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Blue Stocking Club celebrates century of service

Serina Marshall • Feb 11, 2020 at 4:30 PM

The year is 1920. A tent revival is being held by the Rev. Billy Sunday in Bristol, Tennessee. Thousands have come out to this old-fashioned event. Because of this revival, 16 young women form a Bible study group — because they want to do more. They decide to take action.

Those members name their organization the Blue Stocking Club, and that club has now spent 100 years advocating for the betterment of its community.

“We found we were not happy studying mere words. We must translate words into practice. We must help others and do our bit,” Pauline Massengill DeFriece, the group’s first president, is quoted as saying.

Today, the Blue Stocking Club shines a light on various agencies in the region and organizes fundraisers, both big and small, to help generate revenue and raise awareness for the mission and vision of the chosen recipient.

“In addition, we highlight a nonprofit at each monthly meeting and bring in the items on a wish list that has been developed just for us,” says Mary Lynn Satterwhite, one of 35 club members and the publicity chair for the centennial celebration.

“We are all required to do volunteer work in the community. This year, we have volunteers at Bristol Faith in Action, at Healing Hands, and at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum. At the Christmas luncheon, we pass a blue felt stocking around for monetary donations. Girls Inc. received our holiday gift this year, and this organization was delighted with the support directed to their financial education initiative for girls of all ages.”

Members of the Blue Stocking Club pride themselves on responding accurately and efficiently to the specific needs that are important at any given time. For the centennial celebration this year, the club surveyed all members of the club and its sustainers and asked them to share their thoughts concerning the nominees.

Members determined Paramount Bristol was the most appropriate and compelling choice because it is the cultural epicenter of the entire Bristol community, and the need for technical upgrades was urgent.

The unique fundraising celebration, scheduled for April 19, will feature very special performers. Six-time Grammy Award winner Amy Grant, a difference maker and philanthropist herself, is the headliner.

There are no “tickets” for The Paramount Revival 2020, “An Evening with Amy Grant,” but Mary Lynn explains how individuals can participate.

A membership-level, tax-deductible donation to the Paramount “will enable you to receive an invitation to the Paramount Revival 2020, which includes the Amy Grant concert and a street party with The Time Jumpers, a group of top-flight studio session players from Nashville who perform an array of western swing, jazz, country and pop standards,” she said.

State Street will be closed in front of the Paramount at 5 p.m. The Time Jumpers will be jamming in the streets, and food and drinks will be served. The Amy Grant concert begins inside the Paramount at 7 p.m.

All proceeds from “An Evening with Amy Grant” benefit Paramount Bristol. To learn more about the show or to make a donation, contact the Paramount at www.paramountbristol.org or call (423) 274-8920.

“The Paramount is vital to the economic resurgence of downtown Bristol. Miles Marek, the director, is bringing in marvelous acts with appeal to lovers of all types of music, dance and comedy, and to patrons of all ages,” says Mary Lynn.

Members of the Blue Stocking Club recognize the significance of this resource for families and for business, and for the continuing prosperity of the community. “The importance of the Paramount cannot be overstated,” Mary Lynn said.

As for the next 100 years for the Blue Stocking Club? It will do what it has always done, taking to heart the admonition to “love thy neighbor” and continuing to find ways to make Bristol a good place to live!