Helen Davault Williams
Director of Hickman Verse Speaking Choir
November 14, 2003
Click for Enlargement
You might remember these?
Cresset Picure from 1963
April 15, 2003 by Charley Blackmore
Biography of Helen D. Williams
Williams was the third child of Rev. William A. and Margaret Emma
Williford Davault. She lived in Columbia, Missouri where she taught
at Columbia High School and David H. Hickman High School from 1924-1963.
There she was director of speech activities and was vice-principal for
15 years. In 1917 she was married to Charles H. Williams. Their
daughter, Helen Emily, now Mrs. Brooke Peirce, was head of the English
Department of Baltimore University and her husband was head of English
at Gaucher College. Mrs. Williams graduated from Will Mayfield College
and Southeast Missouri State Teachers College, then received her A. B.
degree from Missouri University and a Master's degree from Washington University
at St. Louis. She was elected to the honor organizations of Phi Beta
Kappa, Pi Lambda Theta and Delta Kappa Gamma. Her social sorority
is Gamma Phi Beta an she was active in P. E. O. and Quota Club. She
was a member of the First Baptist Church of Columbia where she wrote and
helped present a pageant on the history of the church for its sesqui-centennial.
While at Hickman High School, Mrs. Williams directed the senior plays,
the assemblies and, for several years, coached the debate team. She
was most dedicated to the speech choir work because of the influence of
beautiful poetry on her students and the joy it brought to audiences.
The following paragraphs from a program folder, used when the choir performed
for a Summer Arts Festival in 1960 at the State University in Brockport,
New York, tells of that achievement. It said, "A combination of dancing,
dramatics and narration is the basic make-up of the 115-member nationally
known Hickman Verse Speaking Choir. It has
performed at the National Convention of Oral Reading Arts in Chicago and
appeared before the National Insurance Convention at the Jefferson Hotel
in St. Louis. In New York State they presented programs at three
branches of the State University, the Nazareth College at Rochester and
Cornell University at Ithaca. Mrs. Helen D. Williams, a teacher by
vocation, is the originator, producer and director of the choir.
One of the highlights of her career was when she was commissioned by the
Missouri State Teachers Association to write and present a choric drama
for their centennial before 16,000 people."
Johnny Appleseed & The Lonesome Train
If you were a member of Verse Choir
at Hickman High School,
you might remember "Johnny Appleseed"
"The Lonesome Train" or "Nellie Was A Lady"
Both were verse choir readings that Mrs. Williams used.
you have in your possessions,
2312 Deer Creek Ct
Columbia, MO 65201-3564
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