Bess Spiva Timmons grant
helps fund new Chorus van
Sometimes gifts come in extraordinary
When Tim and Louise Spears brought their son,
Cosmo, a Touring chorister, to the airport for Orient Odyssey Tour
last year, Dr. Ackerley asked for a parent to drive the Boys Chorus
van back to the rehearsal hall. Tim volunteered, and from the moment
he sat in the van, Tim said he knew "something had to be done."
"I felt like I was in a time warp," said
Tim. "Here is this world-class choir that performs to national
and international accolades - a Chorus with great history and heritage
- and I didn't think the Chorus van was befitting the Tucson Boys Chorus." He
and Louise began discussing ways they could help.
Months later, the idea became reality. With the
Spears' help, a proposal submitted by the Tucson Boys Chorus to the
Bess Spiva Timmons Foundation was approved, granting $15,000 toward
the purchase of a van. The 15-passenger 2000 Ford van will replace
the 1983 van as the primary transportation vehicle for the Chorus.
The Spears Family has had generational support
of the Chorus. Tim and Louise's son, Cosmo, is a recent Touring chorister;
Cosmo's grandfather, Dr. Joe Spears, was a member of the Board of Directors
in the late 90's, and Bess Spiva Timmons, Cosmo's great grandmother,
is a benefactor of the Chorus through the Bess Spiva Timmons Foundation.
Through their various connections with the Chorus, the Spears family
has helped to initiate many projects that have resulted in funding
from the Foundation, including granting numerous scholarships, upgrading
Chorus wardrobes, and purchasing choir chairs.
The Bess Spiva Timmons Family Foundation was
established more than 40 years ago by Tim's grandmother, Bess Spiva
Timmons. The Foundation was set up following the sale of a successful
family-owned business that manufactured dynamite for excavating strip-mining
pits in a burgeoning coal industry in Pittsburg, Kansas. When Bess
sold the company to Dupont before the Depression, she set up a foundation
to fund specific projects by non-profit organizations.
Bess Spiva Timmons was born in Galena, Kansas
in 1901, and graduated from Monticello College in 1921. In 1923, she
married L.K. Timmons and moved to Pittsburg, Kansas. "She was
an amazing woman who had a passion for grassroots organizations," Tim.
Spears said. "She had a wide variety of
interests, mainly centered on education and the environment." Bess
Spiva Timmons passed away in 1986 and is remembered for her legacy
of involvement in the Pittsburg community, as well as her generosity
to non-profit organizations. The Foundation is directed by three generations
of the family, with Tim serving as treasurer.
Tim and Louise became involved with the Chorus
when their son joined the Chorus in 1996. "Cosmo was immediately
fascinated with the varied repertoire of the Chorus," Tim said.
According to Tim, Cosmo learned many different skills as a chorister,
but most notable was "an awareness, presence and confidence that
comes from the rigorous challenges of performing a diverse selection
of music in so many venues."
"The maturity that he gained from the extensive
travel and the responsibilities that come with that, shaped Cosmo into
a very outstanding young man," Tim said. "We are so proud
of our son's accomplishments as a member of the Touring Chorus."
In addition to his work with the Bess Spiva Timmons
Foundation, Tim is owner of Aridise Productions, a web page and graphic
design company. Louise is a rehabilitation counselor and case manager
for Pima Health System. Tim hopes that Foundation support through scholarships
and other project funding will allow more boys to participate in what
he calls "one of the nation's finest children's music programs."
"The Boys Chorus program solidifies a deep
appreciation and understanding of music," said Tim, who also has
a music background. "To tell you the truth, with all the musical
knowledge my son has learned through the Chorus, I'm a little jealous."