2009-12-25 / News

Heart ’n Soul honors Ron Barrett

Photos and story by Mimi M. Maddock

Circling Ron Barrett beginning at the top and moving right are members of Heart n’ Soul: Curt Rone, Carl Ellsworth Doug Neal, Gary Ballowe, Marion Brown, Margery Ballowe, Fran Rametta, Malcolm Gordon, Bill Miles, and Dickie Chappell. Circling Ron Barrett beginning at the top and moving right are members of Heart n’ Soul: Curt Rone, Carl Ellsworth Doug Neal, Gary Ballowe, Marion Brown, Margery Ballowe, Fran Rametta, Malcolm Gordon, Bill Miles, and Dickie Chappell. A jam session two and a half years ago was the beginning of a band that has raised over $500,000 for charities in the Midlands. Most of the members played with big time bands in the late 50s and have never gotten the love of music out of their systems.

When Malcolm Gordon explained to musicians he called the mission of Heart ’n Soul, the only question was “What do you need?” In the past, these men were on the road and out all hours of the night. Now with all having families and careers, playing at home was the perfect fit.

Gordon, a singer took up the harmonica. Doug Neal learned to play the drums. Fran Rametta went back to the trumpet. Others who stepped up to the plate were Carl Ellsworth, lead vocalist; Bill Miles, bass guitarist; Marion Brown, guitarist and backup vocalist; Dickie Chappell, keyboard; Curt Rone, tenor saxophonist; and Ron Barrett, guitarist and arranger.

David Kunz, executive director of Cooperative Ministry holds check given by members of Heart ’n Soul in honor of former member Ron Barrett. On the right of Kunz is his wife Veronica, Linda Salane, board member of Cooperative Ministry and a close friend of Barrett; and Mike Guffy of Shandon United Methodist Church. David Kunz, executive director of Cooperative Ministry holds check given by members of Heart ’n Soul in honor of former member Ron Barrett. On the right of Kunz is his wife Veronica, Linda Salane, board member of Cooperative Ministry and a close friend of Barrett; and Mike Guffy of Shandon United Methodist Church. The youngest member and only female is Margery Ballowe, lead vocalist and keyboard player. Her husband Gary joined playing the baritone saxophonist.

The band’s first gig packed Shandon United Methodist. It was a toss up to which group had more fun — the band or the participants, and this has remained true for all of their performances.

On December 17, 2009, members of Heart ’n Soul and their “groupies” gathered at Shandon United Methodist Church for dinner and to honor Ron Barrett who died October 11. The members presented Shandon United Methodist Church $5,000 for the benefit of Columbia’s Cooperative Ministries and in Barrett’s honor.

David Kunz, executive director of Cooperative Ministries accepted the check. Doug Neal said, “Our band is formed on the idea of service above self, and we are excited to provide this donation to Cooperative Ministries to further live out our band’s mission and to help the wonderful programs of that organization.”

The Cooperative Ministry is a Midlands–based ministry created to help serve those in need with food, clothing, transportation, rent, utilities, and more.

“This is an exciting time for us,” said Marion Brown. “It provides us the opportunity to reflect on where we’ve been, see the growth and momentum built thus far, and look forward to providing many more donations like this in the future for great causes.”

For information about booking Heart ’n Soul, call Marion Brown, 803-364- 5193 or Doug Neal, 803-787- 7017 or email heartnsoul@ bellsouth.net.

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