Dick and Missie Day have been supporters of music at the University of South Carolina through many of the most important years in the history of the school.
When Dick Day joined USC School of Law faculty in 1975, the couple immediately got involved – and have remained so – in the arts in Columbia, including what was at the time the Department of Music. Both are long-term members of the Friends of the School of Music, which provides scholarships, encourages community participation in musical events and sponsors special activities, serving as president and in other positions. In May they donated a piano to the School, which will be used as a first-rate practice instrument for piano majors.
When the Southeastern Piano Festival started in 2003 they instantly got behind it – especially since Mr. Day is a long-time pianist. The couple have attended festival concerts, held house concerts to raise money for the festival and each year host guest artists at their home which has two pianos and walls filled with original artwork (including many by the late USC music professor and pianist Ray Dudley.)
“We always have someone each year staying with us,” said Mr. Day. “It’s nice to spend time with them and get to know them.”
Their involvement is natural since both grew up with the arts.
Raised in Philadelphia, Missie Day attended arts events of all sorts there with trips to New York to see Broadway shows.
“I grew up listening to Eugene Ormandy conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra and asked for season tickets for my fifteenth birthday,” she said.
Mr. Day, a Missouri native, began taking piano lessons at 9 and started college as a music major. Although he switched from music to law, he continued playing and still does.
As a young couple, they lived in Ohio, Chicago, Washington D.C. and North Carolina before settling in Columbia. Dick Day served as professor of law from 1975 to 1999 and dean of the School of Law from 1977 to 1980.
Along with attending concerts by guest artists one of their favorite parts of the festival is the student competition.
“I love the competition and seeing the amazing talent these young people have,” Mr. Day said.
And the winners’ concert that ends the festival is always a highlight.
“It’s so exciting go to the winners’ concert,” Mrs. Day said.
Along with supporting the festival, they are cheerleaders for it, spreading the word up whenever they have the opportunity.
“We’d think it’s wonderful,” said Mrs. Day, “and would like everyone to know about it.”