Music, merriment mark 20 years of MYA
Carl Jasieniecki of Buffalo Grove, Midwest Young Artists marketing and communications director (from left), Karen Dennis of Evanston administrative director and Doug Adolph of Buffalo Grove, director combined events for the Greater Illinois chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. | Lee Litas~Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 6, 2013 6:58PM
The Event: December 28 was a night filled with music and laughter for the Midwest Young Artists.
Some 1500 guests gathered inside Chicago’s Symphony Center to celebrate 20 years of MYA music achievements.
Emceed by Emmy- and Tony Award-winning actor/director David Hyde Pierce, best known for his 11-year role as “Niles” on the NBC television show “Frasier,” the evening’s program included rousing performances by operatic baritone Nathan Gunn and more than 240 MYA musicians.
The evening was also a fundraiser for the Greater Illinois chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association and culminated with a dinner for 150 at The University Club, Chicago.
Cause célèbre: “MYA gives everyone an opportunity at all levels of performance,” said Pierce, himself a former student of MYA director Dr. Allen Dennis. He credits Dennis for finding him 40 years ago. “He showed me that serious music making could be fun.” Pierce serves as the national spokesperson for the Alzheimer’s Association.
“I think (Alzheimer’s) is one of the biggest health crises we will face in this century because of the aging of our population,” he said. “And it’s not something we can avoid, it’s only something we can fight.”
MYA works with the Alzheimer’s Association in Soundbytes for Seniors, a program that provides iPods with recorded MYA music to assisted living facilities in Chicago.
“It’s an incredible gift,” said Pierce. “They’re connecting one-on-one with someone in the facility who has Alzheimer’s and giving them this music which…often touches them in the way that nothing else can.”
Alzheimer’s the sixth leading cause of death, according to Doug Adolph, GICAA director, combined events. “It’s the only one without a means of treatment or a cure so awareness and advocacy is huge,” he said.
Bottom line: A portion of the proceeds from the Symphony Center concert will benefit GICAA.