Minutes of Sacred Harp Singings

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Old Harmony Primitive Baptist Church

Abernathy, Cleburne County, Alabama

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The annual Sacred Harp singing at Old Harmony Primitive Baptist Church, near Abernathy, Cleburne County, Alabama, was held on the third Sunday in April. Cecil Roberts welcomed everyone, and then brought the class to order leading 45t. Richard Mauldin offered the opening prayer.

Leaders: Cecil Roberts 32t; Donna Bell 49b, 503 (both songs in memory of Billy Joe Harris).

A business session was held and the class voted to retain the following officers: Chairman—Stanly Edwards; Vice Chairman—Cecil Roberts; Secretary—Donna Bell; Arranging Officer—Judy Chambless.

Leaders: Cecil Roberts 30b; Syd Caldwell 460 (in memory of Aunt Eula Johnson), 309 (for Carlene Griffin); Charlene Wallace 77t, 313t; Richard Mauldin 66, 35; Karen Rollins 34b, 222; Shelbie Sheppard 105, 332; Robert Chambless 84, 354t; Rene Greene 276, 142; Tony Hammock 303, 70b. Evelyn Harris welcomed everyone to the singing and thanked them for coming.


The class resumed singing with Donna Bell leading 40 (in memory of Lawrence Edwards). Leaders: John Plunkett 55, 88b; B.M. Smith 317, 284; Sherrell Clenio 335, 159; Jeff Sheppard 436, 325; Margie Smith 101t, 108t; George Garner 47t; Virginia Dyer 63, 155; Oscar McGuire 171, 336; Glenda Collins and Bert Collins 445, 100.

Karen Rollins conducted the memorial lesson. She read a touching excerpt from her Sacred Harp book written by her daddy, the late Lonnie Rogers, when he gave it to her in 1992. Mr. Lonnie stated that some of the writers or composers of songs in this book (the Sacred Harp) have been some of the best friends I have ever associated with. As a whole, Sacred Harp singers from Maine to California to Chicago and Florida show more love for each other than any group I know today. I hope as you sing from this book and visit and mingle with the people who sing this music that you will enjoy the fellowship that I have enjoyed. Mr. Lonnie wrote that Karen was fortunate to have a great heritage in Sacred Harp singing, explaining that both sides of her family, the Rogers and the Denneys, sang. Karen told the class that the memorial lesson was a tradition in Sacred Harp, and that when someone is missing from a singing we miss them. She read the following list of sick and shut-ins: Homer Hulsey, Lois Bowman, Teenie Moody, Carlene Griffin, John Grant, Don Boswell, Anita Boswell, Bud Oliver, Sammie Oliver, S.T. Reed, Lessie Reed, Lucy Garner, Troy Warren, Stella Pratt, Leona Haynes, Josie Hyde, and First Sgt. Ben Tomlinson. Oscar McGuire led 33b in their honor.

John Plunkett led 83t for the following deceased: Howard McGuire, Nick Griffin, Lonnie Rogers, George Holland, Marie Ivey, Bill Tanner, Cecil Sanders, Leland Owen, Travis Keeton, John Merritt, William McElroy, and Marvin McElroy. Cecil Roberts closed the memorial lesson with prayer.

Leaders: Lou Cotney 300, 358 (for Faye Cotney); Louise Holland 323 (t? b?), 37b; Evelyn Harris, Ruth Daniel, Nellie Mae White, Aline Harris, and Calvin Warren 127 (in memory of Uncle Enoch Smith), 378t. Elder Neal Prichard, pastor of the church, blessed the noon meal at the table.


The afternoon session of singing began with Cecil Roberts leading 89. Leaders: Syd Caldwell, B.M. Smith, and Margie Smith 28b (in memory of Maw Maw); Charlene Wallace 141; Leanne Carter and children 68b, 313b; Karen Rollins 227; Ann Simpson 354b, 388; Robert Chambless 163b; Rene Greene 350; B.M. Smith 72b; Margie Smith 373; Sherrell Clenio 59; Tony Hammock 111b; Oscar McGuire 327; Richard Mauldin 551 (in memory of Nick Griffin); Virginia Dyer 40; Lou Cotney 218; Syd Caldwell 481 (for Dan Brittian and all Arkansas people); Leanne Carter 480.

Following announcements, Cecil Roberts led 46 as the closing song. Elder Neal Prichard offered the closing prayer, and the class was dismissed.

Chairman—Stanly Edwards; Vice Chairman—Cecil Roberts; Secretary—Donna Bell