Minutes of Sacred Harp Singings

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Billings Birthday Singing

Irish-American Heritage Center, Chicago, Illinois

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Billings 266th Birthday singing was held at the Irish-American Heritage Center, Chicago, Illinois, on the first Sunday in October. Ted Mercer called the class to order at 10:00 a.m. leading 51 (MH).

A business meeting was held to elect or appoint the following officers: Chairman—Rachel Adelstein; Finance Committee—Susan Geil and Randy Neufeld; Arranging Officer—Evelyn Lamb; Chaplain—Wendy Wahn; Secretary—Rochelle Lodder. Wendy Wahn offered the morning prayer, thanking God, especially for the life and music of William Billings.

Leaders: Rachel Adelstein “Amherst”; Aldo Ceresa “Richmond”; Ann Heider “A Funeral Anthem” (“Samuel the Priest”); Jim Swanson “Wareham”; Karen Swenson “Andover”; Ann Missavage 174; John Seaton 291; David Barford “Hull”; Lisa Grayson “Boston”; Jim Helke 147 (MH); Doug Stapleton 66.


Rochelle Lodder called the class to order leading 91. Leaders: Steve Warner and Barb Colaner “Chester”; Bob Borcherding 178 (MH); Lisa Cohen “Taunton”; Nathan Zweig “St. Peters”; Jonathan Smith “Newingham”; Grace Scrimgeour “Egypt”; Claudia Egelhoff 269; Michael Mosley 180; Wendy Wahn “Glocester”; Ted Johnson 173; Patty Cuyler “Washington”; Ginny Landgraf “Cross-Street”; Ann Sleeva “Chocklett”; Randy Neufeld 178.

Marcia Johnson spoke about the life of Phillip Trier, a founder of Chicago Sacred Harp, and led his arrangement “Come Thou Fount” in his memory.

Rochelle Lodder led “Kittery”. Wendy Wahn offered grace before the noon meal.


Evelyn Lamb brought the class back to order leading 486. Leaders: Mary Rogel “Sullivan”; Ryan Wheeler “Brookfield”; Melanie Hauff 268; Michael Appert “Aurora”; Randy Neufeld and Susan Geil “St. Ann’s”; JoDell Albi “Duxborough”; Judy Hauff “Bethlehem”; Lincoln Richardson 49t; Marcia Johnson 126 (MH); Cathryn Bearov “Maryland”; Petrina Patti and Anne Heider “An Anthem for Easter”; Evelyn Lamb, Jillian Soto, and Adam Rose “Sunday”; Rachel Adelstein “Euroclydon”.

Aldo Ceresa discussed the biography and significance of William Billings. He noted that Billings worked as a tanner, had one eye, and was said to have had “an uncommon negligence of person” and a “stentorian bass voice.” Although he published five tune books in his lifetime and his music was widely sung, he died a pauper because there was no copyright protection at that time. Billings’s tune “Beneficence” was suggested for inclusion in the Sacred Harp by Raymond Hamrick, whose music is strongly influenced by Billings. Aldo Ceresa led 492.


Wendy Wahn called the class to order leading “Emmaus”. Leaders: Claudia Egelhoff and Karen Swenson “Anthem: Independence” (“The States, O Lord”); Bob Borcherding “Sudbury”; Nathan Zweig “Charlston”; Ann Missavage 254; Jonathan Smith “Thomas-Town”; Judy Hauff “Water Town”; Steve Warner and Anne Heider “Sappho”; Ginny Landgraf 103 (MH); Ted Mercer “When Jesus Wept”.

The class resolved to thank all those who assembled the special collection of Billings’s tunes for our use, especially those who typeset the tunes in shapes, including Aldo Ceresa, the compilers of the forthcoming Shenandoah Harmony, Karen Swenson and Charlie Obert, Karen Willard and the Christmas Harp, Ann Sleeva, Roland Hutchinson, and Chris Noren.

Rachel Adelstein led 347 as the closing song. Wendy Wahn dismissed the class with prayer.

Chairman—Rachel Adelstein; Secretary—Rochelle Lodder