Young Naperville Singers celebrate 40th anniversary

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For four decades, the Young Naperville Singers have been singing tunes and nurturing their love for music, growing as a community with each passing year.

“I’m super proud of the Young Naperville Singers team and the board for everything they’ve done in order just to ensure the longevity of this organization,” said Angie Johnson, artistic and choir director at YNS. 

What is Young Naperville Singers?

Young Naperville Singers was founded in 1984 by Helen Grubbs, who started with a group of 70 kids. She intended to create a place where students could nurture their love for singing and find a community.

Throughout the years, the group developed and refined itself to suit each generation of singers. Today, YNS has 11 choirs and 480 singers ranging from grades K-12.

“I always like to say the number matters to me not because it’s a big number, but because that big number represents individual singers that we have the opportunity to impact their lives, and that’s something to celebrate,” said Johnson.

The singers say the YNS environment is what keeps them coming back each season.

“To have a place where I can come every week and sing with a great group of people is just what’s so important to me, to have that community and have that source of constant music in my life,” said Sydney Ewald, a Bella Cantare singer for YNS.

Celebrating 40 years of YNS

In celebration of its 40th anniversary this year, YNS decided to make every performance special by bringing in more guest conductors and artists to perform with the singers.

They also went on a European tour to Germany, Switzerland, and Italy, performing songs in those native languages.

The celebration culminates in the group’s “Sing, Grow, and Lead” spring concerts. The younger choirs performed on April 28, while the older singers will perform on May 12.

“We also commissioned four pieces for this upcoming concert. By commissioning, you’re going to have a composer, and you’re bringing a new piece into the world, and the singers get to be the world premiere of that piece, which is very exciting for them,” said Johnson. 

Though the 40th-anniversary concerts are sold out, Johnson said YNS concerts will resume in Naperville this December.

Looking ahead to the future

The YNS staff hopes to see the organization continue to grow over the next few years. But as they do, they hope to retain what made YNS what it is today.

“When Young Naperville Singers began 40 years ago, the heart was there to just nurture the child. My hope for the future is that it will never be lost, no matter how far we reach,” said Johnson.

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