Minutes of Sacred Harp Singings

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Garden State Sacred Harp Singing Convention

Montclair, New Jersey

May 18-19, 2001

Friday, May 18

The ninth annual session of the Garden State Sacred Harp Singing Convention was called to order at 7:30 p.m. by Gina Balestracci leading song on page 66. Rosemary Greenaway welcomed everyone with great joy and offered an opening prayer.

A brief business session was held with the election or appointment of the following officers: Chairman—Rosemary Greenaway; Vice Chairman—Gina Balestracci; Treasurer—Roland Hutchinson; Secretary—Diane Mennella; Arranging Committee—George Seiler, Paula McGray, and Tom Tucker; Memorial Committee—Donna Abrahams, Doron Henkin, and Bradford West; Resolutions Committee—Barbara Swetman and Bill Holt; Chaplains—Ginny Landgraf and George Seiler; Pitching/Keying—Jean Seiler, Bob Parr, Ginny Landgraf, and Bradford West; Registration—Marlene Levine and Martha Husick; Food Coordinators/Kitchen Clean-up—Gina Balestracci, Ellie Soler, Claire Simon, Sheila Girling Smith, Laura Timmerman, Edwin Macadam, Mary Martin, David Martin, Tom Gibney, Paula McGray, and Ginny Ely; Publicity—Roland Hutchinson.

Leaders: Rosemary Greenaway 31b; Gina Balestracci 39t; Roland Hutchinson 36b; Diane Mennella 37b; Paula McGray 47t; Guy Bankes 350; Claire Simon 503; Bill Holt 148; Thom Metzger 445; Paul Gauthier 101b; Chris Noren 299; Jean Seiler 217; Bob Parr 95; Margaret Bornick 212; Blake Morris 71.


Diane Mennella brought the class back to order leading song on page 155.

Roland Hutchinson introduced Sheila Smith and Edwin Macadam who are visiting from England, and made mention that they will host the next annual United Kingdom Sacred Harp Convention in Oxford, England. They brought a collection of West Gallery songs which the class had an opportunity to sing, illustrating to many the common heritage that present day singers on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean share. In between songs, some of which had American printings in the 18th and early 19th centuries, both Sheila and Edwin treated the class to a historical overview of the evolution of congregational singing. Edwin reminded us that throughout history there has always been one source. Tunes sung were entitled “Babylon Streams,” “Bampton,” “Jersey,” and “Durham.” Sheila concluded their presentation by expressing the hope that the commonality between English and American singing of sacred songs will continue and asked the class to sing from “The Sacred Harp, 1991 Edition” on page 198.

Leaders: Susan Bingham 45t; Ted Stokes 61.


Rosemary Greenaway brought the class back to order leading song on page 49b. Leaders: Dick Levine 492; Ginnie Ely 349; Dennis Leipold 352; Rosie Wojcik 48b; Dan Hertzler 274t; Barbara Swetman 73b; Matthew Wojcik 566. Ginny Landgraf offered the closing prayer.

Saturday, May 19

Rosemary Greenaway opened the morning session by leading song on page 33b. Ginny Landgraf offered the opening prayer.

Leaders: Roland Hutchinson 473; Diane Mennella 472; Ginny Landgraf 351; Michal Truelsen 327; Gary Smith and Alice Cochran 569 (t? b?); Eileen Metzger 168; Ronald Bornick 454; Laura Timmerman 86; George Seiler 84; Gabriel Kastelle with his father 340; Richard Schmeidler 474; Sarah Smith 129; Frank Evans 344; Sheila Girling-Smith 28t; John Redman 236; Hal Kunkel 89; Marty DeNys 299; Edwin Macadam 150; Pat Geritz 47t; Michael Kaye 163b; Doron Henkin 135; Alexandra Gilmore 457; Bradford West 99; Howard Katz 362; Tom Tucker 288.


Edwin Macadam brought the class to order leading song on page 287. Leaders: Gerry Hoffman 458; Mary Ann Morrison 178; Tom Gibney 501; Charlotte Ehrman 66; Inga Knets 171; Edith Berger 114; Ginnie Ely 196; Bill Holt 419; Thom Metzger 428; Paul Gauthier 228; Guy Bankes 441; Chris Noren 268; Laura Densmore 302; Claire Simon 91; Sarah Smith 145b; Jean Seiler 475; Paula McGray 460; Margaret Bornick 497; Bob Parr 542; Blake Morris 73t; Rosie Wojcik 77t; Kshama Ananthapura 430.

Donna Abrahams conducted the memorial lesson using a story about the medieval cabalists who believed that the vessels holding God’s holy light were broken so that His love could be diffused throughout the universe. The result is that sparks of the divine can be found in every human being, and it is our obligation to recognize and celebrate these divine sparks. Donna Abrahams led song on page 218 and admonished us to remember that it is now our obligation to continue the light these folks have left. The deceased remembered were: Virgil Phillips, Ruby Phillips, Marie Aldridge, Gene Wakefield, and A.C. McGough—Alabama; George A. Seiler, Elsie Allen, and Eva Lampman—California; Susan Garber and George Nichols—Connecticut; Mary K. Friday—Washington D.C.; Joan “Tommy” Sahler—Georgia; Priscilla Hertzler—Massachusetts; Scott Curtis’s mother—New Hampshire; Karen House, Ina Markulova, Ellen Moore, and George Berger—New York; Robert Todd—Pennsylvania; Katie Clark—Vermont; Mary Lang—Washington; Hal Hinds—Canada; Gina DiGuisto and Emma Venier—France; Ben Bailey—United Kingdom.

Bradford West was invited to speak of Karen House. He first read a message from her sister, Kelly House, which told of the important connections they had to the Garden State Convention. He commented that he used to think that memorial lessons were something to get through so the class could get back to singing, but he has discovered during this past difficult year that they give us a chance to remember and to express the sorrow we feel, a true catharsis. He then led song on page 153.

Doron Henkin expressed appreciation for all the years Susan Garber kept him on the mailing list for the New England Convention, and for the opportunity to have sung with Marie Aldridge. He read the list of the sick and shut-ins; led song on page 474; and made the remark that he didn’t think the people on the list would mind a more upbeat tune! Those remembered were: Elsie Beasley—Alabama; Meadow B. Pritchard—Arizona; Dot Garber—Connecticut; Jerilyn Schumacher—Illinois; Ted Kunkel and Muriel Parke—Maryland; Phillip Shea and Kate Spencer—Massachusetts; Gabriel Spector and Richard Luzzi—New Jersey; Bryce Butler and Harriett Henry—New York; Gordon Ashman—United Kingdom. The memorial lesson was closed. George Seiler said grace.


Ellie Soler brought the class back to order for the afternoon session by leading song on page 358. Leaders: Gerry Hoffman 39t; Ted Stokes 142; Laura Clawson 269; Richard Schmeidler 254; Dan Hertzler 528; Tom Tucker 189; Dennis Leipold 376; Denise Morris 566; Matthew Wojcik 383; Barbara Swetman 157; Ron Bornick 186; Sheila Girling Smith 210; Marty DeNys 547; George Seiler 480; Alexandra Gilmore 47b; Hal Kunkel 558; Doron Henkin 224; Frank Evans 191; Eileen Metzger 70b; Gabriel Kastelle 567; Mary DeNys 133; Bradford West 324.


The class was called back to order. Leaders: Ginny Landgraf 102; Donna Abrahams 496; John Redman 143; Laura Timmerman 373; Roland Hutchinson 524; Kshama Ananthapura 245; Tom Gibney 448b; Gina Balestracci 543; Howard Katz 445; Gary Smith 31t; Edwin Macadam 538; Pat Geritz 34b; Ellie Soler 277; Dick Levine 68b; Edith Berger 159; Michael Kaye 510; Susan Bingham 361; Charlotte Ehrman 523; Inga Knets 270; Donna Abrahams 192; Rosemary Greenaway 429.

A business session was held, and reports were given.

The Arranging Committee reported that 94 people registered coming from 10 states, District of Columbia, and the United Kingdom. Sixty leaders led a total of 122 Sacred Harp songs and 5 West Gallery pieces.

The Finance Committee reported that contributions given were enough to meet expenses.

The Resolutions Committee offered the following report:

We resolve to thank:

(1) God for bringing us together and providing wonderful weather;

(2) The Montclair Friends Meeting House for allowing us to use their facilities;

(3) Edwin Macadam and Sheila Girling-Smith for coming from England to join us, and for providing an interesting session on West Gallery music;

(4) All the officers, committee members, those who brought food, worked in the kitchen, cleaned up, publicity, keyed the music, or helped in any way to make this convention possible;

(5) All who came, those who sang, and made this a successful convention, and finally:

We resolve that, God willing, we will gather together next year for the tenth Garden State Sacred Harp Convention.

Respectfully submitted: Barbara Swetman and Bill Holt.

Rosemary Greenaway led song on page 62 as the class took the parting hand. Chaplain Ginny Landgraf closed the session with prayer.

Chairman—Rosemary Greenaway; Vice Chairman—Gina Balestracci; Secretary—Diane Mennella.