In a city known for its architectural styles, the Columbus Girlchoir presents “A Riverside Tour of Homes” Saturday, April 9 from 10 a.m. until noon. The spring fundraiser for the nonprofit choral arts program features three homes on Columbus’ Southside: Don and Beth Callaway’s home at 315 Third St. S.; Maj. Gen. (ret.) Tom (Tango) and Lee Ann Moore’s home at 203 First St. S.; and Rufus and Karen Ward’s home at 302 College St.
“On this tour, we have one of the oldest homes on Southside and one of the newest, and we have a house that’s in the middle,” said Dr. Cherry Dunn, director of the Girlchoir. “We thought this would be so interesting and different. It shows such a wide range of our rich architecture.”
Don and Beth Callaway moved into their newly-constructed Acadian style home in September. While Beth may call the couple’s recent planned downsize a “work in progress,” both the interior and exterior already present a stylish finished look.
A flowing floor plan, inviting furniture and a charming deck with fireplace all encourage relaxation and easy entertaining. Original artworks, some of them treasured canvases painted by Beth’s mother, fill the walls. Impressive rugs accent the home’s airy neutral palette.
“Paring down was wonderful; we’ve kept the things now that we love the most,” Beth said of the move to the heart of Southside, where the Callaways can readily walk to restaurants or happenings downtown.
A hillside home
Tango and Lee Ann Moore moved into their hillside home in 2008. Built in 1956, the unique floor plan follows the curve of the lot overlooking the Columbus Riverwalk’s south end. Wooded areas hugging the back of the property create the ambiance of being in the country, even as downtown sits at the Moores’ fingertips.
The home is a testament to the couple’s worldwide travel and to their extensive art collections. Tango Moore is an accomplished artist, as were Lee Ann’s family. Many other Mississippi artists’ work are displayed as well.
“We never lived anywhere longer than three years, so when we were coming up on the three-year anniversary of living in Columbus, I didn’t know how I’d feel,” Lee Ann remarked. “We found we love it here and have no desire to move.”
Rufus and Karen Ward’s house on College Street takes visitors to another era, the early 1800s. The antebellum home known Ole Homestead is a vernacular raised cottage on the National Register of Historic Places. The oldest known surviving building within the original town limits of Columbus was saved by the Wards when they began restoration work in 2011.
The rooms hold period furnishings, including a candle table said to have belonged to John Quincy Adams, sixth president of the United States. A late-1800s china cabinet fronted with multi-colored panes of glass is another of the many points of interest.
Art is a focus, too. The Wards’ collection includes everything from antique engravings to modern canvases by area artists such as Lee Gibson. Of note are several works by Josh Meador (1911-1965). Born in Columbus, Meador went on to become animation director for the Disney studio. His visual effects are seen in iconic productions including “Bambi,” “Fantasia” and “Cinderella.”
“We are extremely grateful to these homeowners who so graciously agreed to share their homes for this event,” said Emily Moody, who chairs the tour. “Not only are the homes wonderful, they will have delicious food provided by Chef Marty Wages, Tea by 2, Events on Fifth, Cafe on Main Sweet Shop and Betsy Galloway.”
Floral designs for the homes will be provided by Joy’s Flowers, Ivy Cottage Florist and by Events on Fifth.
“These florists have unbelievable artistic creativity, and their work is so appreciated,” Moody said.
Founded in 2004, the Girlchoir now includes 58 vocalists in the junior and senior choirs. Auditions are held twice annually for girls 9 to 18. Scholarships are made available, based on need. Many of its singers have gone on to sing in college choirs and to pursue music education degrees.
The choir presents a spring and a Christmas concert each year and performs at local churches, schools, civic groups and nursing homes. The 2016 Spring Concert is May 7 at Poindexter Hall on the Mississippi University for Women campus, at 7 p.m.
These young ambassadors for Mississippi have had the opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York, in New Orleans, Memphis and several other cities.
“It’s such a broadening experience,” said Dunn. “It often has such a lasting effect on the girls.”
Moody added, “Funds raised with this home tour help provide those ‘once in a lifetime’ concert experiences. This would not be possible without the generous donations of our patrons and our tickets sales from events like this.”
The Girlchoir is also supported by a grant from the Columbus Arts Council.
How to go
Tour tickets are $20, available at any of the homes on Saturday. They may also be purchased in advance from members of the Girlchoir or its board of directors, at Military Hardware, Ivy Cottage Florist, Visit Columbus (CVB) or the Columbus Arts Council.
For more information, contact Moody at 662-574-3903.
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
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