The Boyce family has been part of Pleasant Hill history since 1908. Stephen Boyce is the third generation of Boyces who have played an important part in the life of Pleasant Hill. Alexander Boyce and his wife, Sally Boyce, were sent by the American Missionary Association to the Pleasant Hill Academy. Alexander served as business manager of the academy from 1908 through 1912. They returned to the academy in 1920 with their son William (Bill). Bill, after graduating from the Pleasant Hill Academy in 1935 and Berea College, KY in 1939, married Leola Piper. Piper came to Pleasant Hill in 1936 after hearing a plea from Dora Goodale in Washington, DC about the needs of the poor children in the Cumberlands. She served as an operating room nurse and supervisor at Uplands Sanitorium under Alice Adshead. In 1947, Bill was appointed Director of the Pleasant Hill Community Center and managed the Farmer’s Cooperative. The three Boyce sons remember often visiting their father, Bill, at his office in Pioneer Hall.
Their youngest son, Stephen, was born in Pleasant Hill and was an active member of the Cumberland County Playhouse during its beginning years. He was a student of Bryant Academy, which was an outgrowth of Tennessee Technological University, and a graduate of Berea College in Kentucky. He moved to Knoxville in 1975, and began work at Rush’s Music. Twenty-three years later, Steve purchased the store in 1998. Under his leadership, Rush’s Musical Service, Inc. continues its traditions of quality and service. Steve sings with the Knoxville Choral Society and Knoxville Chamber Chorale. He also serves as cantor at St. John’s Cathedral in Knoxville. Just as his grandparents and parents were drawn back to Pleasant Hill, Steve often returns to Pleasant Hill to give a concert in their memory and honor. On Sunday, Aug. 4 at 3 p.m., Boyce will be in concert at Pleasant Hill Community Church with John Purifoy on the piano and Anna Thomas on the flute.
John Purifoy is an ASCAP composer and arranger with numerous published choral anthems, cantatas and keyboard collections, and works recorded by several other artists. His work for chorus and orchestra, “We Hold These Truths,” narrated by Alex Haley, won the 1987 Freedoms Foundation Award for musical programs. He is the composer and lyricist of the stage musical, Lambarene, which received a workshop production at the state theatre of New Jersey in 1991. In 2011, the Knoxville Choral Society commissioned “Chronicles of Blue and Gray,” a major work for chorus, soloists, and orchestra, which premiered at the Tennessee Theatre in November of 2012. It has been performed by choirs in Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee and, in 2014, at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Purifoy lives in Knoxville with his wife Vicki, a television news producer.
Flutist Anna Thomas currently serves as Director of Music at First Presbyterian Church of Oak Ridge, and adjunct faculty in music at Pellissippi State Community College. She enjoys singing with the Knoxville Choral Society and the Knoxville Chamber Chorale. Thomas holds her Bachelor in Music from Georgia State University and a Master in Music from the University of Tennessee. Her spouse, Don, is a recently retired United Methodist pastor. The program will have music of various styles with a few old standards like “The Windmills of Your Mind” and “What a Wonderful World”, gospel, psalm settings, and “A Moment with Rachmaninoff” with John. The concert is free and open to the public. Donations are appreciated. The Pleasant Hill Community Church is at 67 Church St. off of Main St. across from the Pleasant Hill Elementary School. Save the date for the PH Community Church’s next concert: “Eine Kleine Kammer Musik IV” scheduled for Oct. 27 at 7 p.m.
Next week, the Action of Christians Against Torture, based in Pleasant Hill will be remembering the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima by screening the movie Nuns, Priests and Bombs, a documentary about protests of nuclear weapons. The event will be at the Palace Theater on Main St. in Crossville with doors opening at 6 p.m. and the film beginning at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free but donations are welcome. On Aug. 9, the anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki, Action of Christians Against Torture will conduct a memorial service on the shores of Jade Pond in Pleasant Hill at 7:30 p.m. including candles, singing and a short service. Participants are encouraged to bring flashlights and bug repellant. For more information, contact Don Smith at 931-277-5720.
This week in Pleasant Hill:
Tuesday and Thursday, Grab Thrift Shop at 9547 Hwy 70 W. The regular store hours are 10-4 p.m. and Saturday, 10-2 p.m. Due to theft problems, donations to The Grab need to be left inside during business hours. Call the manager at 931-287-3018 for assistance with large items or a big load.
Wednesdays from 10-4 p.m. and Sundays from 2-5 p.m. Pioneer Hall Museum is open for visits until the end of October. Anyone planning to visit at another time can call Sharon at 277-5226 or Chris at 277-3742. They will try to arrange a special tour. www.pioneerhallmuseum.net.
Wednesdays, 6 p.m., Bible Study and Prayer at the Pleasant Hill Baptist Mission at 39 Browntown Rd. near Main St.
Thursday, Aug. 1, 7 p.m., Community Bridge, Fletcher House Dining Room, all welcome. Call 277-5005.
Friday, Aug. 2, Pioneer Short Loop 1.8 mi hike at Cumberland Mt. State Park in Crossville. Meet at 9:45 a.m. in the Aquatic Center parking lot on West Lake Rd. to carpool to the trailhead.
Sunday, July 14-August 18, 10:45 a.m., Celtic Worship Series at PH Community Church, 67 Church Dr. Music by the Tenutos: Diana Riggs, piano and Celtic harp; Dicksie Schmitt, fiddle and violin; Laura Riester, recorders; and Diantha Hodges, cello.
Sunday, Aug. 4, 3 p.m., concert at PH Community Church, 67 Church Dr. Performers: Steve Boyce, tenor; Anna Thomas, flute; and John Purifoy, piano. Free and open to the public with a free will donation.