On January 31st (my daughter’s birthday) I finally finished getting my condo empty and everything neatly tucked away into a 10 X 16 storage unit. I slept on an air mattress that night and packed the rest of my stuff into the van on Saturday morning. I finally left Indianapolis at 7:00 a.m. February 1st. As I listened to the radio heading south out of town the weather man was predicting snow.
I arrived in Leesville, SC in time for supper at my sister’s home. Lu Anne and her husband Ray are always such wonderful hosts. They are stellar examples of Southern Hospitality. The week-end was spent resting and catching up.
The early part of the week was rainy but with temperatures in the 50’s and 60’s it wasn’t difficult to get adjusted. On Tuesday I contacted the gentleman from Asheville, NC who had hosted me in January on my way to the NCHB. I expressed an interest in attending their chapter meeting that evening. He assured me that I would be welcomed and I was very warmly welcomed by the entire chapter. I’m pretty certain that every man greeted me individually and shook my hand. I was impressed with their organization and the sound that this great chorus had as they were preparing for an upcoming performance.
While I was in Pinehurst, NC in January I was fortunate to meet Beverly Greene. Beverly was married to Chuck Greene who had been the director of the Asheville Chorus and an extraordinary man. Chuck passed away in 2012. In the later years of his life Chuck had been traveling across the U.S. and Canada presenting his work shops for “Compellingly Attractive Chapter Meetings”. CACM is a leadership training seminar primarily targeted to the International Barbershop Harmony Society and Sweet Adeline’s, Inc.
After talking to my contact in Asheville regarding attending their rehearsal I called Beverly to ask if I could meet with her while I was in town to talk about Chuck’s workshops. She very graciously agreed to meet with me. I really didn’t know what to expect when I pulled into her driveway.
When I introduced myself to Beverly in Pinehurst I had asked her if anyone was continuing to present Chuck’s workshops. I mentioned that I would have an interest in continuing his work. I had met Chuck through my participation in the Indiana and North Carolina Brigades and was very impressed with his talent and passion. In my conversation with Beverly I learned a lot about her life with Chuck. She was so warm and gracious. Having lost my wife such a short time ago I understood that for Beverly to talk with me in such detail about Chuck was both bitter and sweet. I appreciated her candor and openness.
The more I have learned about Chuck the more I admire him. My first impression of him was that he was scary smart and so extremely passionate about everything barbershop. He had directed the IHB and NCHB choruses that I had been a part of. He seemed to have boundless energy. I wasn’t surprised to learn from Beverly that his life and work has had an incredible impact on the BHS and also on the lives of all that knew him.
Listening to all that Beverly shared with me left me feeling intrigued and a little overwhelmed. I would be the first one to admit that I am not the brightest bulb in the pack. Following in Chuck Greene’s footsteps could leave a guy feeling very intimidated. But I am beginning to believe that his work is so important that it really must continue. It is clear to me that regardless of who picks up the mantle to carry on his work, the Society, and many others desperately need what he was offering!
I am currently in the process of learning and absorbing as much as I possibly can from the materials that Beverly has shared with me. I will be spending my time here in South Carolina trying to determine whether I am the one to help continue the work of a visionary man who I admire greatly. Or at the very least what role I can play to see that his work continues.
If you are ever fortunate enough to meet Beverly Greene I would like for you to know the following about her; she is an incredibly intelligent and creative woman. I was so very impressed with her grace and humility. If you look in the dictionary under hospitality you will see her picture. Let her do most of the talking and you just may learn something.