If you have ever attended a Bridgewater State College convocation or other official ceremony it is likely that Professor Steven Young of the Music Department was the organist. Although Professor Young attained full time faculty status in 1998, he has been a part time member of the Music Department since 1985. During his years at Bridgewater he has taken on a number of teaching, choral and performance roles along with giving occasional organ recitals, and of course becoming a permanent fixture at College events.
Currently, Professor Young has a broad teaching schedule. He is responsible for the College Choir, which numbers forty students, and the Chamber Singers, a more select group of students who form an a capella ensemble. Professor Young also teaches upper level courses in Music Theory and Form and Analysis, two courses which provide students with a knowledge of the rules of composition and the process of developing a musical composition.
When he is not working with the choral groups or in the classroom, Professor Young is involved with pursuing his passion, organ music. He has been the featured soloist in concerts throughout the northeast, including a recent performance in New York City at the Church of St. Thomas on Fifth Avenue. He is also the choir director and organist at St. Catherine's Catholic Church in Norwood, where he leads a group of thirty singers.
It is clear from conversations with Professor Young that he is deeply committed to the organ and to organ music. He stated that playing the organ provides him, "with the ability to mix and combine sounds and to play the works of some of the great composers like Johann Sebastian Bach and Felix Mendelssohn." During a walk through the Campus Center on any afternoon it is possible to hear Professor Young toiling away at the keyboard, giving his interpretation of the great organ masters such as Jean Guillou and Louis Vierne.
His love of organ music has influenced his academic research. He is at work on a project that began with a visit to Paris a few years ago. Using a grant from the Center for the Advancement of Research and Teaching ( CART ), Professor Young hopes to further his study of two French organ composers, Mailly and Guilmant, whose works have not been given proper attention. Professor Young is interested in not only writing on the work of these composers, but preparing a CD which will bring their work to a larger contemporary audience.
While Professor Young's research allows him to pursue his love of organ music, his heart remains in teaching. He is responsible for the First Friday Concert Series that the Music Department puts on at the Horace Mann Auditorium. The concerts are designed to enhance interest in music on campus. Professor Young also has become involved with chamber groups in local area high schools. He sees his involvement not only as a way of increasing interest in music, but also as a recruiting tool for potential music majors at the College. His most formidable task, however, is taking a group of college students who do not possess prior music training and transforming them into a quality choir. Professor Young is the first to admit that it is a challenge to keep rehearsals interesting and the students focused. He often gives the students background notes on the composers and the history of the composition. He also selects a mix of music from little known American composers to pieces from other countries and other time periods. His experience with college students has been rewarding, as is evidenced by the smile that comes to his face when he discusses his work with the choral groups.
Music is an important part of a liberal arts experience. Professor Steven Young is hard at work providing a range of music opportunities for the students at the College. But if you do not have an opportunity to benefit from his teaching and choral direction, then remember, whenever you attend a College function and hear the powerful music of the organ, it is likely that Professor Steven Young is at the keyboard.