WINNSBORO — Richard Winn Academy lower school students presented a tribute to Fairfield County native Nelle McMaster Sprott.
Ellen McMaster Nicholson, who is Sprott’s niece and music director for the lower school, directed the tribute on Oct. 22 in which first through fifth grade students presented a musical while portraying famous South Carolinians.
These included Thomas Sumter the Gamecock, Francis Marion the Swamp Fox, and Nelle McMaster Sprott.
All of the songs featured in the production were composed by Sprott, who was born in Winnsboro in 1917 and was the eldest of six children born to Fairfield County natives Mr. and Mrs. Kitt McMaster.
After graduation from Coker College in Hartsville, Sprott taught music at Everett and Mount Zion schools in Fairfield County.
To commemorate South Carolina’s Tri-Centennial Celebration in 1970, Sprott was asked to assemble an album of songs about South Carolina that she had composed for her students.
The album created was entitled “The Singing Sandlappers.” Her albums were distributed to schools throughout South Carolina. A second album, “Around the Years with the Singing Sandlappers,” was produced and distributed 1973.
In 1994, Gov. Carroll Campbell bestowed the Order of the Palmetto on Sprott. The Order of the Palmetto is the highest honor that can be awarded to a civilian in South Carolina.
A number of Sprott’s family members including Laurens McMaster Livings, Sprott’s youngest sister, were present.
Livings, a talented musician and former opera singer, was the lower school music director at Richard Winn Academy for 17 years.
Three of the original “Singing Sandlappers” who were directed by Sprott when she recorded the album of her South Carolina songs for the Tri-Centennial celebration attended the presentation.