Our Mission and History

The Young Americans®, founded in 1962, is a charitable organization dedicated to the promotion of understanding and goodwill among people throughout the world through music, dance, performance, academic education, and cultural interaction among Student Members and their audiences.

It is the intention of The Young Americans organization that Student Members represent a mixture of religious and non-religious beliefs. Student Members will also have differing political persuasions. The Young Americans organization, however, does not endorse any political or religious agenda.

Student Members are accepted into the organization based upon their talent and their interest in helping other students throughout America and the world to attain self-confidence, self-esteem, and respect for others through music, dance, and performance.

Learn more about our Founder, MILTON C. ANDERSON

miltandersonMilton C. Anderson was born in Rockford, Illinois. He attended the University of Iowa and received his undergraduate degree in choral music and education from the University of Cincinnati in Ohio.

After coming to California for graduate work at UCLA, where he received his M.A. in Music Composition, he became a Musical Director for CBS Television in Hollywood, working on such shows as Playhouse 90, Rawhide, and The Twilight Zone.

Before he founded The Young Americans, Mr. Anderson worked extensively in television variety. He designed musical numbers for more than 27 major musical network television shows on CBS, NBC, and ABC, and produced three music specials. During that time Mr. Anderson worked with some of the most legendary entertainers of the century including Gene Kelly, Perry Como, Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby, Judy Garland, Johnny Mathis, Kate Smith, Julie Andrews, and Tennessee Ernie Ford.

In 1962, Milton Anderson founded The Young Americans, the world’s first “show choir.” Their success has become legendary. They have come to exemplify all that is good in the youth of America. The Young Americans continue to bring entertainment, excitement, and hope to audiences everywhere with their International Music Outreach Tours, annual Christmas Show, documentaries, and recordings.

Mr. Anderson is in his happiest element when he is directing chorally or composing music, and is able to work with the new group of 100+ Young Americans that join the current group each year.

A smile from Mr. Anderson has inspired thousands of Young Americans to do their best for over 50 years. Milton and his wife Susan reside down the road from Boyne Highlands, in Harbor Springs, Michigan, where The Young Americans has presented their annual dinner theatre for 39 summers. Milt has three wonderful children, Susan, Steve, and Missy, and 12 grandchildren.

In addition to the extensive catalog of music Mr. Anderson has composed during his career, he is an accomplished author and published a book called Choices outlining the teaching methods of The Young Americans and their overall view of the teaching profession and educational techniques. Mr. Anderson has also published a book of his photographic works, One More Summer, featuring breathtaking pictures of Northern Michigan.

timeline_pre_loader
1962 to Today • The Young Americans

1965 • Television Specials

The Young Americans perform with well-known artists Johnny Mathis, Julie Andrews, James McCraken, Dorothy Kirsten, Vic Damone, George Burns, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Henry Mancini, and Dean Martin; appear on Bing Crosby TV Special, Johnny Carson Show, and Ed Sullivan Show.

1968 • The Young Americans film wins an Academy Award

The Young Americans’ film wins Academy Award for full-length documentary. YAs begin touring with 2-hour concert tours both domestically and internationally including Japan, Far East, and Canada.

1976 • Celebrating America’s Bicentennial

founderstory_1976

The Young Americans spend a summer doing nightly performances at the foot of the Washington Monument as part of the Bicentennial Celebration. Also began national 9-month tours of Oklahoma! and The Music Man as part of Columbia Artists Community Concert Series.

1977 • America's 2nd Longest Running Dinner Theatre began

This was our Executive Director Bill Brawley’s first lead project since joining the group at the age of 18 in 1973. He helped create The Young Americans Dinner Theatre at Boyne Highlands Resort in the northern Michigan town of Harbor Springs. At the same time, we had ongoing national tours of West Side Story and To Richard Rodgers with Love.

1981 • The Young Americans in Europe

The YAs tour to Japan and France with performances on the Mediterranean Sea in addition to the Gershwin national tour.

1992 • Our National Music Outreach Tour was created

After several years of hosting national choral invitationals in Southern California, and after witnessing the removal of music programs in our nation’s schools due to budget cuts, The Young Americans decide to create the National Music Outreach Tour. What was its purpose? To bring music back into schools, opening doors of discovery for the musical talents of young people. Students spend 3 days learning to work together, to respect each other’s strengths, and to discover their own potential – all through the universal language of music and dance.

founderstory_1992

2000 • Our International Music Outreach Tours begin

The first International Music Outreach Tour visits Australia and New Zealand, with tours to Europe following in 2001 and 2002 visiting England, Germany, and Ukraine. As our International Tours expanded quickly into the rest of the United Kingdom, Ireland, and mainland Europe, we began visiting additional countries around the world including Japan in 2006, Russia in 2009, China in 2012, and South Africa in 2013.

2002 • The Young Americans College of the Performing Arts

We establish The Young Americans College of the Performing Arts (formerly California Pacific College of the Performing Arts) in southern California with the goal to offer college credit in music, dance, performance, and teaching methods to Young Americans student performers.

2010 • National Tour Summer Camps

With the success of our 3-day signature workshops across the world, it was a natural progression to begin supporting schools with performing arts programs during their summer breaks. We began offering 5-day performing arts summer camps to communities across the United States with the National Tour Summer Camps.

2013 • Turn Up The Music Campaign is created

We’ve strengthened our mission by giving directly back to our nation’s music programs through the Turn Up the Music campaign, our one million dollar commitment to the arts.  In 2015 alone, we gave $220,000 nationally, visited 236 communities, and worked with over 52,000 school-aged students with total support to date equaling $650,000.

2013 • Arena Shows, Turn It Up UK & Turn It Up Socal

One of our International Booking Directors, Simon Massey, saw an opportunity to celebrate the power of music on an even larger scale. He produced our first ever Turn It Up Arena show by bringing together 8 schools and 900+ students at the MetroRadio Arena in Newcastle, England. With its success, Turn It Up SoCal followed in 2015 bringing together 1000+ students at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, CA.