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Eularee Smith and Sarah Beth Byrum

A music-ed major at Fullerton College, Eularee Smith taught kindergarten for a couple of years, then got married and became a full-time mom. When the family moved to Eugene in 1979, she began to give piano lessons at home and to volunteer in the community. "In the back of my mind, I always wanted to start a program to bring arts to children," she says. So when her daughter Sarah Beth graduated with a UO dance major in 1999, Smith enlisted her as a partner in Upstart Crow Studios, a non-profit that offers classes in theater, music, dance, and other arts to children, without regard to talent or economic status. "Thirty percent of our kids are on scholarship," she notes. After years of teaching and performing in churches and schools ("Our homes became costume shops"), UCS moved into its own own building in September of '06. "It's passion, not work," says Smith, who volunteers her time as artistic director. She still teaches piano and volunteers elsewhere, as in: Oregon Meals on Wheels Volunteer of the Year for 2006. More on UCS classes and shows at upstartcrowstudios.com.

happening people

photograph and story by Paul Neevel

Eugene Weekly / 16 August 2007

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