Minutes of Sacred Harp Singings

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United Sacred Harp Musical Association

Pleasant Hill Church (Johnson School House),
Fayette County, Alabama

September 7-8, 2002

Saturday, September 7

The ninety-ninth session of the United Sacred Harp Musical Association was held at Pleasant Hill Church (Johnson School House) in Fayette County, Alabama on the second Sunday and Saturday before in September. The class was called to order by Dennis George leading song on page 82t. Louis Hughes offered the opening prayer.

The following officers were called to lead: Max Berueffy 30b; Nora Parker 317; Louis Hughes 61; Jeff Sheppard 568; Larry Ballinger 151; Cassie Franklin 220. Other leaders called were: Elene Stovall 99; Diane Mennella 105; Aubrey Barfield 480; Gaston White 66; David Rust 312t; Sandie Scott 74b; Uel Freeman 65; Anita Landess 297; John Hyde 313t; Eugene Forbes 340; Hubert Nall 171; Mary L. Smith 318; David Carlton 332; Johnny Humber 460.


The class resumed singing with Dennis George leading song on page 37b.

A business session was held to elect officers. The following officers were elected or appointed to serve: Chairman—Max Berueffy; Vice Chairman—Elene Stovall; Secretary—Nora Parker (Permanent); Chaplain—Harrison Creel; Arranging Committee—Cassie Franklin, Jerry Enright, and Kelly House; Memorial Committee—Mike Hinton, Diane Mennella, and Joan Aldridge; Resolutions Committee—Melanie Hauff and Lisa Geist; Locating Committee—Coy Ivey and Dennis George; Finance Committee—Travis Keeton and Gary Gronau.

Leaders: Max Berueffy 284; Julianna Jett 88t; Greg Carroll 48t; Tommie Spurlock 565; Virginia Douglas 49b; Travis Keeton 418; Carolyn Deacy 448b; Lou Cotney 172; Hugh Bill McGuire and Alica McGuire 328; Mattie Townsel 68b; John Bealle 442; Velton Chafin 564; Mike Hinton 543; Jean Seiler 299; Judy Caudle 325; Marlen Rust 52t; Josie Hyde 507.


The class reassembled with Kelly House leading song on page 72b. Leaders: Melanie Hauff 216; Ann Ballard 512; Warren Steel 352; James Ballinger and David Ivey 424; Lela Crowder 382; Ann Jett 546; George Seiler 183; Jerry Enright 176t; Gravis Ballinger 300; Joan Aldridge 142; Jeanette Lowry 168; Joe Nall 430; Floy Wilder 432; John Plunkett 541; Leon Ballinger 327; Sally House 81t; Gary Smith 31t.


The afternoon session was brought to order with Max Berueffy leading song on page 32t. Leaders: Lynne deBenedette 434; LaRue Allen 556; Ozella Blackmon 242; David Ivey 316; Lisa Geist 272; Shelbie Sheppard 263; Ted Johnson 419; Reba Windom 192; Judy Hauff 296; Daphene Causey 436; Danny Creel 182; Teenie Moody 208; Becky Browne 304; Earl Ballinger 331; Gary Gronau 112; Kelly House 542; Karen Freund 278t; Jim Carnes 209; Willodean Barton 314; Bud Oliver 270; Allison Davis 186; Marcia Johnson 222; Jackie Tanner 138t; Coy Ivey and Elene Stovall 384.


The class resumed singing with Cassie Franklin leading song on page 76b. Leaders: Toney Smith 444; Charles Franklin 358; Edith Tate 532; Janet Fraembs 335; Ron Harper 148; Jo Dell Albi 397; Paula McGray 268; Debbie Wakefield 426b; Tommy George 388; Eloise Clark 47t; Cindy Tanner and Wanda Capps 217; Ottis Sides 530; Margaret Keeton 213b; Charles Kitchens 429; Linda Thomas 282; Syble Adams 348b.

Max Berueffy led song on page 323t as the closing song, Harrison Creel led the closing prayer, and the class was dismissed.

A social time of food and fellowship was enjoyed at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Johnny Mack Key.

Sunday, September 8

The Sunday session was brought to order by Max Berueffy leading song on page 32t. Louis Hughes offered the morning prayer.

Leaders: Elene Stovall 436; Joan Aldridge 192; Mike Hinton 273; Diane Mennella 77b; Linda Thomas 217; Jerry Enright 77t; Sara Smith 88t; Kelly House 475; Henry Johnson 267; Julietta Haynes 218; Virginia Douglas 178; Milton Oliver 314; John Merritt “Nothing But the Blood”; Harrison Creel 498; Gary Smith 569b; Larry Ballinger 215; Greg Carroll 448t; Carolyn Deacy 456; Travis Keeton 235; Mary Lambert Smith 29t.


The class reassembled with Elene Stovall leading song on page 76b. Leaders: Dennis George 240; Judy Caudle 495; John Bealle 522; Jean Seiler 106; Daphene Causey 269; Phil Summerlin 270; Emily Creel 142; John Hyde 124; Amanda Denson 375; Mark Brown, Andrew Brown, Matthew Brown, and Rebecca Brown 128; James Ballinger 84; Betty Wright 515; Jackie Tanner 112; Marcia Johnson 283; Josie Hyde 198; Jeanette Lowry 362; Gary Gronau 426t; Leon Ballinger 137.


The class was brought together by Jerry Enright and Kelly House leading song on page 312b. Leaders: Louis Hughes 454; David Rust 201; Sally House 31t; Buell Cobb 565; Tommy George and Jarrod George 388; Jarrod George 300; George Seiler 347; Brenda Merritt 163b.

Mike Hinton conducted the memorial lesson. “This is the ninety-ninth United Sacred Harp Singing Convention. Let’s think about the years through which this convention has been going for 99 years. First, people traveled differently when the convention began and for many years after it began. My mother and her two sisters use to tell us how their daddy and mama would get them up in the middle of the night and would put them on a pallet in the back of a wagon. They would ride for hours, stop before they got to the church or courthouse, and finish getting the three girls dressed. When they got to a singing convention they sang many of the same songs and tunes we sing today. They sat in the same places around the hollow square. This hollow square has moved from convention location to convention location.

This convention has survived two world wars, the depression, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, Desert Storm, Bosnia, and now the United Convention will survive the war on terrorism and the events of 9-11, a few days after this convention last year. So, the logical question is, ‘Why has this convention survived 99 years?’

Think of all the locations this convention has been held at year after year. Think of those who sung here and those who listened. The convention survived all these years because of people who loved Sacred Harp and cared about each other. They were and are part of the Sacred Harp family. For 99 years our family members have been coming, three or four generations in many cases. In the last 25 or 30 years we’ve seen singers join the convention from all over this nation. They have enriched the singings and our lives. So, the United Convention goes on.

During these very special moments we pause to honor these who left our sides during the last year. Those who heard God say ‘Come weary one, here is thy home, then fold thy wings and stay.’ And now these dearly loved ones, these family members, these treasured singing saints are singing around that heavenly hollow square and praising God endlessly. They no longer have to endure long trips, tired or aching bodies, or failing memories. They have new life, new joy, and they wait for us to join them.”

Today we sing in memory of the following deceased: William Ryan, Polly Moore, Ethel McGough, Flora Skinner, Doris Vickery, Elder Warren Meadows, Freeman Wootten, Lydia Phillips Baswell, Lawrence Underwood, Lula Underwood, John Lacy, Bobby Lacy, Roie Alexander, Annie Brothers, Mary Stiefel, and Lucille Creel Tolbert—Alabama; Lane Albritton, Frances Beasley Lee, and Randy Wells—Florida; Kenneth DeLong—Georgia; John Bailey and Jerilyn Schumacher—Illinois; Barbara Bolles—Missouri; Linda Smart—New York; Bill Stark—Ohio; Michael Strathdoe—Indiana; Steve Mote, and Bob Carey; and 9-11 victims. Mark Brown led “Sweet Beulah Land,” and Mike Hinton led song on page 146 in their memory.

At this time we will remember our sick and homebound. There are many singers who would have loved to be here today. Due to frailty or illness they can not be here. But, we do remember them lovingly and petition God to enfold them in His arms and give them comfort. Those remembered today are: Mozelle Sheppard, Elsie Beasley, Kelly Beard, B.E. Matthews, Ophelia Matthews, Kim Watkins, Jeff Sheppard, Meada Bounds, Jap Walton, Joyce Walton, Stephanie Rugin, James Hackney, Mary Hackney, Juanita Beasley, Pauline Childers, and Flarce Creel. Diane Mennella led song on page 187 for the sick and shut-ins. Mike Hinton closed the memorial with prayer.

Leaders: Janet Fraembs 294; Charles Franklin 274t; Don Robertson 236; Clarence McCool 349.


The afternoon session was called together by Max Berueffy leading song on page 145t. Leaders: Jo Dell Albi 203; Susan Harcrow 383; Cassie Franklin 442; Ted Johnson 340; Rodney Ivey and Max Berueffy 282; Melanie Hauff 411; Bud Oliver 278b; Lynne deBenedette 536; David Ivey 224; Karen Freund 428; Lisa Geist 528; Coy Ivey 222; Reba Windom 196; Stuart Ivey and Brian Page 82t; Judy Hauff 434; Danny Creel 384; Teenie Moody 182; Karen Ivey 330t; Paula McGray 330b; Cindy Tanner 507; Becky Browne 189; LaRue Allen 200; Edith Tate 73t; Syble Adams 39t.


The class resumed singing with Lisa Geist leading song on page 155. Leaders: Nora Parker 276; Tim Dalton, April Hall, and Cassie Franklin 47b; Ozella Blackmon 167; Marlen Rust 290; Gravis Ballinger 110; Willodean Barton 101t; Floy Wilder 402; A.A. Malone and Rodney Ivey 183; Wilton Donaldson 348b; Don Robertson 212; Billy Williams 410t; Debbie Wakefield 394.

A business session was held for the purpose of hearing reports from various committees.

The Resolutions Committee Report was given. “We resolve to give God praise and glory and thank Him for the opportunity to sing at the ninety-ninth session of the United Sacred Harp Musical Convention. Be it resolved that we express sincere appreciation to:

  • The officers of the convention, new and old, for the wonderful work they did to make this convention a great success.
  • The community for inviting us to join you and for welcoming us so warmly.
  • All who cooked and brought the plentiful, wonderful, delicious food. We were fed: barbeque by Coy, chicken, corn, okra, collards, turnip greens, deviled eggs, potato salad, sweet potatoes, chicken and dumplings, squash, corn bread, corn bread dressing, butter beans, peas, green beans, and all kinds of pies and cakes. We drank gallons of Oliver lemonade, tea, and all sorts of soft drinks. We were treated wonderfully and fed royally.
  • The Key family for inviting us to their home following the singing to feed us again.
  • Those who keyed the music and kept us singing together.
  • Those who have gone on before and passed this wonderful tradition on to us.

We further resolve to return next year to the 100th anniversary of the United Sacred Harp Musical Convention. Lastly, we resolve to sing praises to the Lord and King and to love each other as God loves us.” Respectfully submitted by the Resolutions Committee, Melanie Hauff and Lisa Geist.

Locating Committee Report. The one-hundredth session will be held at Zion Hill Primitive Baptist Church, near Snead Cross Roads, Alabama, off Hwy. 75. Turn west at the Blount County line and follow signs.

Finance Committee Report. Balance brought forward $1,164.65. Total expenses for the convention was $455.59. A collection was received in the amount of $513.50 ($100.00 of this amount was donated from the Joe Beasley Memorial Foundation. We wish to thank the Beasley family for this donation to the convention); Balance on hand $1,222.55. The business session was closed.

Announcements were made. Max Berueffy and Elene Stovall led song on page 62 as the closing song. Harrison Creel offered the closing prayer, and the class was dismissed.

Chairman—Max Berueffy; Vice Chairman—Elene Stovall; Secretary—Nora Parker.