May 8 , 1938-Nov. 13, 2020
LaDonna Marie Appelhans Young, 82, of Las Vegas, passed away Nov. 13, 2020, at her home in Las Vegas. LaDonna was born in Dodson, Montana on May 8, 1938 to Thomas Nicholas Peter Appelhans and Marie Elizabeth Sorkness. She graduated from Dodson High School in 1956, then attended Montana State University (now University of Montana) in Missoula, Montana, graduating in 1960 with a Bachelor of Art degree in Music Education. While in Missoula, she studied with the late Elsa Wieber, former Prima Donna of the Dresden Opera. She then continued her education at the Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati, Ohio where she studied voice with the late Robert Powell. Other mentors LaDonna studied under were Patricia Barendson, Jane Hevener Lee, Ruth Almandinger, Lucia Leeds, Carol Kimbal and Violetta Hall.
LaDonna married Frederic Preston Young II in Butte on Jan. 5, 1963 and together they had one son, Frederic Preston Young III. While in Butte, LaDonna taught music in the Montana School District. The family moved to Las Vegas, Nevada where she had to make a decision. Should she perform, teach in public school or start a private studio? She chose to start a private studio teaching piano and voice. The studio worked well with her decision to take motherhood seriously with their son Fred. She continued to perform in Las Vegas for miscellaneous concerts at the Nevada Opera, UNLV (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) Opera Theatre and various musical theatres throughout the Las Vegas Valley. In particular, she loved performing with Bob Barclay's Orchestra. On Sundays, LaDonna would be found singing at a Lutheran, Methodist or a Catholic Church.
LaDonna was a member of MTNA (Music Teachers National Association), LVMTA (Las Vegas Music Teachers Association), NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singing), LVNATS (Las Vegas National Association of Teachers of Singing) and the NFMC (National Federation of Music Clubs). She held offices in the NATS State and local Chapter's Organization of which she was a founding member.
LaDonna was a member of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas and an active volunteer. She began her association with the Junior League in Butte, Montana and continued volunteering with the Las Vegas Junior League there.
LaDonna centered her life around her students who were pursuing careers in the performing arts. Most of them were Gateway Foundation scholarship winners, Roger Bushell competition winners, Silver State winners, MTNA national finalists, NATS national finalists and Schmidt competition winners.
LaDonna enjoyed exercise, home-cooking and all the wonderful friends and family she had in her life. She had great love for every one of her dear friends.
LaDonna was preceded in death by her husband, Frederic Preston Young II; her parents, Nicholas Peter Appelhans and Marie Elizabeth Sorkness; her two sisters, Bonita Rae Applehans and Wanda Loy Durocher.
She is survived by her son, Frederic Preston Young III of Las Vegas and her brother, Thomas Joseph (Roberta) Appelhans of Kent, Washington.