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Your Journey

Mary Lou Smith

Day 3 - A long-time, musical volunteer!

When you come to FSC on Sundays, you will see Mary Lou Smith singing in the Choir! Mary Lou has been a part of FSC from a very young age, and she has been kind enough to share her experiences with us!

How long have you been volunteering at FSC?
Technically, my volunteer time started in Fountain Club back in the 50's; we did everything from helping clean up after the Standale tornado to waiting on tables in the Social Hall, (then the Dining Room), at community organization dinners, (then a revenue source for FSC).

What got you started?
My adult volunteering probably began when I joined the Adult Choir. I was already a working musician at Civic and Circle Theatres, where a number of Choir members were active singers, actors, and technicians. But what really got me started was hearing the Choir perform “The Light in the Wilderness” with Composer/Pianist, Dave Brubeck. I was so mad at myself for not being up there with them that I joined Choir the very next season. And we did four more appearances with Dave over the next few decades.

What do you love about being an FSC volunteer?
It's one of the best ways to get to know other Fountain Streeters – and to get a feel for the working life of the church.

What is one of your most distinct memories of FSC?
Back to childhood – the anticipation and the reality of entering the Sanctuary - “the big church” - on special Sundays when we, the Junior Choir, sang an anthem for the congregation in that amazing space. In my teen years, it was the collective strength of all of us Fountain Club members working and laughing together, led by a gifted and remarkably flexible staff – whether here at home or on the mean streets of New York City.

Tell us about a current project you are working on!
Adult Choir – still singing – and serving as Archivist/Historian. Religious Services Committee – three months into planning the Summer Chapel Services Music Committee – exploring events for the 2014-15 Church Year, (and awaiting the return of our refurbished handbells from the bell expert who lives in Petoskey)!. Archives Committee – working in our improved space downstairs with an ever-changing panorama of FSC-related documents and artifacts to catalog.

What are your future goals?
To continue working in any areas of interest at FSC.

What have you learned from your many years as an FSC volunteer?
The truth of an old saying: “Only as individuals mingle is it possible to grow.” It's the interaction with others that makes the volunteer jobs worth doing – even on the days when I'm working alone!

What advice would you offer for current or future volunteers?
Just do it! You'll always have to cope with a crowded personal schedule. But volunteer anyway!

Why do you consider yourself a Fountain Streeter?
I'm a Fountain Streeter because I need to think for myself about what matters. And I'm a Fountain Streeter because I've been here for enough years to have experienced the highs, the lows, and the in-between times – and to stay anyway. It's my church!

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