There are many tasks involved in my role as Director of Membership and one of them is to chair the Selection Committee for the Judith Waite Scholarship. As I read over the requirements and the time line I kept thinking about Judith Waite:
– Who was this woman who generously left the gift of the scholarship in her name 10 years ago?
– What was she like?
– What did Harmony, Inc. mean to her?
This year is the last year for the Judith Waite Scholarship to be awarded. Each year, for ten years, a Harmony, Inc member or family member received $1,000 to go toward their music education.
I wanted to learn more about this remarkable woman so I reached out to some of her friends in the Village Vocal Chords. Through them I got a very good idea of who Judith Waite was, and more importantly, who she still is, in the hearts of those her spirited personality touched.
Thank you to Lynn Randall and Jacquie Jenson who provided me with photos and stories. Although I never met Judy, I can feel her spunky energy through the following story from her friend, Jacquie Jenson.
“To know Judy, as I did, was to share in the humor and wit of an active mind. After joining The Village Vocal Chords, she admitted to us that the first night she visited a rehearsal she signed the guest book with a fake name, in case she didn’t want further contact with the group. That was our Judy!
“However, that anonymity was quickly set aside as she joined the chorus and became a valued member of the bass section. While her music world began with early piano training, once she got involved in the VVCs she was TOTALLY involved. She was an excellent sight reader, learning her music quickly and correctly and was a strong supporter of all things barbershop. Once, The Villagers were singing at a Christmas banquet, serenading individual tables through-out the room. Judy was attending that banquet as a guest but as we moved from table to table, she did the same, to be able to listen to each song we sang. An active supporter of all VVC quartets…that was our Judy!
“In addition, Judy was a bit of a perfectionist, and encouraged those around her to be the same. Give her a written document, whether it be a newspaper, a report, or a letter, and she approached it with editing pencil in hand, circling grammatical and spelling errors. In her non-barbershop life Judy was involved at several levels of teaching but also enjoyed a period of time
in retail sales. Judy was a people person and remained actively involved in all aspects of her life. For example, after moving into a retirement home, Judy continued to be a go-getter, helping to organize and staff the home’s gift shop. That was our Judy!
“All that being said, it is entirely consistent that the scholarship that memorializes her is for those involved in increasing their musical knowledge through education. Music and education were hallmarks of this wonderful and witty lady, and a scholarship encouraging those two things…well, that was our Judy!”
Submitted by Kim Meechan
Director of Membership