Naperville’s Mikel Mays and the Mays Music Centre of Excellence

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“The mission of the music centre is to provide high-quality music lessons, (and) program ensembles to the Chicagoland area that’s affordable and accessible to all,” said Mikel Mays, president of Mays Music Centre of Excellence. “So we focus on two pillars of cost and diversity. So making sure music lessons, ensembles, (and) programs are affordable.”

How the Mays Music Centre of Excellence started

Mikel Mays started the Mays Music Centre of Excellence in 2020, when he was just 20 years old. The Naperville Central graduate was in his junior year at North Central College at the time.

“Music and business were my major(s). I knew I wanted a music facility. I just didn’t know how or what,” Mays said.

Mays had an early love of music. He started playing the drums when he was just five, living in Gary, Indiana. He grew to learn other instruments as well and had aimed to open the Music Centre around 2025. But his plans moved up.

“God was like literally like ‘start it,’” said Mays. “I was in college and I was like, ‘I don’t know how to start it’, you know, and it just started walking by faith and everything fell in line.”

Part of what helped was winning a challenge at North Central College.

“We started with the grant from North Central College Changemaker Challenge which is very similar to Shark Tank, said Mays. “And so you pitch your business idea to the Council of People and they award you. So we started with (the) $2,500 grant.”

That money, along with equipment donations from the community helped get the Mays Music Centre ready for operation. In 2021, the organization was given 501(3)C status.

Ensembles and programs that are offered

The centre started with just one ensemble but has since grown.

“Our ensembles are two right now is Harmony and Soul, which is our performing revenue group that kind of brings in operation, and then Divine Sound Gospel Choir, which is our community gospel choir, and we’re working on a third jazz ensemble that’s going to be instrument-only based.”

And much of the fun is in the performances. The Devine Sound Gospel Choir has its first annual concert on April 15.

More offerings from the Music Centre

Besides the ensembles, the centre also offers private lessons for singers and producers of all levels in multiple genres. Mays says they’re happy to offer low-price lessons that are more affordable compared to others.

Also on the radar is a new program.

“One program that we’re working on starting is a mentorship program for young and rising musicians that want to just learn how to either make a career out of music or further their musical career. And really taking them on as mentees with our leadership team. “

He hopes to impart to all, one clear message.

“Follow your dreams, you know, anything that put your mind to, you can accomplish it,” said Mays. “No matter what the outcome may look like, just keep your head down, always recharge, but you can make it.”

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