Concert celebrates longtime musical educator in Florence One Schools
FLORENCE, S.C. – Florence One Schools performing arts students and faculty of past and present reunited Friday evening to celebrate retiring coordinator Laura Greenway.
Greenway, who started teaching music at Lester Elementary in 1986, is retiring this year after 32 years of service with the district.
During the concert, which took place at West Florence High School, wind, string, vocal and jazz ensembles composed of members of the performing arts programs past and future took the stage to perform pieces that hold a deep meaning for Greenway, such as “Seasons of Love” from “Rent,” “Georgia on My Mind” and “West Side Story Medley.”
The Royall Young Singers also performed during the concert.
Greenway performed in the reunion concert, playing flute in the wind ensemble and singing in the vocal ensemble.
“I had to,” Greenway said. “I couldn’t just sit here. I mean I play, I sing — that’s what I do, and I think it’s easier… I love playing with these people.”
Some of Greenway’s family members performed in the reunion concert. Kellin Watson, Greenway’s niece and guest recording artist, sang “Angels Watching Over Me,” which is an original song. Layla Hall, Greenway’s granddaughter, sang “Imagine” by John Lennon.
Megerlyn Davis, Wilson High School chorus teacher, sang “God Bless the Child” during the concert. She said Greenway is a wonderful resource for the arts in the community.
“This is something that is extraordinary,” Davis said. “It is absolutely special because Ms. Greenway has been influential to so many lives and has brought music to the forefront in our community.”
Davis was a District One’s Musically Exceptional (DOME) student in Williams Middle and Wilson High schools.
Johnny Powers, a former student of Greenway, came back to perform in the concert.
Powers said he began band in fifth grade in Greenway’s class and continued through 12th grade. Powers is now a band director with Sumter County School District.
Greenway said there’s a lot of emotion involved with the concert because she has met many people throughout her career.
“I felt like I just wanted to be able to share this with my friends, and them share that with me,” she said.
Greenway became the performing arts coordinator in 1986, just one year after starting at Lester Elementary.
During Greenway’s time at Florence One, she created DOME in 1988, a gifted and talented program for music.
The program came about through a collaboration of music teachers across the district. DOME has helped launch the careers of several famous musicians, including Adrienne Woods, Chris Woods, Stockton Helbing, Jonathan Kammer and Alexander Elliott.
The performing arts program has also been named One of The Best Communities for Music Education consecutively from 2015 to 2019 under Greenway’s leadership.