By Max Hrenda
Rhody Jane Meadows won’t shy away from an audience … even a captive one.
Normally, Meadows and her dulcimer circle meet every Wednesday in the Cloudland Community Coffeehouse at the Roan Mountain State Park Conference Center to hone their craft. This past Wednesday, however, the park was hosting inmates from the nearby Northeast Correctional Complex in Roan Mountain for a Christmas luncheon.
So Meadows and her friends lined up by the fireplace to give them some music while they ate.
“I’m going to play the harp now,” Meadows said to the prisoners. As she held her purple Celtic harp out for them to see, she said, “This is the kind the angels play.”
Before her performance, Meadows walked from inmate to inmate to offer them each a chance to give the harp a strum. “Beautiful,” she said, after one inmate took his turn.
When a guard declined the opportunity to play the harp, she asked, “Well, aren’t you an angel?” As the guard smiled, the prisoners, in unison, shouted, “No!”
Not everyone would willingly put themselves into a room filled with prisoners, let alone give them a show. For Meadows, where they stay doesn’t matter as much as where they are.