Minutes of Sacred Harp Singings

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Garden State Sacred Harp Singing Convention

Montclair, New Jersey

May 17-18, 2002

Friday, May 17

The tenth annual session of the Garden State Sacred Harp Singing Convention was called to order by Rosemary Greenaway leading song on page 52t. George Seiler offered the opening prayer.

A business session was held with the following officers elected or appointed to serve: Chair—Rosemary Greenaway; Vice Chair—Gina Balestracci; Treasurer—Roland Hutchinson; Secretary—Diane Mennella; Arranging Committee—Ellie Soler and Guy Bankes; Memorial Committee—Claire Simon and George Seiler.

Leaders: Diane Mennella 28t; Roland Hutchinson 350; Gina Balestracci 180; Rosemary Greenaway 47t; Howard Katz 99; David McGinty 388; Eileen Metzger 30t; Susan Bingham 198; Bill Holt 148; Jean Seiler 217; Michael Kaye 455; Patricia Geritz 479; Laura Densmore 313 (t? b?); Dick Levine 34b; Roland Hutchinson 147b.


Diane Mennella offered the class a few remarks regarding the rights and responsibilities of leading at a convention. The highlight of the evening was a school lead by Paula McGray with an emphasis on keying which included a number of activities enabling the class to experience the points she was making. The session ended with the class singing “Montclair,” a song written by Bruce Randall for the first Garden State Convention. Rosemary Greenaway offered the closing prayer, and the class was dismissed.

Saturday, May 18

Chair Rosemary Greenaway called the class to order by leading song on page 38b, and then led the class in the morning prayer. Leaders: George Seiler 183; Thom Metzger 270; Brenda Pena 490; Dan Hertzler 171; Paula McGray 37b; Kshama Ananthapura 495; Laura Timmerman 228; Doron Henkin 398; Claire Simon 106; Mary Ann Daly 266; Frank Evans 271 (t? b?); Margaret Bornick 497; Gabrielle Kastelle 328; Martha Lang 312b; Laura Clawson 442; Tim Slattery 200; Linda Shea 203; Richard Schmeidler 474; Gerry Hoffman 68 (t? b?); Miriam Kilmer 378b; Ron Bornick 454; Barbara Swetman 333; Roland Hutchinson 31t; Bradford West 324; Ginny Landgraf 224.


Laura Densmore brought the class to order leading song on page 299. Leaders: Jean Seiler 142; Bob Parr 131t; Molly Sayvetz 566; Susan Hanson 479; Guy Bankes 120; Eileen Metzger 383; Jerry Dickason 569b; Hal Kunkel 445b; Ellie Soler 277; Dick Levine 344. The memorial lesson was presented. Claire Simon addressed the class with the following remarks: “Those of us who have been singing Sacred Harp for a few years probably have experienced the loss of a valued singer. We remember fondly their voices, where they sat, and other of their individual characteristics. They are not gone from our hearts. This is the period of the singing convention devoted to the memory of singers, their family, and friends. Beyond the love of music, beyond the love of the people in our community, which we share, there is an awareness of the truth about death, which may be different from what some others think or feel about death. If we scan the music of most churches these days, we become aware of the lack of attention paid to the subject of death. Suffering, sacrifice, pain and death seem even to be taboo. But we sing joyfully in a major key: ‘His own soft hand shall wipe the tears from ev’ry weeping eye; and pains and groans and griefs and fears; and death itself shall die.’ The thin veil that divides the living from the dead assures us that those dear departed friends and family are with us as we sing. We feel their spirits hovering about. In remembering them, we keep them alive in our hearts. Let us pray: “Oh God, make our hearts tender to your mercies. Comfort us in our sorrow. Prepare us for the acceptance of Your peace on the “Promised Day.” “Humble us to receive death as the place where we ‘shall bathe our weary souls in seas of heavenly rest.’ And let those who have passed, go on to ‘Canaan’s peaceful shore.” Claire Simon led song on page 347 for the following deceased: Frances Beasley Lee—Florida; J.B. Parker—Georgia; Richard Hooke—Massachusetts; Caroline Henderson Frost—New Hampshire; Paula LeForest, Maxine Hoffer, Adaya Henis, and Lillian Robinson—New Jersey; Harriett Henry, Bryce Butler, Vaughn Ward, Jim Nichols, Linda Smart, Juan Infante, Margallen Fichter, Richard Bradford Edwards, Gertrude Morrison, Mia Durso, Sidney Waintrob, Jack Zwaska, Bertram Coplon, Don DeFranco (WTC), Michael Iken (WTC), Bill McGinn (WTC), and Joey Aguinaldo—New York; John Bayer, Sr.—Ohio; Dean Cowles—Oregon; Rose O’Ryan, Mary Anne Hayes, and Yvette Niquette—Vermont.

George Seiler led song on page 68b for the sick and shut-ins. Those remembered were: Micki Woodbridge, Donna Abrahams, Mary Ann Morrison, Rodney Reed, Susan Kludas, Elsie Lawless, Marilyn Darch, Kyra Bean, Jane Roman, Winifred Cowley, Sherry Brabham O’Brien, Elizabeth Meitzler, Sandy Pomerantz, Lucinda Pugh, Martha Davis, and Pat Kearns. George Seiler closed the memorial with prayer.

Leaders: Roland Hutchinson 553; Laura Densmore 29t; Howard Katz 362. Ginny Landgraf said grace before lunch.


Rosemary Greenaway called the afternoon session to order leading song on page 40. Leaders: Bill Holt 352; Michael Kaye 163b; Jean Seiler 384; Charlotte Ehrman 504; Patricia Geritz 178; Millicent Brown 496; Tom Gibney 501; Inga Knetz 162; Thom Metzger 101b; Brenda Pena 30t; Dan Hertzler 480; Paula McGray 430; Kshama Ananthapura 542; Gina Balestracci 218; Laura Timmerman 111b; Doron Henkin 369; Rosemary Greenaway 148; Mary Ann Daly 179; Frank Evans 284; Margaret Bornick 236; Susan Bingham 361; Gabriel Kastelle 567.


The class resumed singing with Mary Ann Daly leading song on page 146. Leaders: Martha Lang 282; Laura Clawson 196; Tim Slattery 272; Diane Mennella 565; Linda Shea 89; Richard Schmeidler 254; Gerry Hoffman 455; Dick Levine 77 (t? b?); Barbara Swetman 168; Ellie Soler 358; Bradford West 306; Ginny Landgraf 315; Bob Parr 528; Guy Bankes 269; Hal Kunkel 304; Eileen Metzger 201; Howard Katz 481; George Seiler 84; Roland Hutchinson 112; Laura Densmore 475.

Committee reports from the Treasurer, Arranging, and Resolutions were heard. Final comments from the Chair, Rosemary Greenaway, included gratitude to George and Jean Seiler for having the faith to begin this convention 10 years ago. In addition, they were recognized for having mentored countless numbers in Sacred Harp singing and Sacred Harp living. Also acknowledged were Martha Husick and Donna Abrahams for their contributions to the first convention, and Taylor Askew for her support over the years. Rosemary Greenaway presented a bouquet of roses to George and Jean Seiler, and flowering plants to officers and committee chairmen. George Seiler was asked to make a few remarks and he mentioned the contributions that have been received and disbursed by the Joe Beasley Foundation and how they would not have been possible without the Garden State Sacred Harp community.

George Seiler, Jean Seiler, and Martha Jane Husick led song on page 159. Rosemary Greenaway then led song on page 340 and then song on page 62 as the closing song, while the class took the parting hand. George Seiler offered the closing prayer, and the class was dismissed.

Chair—Rosemary Greenaway; Vice Chair—Gina Balestracci; Treasurer—Roland Hutchinson; Secretary—Diane Mennella.