September Volunteer Spotlight—Lenore Rittenhouse
Mother, nurse, teacher, golf pro, Hawaii Sports Hall of Famer, musician, MerleFest volunteer—all of these words describe Lenore Rittenhouse of Pinehurst, North Carolina. Lenore has become a valued and responsible helper at Little Pickers, Hospitality, and other areas in the three years she has volunteered at MerleFest.
Lenore was recruited from her high school in Hawaii as a point guard for the University of Hawaii basketball team, but an injury cut those plans short. After surgery and with a cast still on her lower leg, she began playing golf. She was soon playing on the golf team and in her senior year was selected as the team's Most Valuable Player. After college, Lenore joined the LPGA tour where she played successfully for twenty-two years. She now plays in women's senior events and has taught golf for eight years.
Now, you might think that in retirement Lenore is relaxing on the golf course and resting on her laurels—wrong! She just graduated from the nursing program at Sandhills Community College and now works as a registered nurse. In her "spare time" she has taught herself to play ukulele, guitar, and fiddle. Lenore's son is heading to Bluefield College this fall to play soccer and major in biology.
With all these things going on, Lenore still finds time each April to come to MerleFest to enjoy great music and help make this festival possible as part of the MerleFest volunteer family. "I'm probably the only person at the festival who brings textbooks and studies between performances…can't miss MerleFest, but can't afford to fail in school." She especially enjoys the music of Bearfoot, the John Cowan Band, Polecat Creek, and Tony Rice. "Music is truly food for the soul," comments Lenore, "and to be with so many nice folks who appreciate this moving experience at MerleFest, well, there are just too many favorite musicians to list."
As a recent community college student and a single mom, Lenore realizes the importance of MerleFest as a fundraiser for Wilkes Community College. "I have been a recipient of a nursing scholarship at Sandhills Community College in Moore County. WCC has similar programs and serves a similar population of students. Students will learn, live, and work in the community, enriching the lives of many. I think that MerleFest is an awesome venue as a fundraiser, a showcase, and tribute to its namesake."