by Michelle Hoffman
MYSO alum Autumn Mays (’20) was honored with the 2021 Philanthropic Youth of Today award at the Association of Fundraising Professionals National Philanthropy Day luncheon in November in downtown Milwaukee. This award recognizes a young person who has made a significant difference in SE Wisconsin through philanthropic leadership.
A sophomore at DePaul University in Chicago majoring in Performing Arts Management, Autumn began her musical journey on violin with MYSO’s Progressions program and spent ten years in MYSO. During that time, she was a volunteer mentor with Progressions, participated in the John Downey Creation Project composing two orchestral pieces, and served as the Vice-Chair of MYAC’s first Student Advisory Board. As the Founder/CEO of the nonprofit organization Noteworthy Inc., Autumn strives to grant opportunities to impact a wider range of students, continually improving her community through the arts and fostering positive role models that break down stereotypes.
We recently caught up with MYSO alumna, cellist Abby Hanna (‘21) who is in her first semester at the Eastman School of Music. “I think that MYSO put me ahead of a lot of individuals here that have had less experience preparing excerpts. There are the little things like picking up on conducting cues or keeping those in your section informed about musical changes that make the difference between a successful rehearsal and a difficult one. I would say that MYSO’s programs have challenged me and prepared me well for the music I am having to prepare and learn in a short amount of time. In a slightly more competitive environment, it can be easy to just focus on yourself. Senior Symphony was where I first started to understand that you have to be concerned with more than just your musical goals and aspirations to contribute to a collective group and perform music with others.”