Clifford Barrington (Barrie) Smith, daughter of the late Evaline N. and Milton G. Smith, Jr., died May 28, 2014 in her home. She was the last of her immediate family.
Barrie was born in Tryon, N.C. At the age of 3 months, she and her parents moved from Tryon to Greenville. Her childhood schooling was in Donaldson Elementary, Hughes Middle School, and Greenville High School. Her intense interest in music, particularly voice, was inspired by Mrs. Virginia Uldrick, who was the director of Choral Music at Greenville High School. She began studying in the Preparatory Music Department at Furman University before her graduation. A Greenville School District report in 1991 listed her among distinguished graduates of the Greenville High School.
She won a scholarship to study voice under Dr. John McCrae at Converse College. She received a Bachelor of Music degree with Distinction in Performance. During her years at Converse she spent summers at the Brevard Music Center where she sang many leading roles, and became acquainted with numerous professional singers who were guest artists.
While at Converse she received a scholarship to continue graduate studies at the Juilliard School. There she received a master's degree in voice and opera. During her first year at Julliard she became a member of the American Opera Center, the professional opera company housed at Julliard. That same year she was invited to join the company of the Metropolitan Opera Studio, a touring wing of the Metropolitan Opera.
Barrie was one of only 25 students, from a field of several hundred who auditioned, accepted into the Maria Callas Master Classes. Mme. Callas chose to work with her as a soprano rather than a mezzo soprano, and as a result they became intimate friends. Barrie and Mme. Callas remained friends until Mme. Callas' death.
Among her awards was her acceptance to the Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Artist Program, a grant from the Metropolitan Opera to attend the famed Glyndebourne Festival in England, a grant from the Metropolitan Opera for European Study, a grant from the William Matheus Sullivan Foundation, a Martha Baird Rockefeller grant, and a two year grant from the National Opera Institute.
In 1974 she accepted the position of leading soprano with the Texas Opera Theatre, a new touring wing of the Houston Grand Opera. In 1975 she became the soprano in residence for Houston Grand Opera. In 1976 she was asked to sing the national anthem for the official opening of the South Carolina Bicentennial celebration. She appeared with Bob Hope, Martha Ray, and Minnie Pearl.
While in Houston, Barrie acquired a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Houston. She quietly retired from singing and took a position as counselor to parents of disabled children with the United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Houston. She also opened her own private psychotherapy practice at that time. Before returning to Greenville to care for her mother, she was employed by the Children's Museum of Houston as a consultant and writer while continuing to maintain her private practice.
She was a member of the Augusta Road Baptist Church, the Greenville Historical Society, the Crescent Music Club, the Huguenot Society of SC, and the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, The National Association of Social Workers, and the Phi Kappa Phi, honorary national scholastic society.
Private graveside burial services were conducted at Springwood Cemetery. Memorials may be made to The Augusta Road Baptist Church, 1803 Augusta Road, Greenville, SC 29605, or the Humane Society of Greenville, SC 29605. Cremation Society of South Carolina is serving the Smith family.
Cremation Society Of South Carolina
328 Dupont Drive Greenville, SC 29607
Published in The Greenville News on June 8, 2014