DuPage Foundation, DuPage County’s philanthropic leader, granted more than $600,000 to 46 nonprofit organizations through its Community Needs Grant Program’s Fall 2023 cycle in December.
Among the grant recipients is Young Naperville Singers (YNS), founded in 1984, that has developed into a premier community-based children’s choral music education organization in Chicago’s western suburbs. As YNS prepares to celebrate its 40th Anniversary Season, the funding will be used to commission “Sing, Dance, Praise and Love,” a special work by choral composer and DuPage County resident Lee Kesselman.
“YNS is grateful for the funding as this piece embodies the joy of singing,” said Artistic Director Angie Johnson. “We look forward to debuting it for our 40th Anniversary Spring concert in May 2024 and are excited to work with someone of Mr. Kesselman’s caliber. We know this piece will be special to the organization for years to come.”
Community members eager to see a YNS performance will not have to wait until the spring to do so. YNS is hosting “Sing & Celebrate,” which was made possible through DuPage Foundation’s JCS Fund Visual Arts and Music Mini-Grant (JCS). The event, set for Sat., Feb. 3, 2024, will bring YNS vocalists and singers from Title 1 schools together for a day of choral music and friendship at Wentz Concert Hall in downtown Naperville. Participants will be under the direction of Girl Conductor Maria Ellis and Choral Directors Mona Roy and Mollie Stone, expert clinicians from diverse backgrounds. The program will culminate in a free community concert at 2PM. Thanks to JCS’s support, YNS will put on this entire event at no charge to participants.
YNS closed out 2023 on a high note as its three holiday concerts featuring 485 singers and 11 choirs played to sold-out audiences. During the concerts, Angie Johnson also was recognized by the Board of Directors for her 25 years with the organization, including the last 15 where she has been the Artistic Director while also maintaining her role as Director of both Bella Voce and Bella Cantare, the two advanced choirs for treble voices.
“Our organization continues to mirror our mission to Sing. Grow. Lead,” said Alissa Johnson Tripas, president of the Board of Directors, “due in large part to Angie’s extraordinary talents, vision and love for young people.”
Angie Johnson, who lives the YNS mission daily, is looking forward to commemorating YNS’s growth over the last 40 years with newly commissioned choral works, advanced training, and additional programming.
“We have so much to celebrate!” she said. ”With each event this season, we are taking things up a notch to continue to enrich the lives of young singers and, of course, create life-long memories!”
Young Naperville Singers