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Festival Queen

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Judge C. Ashley Gore

"Down Home Girl" is Pecan Queen 2017
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Kathryn queen imageWhiteville native Kathryn Caine Ogden will reign as queen over this November’s Pecan Harvest Festival. Ogden returned to her hometown last year after living in Charlottesville, Va., for 20 years. She is a critically acclaimed songwriter, singer and painter.

Ogden, using the stage name Kathryn Caine, has recorded 10 CDs, eight of them solo recordings of her own original pieces. Two discs were collaborations with other musicians.

"Whiteville” was the name of the first CD. Her two best-received CDs are titled "Down Home Girl” and "When I was His Wife.” In addition to solo performing, Ogden has directed church music and backed up other singers. On her ninth CD, "The Gospel According to Kathryn Caine,” she wrote every song, played all of the instruments and also engineered, produced and mixed the entire project.

When the festival committee asked if she would accept the honor, "At first I thought they were joking!” Ogden said. "I never thought anyone would choose me for something like that.

"When I realized they were serious, I said of course, I’d be honored. I’m excited. I can’t wait,” she said.

Ogden is the fourth daughter of Dr. William and Lou Ogden. Her sisters Kea, Gray, Mary Mac, Genie and Anna along with only brother Bill, grew up singing gospel and folk songs "all the time.”

Although the Ogden family lived in Danville, Va., during part of her childhood, "Whiteville has been the one stable place that’s always been home for me” because of summertime visits to grandparents and aunts and uncles. She remembers helping out at Dr. Ogden’s orthopedic office, "just down the street from our house.”

Now Whiteville is home again for her. In the past year, she has discovered "a tremendous calming effect, a sense for now of peace. I’m happy to be here.”

She is the mother of 15-year-old Izzy and 14-yearold Evans, both students at Whiteville High School.

"My life is family, music and art,” said Ogden.

Two articles by Ogden have appeared in 954 magazine describing in words and images the changes that Parkinson’s disease brings to the individual diagnosed with it and to his or her family.

Ogden is familiar with Parkinson’s, having observed her father deal with its effects for several years. Her final article in the series will be in this November’s 954 issue.

"I could not be more thankful” to be back home and close to family, said Ogden. "My children love it here, too, so that makes me happy.”

Izzy helps coach soccer for the Parks and Recreation Department and was a varsity player last year for WHS. She plays both flute and piccolo in the marching band.

Evans plays junior varsity football for WHS. After playing French horn since sixth grade, he taught himself bass violin within the last year.

Evans "has an innate ticker” when it comes to rhythm, his mother said. "He has a great ear; he’s always on pitch”

Ogden, her children and her high-school friend Travis Rayle put on a concert Saturday at the Arts Council Center, performing original and classic Americana numbers for an audience of about 50. Izzy sang the lead on most of the numbers with poise and skill beyond her years; a high moment in the program occurred when Evans pulled out a harmonica and wailed a very competent riff on it, earning enthusiastic applause from the audience.

During Saturday’s performance, Ogden paid tribute to the musical legacy her mother and father handed down to her and her siblings. "My sisters Anna and Genie and I grew up singing this song (‘Green Pastures’),” she said. "In church youth choir, Anna was the disciplined one, and I was the one who always got sent home for misbehaving.”

Now Ogden, Izzy and Evans provide worship music at Whiteville’s First Presbyterian Church for Sunday services and special events.

The admission cost of $5 per person Saturday evening went to support the Arts Council. Ogden’s parents listened from the second row. At one time, Ogden apologized, "I’m sorry, Mommy, I know you hate this next song, but I’ll do a different one after it.”

The song Lou Ogden didn’t care for was one her daughter wrote at the age of 19, titled "Whiteville.” It tells the sordid story of a jealous girlfriend revenging himself on her cheating lover.

"I know it’s a terrible, terrible song, and I’m letting my daughter sing it, but the old music was full of those things. Men sing that kind of thing. It just seems different when a woman sings it,” said Ogden.

As Ogden’s disclaimer put it, "In bluegrass and country music, you have a lot of cheatin’ and killin’ and cryin’ in your beer. But we don’t want anybody to go shoot anybody, OK?”

Some of her compositions, such as "I believe,” were expressions of her Christian faith. "(You only wanted me) When I was His Wife” – a ballad that Ogden assured the audience "is not about me” – even made a wry commentary on the cheatin’ side of life from a believing and moral point of view. In it, a woman reproaches the man who tried unsuccessfully to get her to commit adultery. She tells the would-be lover, who is now engaged: "You’ll put a ring on her finger, and she’ll say ‘I do.’ But be careful who you covet, and watch your best man. ‘What goes around comes around’ is going to get you in the end.”

Several of Ogden’s portraits of her parents appeared with her 954 articles. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the College of Charleston and is working on a master’s degree from UNC-Pembroke.

She would like to teach studio art on the college level someday. "Hopefully I’ll be singing at the same time,” she said.

"The best job I ever had,” said Ogden, was teaching art and music appreciation to 6th- to 8th-grade students at the Village School in Charlottesville for eight years. "I think it’s one of only two all-girls middle schools in the country,” she said. "I loved teaching there.

"I’ll always be working on something,” said Ogden. "If I had my druthers, I might be in Nashville, singing. If I can get my kids raised, everything else will come later.”

Ogden is practicing for the parade on Nov. 4. "I have my wave down pat,” she said.

Coming Home
"Life happens, and you don’t know what the future holds,” said Ogden. "Sometimes what you get is what you need. It may not be what you want, but it’s what you need.”

Comparing Whiteville to the larger cities where she has lived, Ogden said, "Small towns, I think, are consistent in the sense that they don’t really change that much.”

And she would not want Whiteville to change much. "People here are tolerant.” She thinks the atmosphere contributes to "family consistency and resilience.”

All that allows an individual to "settle down and get on with things.”

As Izzy told her mother, "This town has so much heart.”

Ogden has always felt rooted in Whiteville, but, she said, "Now my children’s roots are officially here, which is even better.”

Some of Ogden’s music can be heard at https://kathryncaine.bandcamp.com/track/im-coming-home

By Diana Matthews (dianamatthews@nrcolumbus.com)

Article and Images Courtesy of and as Published September 28, 2017 in The News Reporter www.NRColumbus.com


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