I am also from the NBHS Class of 1960. Music lessons were out of the question for me at that time, yet I loved choirs and band. The little I learned about music was from the best music director I have ever had the privilege to know- our dear Mr. Donald Smith. He was also director at First Baptist Church where I was a member. So I was doubly blessed. I didn't live far from Mr. Smith, so he was patient enough and kind enough to give me a lift home after church choir practice, when I needed it.
My prayers and sympathy go to his family. Mr. Smith was a gifted and special man, and I loved him.
Again, my deepest sympathies to each of you. I failed to give my name in my earlier message about the surprise of hearing Donald Smith's voice on my phone a few months ago. He truly was a wonderful person. Most sincerely, Joyce Boyd Granger
My deepest condolences to each of you. A 1952 graduate of New Bern High, I have wonderful memories of my times in the chorus under Donald Smith's very capable direction. He instilled in each of us a love and respect of quality music. Imagine my delightful surprise to hear his voice on the phone a few months ago when he called to thank me for a letter I had written him. We had a delightful conversation about his volunteering and also memories of our times with the chorus. When he asked me my favorite song we sang, I told him "When You Walk Through A Storm". He agreed it was also one of his favorites, especially the "life's message" in it. Donald Smith was a unique, wonderful gift to all of us who were blessed to know him. I treasure his memory.
My brother and I both had the privilege of singing with Mr Smith when we were in high school. As I remember, it was a wonderful time.-- He was a special man--- Betty Jo Pierce for myself and Billy Pierce
I am so saddened to hear of Mr. Smiths passing . He was the most caring person my daughter & I had came across since moving to south ave. 8 yrs ago. Adriana & I will never forget our conversations with him & his"perfect halliween treats".He really lived a full rewarding life. Mr. smith, we will never forget you , you will forever be in our hearts. we will see you again one day & for that ,I am happy . God bless this family. Love , Michele D & family .
Mr. Smith ability to be completely in charge of the moment created an atmosphere for the greatest learning. I will always be grateful for what he instilled in my life while a member of the New Bern High School Band and Quire. To His Family; I stand with You in celebrating His Eternal Life.
I was honored to have been a coral student of Mr. Donald Smith back in my high school days. I often sang solos for the Glee Club and Choir. Mr. Smith demanded excellence and he instilled in me my love for music. The like of his kind will never be replaced and I extend my heart felt sympathy to his family. I wish I could thank him for what he did for me and my self esteem. I also extend to his family God's love and peace. Janeth Hill Hopewell New Bern, NC
Reading Mr. Smith's guestbook is like coming home to a reunion. He touched the lives of so many students and brought the appreciation of music into the lives of us all. I was fortunate to sing in the boy's glee club and choir at NBHS under Mr. Smith for four years. The way he lived his professional life was an inspiration for me. My sincere sympathy to his family and loved ones.
New Bern High School Class of 1955
Donald Smith not only taught us to love beautiful music, but also how to live life.
If you signed up to do something - do it.
Never take your eyes off of the 'boss' giving instructions.
Never interrupt the 'boss.'
Always work toward perfection.
During chorus practice never pass a string through the bass and tenor sections, or you don't get to sing at your own graduation.
I was happy to babysit for the Smith children. Not long ago, I had the opportunity to ask Mr. Smith if they gave their children something to help them sleep. I never saw the children.
I also kept attendance rolls for Mr. Smith. It was known by all, that if you intended being sick, you must let Mr. Smith know two weeks in advance.
Nothing dies that is remembered.
Memories will keep us smiling.
My first memories of Mr. Smith were watching him direct the 8th grade chorus in which my brother sang. I thought he was wonderful to get such a group or rowdies to produce such a great version of Go Down, Moses." After I began a half-hearted effort to learn how to play the clarinet, I went to his summer band classes for a couple of years, but even he could not overcome my indifference. Mr. Smith's greatest impact on me was that he apparently noticed that I had a fairly good singing voice and inducted me into the A Capella Choir at NBHS as the first freshman he had ever admitted, in the fall of 1958. Those four years following made me an enthusiastic and dedicated participant in choral music for the rest of my life, singing in church choirs, choral societies around the USA being featured in a gala fundraiser as a principal in the Craven Community Chorus's "Die Fledermaus, and capping with some years with the Bach Society of St Louis, Missouri. I don't sing as much now, but still love my association with choruses and singers here in my retirement. All this is with a great feeling of affection and gratitude to Mr. Donald Smith. It was my privilege to maintain some contact with him from time to time after his move to Harrisonvurg and his retirement.
We talked about all the times the NBSH A Capella Choir took a Superior Plus rating at the contests each year at ECU and what a personal letdown it was for all of us in the 1960-61 season, when he reluctantly decided that between the difficulty of the music and our difficulty to master those nuances so critical to his requirements for the unmatched mature sounds his adolescent voices produced consistently. But for him, the point was to take the lesson and move on to better things afterward.
I have no doubt that if there are choruses waiting for a director in heaven, Mr. Smith will soon be back at work.
Aside: Craig and Cindy, you might not remember, but since I lived not rar from you, I passed a few Friday or Saturday nights babysitting you from time to time when your When Ms Inez and your dad had obligations.
He was a great choral director. I learned so much from him when I accompanied the chorus at New Bern High School. I was able to visit him in Harrisonburg when my ensemble Sonos performed there a few years ago. He came to the concert and looked just like he did in the 60's. I was so happy to be able to tell him personally what he meant to me.
High school is a difficult and fabulous experience …all the fun times, insecurities, and unforgettable moments stamped indelibly in our memories. My fondest memories grew from my time as piano accompanist for the Girls Glee Club and Choir at New Bern High School (1955-1959), when I was privileged to work under Donald Smith. I often remember him at unexpected moments over the years. He was an inspiration. I remember his emphasis on breathing exercises, phrase articulation, tonal quality, rhythms—all the things the choir practiced to be “the best”—not to mention his attention to my accompanying and ongoing evaluation of my piano performance. I went on to major in piano in college and work with other choirs, but the training I had with Mr. Smith was never surpassed. Most of all, he gave me a sense of my own value—a completely irreplaceable gift. My heartfelt sympathies go out to his family.
CI had private lessons with a tern age quartet from Broad Creek Christian Church under him; "Carol of the Bells" was tradition at the Christmas Yueltide Review sung by the NBHS chorus; I will always remember. Also in the chorus of THE THIRD FRONTIER historic drama about the settlement of New Bern directed by Mr. Smith. Always will be grateful. for knowing and experiencing his musical gifts.
I GRADUATED FROM New Bern High School in 1960. I sang in Mr. Smith's girl's glee club for two years and the choir for two years. Mr. Smith was such a dedicated and focused teacher. He taught us so much that as a member of any choir that he directed remains a real honor. He demanded your best performance and that is exactly what he got. I had the tendency to talk a little too much and I shall never forget the time we were singing and I said a tiny thing to Barbara Jean Hall and at that moment, Mr. Smith clapped his hands together , pointed his right forefinger directly at me and said,"Did you get that, Pat?" I was so embarrassed, but I never forgot that incident. I loved our performances, we were very proud of our accomplishments and it was all due to the very talented, Mr. Donald Smith, whom we all loved so much. Pat Ragan Burris. Raleigh, N.C. ps both of my brothers, Jackie and Randy were in the Choir, as my two sisters, Carol and Linda Ragan
My love of classic music was inspired under director of our wonderful teacher Mr. Smith. Every time I hear "The Messiah" I think of him. Class of '58
I graduated from New Bern High 50 years ago and the instructor I remember the most is Mr. Smith. He always brought out the best in students. Kindest regards to his family.
Mr. Smith was my intro to choral music as he did for so many others. I was singing in the First Baptist New Bern youth choir during the late '50's when he "brought me up" to be the youngest member of the adult choir. He also recommended that I audition for the NBHS Acapella Choir, with which I sang from 1960-1964. I've sung most years since then, which would have never happened if Mr. Smith hadn't worked with me. He was a remarkable man and he'll be missed.
It was a privilege to sing in the NBHS Girls Glee Club my freshman year & the NBHS choir for three years. I was doubly blessed because he was the choir director at First Baptist Church in New Bern, NC. Because of him, music has always been an important part of my life. He & I exchanged Christmas cards each year. He was an inspiration to everyone who knew & loved him. Thank you, Mr. Smith, for lighting up my life & touching my heart through music.
Mr. Smith taught us so much more than music. I sang with him in the glee club and choir from 1953-1955. He was an inspiration to us all and gave us an appreciation for all music that we would not have had otherwise. When we sang for him in the celebration choir he still remembered our names. What a TEACHER.
No one has impacted my love of music more than Donald Smith as the beloved conductor of the New Bern Concert Choir during my time in the bass section in 1950-53. I had thought of Don Smith last night at choir practice when our conductor said we sounded like Fred Waring and the Pennsylvainians! Former choir members will understand! Oh, those trips to East Carolina College (at the time) for those competitions where we alway received "Superior" ratings even when we started off flat one time with "How Lovely Is Thy Dwelling Place Oh Lord" and Mr. Smith made us move the risers forward, heard the pitch, started over again and were "superior"! The amazing concerts over the years!
I have a tape of a complete show of broadway tunes, the Lord's Prayer, You'll Never Walk Alone and many others taped during rehearsals in 1953 and we were very good indeed! I plan to bring it to our 60th reunion in October. Sharon Bolin called me this afternoon 9/5 with the news of Mr. Smith's gentle passing. Heaven has another fine choral director and the angels will love him and his manner of making wonderful music. Thank you Donald Smith for being such a major force in my life and the lives of thousands! I smile at the mention of your name!
I sang for him for 4 years,I can truly say that signing for Mr Smith was the best time I had at NBHS. WE sang with the NC Opera Co , The NC Symphony, Fred Waring,and many more what great experiences he gave us. Seeing him at the reunion was great.
I sang under him in the glee club and choir at NBHS from 1953-55. He was my inspiration and mentor in many ways. I talked with him a few years ago about how he had blessed my life and given my an appreciation for good music. I still sing in the Chancel Choir at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Atlanta at the age of 76.
Mr. Smith whetted my appetite for choral music. I learned a great deal from him during my high school years.
Joy Rice Campbell
He was an important mentor to me.
Mr.Smith was a wonderful glee club and choir director. I was previledged to be under his study for 2 years. I learned a lot and enjoyed each class.
Mr. Smith was an inspirational teacher. I enjoyed every minute I was in his class at New Bern High School.
I learned a lot about music the 4 years I was in New Bern High choirs. Thanks to
Mr. Smith I still sing in my church choir. Class 0f 1958