SOUTHMINSTER PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
CELEBRATES NANCY YOUNG’S
55-YEARS of MUSIC MINISTRY
On Sunday, May 31, 2015, Southminster Presbyterian Church celebrated the 55-years of music ministry of Nancy Young. Nancy worked devotedly as Music Director alongside each of the seven pastors during the church’s history. The congregation was joined by many of Nancy’s family members and friends who came to honor Nancy upon her retirement.
The Service of Worship and Celebration was filled with joyful music, including many of Nancy’s favorite hymns and the anthem “Sweet Harmony” by composer Pepper Choplin. This anthem was commissioned by Southminster for the 50-Year Anniversary Celebration of the church in 2010. It was dedicated to Nancy Young at that time to celebrate her Music Ministry.
Musical participants in the service were: former Organist Susan Steppe of Memphis, TN; Pianist Luke Roman; Southminster members Barbara Cobb, Nancy Roberts and Paul Vandermeer; and the Southminster Choir under the direction of new Music Director Bethany Reynolds.
The congregation had many fond memories rekindled as pastors and friends shared their special thoughts about working with Nancy Young:
Nancy Young had a music ministry, spanning over 50 years. She was always delightful to work with… and her faith was always at work through the music she directed. Gary D. Stratman, Pastor 1979-1983
Nancy knew her job and she did it faithfully, beautifully, gracefully and professionally. She professed her faith through her musical choices and throughout the joy for which the choir sang. Amelia B. Canon, Pastor 2001- 2007
Nancy never picked an anthem that I didn’t like. James A. Nichols, Pastor 1988-1999
Nancy has been a stalwart member of the Worship Team here at Southminster. As a pastor and worship leader, I so appreciate the faithfulness, knowledge and passion for music that she brings to our congregation. Nancy spent untold hours of study and preparation for each week’s service. She studied the scriptures and matched the anthem to the scripture and sermon text. Although Nancy is retiring as our Music Director, we are very fortunate that she will continue to sing with the choir. John G. Crawford, Pastor 2008 to Present.
A tribute from the Southminster Choir was presented by choir member Susan Christison. The choir’s deep affection and love for their Director was clearly stated throughout the humorous stories and precious memories shared. Remarks describing Nancy and her tenure included, “Nancy’s dedication, deep faith and spirit of calmness enabled her to provide support and positive encouragement to every member of the choir. Week after week Nancy
brought a variety of music to the worship services. Her encouragement always came, regardless of how good or how bad choir practice had been. Nancy would often say, ‘You don’t want to peak too early.’ Even throughout Nancy’s times of personal life crises and illness, Nancy’s persistence kept us all going.” Southminster continues to be blessed as musical talents continue to be shared for the Glory of God. New Music Director Bethany Reynolds expresses her thankfulness, gratitude and excitement as she begins her ministry, “I am fortunate to have Nancy Young as an advisor, mentor and choir member. Although I have been a life-time professional musician and teacher, I am beginning my first job with a church choir. Nancy’s vast experience is invaluable to me in many ways, such as selecting appropriate music. It’s an amazing privilege to work with her. Plus, I think the world of Nancy Young on a personal basis.”
Nancy Headden and her husband Carroll Young met at the University of Tennessee where Nancy was a cheerleader and Carroll played football. Her very first opportunity to serve as a choir director came during her Junior and Senior years at UT. Nancy was elected by her Kappa Delta Sorority sisters to be their Director in the campus-wide All Sing competitions. Nancy shares
that after a few rehearsals; she was feeling a lack of confidence for this early challenge. Nancy discussed it with the sorority’s professional music sponsor for the event. He said to her, “Young lady, I have watched you, and you can do more with your eyes and face than I can do with my hands.” And that planted a seed which grew into a confidence of directing throughout her career.
After Nancy and Carroll Young were married on October 30, 1959, they moved to Nashville into the Crieve Hall community. Nancy and Carroll had three children: David, Steve and Sharon; and 8 grandchildren. Only a couple of days after moving into their home on Blackman Road in the
late Fall of 1959, Southminster’s pastor Dr. Bob Thomas came knocking on their door. As they became acquainted, Dr. Thomas observed the family’s piano and learned of Nancy’s love for music. Before the pastor left, he had a commitment from Nancy to attend Southminster’s Choir Practice that very week.
From the archives of The Silver Jubilee . . . “I can’t do it,” was never a phrase in Bob Thomas’ vocabulary. Nancy and Carroll Young were ushered to the choir one of the first Sundays they remember attending. The two of them along with Mr. Thomas and one other person made up the choir that Sunday. One Sunday Mr. Thomas greeted Nancy at the door very excited because of his “procurement” of a pump organ for this new church. Nancy, who had never played an organ, begged for at least one week to practice. However, during the service Rev. Thomas “inspired” Nancy to play just one hymn; and she, great with child, pumped away and played her first of many on the church organ. When babies came, they slept next to the organ as mom and dad sang
in the choir. Nancy and Carroll soon became Charter Members at the newly formed congregation of Southminster Presbyterian Church, and Nancy’s Music Ministry was about to begin. She immediately became the pianist and agreed to sing in the choir under the direction of Mary Bottomlee. Two year later, Mrs. Bottomlee moved away, and Nancy agreed to “fill-in” as Music Director. That position has now lasted until 2015!
Not only did Nancy share her faith and love of music at church, she also had musical experiences outside of church. A highlight was being a member of the Tune Town Chorus. This was an incredible group of 70 women, singing Sweet Adelines-style harmony, A’capella. Under the leadership and direction of Nancy Young, Southminster Presbyterian Church has been blessed with the glorious sounds of music during the past 55 years. Southminster will continue to sing the praises of Nancy Young for many years to come. This congregation has truly been blessed!