A sound community … and a community of sound

10:03 am | December 26, 2012

Rhody Jane Meadows won’t shy away from an audience … even a captive one.

Photo by Brandon Hicks
Rhody Jane Meadows sings and plays her dulcimer during a luncheon for some of the prisoners of Northeast Correctional Complex. According to Meadows, the prisoners, who clean up litter throughout Roan Mountain State Park, are just as valuable to the community as anyone else.

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.

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