State recognizes McDaniel

COLUMBIA — The South Carolina House of Representatives passed a resolution this month recognizing Pickens’ Betty McDaniel for her lifetime of work preserving native Appalachian music.

The resolution, presented by Rep. Davey Hiott, tells of McDaniel’s work with children through the Young Appalachian Music program in Pickens Country schools. McDaniel was presented the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award in May at Southside Baptist Church in Columbia.

The resolution reads:

“Whereas, with distinct pleasure, the South Carolina House of Representatives recognizes educators, such as Betty McDaniel, who approach teaching with passion, creativity, and infectious enthusiasm, beyond the commensurate academic preparation for their fields; and

“Whereas, a resident of Pickens County, Betty McDaniel earned academic degrees from the University of North Carolina, Clemson University, and the University of South Carolina and commenced her career as an educator in 1974, retiring in 2012; and

“Whereas, for more than thirty-five years, she has pursued a passion for the cultural heritage and traditional music in the Upstate, and for more than twenty-five years, she has taught clogging to students of varying ages; and

“Whereas, from 1979 to 2012, Ms. McDaniel organized annual heritage festivals at Holly Springs Elementary School to celebrate local culture in Pickens County. She had children interview families in the area for several years and then write articles and develop presentations entitled “Portrait of a Southern Appalachian Community” with the support of the Humanities CouncilSC, the state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities; and

“Whereas, in 2008, she organized the Young Appalachian Musicians (YAM), weekly classes geared toward elementary school students on traditional music taught by skilled bluegrass and old-time musicians. Each child learns to play either a fiddle, mandolin, banjo, or guitar ‘by ear,’ without the benefit of written music; and

“Whereas, Ms. McDaniel also led the formation of the nonprofit Preserving Our Southern Appalachian Music (POSAM), the parent organization for the YAM program, which has grown under her leadership from thirty-two students at one school to more than three hundred students at ten schools in Pickens County; and

“Whereas, in 2010, she organized a weeklong summer camp, the Traditional Arts and Music – Young Appalachian Musicians (TAM-YAM) Camp, to afford students from the third through the eighth grades continued exposure to music, regardless of whether they participate in the YAM program or not; and

“Whereas, several years ago, Ms. McDaniel expanded the YAM program to include the formation of a band called the Sweet Potato Pie Kids, for which any YAM student may audition in the spring. The band normally features about a dozen students who perform on a regular basis throughout the region; and

“Whereas, she has written numerous grants to support these programs and has received grants from The Humanities CouncilSC, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the South Carolina Arts Commission. Since retiring from teaching, Betty McDaniel has continued to promote folklife and traditional arts and work tirelessly with young people in the South Carolina Upstate. Now, therefore,

“Be it resolved by the House of Representatives:

“That the members of the South Carolina House of Representatives, by this resolution, recognize and honor Betty McDaniel of Pickens, a lifelong educator, for her tireless and enthusiast work in support of the cultural heritage and traditional music in the Upstate and congratulate her for receiving the 2015 Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award.

“Be it further resolved that a copy of this resolution be provided to Betty McDaniel.”