Recent Lane Community College graduate Titus Young didn’t expect to discover his life’s passion by reading “Manuelo the Playing Mantis” at the library when he was six years old.
“I remember that book vividly,” 18-year-old Titus says about Manuelo, an insect that spun heavenly music by fashioning a cello from a walnut shell, a twig, a bow and silken spider threads.
But that afternoon, little Titus returned home and told his parents Cindy and Mark Young that he wanted to learn to play the cello.
Ever since, Titus has diligently practiced his craft. “I have had to work very hard,” he admits, “But knowing what I wanted has made it easier.”
At age 12, Titus began performing with chamber ensembles in the Community Music Institute Chamber Players Program at the University of Oregon. Frequent practices and recitals taught him to skillfully interpret the music in Bach’s six Cello Suites, Schubert’s Death and the Maiden, and Ravelle’s String Quartet in F Major.
When Titus was just 15 ½, he entered Lane Community College, with some apprehension. But music instructors Matthew Svoboda and Hisao Watanabe quieted his anxiety.
“The music faculty at Lane are exceptional,” Titus says. “They want their students to succeed.”
In addition to completing Lane’s core music program, Svoboda says Titus played in the orchestra and sang in the chamber choir. And he played every chance he had.
“Titus was an exemplary student, admired by peers and teachers alike for his musical ability, overall attitude toward learning, and diligent work ethic,” Svoboda says.
As a homeschooled student, Titus earned not only his high school diploma but also a number of college credits that he was able to apply toward his Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer degree at Lane.
In September 2017, he starts classes at the University of Oregon, having already completed most of his general education requirements, save science and language, at a significant cost savings.
“I want to do something I love,” Titus admits.
By all accounts, he’s well on his way toward reaching that goal.
Published by Lane Community College Public Affairs, September 2017