Minutes of Sacred Harp Singings

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National Sacred Harp Convention

Trinity United Methodist Church, Birmingham, Alabama

June 13, 14, 15, 1996

Thursday, June 13

The seventeeth session of the National Sacred Harp Singing Convention met at Trinity United Methodist Church, Birmingham, Alabama. Chairman Buell Cobb called Thursday’s session to order by leading song on page 61. Chaplain Gaylon Powell led the morning prayer. Leaders: Kathy Williams 494; Gaylon Powell 328; Don Bowen 475; Ginnie Ely 228; Helen Bryson 78; Cora Sweatt 81 (t? b?); Cindy Franklin 213t; Dave Collett, Trinity United Methodist Church Minister of Music, 45t; Elizabeth Muhleisen 121; H. J. Jackson 480; Lou Cotney 196; George Cox 303; Gina Balestracci 107; Ed Snell 30 (t? b?); Nancy Van Den Akker 119; Daphene Causey 140; Tommy Creel 37b; Louise Holland 144.


The class was called to order by Jesse Roberts leading song on page 284. Leaders: Chris Bell 358; Janice Jackson-Johnson 288; Marshall Avery 159; Wanda Capps 546; Travis Keeton 297; James Howell 68b; Pauline Childers 480; Mel Kersey 354t; Willie Israel 86; Toney Smith 227; Flarce Creel 56t; Katherine Manning 380; Phil Summerlin 278t; Edith Tate 532; Pauline Griggs 43; Carroll Lunsford 127; Cassie Franklin 216.


Donald Smith called the class back to order by leading song on page 35. The convention went into a business session. The following officers and committees were elected and appointed: Chairman—Buell Cobb; Vice Chairman—Mark Davis; Secretary—Kathy Williams; Chaplain—Gaylon Powell; Arranging Committee—Cindy Franklin, Jimmy Causey, and Susan Roberts; Finance Committee—Don Bowen and Hubert Nall; Memorial Committee—Jesse Roberts, Tom Owen, and Mike Hinton; Resolutions Committee—Linda Thomas, Ginnie Ely, and Berkley Moore. The business session was closed and singing resumed. Leaders: Hubert Nall 46; Marie Aldridge 217; Bob Bonnell 335; Ruby Bowen 169; Ginnie Prater 460; Ann Jett 327; Lomax Ballinger 300; Willie Mae Moon 441; Amanda Denson 142; Emily Jones 33b; George Seiler 284; Becky Briggs 340; Linton Ballinger 36b; Eloise Avery 426b; Dan Huger 47b; Jean Seiler 200; Elvin Morris 490; Susan Roberts 47t; Roland Hutchinson 146; Anne Louise Kazlauskas 173; Mike Hinton 373. The blessing for lunch was led by Gaylon Powell.


The afternoon session was called to order by Buell Cobb leading song on page 75. Leaders: Linda Thomas 299; A. C. McGough 454; Sharon Kellam 349t; Jeb Owen 182; Cecile Cox 426t; Paul Gauthier 542; Hannah Roberts 176b; Ila Ingle 270; Richard DeLong 419, 530 by request from Tom Harper; Ashley Roberts 195; Ann Ballard 512; Tom Owen 442; Julianna Jett 108t, 399b; Ted Mercer 468; Don Klein and Sandy Klein 517; Dorothea McCowan 218; Eugene Forbes 566; Richard Schmeidler 474; Bill Hogan 38b; Gary Smith 34b. Buell Cobb and Toney Smith led songs on pages 69b and 294 for the closing songs. The closing prayer was led by Gaylon Powell.

Friday, June 14

The Friday session of the Convention was called to order by Chairman Buell Cobb leading song on page 31 (t? b?). Elder Marshall Avery led the opening prayer. Leaders: Kathy Williams 171; Gaylon Powell 411; Mark Davis 38 (t? b?); Tom Owen 492; Linda Thomas 155; Don Bowen 163b; Mike Hinton 384; Ginnie Ely 446; Hubert Nall 40; Berkley Moore 71; Jesse Roberts 428; Earl Ballinger 299; Janet Jones 373; John Hocutt 516; Sharona Nelson 34b; Sarah Smith 406; Edward Howton 436; Myra Dalton 376.


Cindy Franklin called the class back to order leading song on page 186. Leaders: Mae Seymour 176b; Tom Harper 434; Lee Steinmetz 491; Estelle Napier 217; Syble Adams 532; Coy Ivey 30t; Janet Fraembs 475; Louis Hughes 503; Joyce Walton 348b; David Ivey 30b; Nell Estes 192; Don Clark 73t; Janaice Haworth 59; Tommie Spurlock 442; Lee Rogers 502; Herman Smith 139; Judy Mincey 497; John Foreman 426b; Dolores Canerday 85; Joan Aldridge 198; Charles Kitchens 326; Lucille Foreman 361; Leola Smith 109; John Green 405; Judy Hauff 528; Jason Ritch 388; Dudsn Ftihhrtd and Buell Cobb 270; Mark Davis 288. The blessing for lunch was led by Don Clark, and the class was dismissed.


Cindy Franklin called the class back to order leading song on page 189. Leaders: Freeman Wootten 383; Maude Frederick 208; Jap Walton 153; Willard Frederick 77t; Charlene Wallace 385 (t? b?); Ashley Roberts 182; Justin Keeton and Bradley Allen 546; Cassie Franklin 368; Jeb Owen 480; Hannah Roberts 547; Chris Bell 146; Bill Hogan 145t; Pauline Childers 212; Roland Hutchinson and Gina Balestracci 254; Eloise Avery 35; Travis Keeton 418; Daphene Causey 369; Ted Mercer 36t.


The class was called to order by Mel Kersey leading song on page 82 (t? b?). Leaders: A. C. McGough 225t; Flarce Creel 269; Marshall Avery 53; Dan Huger 268; Jean Seiler 277; Don Klein and Sandy Klein 210; Harry Eskew 128; Carroll Lunsford 89; Katherine Manning 550; Richard DeLong 408; Helen Bryson 294. Buell Cobb and Mark Davis led song on 323t as the closing song. The closing prayer was led by Gaylon Powell.

Saturday, June 15

Chairman Buell Cobb assembled the Saturday session of the Convention by leading song on page 52 (t? b?). The opening prayer was led by Jesse Roberts. Leaders: Mark Davis 344; Kathy Williams 273; Gaylon Powell 455; Susan Roberts 146; Tom Owen 347; Jesse Roberts 304; Mike Hinton 384; Linda Thomas 45t; Ginnie Ely 454; Berkley Moore 133; Don Bowen 282; Hubert Nall 84; George Seiler 148; Willie Israel 147t; Jeff Sheppard 26; Andy Morse 504; Richard Schmeidler 66; B. M. Smith 99.


The class was called to order by Judy Hauff leading song on page 171. Leaders: Warren Steel 315; Dorothea McCowan 551; Juan Martinez 186; Sharon Kellam 176t; Shane Wootten 448 (t? b?); Mattie Townsel 155; B. J. Harris 452; Becky Briggs 318; James Howell 141; Anne Kazlauskas 125; Wayne Wootten 276; Elene Stovall 556; Gary Smith 178; Cora Sweatt 145b.


Toney Smith called the class back to order by leading song on page 377. Leaders: Daniel Hopper 54; Elizabeth Muhleisen 47t. At this time, the session was turned over to the Memorial Committee. Jesse Roberts introduced the memorial lesson by making the following remarks: In the laste 1700’s, some of the American composers began to use discord in some of their music as a means of emphasis. William Billings, believing that the pure sounds we love so greatly today were the only proper ways to write music, wrote a satirical song to the “Goddess of Discord”. In that song, every syllable was a discord. It seems that like is often the way of that song. There are wonderful chords in life, but it seems that life is mostly composed of discords. There is joy in family, friends, and fellowship among our Sacred Harp singers, but more often, like is overshadowed by trials, hardship, sickness, and separation. Early in our lives, we sing songs in the Old Harp because of our love for the songs. As we get older, we begin to associate certain songs with specific singers, and eventually we associate most songs with beloved singers who have left us. When we sing these songs, it seems that we can still hear those singers who have gone to be with God still singing in our midst. Every singing and every song becomes a memorial to those singers, and not only to the singers, but to the God who loved and sustained them, and showed mercy to us in allowing these gracious people to influence our lives. Some we remember today have gone to be with the Lord; others are sick, and cannot be with us today. While we sing for those singers who have passed away this past year and those who are sick and feeble, and while we weep, this weeping and singing is for our loss, not theirs. They sing where there is no trial, or death, or sickness, or parting. God has given us the joy of singing in a time of mourning to confort our hearts and secure our understanding in the fact that ...“He arose, ascended high, and showed our feet the way; Up to the Lord our souls shall fly, At the great rising day.”

Mike Hinton read the names from Alabama and led song on page 235 for the following deceased: Joe Beasley, Joe Smith, Dewey Williams, Aver Crider, Kelsey Wootten, Hoyt Renfroe, Effie Brock, Colbie Allen, Agnes Hocutt, Jack Harcrow, Pa Glover, Anita Wyatt, Ina Rosser, Tan Kelly, Hubert Green, Jessie Swindle, Ester Reed, Lois Roberson, and Robert McCowan.

Tom Owen led song on page 101t in memory of these singers from other states: New York—Robert Mattingdorfor; New Jersey—Roberta Adams; Texas—Lonnie Cato; North Carolina—J. P. Egerton and Wade Moore; Georgia—Eula Stallings and Inez Thomaston; California—Daniel Fraembs; Mississippi—Cynthia Ledlow and J. W. Wilson.

Judy Hauff led song on page 70 (t? b?) for these sick and shut-in friends: Alabama—Terry Wootten, Elsie Beasley, Rodger Morrison, Chug Beasley, Virgil Phillips, Ruby Phillips, Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Hardin, Bill Green, and Hazel Cagle; Virginia—Kat Kincade and Betty Ann Armstrong; West Virginia—Mr. Heineke; North Carolina—Barbara Abrams, Mary Morse, and Quay Smathers; Mississippi—Janice Nelson; Texas—Ed Craig, Alcie Craig, Jim Roberts, and Herbert Leopard; Georgia—Jerry Sheppard and Mozell Sheppard.

Chaplain Gaylon Powell closed the memorial service with prayer.

The blessing for lunch was led by Andrew Albers, and the class was dismissed for lunch.


Jeff Sheppard assembled the afternoon session by leading song on page 87. Leaders: Paul Wyatt 515t; Don Klein 143; Charles Whitmer 320; Andrew Albers 214; Jim Carnes 209; Lisa Davis 528; Pennie Bosarge 535b; Margie Dietz 360; Henry Johnson 68b; Evelyn Harris 30t; Edna Phillips 200; Mitchell Martin 497; David Carlton 324; Jenny Gurley 340; John Plunkett 53; Carol Ann Vaughn 34t; Paul Gauthier 565; Gina Balestracci 72b; Lou Cotney 189; Ann Ballard 319; Ila Ingle 335; Amanda Denson 236; Lee Steinmetz 250; Ruth Brown 142; Janet Fraembs 218; Helen Bryson 456; Hannah Roberts 220; Kurt Davis 354b; Jeb Owen 480; Ashley Roberts 137.

The Convention entered a business session to hear committee reports. The Finance Committee reported generous contributions, more than covering expenses of the Convention. Don Bowen and Hubert Nall—Finance Committee. Secretary’s report: This year, 348 people from 18 states registered during the three days of the Convention. During those three days, 148 leaders led 217 songs. State distribution of leaders is as follows: Alabama—250; Georgia—20; Florida—12; Tennessee—10; Illinois—7; Mississippi—7; Massachusetts—5; Texas—5; New Jersey—4; North Carolina—4; Louisiana—3; California—2; Colorado—2; Virginia—2; Minnesota—1; New York—1; Michigan—1; Arkansas—1. Kathy Williams, Secretary.

All report were accepted as presented to the Convention, and the business session was closed. Buell Cobb, Mark Davis, Kathy Williams, and Gaylon Powell led song on page 62, and singers took the parting hand to close the Convention. The closing prayer was led by Chaplain Gaylon Powell.

Following the day’s singing, a large group of singers made the traditional trip to Alabama Folk Life Festival’s City Stages to present a program of Sacred Harp music.

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