Sybil Young (1903-1948) and Eve Young (1913-1982) grew up at 1704 Cliff Street, in the Hill District, with three other sisters. Their father Jacob Young made cigars for a living. He was also a cantor and strongly encouraged his daughters to practice music.
Sybil Young attended Moorhead Elementary School and Fifth Avenue High School, where she co-authored the class song. She studied piano under local musician Thomas Cohen. She advanced quickly, and Cohen soon sent her to study under his teacher, William L. Mayer, who was president of the Pittsburgh Musicians Union. After high school, Young attended the Julliard School. Upon graduating in 1924, she returned to Pittsburgh and joined the staff of the Conservatory of Musical Art on North Dithridge Street in Oakland before opening a studio near her home in East Liberty. Among her students was the singer Freda Lazier.
Young had a self-described “natural aptitude” for sight-reading music, which made her a sought-after accompanist in the United States and Canada. She backed opera and choral singers, as well as popular musicians such as Danny Kaye, Dick Powell and Lena Horne. She regularly performed on KDKA radio, including its occasional “Jewish Hour.” In the 1930s, she led an all-woman troupe called “Sybil Young and Her Debutante Orchestra.”
Young married T. Maurice Cherington, an advertising agent. A chess enthusiast, Cherington was, for a time in the late 1950s, the chess editor for the Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph. They had two children, Mickey and Barbara.
Eve Young regularly performed with her older sister, Sybil, at Jewish community functions before she left Pittsburgh to study piano and violin at the Curtis Institute. Later, Young became the concertmaster of the McKeesport Symphony and taught at the Chatham College Music and Arts Camp. She told the Pittsburgh Press in 1966 that she had toured the vaudeville circuit for a time as a child, perhaps referring to the Sybil Young orchestra troupe. “I didn’t like it, but we made a lot of money,” Eve Young told the newspaper. “Unfortunately, it went down the drain during the Depression.”
Eve Young married Louis Blum, whom she had met while playing together in the YM&WHA Orchestra. They later co-chaired the YM&WHA Musical Society.