Minutes of Sacred Harp Singings

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Potomac River Convention

Washington, D.C.

March 30 - April 1, 2001

Friday, March 30

A New Traditions Singing began at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, March 30, at the Pohick Episcopal Church, Lorton, Virginia. Mary Ann Daly greeted the class and led “Windgate” (by Tom Tucker).

The songs were led by their own composers, unless otherwise noted. Leaders: Dan Hertzler “Come In and Sing”; Blake Morris “Ireland”; Guy Bankes “Cranbrook” (by Thomas Clark); Tom Tucker “Samanthra” (EH 27); Peter Pate “Flandreau”, “Hyde Park” (both by Natalia Cecire); Gina Balestracci “Liberty’s Trumpet” (by Roland Hutchinson); Mary Ann Daly “Mount Watson”, “Ruby” (both by William Hauser); Tom Tucker “Bankes” (by Blake Morris); Peter Pate “Foss Hill” (by Rachel Adelstein); Mimi Stevens “Ogontz”.


Mary Ann Daly reopened the class leading “Praises”. Leaders: Roland Hutchinson “Ussher”; Peter Pate “Pohick” (by Dan Brittain); Hal Kunkel “The Stone Forever Stands”; Gina Balestracci “Florida Storm” (by J. Jackson); Roland Hutchinson “Relly’s Third”. The evening session was closed.

Saturday, March 31

The twelfth annual Potomac River Sacred Harp Singing Convention met at Pohick Episcopal Church in Lorton, Virginia. Katharine Manning called the class to order at 10:00 a.m. leading song on page 128. Paula McGray offered the opening prayer. Katharine Manning welcomed the class and led song on page 274 (t? b?), followed by Tom Tucker 46; Miriam Kilmer 38b; Tim Slattery 192; and Kathy Tucker 144.

A business meeting was held with the following officers elected and committees appointed: Chairman—Tom Tucker; Vice Chairlady—Mary Ann Daly; Secretary—Frank Evans; Treasurer—Mimi Stevens; Chaplain—Peter Pate; Arranging—Bob Hall and Steven McMaster; Finance—Cathy Tucker; Memorial—George Seiler; Resolutions—Kelly Macklin; Registration—Miriam Kilmer; Food—Jim Strube and Gillie Campbell; Social Host—Cathy Tucker; Housing—Joni Seidenstein; Publicity—Steven Sabol.

Leaders: Ella Wilcox 77 (t? b?); Marty DeNys 299; Frank Evans 55; Jean Seiler (for Diane Homeland) 290; Donna Abrahams 440; Sharon McKinley 145b; Bob Hall and Tommy Hall 38t; Elise Meyer-Bothling 147b; Louis Freilicher 335; Joni Seidenstein 189; Henry Bizzell 34b; Laura Densmore 313t.


Mary Ann Daly brought the class to order leading song on page 131b. Leaders: Richard Schmeidler 474; Blake Morris 442; Kelly Macklin 220; Doron Henkin 217; Rosemary Greenaway 171; Bill Holt 376; Mary Palmer Legare 532; Adrian Mariano 183; Jean Seiler 209; Bradford West 99; Kacy Pate 186; Sandra Hack Polaski with daughter 504; Hal Kunkel 436; Charles Wells 231; Cath Oss 39t; Laura Timmerman 448b; Stephen McMaster 446; Gina Balestracci 419; Sarah Beasley Smith 159; Mary DeNys 566; Joe Todd 58; Diane Mennella 349; Guy Bankes 350 (in memory of Mary Kay Friday). The chairman announced lunch, for which Peter Pate offered the prayer.


Treasurer Mimi Stevens opened the afternoon session leading song on page 546. Leaders: Evan Duncan 84; Patricia Temple 472; Donna Abrahams 436 (for Kathy Helms); Paula McGray 475; Peter Pate 354b; Marcia Tucker 547; Gary Smith 569b; Kathy Macklin 340 (for Ina Henkin); Don Polaski 198; Dan Hertzler 235; Mary Wright 180; Seth Holloway 388; Chloe Maher 383; Jim Brady 45t; Dick Levine 492; John delRe 333; Leanne Wiberg 476; Mimi Stevens 328; Beth Todd 89; Sue Hanson 479.


Paula McGray brought the class to order leading song on page 155. Leaders: Darryl Jefferson 454; Leslie Alperin 268; Deborah Schoenfeld 61; Jason Law 122; Eric Bean 285t; Chris Sepic 163t; John Daniel delRe 332; Dottie Hurley 49t; Lee Schumacher 40; Ronnie Hendershot 496; Tim Slattery 344; John Redman 358; Roland Hutchinson 518; Miriam Kilmer 178; George Seiler 347.

Announcements were made. Chairman Tom Tucker led song on page 176t as the closing song. Peter Pate closed the day’s singing with a prayer.

Sunday, April 1

The Sunday session of the Potomac River Convention was held at Grange Hall in Great Falls, Virginia.

Chairman Tom Tucker brought the class to order at 10:00 a.m. leading song on page 48t. The opening prayer was offered by George Seiler. Chairman Tucker greeted the class and thanked a number of helpers.

Leaders: Charles Deering 143; Eric Bean 70b; Mary McCaffray and Guy Bankes 344; Beth Todd 179; Sarah Pilzer 146; Liz Cusick 178; Leyland delRe 129; Roland Hutchinson 36t; Jane Wells 481; Craig Baughan 229; Leslie Alperin 547; Dan Hertzler 203.


John delRe brought the class to order leading song on page 323 (t? b?). Leaders: Sue Hanson 280; Phyllis Gonigam 268; John Redman 362; Paula McGray 542; Dick Levine 102; Rosemary Greenaway 163b; Marcia Tucker 556; Gina Balestracci 387; Tim Slattery 171; Laura Timmerman 457; Charles Wells 149.

The memorial lesson was led by George Seiler who opened the lesson with some moving comments: that Sacred Harp singers are not simply a family but an international community; that the tunes bring us together and we feel the poetry, the community, and the power of the love that surrounds us; that we sing of our sorrow and our joy for those who have touched us, or someone we love deeply; and, repeating Clarke Lee’s thought, that no one in our singings is telling us what to see or hear or feel or experience, but we are only sharing our experiences with one another. Bill Holt then read the names of the sick and shut-ins: Phillip Shea, Melissa Rickerman, Marie Law, Hy Bean, Grace Hanz, Gabriel Massuti, Betty Nikelsky, Barbara Smith, Debbie Ansell, and Dot Garber; and led song on page 68b in their honor.

George Seiler and Mimi Stevens then shared some thoughts and memories of a recently deceased singer, Mary Kay Friday, and Cathy Tucker led song on page 120 in her memory.

George Seiler read the names of the deceased and led song on page 122 in memory of the following: Mary Kay Friday—Washington, D.C.; Gene Wakefield, Virgil Phillips, Ruby Phillips, Marie Aldridge, Rosa Hughes, and A.C. McGough—Alabama; George Seiler—California; Susan Garber—Connecticut; Jack Smith—Georgia; Marjorie Crane—Kansas; Jerry Slattery—Louisiana; Rita Cook and Nora Fizdale—Maryland; Priscilla Hertzler—Massachusetts; Karen House, John Thompson, Moses Pfefferman, Gene Fairly, Karen Hamilton, and Jean Connolly—New York; Dick Tarrier—North Carolina; Robert H. Todd, Franz Atherton, John J. Hendershot, Sr., and Joanna Sorlien—Pennsylvania; James Jalsevac—Ontario, Canada; and Gerwita Steinberger—Austria. The memorial lesson was closed.

Leaders: Mary Ann Daly 148; Stephen McMaster 528; Jean Seiler 127; Steven Holland 89; Hal Kunkel 411. Craig Baughan offered the blessing for the noon meal.


Mary Ann Daly brought the afternoon session to order leading song on page 401. Leaders: Mimi Stevens 128; Joni Seidenstein 278b; Louis Freilicher 448t; Diane Mennella 546; Doron Henkin 192; Peter Pate 106; Gary Smith 31t; Laura Densmore 408; Henry Bizzell 452; Fred Beardsley 532; Elise Meyer-Bothling 91; Bradford West 142; Chloe Maher, Tom Maher, and Clare Maher 47t; Richard Schmeidler 254; Diane Holmlund 327; Sarah Beasley Smith 108t; Guy Bankes 28b; children’s lesson (John Daniel delRe, Anna Taylor, Gilead Henkin, Tom Hall, and Willie Hall) 358; Pat Temple 168; Bob Hall and Tom Hall 274t; Gina Balestracci 28t.


Gail Doss brought the class to order leading song on page 282. Leaders: Joe Todd 373; Steven Sabol 33t; Sarah Davie 436; Kelly Macklin 377; Ronnie Hendershot and Eric Bean 294; Mary Wright 324; Kathy Manning 430 (for Jerilyn Schumacher); Adrian Mariano 114; Kacy Pate 384; Jane Wells 455; Stephen Holland 350; Leyland delRe and John delRe 29t; Charles Deering 175b; Fred Beardsley 475; Frank Evans 200; Craig Baughan 347; George Seiler 480; Louis Freilicher 300; Laura Densmore 312b; Richard Schmeidler 287; Jean Seiler 315; Bill Holt 101t.

Announcements of future singings were made. Tom Tucker thanked Steven Sabol and Miriam Kilmer for publicity and Joni Seidenstein for housing.

Kelly Macklin gave the report of the Resolutions Committee and thanked all the committee members and those who had otherwise helped to make the convention successful.

A total number of 172 singers attended: Virginia—85; Maryland—25; District of Columbia—13; New York—10; Pennsylvania—8; Massachusetts—7; Ohio—7; New Jersey—6; North Carolina—3; Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, Connecticut, Vermont, Ontario, and Israel—1 each; with a total of 155 songs led.

Tom Tucker led song on page 62 as the closing song. Peter Pate closed the day and the convention with a prayer.

Chairman—Tom Tucker; Vice Chairlady—Mary Ann Daly; Secretary—Frank Evans.