Minutes of Sacred Harp Singings

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Annual Oxford Sacred Harp Singing Day

Seacourt Hall, Botley, Oxford, England

Saturday, June 23, 2001

The third Annual Oxford Sacred Harp Singing Day was held on Saturday before the fourth Sunday in June. Edwin Macadam brought the class to order at 10:30 a.m. leading song on page 287, and then giving thanks for the safe arrival of so many friends from far and near, come together once more in joyous song, and commended to God’s care those still on their journeys.

Leaders: Sheila Girling Smith 299; Rachel Jordan 66; Ken Baddley 99; Fred Emigh 65; Bernard Collard 63; Ros Clements 47t; Dave Richardson 73t; Steve Fletcher 148; Alan Weeks 34b; Mandy Townsend 48t; Paul Setford 49b; Grace Scrimgeour 178; Adrian Bolge 314; Roz Argyle 383; Phil Tyler 340; Helen Brown 384; Margaret Gillanders 84; Mick Verrier 272; Ruth Cooper 38t; Dave Cooper 36b.


Fred Emigh called the class back to order by leading song on page 455. Leaders: Edwin Macadam 547; Rachel Jordan 155 (for her son, Dafydd Charles); Ken Baddley 350; Sheila Girling Smith 273; Bernard Collard 36t; Ros Clements 150; Dave Richardson 56b; Steve Fletcher 300; Alan Weeks 151; Mandy Townsend 85; Paul Setford 86; Grace Scrimgeour 31t; Adrian Bolge 370; Roz Argyle 532; Phil Tyler 376; Helen Brown 498; Margaret Gillanders 143; Mick Verrier 107; Ruth Cooper 454; Dave Cooper 324. Alan Weeks asked God’s blessing on the midday meal.


Before the end of the recess the class was taught a new song, “Coddock”, by the composer, Mick Verrier. Emily Verrier (aged 3) taught the class the shaped version of the children’s song “There’s a worm at the bottom of my garden”, especially arranged by her father.

The afternoon session resumed with Edwin Macadam leading song on page 497. Leaders: Rachel Jordan 163 (t? b?); Bernard Collard 28b; Sheila Girling Smith 349.

Bernard Collard led the memorial lesson and related the story of Lorena Ledsham, which illustrated the significance of prayer for the souls of the departed. A few weeks ago, the United Kingdom Sacred Harp Convention organizers had received an e-mail from Lorena’s mother. Lorena had died in 1998 and recently her husband had typed her name into an internet search engine. Her family was amazed to find Lorena had been on the memorial lesson list at the United Kingdom Sacred Harp Convention in September 1998. They knew nothing about Sacred Harp singing at all, but were comforted and touched by the knowledge that strangers had prayed for the repose of Lorena’s soul. This story serves to remind us that in our respectful remembrance of the dead, we also reach out with consolation to the bereaved. Today we remembered: Ben Bailey, James Smith, Peggy Woodley, Jon Doncaster, Jeremy Haslam, Isabel Joan Hunter, John Theobald, and Mary Brown. The song on page 122 was led for those remembered.

For the sick and housebound, Ken Baddley spoke of the story of Jean-Dominique Bauby, a victim of locked-in syndrome and read a chapter entitled ‘Prayer’ from his book, ‘The Diving-Bell and The Butterfly’, and led song on page 50b. We remembered: Peggy Hunsley, Win Taylor, Gordon Ashman, and Helen McCarrick.

Leaders: Fred Emigh 47b; Ros Clements 477; Dave Richardson 473; Steve Fletcher 448t; Ken Baddley 515b; Alan Weeks 479; Mandy Townsend 106.


The class was called back to order by Grace Scrimgeour leading song on page 33b. Leaders: Adrian Bolge 156; Roz Argyle 284; Phil Tyler 339; Helen Brown 540; Margaret Gillanders 542; Mick Verrier and Emily Verrier 217; Ruth Cooper 198; Dave Cooper 159; Edwin Macadam 236.


The class was called to order by Sheila Girling Smith and Jean Finnegan leading song on page 474.

Announcements were made and invitations extended to other Sacred Harp singing events around the country.

Leaders: Rachel Jordan 269; Ken Baddley 147 (t? b?); Dave Richardson 306; Mandy Townsend 36 (t? b?); Grace Scrimgeour 504.

Fred Emigh asked the class to sing the song on page 299 once again, for his friend Larry Gordon in recognition of his contribution to the furtherance of shape-note singing in the United Kingdom for more than ten years.

Edwin Macadam and Sheila Girling Smith thanked all those who had made the day such a success and led the closing song on page 347.

Chairman—Edwin Macadam; Secretary—Sheila Girling Smith.