Stone Mountain resident Lynn Urda organized the Gwinnett Young Singers 19 years ago, and the group has since grown from a single choir to five choirs with singers from second through 12th grades. When she's not working with this group, Urda can be found directing the children and youth choirs at Tucker First United Methodist Church.
On her background in music: I have a degree in music from Florida State University, in music ed and voice. I have been a church musician since I was 17, children's choirs and/or youth choirs. My mother got me started helping her, and it just kind of blossomed from there.
On her family: My husband David and I have been married seven-and-a-half years. Between the two of us, we have five children. My three are all musicians. My older daughter, Adrienne, is one of my directors for Gwinnett Young Singers. Allison, the middle one, currently tours with Women of Faith. She lives in Nashville. And my son, Andrew, is a choral and band teacher at a private Christian school in Houston, so they all grew up to be really good musicians as well.
On working with the Gwinnett Young Singers: It's my life. It's my life's calling, it's what I do. It feeds my soul. It's really a teacher's dream because they all want to be here. The Gwinnett Young Singers is truly an amazing group and just to be able to hear the way they sound every week and that this is my job, I pretty much feel like I'm the luckiest person in the world.
On her first audition for Gwinnett Young Singers: Andrew was 10 when I organized the Gwinnett Young Singers, so he was actually the first audition that I did. I herded Andrew and one other kid from my church into the choir room and the photographer from then the Gwinnett Daily News came and took a picture of the three of us ... so (Andrew) was there from the beginning.
On getting married on Mt. McKinley in Alaska: (My husband and I) were planning to go to Alaska on our honeymoon anyway, and (David) was working with a travel agent in Anchorage, and so one day, the travel agent said that maybe we could think about getting married on a glacier. And I said, "I grew up in Florida, I don't even really know what a glacier is." So (David) said, "Well, (the travel agent) says that we can fly up onto the mountain, not to the top, but somewhere, you know, like at the top of Ruth Glacier." And the little airplane had the snow skis on the bottom of it, and that we can fly up, get out and we could get a minister, she was going to try to get a minister for us, so she found a semi-retired, 83-year-old Episcopal minister. ... We hired the pilot, and we flew up to about, I don't know, 8,000 feet or so and got out in the beautiful snow. I had on a silver fox fur coat that the travel agent had borrowed from a local furrier, and we got married and then we flew back to the little town of Talkeetna, and there was a dog sled limo waiting for me. It was pretty cool. It was definitely a mountain top experience. Very romantic.
- As told to staff reporter Deanna Allen