instrument and bow to use for the day. With the aid of a technician to adjust the instrument and a tuning app on someone’s smartphone, Katherine was right on time and in tune for her one on one with Mr. Michelic on the stage at Bennett Gordon Hall. Said Brown: “I am so thankful for everyone’s help, this is what the music community is all about!”
Violist Katherine Brown made it to her Master Class with the help of Seman Violins of Chicago
Indeed, from the alto clef cupcakes baked by MYA Alum volunteer Rebecca Rudy, to the forging of new friendships and professional endeavors among participants, the Chicago Viola Festival exemplifies the sort of good natured fun and community that the Chicago music scene is known for.
2013 Viola Fest Clinicians :
Kate Lewis: Illinois State University
Erika Eckert: University of Colorado Boulder
Michael Strauss: Oberlin; Principal Viola, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
Anthony Devroye: Northern Illinois University
Charles Pikler: Northwestern University; Principal Viola, Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Rami Solomonow: Depaul University; Chicago Chamber Musicians
Matthew Michelic: Lawrence University
Christine Due: ASTA String Teacher of the Year; Private Instructor
Sarah Montzka: Music Institute; Suzuki Faculty
Kenneth Martinson: University of Florida, President: International Viola Society
Midwest Young Artists thanks the 2013 Viola Fest sponsors for their support: Seman Violins, William Harris Lee and Company, Michael Becker Fine Violins, LTD, The Workshop of Eric Swanson, A440 String Specialists, Austin’s Violin Shop, and John Norwood Lee Bows.
Online Registration is available for the 2014 Chicago Viola Festival, which will take place again at Ravinia Festival on March 16th, 2014. Sign up at:, and learn more about Midwest Young Artists at: Find us on Facebook:

Planning Full Steam Ahead for MYA's 20th Anniversary Benefit

This year will be MYA's 8th annual benefit!  Since we are celebrating our 20 year milestone, our annual benefit  is an addition to prior efforts to raise the contributed income we need to balance our budget each year.  Prior to moving into the MYA Center at Fort Sheridan in June of 2000, one of our teachers started a Silent Auction in the lobby at Pick Staiger Concert Hall on a concert day and we sent out an end-of-year appeal letter.

Our wonderful home offers  us vastly more options to expand our mission, start new programs and new ensembles!  However, we no longer raise over 90% of our funds from earned income.  Our $1,329,167 budget this year is raised 28% from contributed income, 59% from tuition; and 13% from ticket sales, program ad sales and misc.

This year we have selected a unique and magnificent venue for our benefit, particularly appropriate for music lovers.  One of our parents sent me a link this morning to a PBS video about the venue.  While you cannot appreciate the awesomeness of a visit to the Place de la Musique at the Sanfilippo Estate in Barrington just from watching the video, we hope it  will pique your interest in seeing it in person.   You can make a reservation or sponsor a table at this link.  We are doing a VIP pre-event tour on Wednesday for sponsors and our most important VIP person, Dr. D, who hasn't yet seen the venue.  If you would like additional information, please contact us.

Another European Concert Tour

Emails are flying back and forth from The Hague, Tucson, Arizona and Highwood as we make final plans together for our concert tour in June to France and The Netherlands.  Remembering life before the internet and email, I will always be in awe of the capability we now have to communicate.  James Rein (MYA Alum '05/horn) who made arrangements for the Versailles Youth Orchestra to visit Chicago and spent last year in France teaching English is recuperating in Arizona, but through google docs and remote access, he is able to coordinate and keep track of tour participants and details.

We were able to connect up with The Hague Youth Orchestra, the oldest youth orchestra in the world.  Their wonderful Orchestra Coordinator, Kerstin Hes, is a huge resource on their end, helping to bring plans we made last year to fruition.  This morning she shared a link to a funny, educational 4 minute video on the difference between The Netherlands and Holland.  I learned something!  Check it out!  We're really looking forward to a very interesting cultural exchange on this concert tour. . . not only connecting with families in Versailles, France, but also in the Hague. We hope to host the Hague Youth Orchestra in the near future as we did the Versailles Youth Orchestra last year.  Besides the experience of a concert tour, this cultural exchange is invaluable, and so easy to start up and continue in this fabulous age of connectivity.

The 2013 Chicago Bass Festival

MYA is getting ready for the upcoming Chicago Bass Festival on February 3rd. The Chicago Bass Festival is an event for the Midwest area double bass community that highlights the talents of bassists in major performing organizations and teachers at academic institutions while fostering a learning event for the next generation... of double bassists with master classes and clinics for all ages and ability levels!

If you are one of the following: ...

A. High School Bassist

B. College-Age Bassist

C. Middle School Bassist

D. Professional Bassist

E. Bass Teacher

F. Amateur Bassist

G. Music Educator

H. General Bass Enthusiast ...then the Chicago Bass Festival is perfect for you!

Visit for more information Register at: For more information, call: (847) 926-9898 or email

Here is what University of Iowa professor Volkan Orhon said about last year's event: 

The festival featured 19 bass clinicians, representing a large swath of Chicago area schools and performing institutions. Some of those include DePaul, Roosevelt, University of Illinois, University of Michigan, University of Iowa, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and several more.
  The clinicians led a total of 27 master classes, technique classes, performance classes, talks and performances for the more than 40 bassists and family members in attendance.

Some of the highlights of the day included a performance by the Chicago Bass Ensemble where they premiered “Autogenous Mining” by Michael Wittgraf, a piece for four basses and interactive electronics – Engineered and orchestrated by the composer using a Nintedo Wiimote and a laptop on stage.  Two pieces at the final recital that delighted were a fast paced and energetic performance of the “Passacaglia” by Handel, arranged by Johan Halvorsen originally for violin and viola, but performed by Han-Jui (Henry) Chen on bass (playing the viola part) and Elias Goldstein on viola (playing the violin part). Both performers were on faculty at Ball State University – and a flawless interpretation of Francois Rabbath’s thrilling and ethereal “Poucha Dass”.

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