Minutes of Sacred Harp Singings

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National Sacred Harp Convention

Trinity United Methodist Church, Birmingham, Alabama

June 12-14, 2003

Thursday, June 12

The twenty-fourth session of the National Sacred Harp Convention was called to order by Chairman Buell Cobb leading 52t. Elder Jesse Roberts offered the opening prayer.

Leaders: Vice Chairman Mark Davis 61; Secretary Kathy Williams 385b; Jesse Roberts 217; Cath Oss 318; Dan Huger 99; Berkley Moore 135; Hubert Nall 84; Don Bowen, Corey Jane Zetts, and Kate Sweeney 155; Mary Wright 290; Pat Temple 203; Sandie Scott 317; Cassie Franklin 426 (t? b?); Tish Crocker 274t; Ricky Harcrow 74b; Bill Stewart 480; Elder Donald Smith 380; Henry Guthery 543; David Carlton 344; Charles Woods 197; Josie Hyde 507.


Dennis George brought the class back to order leading 108b.

A business session was held with the following officers elected or appointed: Chairman—Buell Cobb; Vice Chairman—Mark Davis; Secretary—Kathy Williams; Chaplain—Elder Jesse Roberts; Arranging Committee—Cassie Franklin, Cath Oss, Berkley Moore, and Dan Huger; Finance Committee—Don Bowen, Richard Mauldin, and John Redman; Resolutions Committee—Pat Temple, Sharona Nelson, and Mary Wright; Memorial Committee—Mike Hinton and Beverly Coates.

Leaders: Jayne Fulmer 454; Eloise Clark 276; Robert Walker 59; Gail Doss 35; Richard Mauldin 36b; Wilton Donaldson and Ivalene Donaldson 348b; Uel Freeman 146; Kenneth Calvert 45t; Velton Chafin 521; Daniel Davis 216; David Ivey 341; Catherine Rogan 168; Judy Mincey and Bethanne Hill 475; David Rust 131b; Eugene Forbes 340; Rachel Speer 338; Josh Rogan 192; Delone Cobbs 40; Vernelle Amason 143; Kennon Smith 189; Morgan Bunch 504; Robert Dove 287; Beverly Coates 448t; Louise Holland 147t; David “Chuck” Beasley 33b; Henry Bizzell 34b. Elder Jesse Roberts led the prayer to bless the noon meal.


Mark Davis opened the afternoon session with 108t. Leaders: Ashley Roberts 442; Bryan Black 56b; Matthew Wojcik 81t; Rodney Ivey 440; Michelle Rogan 215; Jarrod George 270; Daphene Causey 140; Mike Hinton and Amanda Denson 373; Coy Ivey 384; Edward Howton 436; Reed Coates 330t; Ila Ingle 434; Travis Keeton 129; Cheryl Foreman 430; Marlin Beasley 408; Suzanne Flandreau 474; Lou Cotney 218; Sharon Kellam and Dan Stratton 28b; John Marr 296; Gaston White 236; Ginnie Prater 186.


Ginnie Ely brought the class to order leading 546. Leaders: Henry Johnson 493; Jim Helke 496; Julietta Haynes 300; Max Berueffy 392; Claire Singleton 163b; Andrew Farris 120; Gary Rogan 324; Linda Thomas and Elene Stovall 182; Janet Fraembs 378b; Warren Steel 411; Becky Briggs 354 (t? b?); Carroll Lunsford 339; Rosemary Greenaway 28t.

Buell Cobb and Mark Davis led 323t as the closing song. Elder Jesse Roberts led the closing prayer, and the class was dismissed.

Friday, June 13

Chairman Buell Cobb led 31b to bring the Friday session to order. Elder Jesse Roberts offered the opening prayer.

Leaders: Mark Davis 38b; Kathy Williams 510; Jesse Roberts 455; Cath Oss 556; Berkley Moore 551; Don Bowen 40; Cassie Franklin 186; Richard Mauldin 72b; Pat Temple 535; Mary Wright 42; Mike Hinton 490; Bob Bonnell 178; Sharona Nelson 66; John Redman 121; Sarah Smith 108t; Vivian Rogan 73b; Roscoe Knight 127.


Stanley Smith brought the class to order leading 109. Leaders: Chris Green 418; Marilyn Burchett 29t; John Merritt 163b; Dave Richardson 278t; Jim Carnes 436; Grace Scrimgedur 33b; Kathryn Eastburn 159; J.L. Hopper 369; Lucy Heidorn 155; John Plunkett 564; Myra Dalton 332; Bernice Harvey 176b; Lomax Ballinger 168; Marlen Rust 85; Erskine Vandergrift 59; Diane Mennella 76b; Cora Sweatt 145b; Judy Caudle 94; Virginia Douglas 49b; Linton Ballinger and Coy Ivey 222; Martha Wesley and Judy Mincey 154; H.J. Jackson 400; John Hollingsworth 47t; Tommie Spurlock 430; Willodean Barton 480; John Bealle 434; Carlene Griffin 548; Cassie Franklin 334. The lunch prayer was led by Elder J.L. Hopper.


Elder Jesse Roberts called the class together with 175. Leaders: Danny Creel 383; Rodney Ivey, Micah Roberts, and Ashley Roberts 196; LaRue Allen 192; Jeff Sheppard 511; Leon Ballinger and Earl Ballinger 187; Lela Crowder 110; Shelbie Sheppard 195; Pauline Griggs 43; Floy Wilder 422; Elene Stovall 99; B.M. Smith 318; Amber Springfield 142; Emily Creel 112; Mary L. Smith 440; Louis Hughes 540; Charlene Wallace 481; Judith Green 384; Ruth Johnson 172; Nancy Van Den Akker 287; Andrew Snyder 216.


Kathy Williams brought the class to order leading 273. Leaders: Jarrod George 274t; Mattie Townsel 317; John Hyde 297; Ann Ballard and Jim Helke 268; Chip Ward 74b; J.C. Rutledge 568; Amanda Denson 236; Alice Bejnar and Tor Bejnar 64; Charlotte Ehrman and Gary Smith 569b; Nate Green and Norma Green 212; Wanda Gregg 358; Tim Reynolds 173; Anita Buswell 143; Cheryl Foreman, Elene Stovall, and Linda Thomas 474; Gary Rogan 209. Buell Cobb and Mark Davis led 46 as the closing song for the Thursday’s sessions, and Rev. Maggie Lauterer dismissed the class with prayer.

Saturday, June 14

Chairman Buell Cobb opened Saturday’s session with 75. Elder Jesse Roberts offered the morning prayer. Leaders: Mark Davis 129; Kathy Williams 86; Elder Jesse Roberts 58; Dan Huger 210; Berkley Moore 397; Don Bowen 77b; Richard Mauldin 66; Pat Temple 139; Mary Wright 71; Mike Hinton 448b; Sharona Nelson 37b; John Redman 164; Catherine Oss 213t; Jayne Fulmer 300; Erskine Vandergrift 63; Sheryl Wilson-Bell and Becky Schildman 145t; Beverly Coates 377; Teenie Moody 222; Rachel Speer 148; Ginnie Ely 454.


Cath Oss called the class back to order leading 106. Leaders: Rosemary Greenaway 171; Bruce Coates 503; Jackson Harcrow 153; Jean Avery Payne 480; Jorge Carillo 48t; Kurt Davis 45t; Nell Avery Estes 269; Wayne Wootten 276; Ron Harper 108b; Glenn Keeton 163b; Susan Harcrow 172; Henry Zittrouer 61; Larry Brasher 385b.

Mike Hinton conducted the memorial lesson. This is always such a special time at a Sacred Harp Convention. A time when we pause to remember and to reflect on the lives of those who have left this hollow square in the last year. We remember because they have passed on the mantle of tradition to other generations. This year we have a number of our dear singers who we recall with great fondness.

I would like to define what a Sacred Harp Singer means to me. Anyone who loves this music, the members of a class, those who listen and love the music, those who drive others to sing, those who bring food, and all of us who love to gather around the hollow square. It is an inclusive term.

Two years ago I was on the Memorial Committee with Ruth Brown. She spoke of the special bond that we singers have for each other, and for the shaped note singing. She said, “You never know when the seat next to you will be empty as another singer leaves our midst.” Most of us travel some distance to get to a convention such as this one. Travel is easier than when many of the singers we remember started to attend singings by horse and buggy or more likely a horse drawn wagon, then by car or trains, now by interstate highways and planes, across a state, country, or ocean. Miss Ruth took singers to many new places to sing and to help plant the tradition in many parts of the country. Think of the songs that speak about traveling, because Miss Ruth loved to travel so, and loved this music. How about the rocky road? Or marching to Zion? We sing of taking a staff and traveling on, we sing of the road to glory that seems so long. We talk about buses or trains, and proper stations. We sing of going to a better land, and riding in chariots that attend thy state. We sing of earth’s remotest bounds, Minnesota perhaps? We sing of boat travel, the happy sailor, boisterous seas and ships that will take us all home, and to delightful shores. We sing about flights, but not of long waits in boarding areas, or security screeners. Fly, fly, fly, and bidding farewell to every fear, and passing “crystal” ports of light, and not caring to stay here long, and one more river to cross. Where or what is the destination that we sing about? I soon shall view the Promised Land. I soon shall sing with the angel band. Homeward bound, to the New Jerusalem, my happy home, my long sought home. We sing of a place where all will be peace, joy, and love, where pains and sorrows are no more. A house not made with hands, eternal and on high. How would these singers that we memorialize today want us to remember them? Somehow I think they would sing in unison, weep not for me! All is well, all is well. We are in a sure retreat, ‘tis found beneath the mercy seat-our eternal home, freed from all care. We have joined that great harmonious choir on sacred ground around the heavenly hollow square. Our singers are indeed in a land of pure delight and they beckon us to follow them when it is time. Give your fellow singers flowers while they live. Isn’t it about time to get on the bus, Miss Ruth?

The list of deceased was read: Ruth Brown, Tressie Adkins, Lavaughn Ballinger, Allie Aldridge, Leola Smith, Clark Phillips, Charles Vernon Estes, and Elma Avery—Alabama; Kenneth DeLong, Everette Denney, Vivian Rogers, and Clarence Lambert—Georgia; Katie Wilson and “Uncle” Carl Ledlow—Mississippi; B.E. Matthews and Nora Fowler—Texas; Dr. Richard Enochs—Tennessee; Rob Ingram—Virginia. Buell Cobb led 122 for the Alabama deceased. Mike Hinton and Beverly Coates led 146 for the deceased from all other states.

Beverly Coates led 225t for the sick and shut-ins. Elder Ricky Harcrow closed the memorial with prayer.

Leaders: Judy Mincey 538; Jim Helke 235; Andrew Farris 532. Elder Jesse Roberts led the blessing for lunch.


Mark Davis and Natalie Davis brought the class back to order for the afternoon session with 76b. Leaders: Shane Wootten 421; Shirley Berry 373; Mildred Wyers 490; Brenda Peña 330b; Catherine Rogan 200; Mary L. Smith 313t; Mary B. Smith 119; Reed Coates 137; Warren Steel 315; Claire Singleton 299; Lora Cargo 145b; Bob Simmons 84; Judith Green 117; Julietta Haynes 211; Ginnie Prater 460; Elder Ricky Harcrow 517 (WB).


Louis Hughes brought the class to order leading 496. Leaders: Sharon Kellam 312t; Josh Rogan 217; Marlin Beasley 47b; Joan Aldridge 198; Dave Richardson 473; Lou Cotney 189; Andrew Snyder 528; Robert Dove 479; Ashley Roberts 220; Suzanne Flandreau 68 (t? b?); Seth Holloway 388; Sandie Scott 472; Michelle Rogan 110.

A business session was held to hear committee reports.

The Finance Committee reported that contributions were such that expenses of the convention were met.

The Resolutions Committee gave the report, and thanked everyone who had a part in making the twenty-fourth National Sacred Harp Convention a success. All officers and committees were thanked for their help and untiring work to make the convention run smoothly.

Secretary Kathy Williams gave the following report: 560 people from 22 states, the United Kingdom, Colombia, and the Czech Republic registered during the convention. There were 171 leaders who led 253 songs. The numbers by states and countries were: Alabama—413; Georgia—52; Florida—16; Texas—12; Tennessee—8; Illinois—7; Mississippi—7; North Carolina—6; Virginia—6; Massachusetts—5; California—4; New York—4; Louisiana—3; Indiana—2; Vermont—2; Ohio—2; New Mexico—2; Arkansas—2; Arizona—1; New Jersey—1; South Carolina—1; Colorado—1; United Kingdom—1; Colombia—1; Czech Republic—1.

A motion was made and carried that the reports be accepted and added to the minutes. The business session was closed.

Leaders: Daniel Davis 65; Lela Crowder 208; Matthew Wojcik 456; Marilyn Burchett 128.

The officers led 62 as the traditional closing of the convention, and those who wished took the parting hand. Chaplain Jesse Roberts led the closing prayer, and the class was dismissed.

Chairman—Buell Cobb; Vice Chairman—Mark Davis; Secretary—Kathy Williams.