Clubs and Organizations

Clubs and Organizations
Woody Guthrie topic of Vermillion Rotarians

The Vermillion Rotary Club held its weekly meeting Tuesday, Dec. 4, at the Neuharth Center on the USD campus. President David Hussey opened the meeting, and the Rev. Mercy Hobbs gave the invocation. This was followed by the singing of Christmas carols, announcements, and the introduction of guests.

Rotarian Barry Vickrey introduced Evie Johnson, a senior flute performance major at the USD College of Fine Arts, as the speaker for the day.


Ms. Johnson's presentation was entitled "A Pilgrimage to Guthrie", referring to the singer-songwriter Woody Guthrie. Evie was a participant in the U Discover Program, which gives undergrads an academic field experience. She chose Woody Guthrie as her subject for research. She was able to spend time at the Woody Guthrie Archives in New York City and do extensive research in the archives that contains much of the existing information about Woody Guthrie. She was able to examine a number of unpublished music manuscripts and other written records. While there she also met Arlo Guthrie, Woody's son, and Bruce Springsteen and spent some time interviewing them.

Her primary and secondary research was accomplished at USD, which gave her access to information from other libraries.

Part of her inquiry was to find out who was Woody Guthrie. He is probably best known for writing This Land is Your Land. Many people feel this is almost a hymn to America. However, Evie informed us that examining some of the verses that are hardly ever sung, this song is really a protest song.

He spent a large part of his life traveling around the country singing songs and urging workers to join a union to unite and seek a better life. To quote Guthrie, "What has gone wrong with this world is not your personal fault." He was instrumental in encouraging the labor movement.

Ms. Johnson feels that his songs written for children are arguably the most important songs he has ever written. These songs were about everyday things. The Woody Guthrie Archives made it possible for her to study these and other parts of his legacy. She is currently doing lectures to various groups about the Guthrie legacy as well as doing presentations of his music in grade schools.

Her personal goal is to reach 1,000 children with his songs and story.

Evie also informed us of other information about Woody Guthrie. He was born in 1912. He didn't finish school but was very intelligent and very well read. He suffered from Huntington's chorea, a degenerative central nervous system disease, which has no cure. In all, he wrote over 3,000 songs, most were never published.

She ended her presentation by answering questions from the audience.

SVH and Care Center auxiliary meets Nov. 2

The Sioux Valley Hospital and Care Center auxiliary met Nov. 2 at 2 p.m., with Donna Schafer presiding. There were 14 members present.

Secretary Rosalie Hurbert read the minutes of the September meeting which was approved as corrected.

Francis Mollet, treasurer, read the treasurer's report and it was approved.

For new business we decided to make table favors for the residents each month. The ladies signed up for the month they desired.

Julie Rolfs delivered the gifts and bags to us so we could put the Christmas bags together for the residents.

We went through the storage closet, rearranged our boxes and discarded what wasn't necessary.

Several bibs, caps, burp clothes and blankets were brought for the hospital nursery.

Gerri Clark finished a couple of lap robes.

On Dec. 7, we will meet with the residents after our business meeting.

The meeting was adjourned at 2:30 p.m. We enjoyed visiting over coffee and cookies.

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