We thought we'd switch up the Alumni Check-In feature a bit, and focus on the parents of our alumni and current students. We asked them to recount their memories of YAA so our supporters can see the impact their donation can make on the lives of those we touch. We sat down with Deb Baer, mother of Emily Reed to chat YAA:

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1.) What has the impact of music been on you or your child?  

Music has always been a part of our family’s life. Emily has been singing since she was a very young child, and the joy it gives her has always been there. There were many times growing up when Emily would just break into song. She could harmonize at a ridiculously young age.

2.) What opportunities has YAA given you that you wouldn't have received otherwise?

YAA has provided a level of musical theater training that we almost could not believe. The YAA performances are so polished and professional that sometimes I forget that the musicians and vocalists are still middle and high school students. Emily has learned so much technically, but being in YAA has also increased her confidence. Emily has also made great friends and gotten a wonderful sense of community at YAA. She has YAA friends that she stays in touch with even though she lives a good distance from them.

3.) What is your fondest memory of YAA?

My fondest memory of YAA was watching the kids at the Showcase performance the first summer that Emily attended the summer intensive. I knew my daughter was talented, but I had no idea what she was capable of after the amazing training she got at camp. She grew a lot that summer artistically. At the showcase I saw her dancing and singing and acting all at the same time and I was blown away by my own child and what YAA had helped her to prepare in 2 weeks time! I will never forget her singing “Burn”. That’s a high point in my life.
Another fond memory is seeing her sing with Broadway star Adam Pascal. I wept as I watched her “hold her own” in that duet, and I owe so much to YAA for creating that wonderful opportunity for Emily.

4.) Why do you encourage people to support YAA?

YAA deserves support because they are so committed to advancing youth in the arts and backing these talented kids 110 per cent! Emily feels supported and pushed to her potential in such a good way. I don’t have enough good things to say about YAA. Emily feels that everyone has her back: Rolando, Terry, Kris, Lisa, and others—everyone has helped her to get better at her craft and to feel like she is part of an artistic team.

Want to ensure this type of impact continues? Please consider making a contribution of any size to our Power of Music campaign before the end of the year. Donate now.