Arts & Culture

Duke Symphony Orchestra performance at USCB to benefit Beaufort Memorial Hospital

Martha Lynn and Charley Webb have been integral to the Duke Symphony Orchestra performance that benefits Beaufort Memorial Hospital, where they both were born.
Martha Lynn and Charley Webb have been integral to the Duke Symphony Orchestra performance that benefits Beaufort Memorial Hospital, where they both were born. Submitted photo

When Charley and Martha Lynn Webb say they have a lifelong connection to Beaufort Memorial Hospital, they aren't kidding.

Both were born at the hospital back when the hospital had just 25 beds.

"The delivery cost $35," Charley Webb said. "Mom has the bill in my baby book."

Martha Lynn gave birth to all four of their children at Beaufort Memorial. Two of the Webbs' grandchildren also were born there. Over the years, their parents have been in and out of the hospital for various procedures, including cardiac services. And like most families, they've made the occasional visit to the ER for broken bones and stitches.

"We've seen the hospital grow as the community has grown." Webb said. "We used to have to go to Charleston for a lot of different things. Now, we can be treated right here in Beaufort."

The Webbs have hosted numerous dinner parties for the Beaufort Memorial Hospital Foundation Valentine Ball, an annual fundraiser that has raised more than $3.7 million for the hospital. Charley Webb also served on the Foundation's Board of Trustees from 1997 to 2003. It was during his two-year tenure as chairman of the board that the Foundation initiated one of its most popular fundraisers -- the Duke Symphony Orchestra concert.

Then a principal with Kinghorn Insurance of Beaufort, Webb persuaded his associates to sponsor the fledgling event, benefiting the Keyserling Cancer Center and the hospital's healing arts program. Even though Webb retired last January, the agency continues to support the concert.

This year's concert will be performed March 23 at University of South Carolina Beaufort Center for the Arts. Led by Duke Symphony Orchestra director Harry Davidson, the students will perform a varied repertoire of symphonic classical works.

In addition, the evening will feature the 20-member USCB University Chorus singing "Vois Sur Ton Chemin" led by director Vic Varner.

In celebration of its 10th year hosting the orchestra, the foundation will host its after-concert conductor's reception in the historic Joseph Johnson house, known as "The Castle." Those who purchase patron tickets to the concert also receive an invitation to the reception.

"The performance is always quite enjoyable and the conductor is a lot of fun," Charley Webb said.

A musician in his own right, Webb is a regular at local jam sessions. He plays the fiddle, guitar and mandolin and recently took up piano.

"I play like I have crab claws for hands," Webb said. "But I enjoy it. I think the arts are so good for your health."

In recognition of their longtime support of the Duke Symphony Orchestra fundraiser, the Webbs were chosen as honorary chairmen of this year's event. It is only the second time in 10 years the foundation has designated honorary chairs.

As they have done in past years, the Webbs will host several of the Duke students during their stay in Beaufort. They are among dozens of residents who open up their homes to the young musicians.

"These are bright kids who come from all over the world to study at Duke," Webb said. "It's been fun having them in our home."