Debby Summey:Southern belles grace the stage

  • Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I’m working on a column about Dick Stanland, a Winyah High School graduate, Class of 1955.  To get some background, I went through the school’s old yearbooks looking for photos of Dick, and I found plenty.
I also found this photo, from the 1953 yearbook, of the beautiful girls in the sextette who once graced the stage of the Winyah Auditorium.  One of the girls, Connie Carter, recently performed on this stage again when she sang with the Starshine Performers in their recital last month.
I didn’t abandon the Dick Stanland column … that’s coming up next week.  The photo of the girls in 1953, however, gave me the idea for this week’s column.  
You see, the Winyah Auditorium is presenting the musical, “G.R.I.T.S.”, July 13-15.  “G.R.I.T.S.”  is an acronym for ‘Girls Raised in the South’ and this 1953 photo seemed like the perfect harbinger for the upcoming event.
Connie Carter told me that this photo was taken at Mayer Funeral Home in Georgetown by one of Mayer’s employees, a Mr. Burney.  Mr. Burney was an excellent photographer who took pictures for the local schools, as well as for anything else of importance in Georgetown.
Connie also gave me an update on the girls in the photo.  Lucy Cotton is now Lucy Cotton Rabb and lives in Columbia, S.C.  Norma Silliman is now Norma Silliman Andrews and lives in Manning, S.C. Shirley Morris passed away while living in Charlotte, N.C.  Patty Mozley is now Patty Mozley Evans Johnson and lives in Brevard, N.C.  
Frankie Avant is now Frankie Avant Dodd and lives in Columbia, S.C.  Connie said that Frankie had the gift of ‘perfect pitch’, and the others relied on her to give them their starting note.
Connie Carter is now Connie Carter Galloway and lives in Pawleys Island.  She still has the voice of an angel and I hope you had the opportunity to hear her at last month’s recital
There was another member of the group who is not pictured here.  Her name is Joanne Stalvey, now Joanne Stalvey Carter, and she lives in Columbia, S.C.
Miss Eleanor Duke, now Eleanor Duke Avant, was the choral director and was on the faculty at Winyah High.  Eleanor lives in Georgetown.
I’m sure many of these women travelled and lived outside the South, but they’re back . . . and they’re still ‘girls raised in the South’.
The musical, “G.R.I.T.S. – Girls Raised in the South,” sounds like it will be a great event to showcase women like our own members of the Sextette of 1953.  The four-woman cast will sing “Life is Like Sweet Tea”, “I Hope Dolly Parton Lives Forever,” and many others.
Look for upcoming notices for this show and don’t forget the one-woman show this Saturday, June 23, at the Winyah Auditorium.  “Georgetown Times” columnist, Gloria Barr Ford, is the ‘one-woman’ and if you haven’t heard her Gullah dialect you’ll be delighted.

To the Winyah High School sextette ... thanks for the memories!

I may be reached at 843-446-4777 or email me at djsummey@gmail.com.
Mailing address for the Winyah Auditorium is P.O. Box 3047, G’twn, 29442.      

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