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William Shakespeare said it best. “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”
Sue Young, a resident of Friendship Village senior living community in Schaumburg, is the personification of that wise statement. Young’s gift is music, and she has generously shared it professionally and more recently, as an active volunteer.
Young has a Bachelor of Music from Northwestern University and a Master of Music from American Conservatory of Music. She attended advanced studies in choral and orchestral conducting, piano performance and music theory.
For more than 40 years, Young was a vocal instructor, lecturer, adjunct professor, and conductor throughout the Midwest having worked at a variety of schools, churches, and conferences. She was the choirmaster of the Evanston Symphony Orchestra Festival Chorus and the Northbrook Symphony Orchestra Festival Chorus, and the founder/conductor emeritus of the Northbrook Community Choir.
In 2011, Young moved to Friendship Village. In 2014 she began directing the Friendship Village Choir which is made up of 52 residents who under Young’s kind tutelage, sing their hearts out.
Jeannette Magdaleno, manager of life-long learning and volunteer services for Friendship Village, commends Young’s dedication and commitment to the Friendship Village Choir. “Music brings such joy to peoples’ lives, and Sue brings music to people in and around Friendship Village. She is absolutely tireless, giving so much of her time and experience,” said Magdaleno.
Young’s work with the Friendship Village Choir is both behind the scenes where she plans and coordinates, as well as up front where she directs and accompanies. “Sue devotes 60-80 hours each week with ‘unseen’ tasks including planning rehearsals, preparing and ordering music, designing programs, communicating with singers and more,” said Magdaleno. This is in addition to directing the weekly rehearsals.
Performances, of course, demand more of Young’s time. “We have regular concerts at Friendship Village including a quarterly remembrance service, Spring Fling in May, and holiday concerts,” said Magdaleno. Special events at which the choir performs include Friendship Village’s annual anniversary celebration and talent shows. Intergenerational events out in the greater Schaumburg community have included sharing music with children at Home and Aid Society in Schaumburg and collaborations with Hoover Math and Science Academy, Armstrong Grade School and Ogden School. There have been concerts with Bethlehem Woods Retirement Community and Northbrook Community Choir, and more. Last year the choir sang the National Anthem at a Schaumburg Boomers game and the Chicago Wolves Hockey Game. They also performed for ecumenical services for the Schaumburg Hoffman Estates Clergy Association.
Aside from working with the Friendship Village Choir, Young has been a teaching assistant volunteer at Hoover Math and Science Academy, and a member of the Land Stewardship Committee and the Activities Committees for Friendship Village.
Young said that she finds joy in the work she does. “I am so grateful for being allowed the privilege of being able to share my passion for choral music with the youngest children from Home and Aid, through the grade-school-age children, to the seniors at Friendship Village and beyond. The rewards of volunteering to make music within the community of Schaumburg and experiencing the joy it brings to others through mutual respect and collaboration are immeasurable."
Read the story as it appears in Daily Herald.