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The Quay Smathers

Memorial Singing School

April 14, 2024 at the Shook-Smathers House in Clyde, NC
Learn the Blue Ridge style of shaped-note singing at the Quay Smathers Memorial Singing School



Quay Smathers (1913-1997), singing master and recipient of the prestigious North Carolina Folk Heritage Award, tirelessly taught shaped-note singing from Georgia to Michigan and points in between. Today, those who learned under Quay remember his quick wit, his clear voice, and his strong convictions about saving a musical tradition passed down from his ancestors in Western North Carolina.


The Quay Smathers Memorial Singing School is devoted to carrying on his work of raising up shaped-note singers who desire to sing in the traditional style originally heard in the Blue Ridge mountains of Georgia, North and South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. The book of choice is The Christian Harmony  by William Walker and much attention is given to tempo, phrasing, and oral traditions.


Held in the historic Shook-Smathers House, the  singing school is taught by leaders in the Blue Ridge style of shaped-note singing, including Quay's daughters June Smathers-Jolley and Elizabeth Smathers-Shaw, and son-in-law Lynn Shaw. Participants will gain a deeper understanding of the tradition, a proficiency in singing shaped-notes as originally sung in the Southern Appalachians, and resources to continue their own personal exploration of the practice.


   5th Annual   
  April 14, 2024
     9:00am - 4:30pm

  Shook-Smathers House

     178 Morgan Street

       Clyde, NC 28721

Quay Smathers, North Carolina Folk Heritage Award Recipient
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Our Staff

The founders of the QSMSS include Quay's daughters, Elizabeth Smathers-Shaw and June Smathers-Jolley, along with their husbands, Lynn Shaw and Zeb Jolley, who also learned to sing from Quay. Liz has taught Christian Harmony workshops around the country and June assumed the directorship of the historic Old Folks Day Christian Harmony singing at Morning Star United Methodist Church in Canton, NC, upon Quay's death in 1997. Selected for their experience and dedication to preserving the Blue Ridge style of shaped-note singing, all of our singing masters bring not only their expertise, but their passion for safekeeping this important tradition for future generations.

Founders of QSMSS

Lynn Shaw, Elizabeth Smathers-Shaw, Zeb Jolley, and June Smathers-Jolley Folk Musicians, Christian Harmony Singers and Founders of the QSMSS.

Maggie head shot leading

Maggie Lauterer Retired Pastor and Folk Musician

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Laura Boosinger Folk Musician and Executive Director of Madison County Arts Council.

Diane Etowah

Diane Eskenasy Director of the historic Etowah, NC Christian Harmony singings.

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Zack Allen Publisher, Folk Heritage Books; Author and Folk Musician

QSMSS Lary Beveridge_edited

Larry Beveridge Retired High School Teacher, Composer and Bass Singer


Our Supporters

Haywood County

Historical & Genealogical Society

Special Thanks

           The following descendants of

                 Mary Agner Smathers,

        Quay's great-great grandmother,                                 are supporters of the                        Quay Smathers Memorial Singing School.                Many thanks for their generosity                                and encouragement!


   Mike and Cindy Smathers in memory of

        Loranzo and Underwood Smathers

    Patty Brookshire Singleton in memory of

              Crystal Smathers Medford

    Lionel and Linda Bryson in memory of

                Vernette Smathers Muse

     Jacque Sue Brookshire in memory of

Quay Smathers & Crystal Smathers Medford

     Cynthia Smathers White in memory of

                Quay and Sue Smathers

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