Murphy presented Spirit of Andalusia award

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Andalusia Rotary Club on Tuesday honored Andalusia Ballet founder Meryane Martin Murphy with its annual Spirit of Andalusia award on Tuesday.

Rotary Foundation Board president David Darby said the selection committee tries each year to recognize someone who does something to make the community unique.

“One of the things is represented by the person we are honoring today,” Darby said. “Everybody knows the great work Meryane does with the Andalusia Ballet. What you have brought here adds to the quality of life of Andalusia and we are grateful.”

Murphy, who thought she was invited to the club’s luncheon to accept a check for the Andalusia Ballet, was visibly shocked when the award was announced.

“I am speechless,” she said. “Thank you so much for your support and for this.”

The Andalusia Ballet is now in its 32nd season. Mrs. Murphy, who earned a B.A. in dance form Birmingham Southern and continued her education with extensive graduate work at New York University, began teaching in the front room of the Murpys’ home on East Three Notch in the 1970s. She founded the Andalusia Ballet Association in 1982.

Most recently, she spearheaded the partnership with the City of Andalusia to renovate the former Church Street School as a center for the arts and home for Andalusia Ballet.

She previously was recognized by the Andalusia Area Chamber of Commerce with its distinguished service award in recognition of her many contributions to the arts.

In addition to the local recognition, the Rotary Club makes a contribution to Rotary International in honor of the recipient, who is thus designation a Paul Harris Fellow. Also recognized as Paul Harris Fellows on Tuesday were immediate past club presidents Jim Wilcox and Wilbur Williams.

Previous Spirit of Andalusia award winners include Carolyn Davis, Bette Reynolds, Wem Mellown, Larry Avery, Dwight Mikel, Bill Benton, Seth Hammett, Bobbie Gantt Ray and Duke Smith.

The Andalusia Ballet was one of 22 organizations which received funds totaling more than $20,000 from the Rotary Club yesterday. See details in the Thursday edition of The Star-News.