Minutes of Sacred Harp Singings

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Garden State Singing Convention

Montclair Friends Meetinghouse, Upper Montclair, New Jersey

May 16-17, 2014

Friday, May 16

The 22nd annual Garden State Convention was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Gina Balestracci leading 38t. Lamar Matthew offered the opening prayer.

Leaders: Jean Seiler 47t; Claire Simon 344; Barbara Hohenstein 70b; Lamar Matthew 70t; Harry “Scotty” Scott 46; Rachel Speer 63; Ezra Hallett 497; Jack Cuffari 108b; Dean Jens 27; Nancy Mandel 155; Dennis Leipold 47b; Susan Bingham 311; Laura Densmore 29t; Ben Fink 178; Roland Hutchinson 473; Jackson Fleder 321.

The following officers served: Chairman—Gina Balestracci; Vice Chairman—Susan Bingham; Treasurer—Roland Hutchinson; Arranging Officer—Laura Densmore; Secretary—Claire Simon; Chaplain—Lamar Matthew.


Claire Simon led 77b to bring the class back together. Roland Hutchinson then taught a workshop on “1000 years of Fasola: a Sing-Along; Exploring the Roots and Branches of our Four-Note/Four-Shape Tradition.” Leaders: Jackson Fleder 460; Rachel Speer 31b; Ezra Hallett 296; Nancy Mandel 378t; Ben Fink 457; Barbara Hohenstein 36t; Dennis Leipold 300; Lamar Matthew 111b; Jean Seiler 114.

Gina Balestracci led 474 as the closing song. Announcements were made. Lamar Matthew offered the closing prayer.

Saturday, May 17

The Saturday session of the Garden State Convention was brought to order by Gina Balestracci leading 173. Lamar Matthew offered the morning prayer.

Leaders: Susan Bingham 30 (t? b?); Claire Simon 472; Roland Hutchinson 479; Leon Pulsinelle 399b; Barbara Hohenstein 38b; Lamar Matthew 147t; Dennis Leipold 150; Guy Bankes 151; Cory Noel 131b; Harry Scott 36b; Jean Seiler 569t; Charlotte Ehrman 318; Rachel Speer 106; Eric Xu 168; Dan Hunter 27; Carol Werba 535; Julia Seidenstein 111b; Dean Jens 110; Terry Ryan 181; Paula Picton 50t; Charles Biada 100; Jackson Fleder 204; Ben Fink 31t; Laura Densmore 522; Roland Hutchinson 84; Eileen Metzger 68t; Aldo Ceresa 142; Loren Fortna 186; Thom Metzger 423.


Ben Fink called the class to order by leading 35. Leaders: Charlotte Ehrman 383; Jack Cuffari 108 (t? b?); Cory Noel 546; Guy Bankes 547; Steve Hoyt 68b; Julia Seidenstein 335; Harry Scott 462; Lynn Hoyt 156; Claire Simon 143; Eric Xu 481; Rachel Speer 556.

The memorial lesson was conducted by Gina Balestracci, who read the following list of names of the sick and shut-ins: Liz Connors, Chelsea Balestracci, Jean Trout, Skip Trout, Keith Simon, Martha Waide, Barbara Swetman, Ron Bornick, Margaret Bornick, and Hal Fleming. She led 430 in their honor.

Gina then read the following list of names of the deceased: Susan Weston, Vlad Rosco, Stefan Werba, Vince Abbaticello, and Richard Lancella—New Jersey; Ruth Noren and Sharon Kellam—North Carolina; Evelyn Steinruck, Joe Donnelly, Melissa Dellinger Briner, and Olga Haas—Pennsylvania; Diane Mennella, Charles Waide, and Dean McNeil—New York; Jeff Sheppard and Shelbie Sheppard—Alabama; Chet Kennedy and Alicia Kennedy—Michigan. She led 146 in memory of those named. Lamar Matthew closed the memorial lesson with a prayer.

Gina Balestracci 180. Lamar Matthew offered a blessing before the noon meal.


Aldo Ceresa began the afternoon session by leading 128. Leaders: Ben Fink 235; Dean Jens 411; Carol Werba 163t; Charles Biada 373; Daniel Hunter 75; Paula Picton 540; Dennis Leipold 326; Jean Seiler 492; Steve Hoyt 438; Barbara Hohenstein 524; Thom Metzger 399t; Lynn Hoyt 510; Jackson Fleder 434; Aldo Ceresa 567; Laura Densmore 500; Guy Bankes 501; Terry Ryan 454; Julia Seidenstein 39t; Leon Pulsinelle 388; Gina Balestracci 532.

Announcements were made. Gina Balestracci offered the resolutions, and reported that expenses had been met.


The singing resumed with Gina Balestracci leading 66. Leaders: Charlotte Ehrman 486; Roland Hutchinson 236; Eric Xu 445; Cory Noel 144; Harry Scott 504; Jackson Fleder 56t; Paula Picton 292; Charles Biada 487; Thom Metzger 29b; Lynn Hoyt 565; Daniel Hunter 69t; Eileen Metzger 70b; Steve Hoyt 282.

Announcements were made. Secretary Claire Simon reported that 111 songs were led by thirty-four leaders with forty-two people in attendance from six states.

Gina Balestracci invited the officers to join her in leading 62 as the closing song. Lamar Matthew offered the closing prayer, and Gina dismissed the class.

Chairman—Gina Balestracci; Vice Chairman—Susan Bingham; Secretary—Claire Simon