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Jane Cain and The Music of Construction

by | Sep 25, 2023

Jane Cain, second from left, has been volunteering with Habitat for Humanity for more than 30 years – while her day job was Director of Music at DCPC.


The Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project for Habitat for Humanity International will be in Charlotte from October 1 through 6, and Davidson’s own Jane Cain will be on the ground, helping to manage construction! Hosting the event will be country music stars Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks. During this project, more than 900 volunteers per day will be onsite at The Meadows at Plato Price neighborhood, constructing 27 homes in one week.

Jane was a long-time volunteer and former board member of Our Towns Habitat for Humanity and is a current member of the Habitat Charlotte Region Weekday Crew doing work in North Mecklenburg and Iredell Counties. She is also an enthusiastic Women Build Volunteer—having led all-female crews on multiple Habitat projects over many years.

When Jane, music director emerita of Davidson College Presbyterian Church, began her work with Habitat in 1989, she knew little about construction, but other volunteers taught her all she needed to know, even the correct way to hold a hammer. Her special area of expertise, somewhat surprising for a church choir director, was roofing.

The site of the new homes, the Plato Price School holds special significance within the Black community. During a time of segregation, the school encouraged academic growth and fostered cultural identity. Today, the site symbolizes resilience and the ongoing struggle for equality. These new homes will preserve the school’s memory and also help meet the need for affordable housing.

The build supervisory hierarchy structure flows from a Supervisor, who oversees a whole project, to Block Leaders, who each manage three houses. Each house has a House Leader, who oversees four Crew Leaders, of which Jane will be one. She will supervise four volunteers, making sure they understand their jobs and instructing them—some skilled, some not—in the construction of a house, from framing on up. Her work will be for three days beginning Monday, October 2, at 5:45 a.m. Breakfast and lunch will be provided, and Coca-Cola will supply beverages and handle recycling. Clean-up will begin at 3:30 each day.

For all who have had the good fortune of hearing Jane play the organ and piano, you know she has made beautiful music in Davidson and beyond. To her repertoire, she can add the meaningful sound of hammer on nails. As would any good musician, she even knows how properly to wield her hammer!


Regarding the Habitat for Humanity model, frequently asked questions (with answers) can be found here:

Jennie Clifton

Jennie Clifton, a Concord native, taught high school Latin in Georgia, where she was a Tar Heel in exile until she and her husband Cecil, a Davidson graduate, retired here in 2011. They are now enjoying life at The Pines.

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