Minutes of Sacred Harp Singings

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Pacific Northwest Convention - Oregon

Mississippi Rising Ballroom, Portland, Oregon

October 16-17, 2004

Saturday, October 16

The twelfth annual session of the Oregon portion of the Pacific Northwest Convention was held at Mississippi Rising Ballroom in Portland, Oregon on the third Sunday and Saturday before in October. Chairman Matthew Sellens called the class to order at 9:30 a.m. leading 448b, then welcomed all present. Chaplain Gary Plouff offered the opening prayer.

A brief business meeting was held. Singing teacher, Kelly House, and her husband and children were introduced. Kelly House opened the class with an explanation of the basics of Sacred Harp singing. She discussed scales, parts, shapes, and harmony. We sang all four parts of 171 separately and then in harmony. She emphasized the importance of listening to each other and asked us first to sing as though our voices were coming through the person next to us, and then through all the members of the square. She said “it’s not necessary to have a religious belief to sing Sacred Harp, but if the words of the songs mean nothing to you, then you aren’t singing Sacred Harp.”


The class was brought to order by Kelly House leading 47t. She shared her personal story of how she became involved in Sacred Harp; and ended with a moving tribute to her sister, Karen House, who died in the year 2000 at an early age. She led 68b and the class stood on the second verse in honor of her sister.

Gary Plouff offered grace for the noon meal.


Katharine Hough opened the afternoon session with 34b. Leaders: Matthew Sellens 442; Jill Accetta 216; Sally House 99; Jessica Beer 192; Cobb Breedlove 106; David Wright 269; Caleb Hardy 56b; Connie Stanton 143; Anne Huckins 316; Meg Larson 497; Tom Gerber 47b; David Hough 384; Arcana 81t; Kathy Vlach 565; Bill Dunn 300; Carolyn Gilkey 504; Nina Narelle and Jessica Beer 178; Martha Johnson 270; Reed Shilbach 146; Jean Murphy 107; Tamara Harris and Tom Gerber 117.


The class was called back to order by Lucinda Saue leading 163b. Leaders: Jack Lofton 475; Ken Cofield 324; Greg Saue 31t; Ethan Hardy 163t; Cathy Tucker 144; Janet Bridges 268; Dan Thoma 528; Richard Lee 203; Kelly House 376; Tom Tucker 480; Bernice Harvey 176b; Rebecca Edwards 501; Katharine Hough 196; David Tobin 457; John Carson 40; Shelby Sampson 30b; Scott Kennedy 454; Bruce Rowland 282; Eric Holt 34t; Susan Helf 112; Molly Whedbee 547; Gary Plouff 318; David Jensen 86; Jenn Dolan 284; Fran Ross 198. Announcements were made. Marie Brandis led 383 as the closing song. Chaplain Gary Plouff offered the closing prayer, and the class was dismissed.

A social and informal singing was held on Saturday evening at the home of Marie Brandis and David Zaworski.

Sunday, October 17

Chairman Matthew Sellens called the class to order at 9:30 a.m. leading 30t. Pastor David Zaworski offered the morning prayer.

Leaders: Greg Saue 63; Dan Thoma 455; Kelly House 318; Jack Lofton 319; Kay Mueller 142; Katharine Hough 408; Mary McDonald-Lewis 206; David Zaworski 344; Anne Huckins 200; Jill Accetta 52t; Cathy Tucker 385b; Richard Lee 436; Ken Cofield 61; Shelby Sampson 378t; Bill Dunn and Elizabeth Dunn 155; Gary Plouff 70b; Susan Helf 496; Fran Ross 183; Linda Laing 84; Rebecca Edwards 148; Jessica Beer 478; Kathy Vlach 228; Bernice Harvey 290; Tom Tucker 430; Sarah Hauser 274t.


The class was called back to order by Matthew Sellens leading 505. Leaders: David Wright 225b; Tamara Harris 454; Eric Holt 229; Bruce Rowland 426b; Tom Gerber 108b; David Hough 282; Molly Whedbee 48t; Nancy Ostergaard and Jessica Beer 288; Carolyn Gilkey 503; John Carson 71.

Connie Stanton conducted the memorial lesson. She opened with these words: “Sometimes in stillness, sometimes in a murmur, sometimes in a roar.” She spoke of the deep stream of tradition that runs through the Sacred Harp community, binding us together wherever and whoever we are. She read the words of song 450—“Gently glides the stream of life,” read the names of those who have died this past year, and led song on page 303 in their memory. The list included: Allen Fannin—New York; Nancy Mullenex—Washington, D.C.; Lois Jancaitis and Malcom Morrison—Virginia; Mary Palmer—Illinois; Barbara Lewis, Ford Lewis, and Sharon Smenk—California; Leslie Moynan, Noel Gray, Virginia Keeting, and Livija Verzemnieks—Washington; Roy Settlemeyer, Marge Perry, Fred Franguero, Sebastion Garrido, Merritt Herring, and Sarah Bishop—Oregon.

Meg Larson asked us to remember those in our circle who are sick and shut-ins. She quoted from the song on page 295, then led 70t to honor them: Sharon Nygren—North Carolina; Jack Accetta—Pennsylvania; Tom Helf—Minnesota; Evemen Lacy Miller—Wisconsin; Steven Hough—California; Kay Rutherford—Washington; Lillian Imbeau, Cindy Zaraycki, River Kennedy, Jim Brock, and Pat Nida—Oregon.

Martha Johnson led 532, and the memorial was closed. Leaders: Matthew Sellens and David Wright 456; Jenn Dolan 566; Jean Murphy 273: Reed Shilbach 171; Arcana 240; Scott Kennedy 235; Cobb Breedlove 312b. Gary Plouff offered grace for the noon meal.


Marie Brandis brought the class back to order leading 542. Leaders: Sally House 347; Jean Murphy 189; Rebecca Edwards 192; Julie Strayer Thoma and Dan Thoma 448t; Edd Boddy 360; Reed Shilbach 122; Martha Johnson 328; Tom Tucker 445; Bernice Harvey 335; Kathy Vlach 361; Ronald Harvey, Sr. 137; David Hough 53; Shelby Sampson 497; Katharine Hough 569b.

Chairman Matthew Sellens conducted the business meeting, and announced that 115 people had attended the convention, and 109 songs had been led so far. Eight states were represented including guest of honor, Bernice Harvey from Ozark, Alabama.

Molly Whedbee presented the Resolutions. Thanks were given to:

  • Everyone who traveled to attend;
  • All who helped with the arrangements of the convention—the officers and committee persons, and especially to Dan Thoma who always arrived early and stayed late, taking care of us;
  • The new people brave enough to join us and to all the singers in Portland whose generosity and joy in singing conspire to make this community so welcoming;
  • Special thanks were offered to our singing teacher Kelly House and her family—her husband Bill Dunn, her mother Sally House, and her children Joseph and Elizabeth. A beautiful quilt made by Carolyn Gilkey, and specialty chocolates made by David Beer were given to Kelly House in thanks and appreciation for her outstanding teaching;
  • Gracious thanks were also given to Jack Lofton and David Wright for their tireless pitching.

The Treasurer reported that the expenses of the convention were met, and a generous donation was given to help singers travel to other conventions. The business meeting was closed.

Leaders: Katharine Hough 236; Bill Dunn 276; Fran Ross 254; Tom Hardy and Marie Brandis 107; David Wright 220; Richard Lee 484; Gary Plouff 567; Cathy Tucker 480; Jill Accetta 278t; Anne Huckins 186; Molly Whedbee 131t; Jack Lofton 168.


Marie Brandis brought the class back to order leading 277. Leaders: Meg Larson 549; Ken Cofield 178; Connie Stanton 108t; Bruce Rowland 270; Mary McDonald-Lewis 300; Jenn Dolan 86; Jessica Beer 383; Kelly House 72b.

Announcements of singings and other conventions were made. Matthew Sellens led 36b as the closing song while singers took the parting hand. Gary Plouff offered the closing prayer, and the class was dismissed.

Chairman—Matthew Sellens; Secretary—Sarah Hauser.