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Smith River Singers to establish community music library with Harvest grant

LEFT TO RIGHT: Laurie Wardle, John Fulcher and Pamela Randall of Smith River Singers, and DeWitt House, senior program officer at The Harvest Foundation.

MARTINSVILLE – The Smith River Singers will create a choral and instrumental community lending library with help from a $10,000 Pick Up the Pace! grant from The Harvest Foundation.

Creating a lending library, according to the grant application, will allow local groups to collaborate and perform music that may be unavailable to them due to cost. For example, the singers, along with Bassett High School Band, paid $523 for “Hymn to the Fallen”, a song from John Williams’ score to the film “Saving Private Ryan” for their most recent concert. “The Smith River Singers provide a wonderful service to our community through their uplifting and compelling concerts throughout the year,” said DeWitt House, senior program officer at The Harvest Foundation. “Their ability to collaborate and form partnerships with our area schools, churches and other groups will create a strong community asset that can be used for years to come.”

Dr. Pamela Randall, artistic director for Smith River Singers, said the creation of the library is exciting because “it will provide musicians access to a large repertoire without the prohibitive costs of music scores. We will post the available music on our website as well as instructions on how to borrow music from the library. We are very excited to provide this service to musicians in our area.”

The library will be housed at First Baptist Church of Martinsville. Volunteers will staff the library and a portion of membership dues, as well as community contributions, will sustain the library’s operation.

“The idea of a music lending library for the community is a wonderfully collaborative, inclusive concept that helps us continue our mission to enrich the cultural life of our community through the pursuit of artistic excellence in choral and instrumental music performance,” said Laurie Wardle, marketing director for Smith River Singers.

John Fulcher, president of the Smith River Singers Board of Directors, added, “There has been such a rich history of choral music in our area. It is exciting to know that the library will help to continue that rich tradition!”   

Since its inception, Smith River Singers has performed an estimated 48 pieces of diverse choral literature, with many pieces containing full orchestration. The group rehearses at First Baptist Church of Martinsville and partners with Piedmont Arts and the Galilean House of Worship, which provides performance space for the singers. The Harvest Foundation’s Pick Up the Pace! grants program is a competitive, small grants program designed to engage people and organizations in sparking innovative ideas, collaborations and change in Martinsville and Henry County. These six-month grants for up to $10,000 are available for application year-round. To find out more, visit or call (276) 632-3329.

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