Minutes of Sacred Harp Singings

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Anniversary Singing

Irish American Heritage Center, Chicago, Illinois

January 12, 1997

The all day singing in celebration of the thirteenth anniversary of the Chicago Sacred Harp Singers was called to order by Dean Slaton leading song on page 40. Chaplain Herb Schroeder gave an opening prayer. Anne Heider led song on page 28 (t? b?).

The class organized with the following officers elected or appointed: Chairperson—Anne Heider; Vice Chairperson—Kelly Brest van Kemper; Secretary—Daryl Mayberry; Finance Committee—D. J. Hatfield and Steve Warner; Memorial Committee—Wendy Wahn and John Seaton; Resolutions Committee—Marcia Johnson; Arranging Committee—Judy Hauff and Melanie Hauff.

Leaders: Wendy Wahn 373; Val Dunagan 171; Daryl Mayberry 212; Jerilyn Schumacher 282; James Page “County K” (original composition).

Phil Trier was introduced as the “founder” of the Chicago group. He made a few remarks, asked those of the original group to stand, and then led song on page 84.

Leaders: Herb Schroeder 128; Pennie Thurmon 31t; Karen Hojnacki 220; Patricia Doss Butterfield 215; Gary Gronau 181; Steve Warner 114; Robert Meek 452; Kelly Brest van Kemper 73 (t? b?); John Bailey 270; Connie Karduck 392; Al Frank 102; Dick Dunagan 312b; Beverly Enright 455; Pierre Gingerich 117; Debbie Barford 218.

RECESS

The singing resumed with Anne Heider leading song on page 565b. Leaders: Becky Browne 269; Duran Perkins 535; Janet Borman 155; Samuel Sommers 172; Sue Kessell 304; Tony Reeves 254; Jeanette Lowry 436; D. J. Hatfield 506; Ernestine Pipkin 203.

LUNCH

The class was reassembled by Anne Heider leading song on page 319. Leaders: Jerry Enright 32b; Keith Willard 39t; Kathleen Kuiper 385 (t? b?); Dean Slaton 434; Richard DeLong 411; Marcia Johnson 260; Kelly Beard 250.

A report was given by the Finance Committee stating that donations made were enough to meet the expenses of the singing.

A very moving memorial lesson was given by Wendy Wahn. Readings from Job and Romans were used. “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will stand upon the earth; and after my skin has been thus destroyed, then from my flesh I shall see God.” “We do not live to ourselves and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord: so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.”

We come to this singing and to this memorial lesson each with our own faith, our own memories, and particular individuals we sing for. While we are not all of one faith, we are of one song. It is Sacred Harp music that brings us and binds us together.

The memorial lesson is a time to remember....to bring to the front of our thought those who have died in the last year as well as those who are sick and shut-in. It seems particularly important as we come together for our Anniversary Singing. There are many who were with us during the birthing process and early years of this group who are with us no more. This memorial lesson is a time to grieve, a time to celebrate the lives of those who now rest from their labors, as well as a time to sing back to health and life those who are sick and shut-in. Sacred Harp singing is about life. The songs we sing are about life’s journey, the struggles, and the hope of a better land and place to come. We have been blessed by these songs and by the fellowship of singers wherever and whenever we gather to sing. We are an extended family that spans over space and time. It is therefore fitting that we set aside time to remember those who have briefly walked with us in life’s journey. Celebrations are not always happy or joyous. It takes courage to mourn, to grieve, and to share those feelings with others. In the coming together to sing, the tunes, texts, and the very vibrations touch our souls and make the grieving easier because we know we are not alone. We probably all have an image of what heaven or life after death will be. I would like to share mine with you. I picture heaven a place of great celebration, where I will once again meet those whom I have lost...and what a grand reunion it will be! They will have a form that is whole, that is healed, and there, with God, they will welcome me with open arms. And there, with all the saints, will be the great heavenly banquet. There will be singing...a wonderful Sacred Harp singing, and the pain of life will be no more. As the names of those who have died are read, our collective remembering creates a sacred moment that touches the past, and celebrates the lives of those for whom we sing.

Those remembered in death include: Bruce Mosier—Indiana; Tom Harper—Alabama; Mike Warner—California; Evelyn Browne and Edna Wilson—Georgia; Don Johnson—Colorado. Wendy Wahn led song on page 206 in their memory.

John Seaton read the list of sick and shut-in, and led song on page 103 for the following: David Fichter, Alice Kuiper, Tina Seastrom, and Caroline Kramer—Illinois; the Malloy triplets and Joseph Brooks—Missouri; Cleo Hawkins and Bernice Embry—Mississippi. The memorial lesson was concluded with prayer by Wendy Wahn.

Leaders: Regina Bayer and Emily Barford 146; Thomas J. Willard 145 (t? b?); Ted Mercer 216; Lisa Grayson 222.

RECESS

Anne Heider brought the class back together leading song on page 274t. Leaders: Ted Johnson 142; David Lee 278b; Nathan Barford 268; John Bayer 331; Dave Barford 480; Jim Lawrie 200; Carol Crawford 461; Suzanne Flandreau 335; Bill Hamblin 106; Petrina Patti 192; Paul Streeter 147 (t? b?); Judy Hauff and Melanie Hauff 503; Chandler York 163b; Ernestine Pipkin 276; Richard DeLong 448 (t? b?); Kathy Lee 30t; Kelly Beard 347; David Lee and Judy Hauff 47b (walked time in the square); John Bayer 567; Pierre Gingrich 497; Jeanette Lowry, Charles Derluth, Jr., and Gary Gronau 475.

Marcia Johnson gave the Resolutions Committee report. Thanks were given, and acknowledgements made. Announcements were made of future singings.

The officers of the singing came forward and led song on page 62 for the closing song. The closing prayer was given by Herb Schroeder. After the closing prayer, David Lee of Hoboken, Georgia showed those that wished to participate how to sing a “drone”. A small group stood facing each other in the center singing a tune. All four parts were represented in this center group...then in concentric circles outside that group, the basses walked one direction, a circle of trebles walked the opposite direction, and finally tenors on the outside going the same direction as the basses. Each person is his circle hummed the note of their part, walking slowly around the center singers. The object is to blend the voices into one mellow sound while allowing the voices in the center to be heard. This proved to be a very interesting experience for all.

Chairperson—Anne Heider; Vice Chairperson—Kelly Brest van Kemper; Secretary—Daryl Mayberry.