Minutes of Sacred Harp Singings

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Sacred Harp Musical Heritage Association

Annual Meeting

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The annual meeting of the Sacred Harp Musical Heritage Association (SHMHA) was held at Jefferson State Community College, Birmingham, Alabama on Saturday, November 22, 2008. Approximately 30 members were present. President Jeff Sheppard called the meeting to order at 2:50 pm. Other board members present were Henry Johnson, Jeannette DePoy, David Ivey, and Judy Caudle. Terry Wootten was unable to attend. Jeff stated that the mission of SHMHA is to promote Sacred Harp, and that as a result of SHMHA’s activities and the support of Sacred Harp singers that more young people are actively participating in Sacred Harp singing than in the past. He gave a brief history of the organization which was founded in 1997. SHMHA held its first session of Camp Fasola in 2003. Approximately 80 people attended the first session, and participation has grown steadily. In 2008 with two sessions, one for youth and one for adults, 210 people attended.

Henry Johnson gave the 2008 financial report. Handouts were provided to all members present. All receipts and expenses were itemized. An overview of the financial status of SHMHA was presented. The report also recognized institutional and individual contributors including the Sacred Harp Publishing Company. Henry encouraged members to consider giving scholarships to pay for youth to attend camp. Jeff suggested that singings and conventions consider making donations or sponsoring camp scholarships.

Judy Caudle gave a report on the “Directory and Minutes of Sacred Harp Singings” annual publication. She stated that secretaries had overall been very good about submitting minutes, but a little slower on sending in their minute book money. This year the cost of printing a book has increased slightly to $2.23 per book. The Sacred Harp Historical Memorial Project will continue this year to be published as part of the minutes. The 2008-2009 book will only include names newly submitted; otherwise, the book would be too large. Robert Vaughn of Texas submitted 468 names this year. In the future, SHMHA may consider offering a separate publication of all entries accumulated for the Sacred Harp Memorial Project. It was announced that the fee for minutes will remain $30 per singing day for 2009. Because of U.S. Postal Service rate increases, it may be necessary to increase the charge for minutes that are provided by mail.

David Ivey then presented a brief report on the two sessions of Camp Fasola 2008. The need for two camps arose because we were not able to accommodate applications for approximately 50 campers, including some youth, in 2007. The two 2008 sessions were able to be held back to back because of the fifth weekend in June. In order to not interfere with any singings in 2009; David stated that we will have two sessions in two separate weeks. The youth camp, with emphasis for people age 30 and under and their family members, will be held June 29 to July 3, 2009 at Camp Lee, Anniston, Alabama. The adult camp will be held at Camp McDowell, Double Springs, Alabama from Sunday evening, June 14 through Thursday morning breakfast, June 18 after which campers can attend the National Convention. David reported that SHMHA has been awarded a grant by the Alabama State Council on the Arts for Camp Fasola for 2009. Also, the Sacred Harp Publishing Company has awarded a grant for Camp Fasola for 2009. David emphasized that ideas received from campers and other singers are used each year to make improvements to the camp program.

Jeannette DePoy voiced encouragement that SHMHA finalize plans to hold a weekend workshop for training Sacred Harp singing school teachers in order to enlarge the pool of qualified teachers. David said these venues have now been identified that would be good for the workshop.

Michael Thompson suggested that SHMHA provide a link on its website to enable people to easily make a donation to scholarships, to the LaRue Allen Fund, or to the general SHMHA fund. Michael also suggested that secretaries provide the 911 address or the longitude and latitude of singing locations to enable people to use GPS systems and web mapping sites to locate singings. He suggested having singings submit this information with their minutes this year. There being no further discussion, President Jeff Sheppard adjourned the meeting at 3:50 p.m., and the meeting was dismissed with prayer by John Plunkett.

SHMHA is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, incorporated in Alabama, whose purpose is the promotion and preservation of Sacred Harp singing. SHMHA publishes the Directory and Minutes of Sacred Harp Singing, operates Camp Fasola, sponsors the fasola. org website, and supports other activities related to the music, history, and traditions of Sacred Harp singing.

President—Jeff Sheppard; Secretary—David Ivey; Minutes Book Editor—Judy Caudle; Recording Secretary—Jeannette DePoy