Music makers

 Prairie Farm musician Tara Young, right, sits at her piano along with her children, Stellan, left, and Zanna. Photo contributed

Prairie Farm area marketing consultant Tara Young has a cousin who’s planning to be married to a man who recently earned a master’s degree in business administration.

Young, who also has an MBA, knows the kind of effort it takes to achieve that goal.

“It takes you away from your life for a long time,” she said during a phone interview Saturday, May 9, 2020.

Young, her cousin, and her cousin’s fiancé, recently had a Zoom meeting in which they “raised a toast” to the new MBA.

“Still, it struck me that (earning the degree) was sad for him,” she said. “He had no way to celebrate a big investment of his time.”

So Young, who plays the piano and sings, went into her collection of music to find the Dixie Chicks’ “Wide Open Spaces,” a song that Young said talks about the new prospects in life that open when you’ve accomplished something big – like her cousin’s fiancé.

She posted a video of the song on her Facebook page.

But it wasn’t the first time she had done that.

“Tara posts a song every day,” said Cindy Miller, a Prairie Farm resident and community volunteer.

Young has been posting daily songs almost since the start of the lockdown imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Miller said.

“She will honor song requests – I’ve made one myself recently,” Miller said. “She’s very talented.”

Sometimes the songs have a serious theme – like “Wide Open Spaces,” for example.

Other times, it’s fun and silliness.

“She’ll do the Chicken Dance or the Hokey-Pokey for fun,” Miller said.

As word has gotten around, so has the attention paid to Young’s social media posts.

She said it wasn’t her idea to do a song a day – at least to start with.

“The first song was a day or two before the schools closed (in March 2020),” Young said. “There was lots of anxiety, and I ran across a song that talked about that.”

Her 8-year-old daughter, Zanna, joined Young the second time she posted a song. And the hits have kept on coming ever since.

“We do at least one a day, sometimes several songs,” she said. “Our 50th episode is today.”

Young said she is encouraged by the feedback she’s getting – including the old, reliable postal mail.

“I just got a note in the mail today from someone I know,” she said. The person said they were “older, and not going out too much.”

The writer told Young that the daily songs were a respite from all the crazy stuff going on … and that the writer … “looks forward (to seeing a new song) every day.”

The mixture of fun and silly music – together with more serious themes – is her way of trying to get through the changes imposed by the pandemic – and to encourage others to do so as well.

“I try to talk about why I picked each (song),” Young said. “The Dixie Chicks song, from last night, is about a girl graduating and leaving home, someone who’s ready for wide open spaces and room to make some big mistakes.”

In this time, when high school seniors must do without the celebrations that accompany graduation, it’s an important message, she added.

“I thought about when I graduated high school,” Young said. “This is not how you envisioned it, but (the message of the song is to) lean into the disruption.”

Born in Prairie Farm, Young (whose maiden name is Norberg) moved to Iowa in her youth, and graduated from Wartburg College with a degree in English literature and composition, with a biology minor.

“I never aimed at a musical career, but I was a musician all through high school,” she said. “I had a music scholarship in college, and I took piano lessons all through college. I’ve been playing since first or second grade. Music is a coping mechanism for me.”

Tara and her husband, Brent Young, live on a dairy farm that Brent owns along with his parents. She said the family has a herd of about 100 registered Jerseys, and they raise all of the replacement animals as well.

“We have 250 cows on the farm at any one time,” she said. Like the rest of the world around them, the farm owners are going through a crisis, too, Young said.

“There’s lots of stuff going on in the world now,” she said. “We’re coping, but we know that no one can control it.”