Contact Virginia Snyder at 417-882-6621 to book your event at Snyder Music Park in Lawrenceburg, Mo., (just west of Springfield).
In 1989 teacher, author and musician, Virginia Snyder, unveiled her father’s dream when she opened Snyder Music Park in Lawrenceburg, Mo., on 40 acres. “My dad’s dream was to be a singer but he gave it up to stay on the farm and take care of his family,” recalled Virginia.
“My grandma, Rosa Lee, was the foundation of our musical talent. I spent a lot of my childhood at grandma’s house on the porch learning to play guitar.”
When Virginia’s father, Freddie Glen Snyder, passed away at age 67 his dream became Virginia’s dream. But a long journey full of rich history preceded this stage in Virginia’s life.
Virginia grew up in Lawrence County on a 200-acre farm and attended a one-room school until she graduated the eighth grade. “I attended the one-room school called “Lickskillet,” also known as Independence number one. I went there for eight years. My brother and I would walk two miles to school along a beautiful dirt road observing God’s great creations of nature,” reminisced Virginia. When the weather was bad, Virginia remembered her father would wrapped her legs with gunny sacks and tied them with binder twine and walked the kids to school.
Virginia described a typical day at school with pride. After the adventurous walk, she would place her dinner pale on a long bench with the rest of the students. School began at 9 a.m. with opening exercises, which included saying the pledge and reciting the Lord’s Prayer. Then all students would take their seats to begin the day’s work.
“I always wanted to sit with Jean Brooks, my special friend. We sat together all eight years,” remembered Virginia.
The day’s schedule went something like this: reading, 15 minute recess, arithmetic, lunch, organized sports, the teacher would read to the students, language arts, 15 minute recess and then science or geography.
During the eighth grade Virginia was selected by Miss Amogene Fortner to act as her teacher’s aide. “I would help the younger students read or with their spelling words. That was my motivation to become a teacher.”
After completing the eighth grade, Virginia attended Ash Grove high school. “I worked hard and made straight A’s. The superintendent, Mr. Quarles, was an inspiration to me. He told me I would make a good teacher.”
The year she graduated high school, Virginia was offered her first job teaching at the one-room school, Union Hall, on the agreement that she would go to summer school. “I remember how scared I was when I went in the first day. I had about 25 students and by the end of the day I had lots of notes that all read the same, ‘I like you Miss Virginia.’ All a good teacher needs is a blackboard and a piece of chalk,” explained Virginia.
She taught at Union Hall for two years until she got the job at Onward, another one-room school, where she would teach for six years until the school was consolidated with another school. “Onward was a beautiful school and community. Everyone helped me out.”
During the summers Virginia would attend summer school at Southwest Missouri State University. It took her 10 summers to complete her Bachelor of Science but she finally graduated in 1954. Then it took her two more years to complete her Master’s in Education and Supervision.
Virginia then taught at Halltown for a short while before being sought after by Springfield Public Schools where she taught at West Port Elementary until she retired in 1986.
Retirement brought Virginia back to the farm to make her father’s dream come true. She took her retirement money and money she got from clearing timber from the 40 acres that became the Snyder Music Park and began building.
The first of many festivities were held in 1991, which included a fiddle contest in June, a bluegrass festival in July and a gospel concert in September. The Snyder Music Park has blossomed over the years and now is the home to many weddings, reunions, church events, retreats, revivals and of course, music shows.
One of the most unique aspects of the park and something Virginia is very proud to show her guests is the fully restored one-room school that her mother, Mary Lorene Adamson Snyder attended. The schoolhouse was purchased from one of her cousins and relocated to the park. “It is all authentic except the electric lights. My mother and all of the Adamsons got their eighth grade educations from “Little Moore,” explained Virginia.
Virginia has opened the Snyder Music Park and Little Moore School to the public. The legacy of Virginia’s life and the legacy of the one-room school can be understood by the wise words from Virginia, “to understand the future you have to know your past.”