The trajectory of Velma Smith's life began on her parents' small farm in Arkansas with her seventeen brothers and sisters. In Three Houses
, her autobiographical journal, Smith records several vignettes from the young people's journey, titling the early childhood-through-adolescence phase of their lives as "The House of Pride." In her younger siblings, Smith found an audience interested in literature and receptive to her drills in spelling, grammar, and composition after arduous workdays chopping or picking cotton, and tending the family garden and menagerie of animals. Her parents never tired of cultivating their youngsters' singing and oratorical skills or of instilling a strong religious, political and social consciousness.
Dr. Smith's trajectory continues with Niche in Life
, which invites listeners to experience afresh their connectedness to others in the human family through shared experiences and traditions.
Designed with children, residents of assisted living and correctional facilities, college populations, government employees, and church congregations in mind, the program buttresses the reasons we patronize films and plays, read literature, hear concerts, and frequent houses of worship.
The poems, stories, and music that comprise the repertory
preserve representative artistic expression housed in the American folk canon. The works celebrate family and community, jogging memory and prompting creativity and insight.
Patrons of the performance, as critics of the venture remark, will be engaged, informed, entertained, and inspired.