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Max Yount

Excerpted from: Beloit Daily News (August 29, 1986)
Yount searching old instruments

     If the music scene in Beloit pales a little in upcoming months, it may be because a pair of area musicians are taking their talents abroad for a year.

     Max and Beth Yount are traveling this month to Hamburg, West Germany, where for the first four months he will be leading Beloit College's German seminar. Yount, a member of the college's music faculty and organist for Cargill Methodist Church in Janesville, expects to perform a series of harpsichord and organ concerts during the remainder of the year.

     The prospect of playing some of Europe's great organs, many dating to the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, Yount looks forward to with enthusiasm. "No concerts are really lined up, but I assume they will be," he said, adding that he plans to visit East Germany, where some of the world's greatest organs are located.

     The iron-curtain country holds the added attractions of St. Thomas Church in Leipzig, which contains Bach's tomb, and the city of Halle, birthplace of Handel.

     Yount won't simply be playing for his German audiences when he performs, for he expects to bring all his performances back with him. Earlier this year Yount applied for a faculty development grant from the college and received funds for portable recording equipment to carry from concert to concert.

     In looking for an appropriate machine he stumbled into an excellent bargain on a 3-pound Uher recorder, ironically made in Munich. The recorder, which will become the property of the music department on the Younts' return, is easily the highest quality recording equipment the department has ever owned.

     The concerts will mean a lot of practicing while in Germany. "I don't intend to spend a lot of time researching or even composing," Yount said.

     He did, however, expect to make a few exceptions, for instance looking into the music of Viennese woman composer Mariann Martinez. The Younts' musical travels will taken them through a number of European countries, although they may forgo the larger cities for the "small towns and provincial places" in their search for older instruments in playable condition.

     Mrs. Yount, organist at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, plans to psend her year primarily as hausfrau caring for the couple's two children, Wade and Noah.

     While the adults wax enthusiastic about their plans the youngest Younts try to deny the trip excites them, but they don't manage to be very convincing about it.

     Asked why they had to take an airplane to fly over the ocean to Germany, preschooler Wade replied, "because the octopuses have long arms."

     Music has long arms, too. The Younts may not be performing for area audiences next year, but when they return they will bring back a treasury of recorded music performed on the very instruments for which the music may well have been written.

     It is a prospect worth waiting for.


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