Most people come to MerleFest to enjoy the celebratory atmosphere. Joyce Morrin of Virginia Beach, Virginia comes to MerleFest to heal, remember, and celebrate life. MerleFest 2008 marked her first visit to the festival. After years of springtime sadness remembering her sister's death from breast cancer at Easter in 2000, Joyce decided it was time to make new memories of spring and that MerleFest was just the place to make those memories.
Looking online to find a performance by a favorite musician, Tift Merritt, Joyce stumbled on the MerleFest schedule. She realized that her best friend, Jo Ireland, lived close by in Statesville, NC. She contacted Jo and they both applied to volunteer. "It was then we decided that no matter what, we would always meet at MerleFest and be part of the reverie and celebration. She is the best of friends I have ever known. So it is also a tribute, of sorts, we do as friends for life!" states Joyce.
Joyce is a lifelong fan of acoustic music, so her volunteer work at various stages as an usher is a great fit for her. As an adolescent she would take a bus to the local instrument store near what is now Old Dominion University. "I would catch a bus at fourteen years old just to hear and see folks play live music. Bob Zentz, the owner and a well-respected musician, sponsored a coffeehouse filled with some of the best talent from our parts. I was so influenced by these experiences that as soon as I received my very first paycheck from the local McDonald's job I had in high school, I went and made installment payments for a second-hand guitar."
Of course, her hobbies now include playing and listening to music. "I play when I need a creative outlet and a dose of 'music therapy.'" She also has many other interests. Joyce is a certified horticulturist and is a graduate of the Norfolk Botanical School of Horticulture. Her talents in this area have been important to the Tidewater area as she has served as museum docent, member of the board of directors, and has planned and implemented herb gardens at two historic sites. Her additional work at WRRW "Revolutionary Radio" in Williamsburg as PR/Promotions Director and two publication jobs keep Joyce busy. She also owns a small business called Garden Goddess Greenery.
Joyce is the proud parent of two sons, Christopher, age thirty-four, and Anthony, age twenty-five. Christopher volunteered with his mother in 2008 and plans to come back to MerleFest in 2010.
"These past two years, I have come to MerleFest to celebrate the music and the wonderful embrace of the community it moves about in. Although my heart may be heavy with grief with the loss of my sister, MerleFest has given me a reason to celebrate life at this time of year. My sister would want me to go on living and loving all the things we grew to share, especially the music."
MerleFest is happy that Joyce Morrin discovered our festival to help her cope with what was a difficult time of year for her in the past. Thank you, Joyce, for your dedication and hard work.