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See lakeside homes Sunday on Musical Home Tour

ROCK HILL -- In its 95-year club history and 12 previous home tours, the Rock Hill Music Club Musical Tour of Homes never visited a home on Lake Wylie. Not wanting to feature one this year, they're going for four.

"It's really going to be one of the most interesting tours we've ever had," said organizer Bettye Rawls. "Good food, good friends, good music, beautiful homes. We think everything's going to work out."

Almost 20 musicians will entertain in four homes within walking or golf cart-riding distance of each other from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. Sunday. The Joslin Point homes of Vickie Kessinger and Phillip and Marsha Murdock will be joined by Delaine and Julia Robbins' home on Lake Wylie Drive and Nancy Smith's home on Museum Road. Musical styles include light classical, Broadway, pop and jazz performed by vocalists, pianists, flutists and violinists.

"Sometimes people sit down and listen," Rawls said. "They do come to hear their favorite music."

The tour features a blend of new and historic homes. Smith, who could perform in the tour as well as host, built her home in 1979 for retirement. The church handbell choir director and harpist with a baby grand piano for use during the tour says living on the water is the home's best feature.

"That's the great thing about living on the lake," she said. "It increases your playground."

Smith describes her home as "very livable" where "every room gets used." The home on Little Allison Creek also will host a reception during the event, complete with eclectic artifacts from years of traveling. Smith hopes her home might help the tour, which benefits numerous musical endeavors including high school and collegiate music scholarships, achieve its goal.

"Music just speaks to my soul," she said. "Often times music is able to say things words cannot."

Julia Robbins also relies on the water to sell her home, which she could never see herself doing. She and her husband began living in the once-river cabin decades ago and despite also purchasing properties closer to Charlotte, could not bring themselves to leave.

"We just couldn't make ourselves leave the lake," Robbins said. "We just wouldn't think of living anywhere else. We've had this place 43 years, and we've lived here the entire time. We've added on a number of times. We're sort of like pioneers."

The main feature is a "lakeroom" surrounded by Lake Wylie outside three glass walls. The room also has a fireplace, which opens to the kitchen.

Newer homes include the Kessinger home with wine cellar and media room, as well as the Murdock home, reminiscent of a castle featuring paintings and wood carvings of the owner.

Several beneficiaries will receive funding from the tour. The club celebrates its 95th anniversary by establishing a new Winthrop Vocal Study Award. Other awards and scholarships include one for an incoming music major at Winthrop University, three for local high schools for excellence in choral music, Walter Hautzig Master Class in Piano, South Carolina Federation of Music Clubs, Brevard Music Camp, Walter B. Roberts Scholarship, Rock Hill Piano Teachers Forum, York County Choral Society and Arts Council Arts in Education Fund.

"It's one of the oldest groups in Rock Hill," Rawls said of her club. "Our goal is to raise the cultural awareness of the community through music."

Tickets may be purchased from club members, at the door of any participating and at The Arts Council on East Main Street and The Museum of York County.