A North Central resident who was previously director of music for a local church and school for 30 years is taking on a new role at the Arizona Masterworks Chorale.
Scott Youngs was recently appointed as music director for the chorale, which was founded in 1979 and performs around the United States and Europe. Previously Youngs served as director of music for All Saints’ Episcopal Church. Instructing children in choral music, as well as conducting adults in the different choirs at the church on north Central Avenue was a great experience, Youngs said.
“The church had a fabulous music program,” he said. “They were very well-known for their chorale program. We got to do tremendous literature. The kids were like sponges; they learned so rapidly. They had such a good time. They ended up being miniature professionals.”
Youngs, who also is music director for the Arizona Bach Festival, is eager to branch out to conduct secular music in his new role. He has been familiar with the Arizona Masterworks Chorale and its founder and previous director Mary Ann Dutton, who died in 2016. Karen Parthun led the chorale during the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons. A thorough vetting process was done to select Youngs for the position.
“When I left All Saints it made perfect sense to have a new opportunity,” he said.
The Arizona Masterworks Chorale hosted two workshops – one for current members and one for the public – last month. Singers must audition to remain in the chorale and if they want to be considered as future members. They vary in age from teenagers to older adults. This choir has 36 members but Youngs said he expects to grow it to about 60 singers. The group rehearses in Scottsdale but will perform at a North Central church, among other venues.
As a choral conductor, Youngs has toured frequently, recorded many CDs and conducted for MidAmerica Productions at Carnegie Hall in New York City. As a highly respected organist and pianist, he has taught and performed around the country, as well as in Europe and South America.
For his first season with the chorale, Youngs plans a series of concerts called “American Beauty,” which will focus on American music, including songs about coming home and family, as well as a performance of seasonal tunes around Christmas and pieces about love over Valentine’s Day weekend.
A baritone, Youngs said he likes a “very well-blended” sound in a choir and his goal is for singers to learn how to control their vocal production. He loves teaching and does not expect perfection from singers but wants them to have a good work ethic and be adaptable.
“It is a community choir,” Youngs said. “You have to enjoy it. My job is to make sure they have a common goal and can be better as a group than they are individually.”
To learn more about the chorale, visit www.arizonamasterworks.com.