Minutes of Sacred Harp Singings

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Midwest Convention

Chicago, Illinois

June 28-29, 1997

Saturday, June 28

The twelfth annual Midwest Sacred Harp Singing Convention opened at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday at the Irish American Heritage Center in Chicago.

Chairman Kathleen Kuiper opened by leading the song on page 324, and welcomed the singers from near and far. Wendy Wahn led the class in prayer. Kathleen Kuiper then led songs on pages 47t and 171. Leaders: David Barford 181; Kristin Richardson 492; D. J. Hatfield 172; Judy Mincey 474; J. C. Denney 335; Midge Olsen 218; Brad Oglesby 192; Greg Economides 528; Lissa Blood 338; B. M. Smith 475; Jenny Wootten 66; Bill Waddington 481; Susan Jaster 297; Kent Beck 479.


The morning session resumed with Kathleen Kuiper leading song on page 189. Leaders: Shelley Robbins 455; Al Frank 362; Leyland DelRe 433; Richard Popp 163 (t? b?); Kit Pfau 29t; Lisa Grayson 278b; John Bailey 340.

A business meeting was held, and the following officers were elected and appointed: Chairman—David Barford; Vice Chairman—D. J. Hatfield; Secretary—Kathy Krug; Assistant Secretary—Virginia Warren; Arranging Committee—Judy Hauff, Melanie Hauff, Marcia Johnson, Ruth Brown, John Bayer, and Samuel Sommers; Memorial Committee—Suzanne Flandreau, Kathy Lee, Shelbie Sheppard, Mary Rose O’Leary, Richard DeLong, and Lisa Grayson; Finance Committee—Wendy Wahn, John DelRe, Sue Kessell, and Jan Ketelle; Resolutions Committee—Beverley Enright, John Bailey, and James Page; Locating Committee—Ted Mercer and Kelly Brest van Kempen; Housing Committee—Dean Slaton; Chaplain—Herb Schroeder.

Leaders: Connie Karduck 391; Warren Steel 74 (t? b?); Sheila Wootten and Kathy Lee 148; James Page 131t; Pam Nunn 269; Jeb Owen 480; Elene Stovall 556; Mark Davis 240; Carolyn Deacy 114.


David Barford called the class back leading song on page 137. Leaders: Tom Owen 532; Keith Willard 74b; Kathryn Krug 99; Beverley Rose Enright 244 (?); Brenda Carroll 384; Stephen McMaster 282; Cassie Franklin 198; Richard Green and Susan Green 350; Everette Denney 405; Sheri Taylor 442; David Ivey 83b; Wanda Capps 142; Carroll Lunsford 387; Ruth Brown 36b; Herb Schroeder said a blessing, and the class was dismissed for lunch.


David Barford brought the class back leading song on page 324. Leaders: Beth Todd 82t; Jeannette DePoy 369; Freeman Wootten and Jewel Wootten 225 (t? b?); Mike Moseley 406; Jerilyn Schumacher 280; Ted Johnson “Boulder”; Julie Vea 440; Martin DeNys 547; Charles Obent 34b; Jerry Schreiber 377; David Lee 39t; Shelbie Sheppard 216; Pauline Childers 318; Marie Aldridge 304; John Bayer 49b; Kathy Williams 220.


Debra Barford brought the class back leading song on page 120. Leaders: Don Bowen 347; Sue Kessell 236; Charlene Wallace 395; Judy Hauff 110; Richard DeLong 421; Jacob Griffith 271 (t? b?); Kelly Brest van Kempen 84; Mary Rose O’Leary 458; Cindy White 71; Petrina Patti 217; Dan Havens 147t; Tom Terranova 86; Paul Streeter 515b. The arranging committee announced the total number of songs sung, and Herb Schroeder closed the Saturday session with a prayer thanking God for the beauty and power of music, for our fellowship, and for the grace and mercy and promise we have received through God’s Son.

Sunday, June 29

The convention resumed at 9:30 a.m. in Ida Noyes Hall of the University of Chicago with David Barford leading song on page 32t. Herb Schroeder offered the opening prayer, asking that all we do and say this day be a reflection of God’s goodness and love.

Leaders: D.J. Hatfield 83t; Lorraine Sawyer 54; Carlene Griffin 70 (t? b?); Henry Schuman 81t; Bud Oliver 73t; Laura Webb 178 (dedicated to a friend who recently passed away); Sam Farwell 146; Kelly Macklin 157; Gary Gronau 192; Louise Holland 58; Fred Todt 312b; Nathan Barford and John DelRe 207; Jenny Willard 421; Aaron Wootten 144; Karen Hojnacki 220; Felton Denney 503; Leyland DelRe, Regina Bayer, Emmie Barford, and Rachel Lee 106; Walter Graff 39b. Announcements were made, and David Barford dismissed the class for recess after leading 52t.


Jerry Enright called the class back to order leading song on page 77t. Leaders: Allison Ivey 134; Debra Barford 196; Harrison Creel 530; Karen Buche 474; Steve Warner and Anne Heider “Evanston”; Jan Kettelle 565; Herb Schroeder 128; Elsie Moon 434; Samuel Sommers 112; Myra Dalton 332; Gordon Olsen 117; Johanna Fabke 373; Jeff Sheppard 464 (dedicated to and appreciation for Ted Mercer writing this song, and for all the people up here and what you’ve done); Wendy Wahn 182.


David Barford called the class together leading song on 37b. Leaders: Sam Jones 35; Syble Adams 203.

Lisa Grayson began the Memorial Lesson: “As I prepared for the Memorial Lesson today, I realized that just yesterday, as we were singing at the Irish American Heritage Center, I thought I saw my friend Jim in the back of the tenor section. I was trying to get his attention, and I waved to him, when I realized that couldn’t be Jim. There was no way it could be Jim because Jim was 12 years gone.

I just looked at the list of names for our memorial lesson today, and ladies and gentlemen, this list is long. You and I both know that there are names that are not on that list, names from other singings and names that are inscribed on our hearts, not on a piece of paper. We sing to remember them, and, I think, we also sing to unburden ourselves of all the things we meant to do for those we loved: the kind words left unsaid, the confidence left unshared, the feud left unnecessarily unmended. We sing hoping, and, I think, knowing, that through the power of our song and our prayers, we are reaching those we lost. And maybe we look around ourselves today and ask ‘What can I do right now, today?’ and maybe look inside ourselves and know that some time our day, some time my day, will come; that this community of singers, this band we belong to, will call out our names, and raise their voices in song. So now, let’s remember the bright souls of those we’re about to name, and those other names engraved on our hearts”.

Suzanne Flandreau said: “I am reminded that we are enjoined to praise God in all things, so let’s praise God for these people—and the list is very long:”

Deceased: Alabama—Rodger Morrison, Lola Myrtle Roberson, Jimmy Causey, Bonnie Ashley, Emma Nelson, Kenneth Brandon, Buck Aaron, Tommy Creel, Curtis Dutton, Johnnie Sue Beasley, Tilda Mosley, John Bain, Mae Doss, Ruthie Cozart, Floyd Stiefel, Otis Nall, Ed Latham, Clydus Moon, Dillie Creel Harris, Malone Austin, Elder A.L. Beckett, J.T. Conn, Lois Matthews, Vena Holley, Myrl Etheridge, Ewell Nelson, Tom Harper, Tina Reid Rogers, Delta Wootten, Hazel Cagle, Elder Barnard Moon, Lola Jenkins, Buddy Tindal, Clelan Cobb, Milton Wallace, and Halie Armstrong; California—Troy McCissick, Mike Warner, and Marilou Jolly; Colorado—Don Johnson; Georgia—Willa Mae Holt, William Headrick, Eva Reeves, Horace Lambert, Silas Lee, Peggy Hickox, Sue Porter, and Charles Dannals; Illinois—Ted Pankey, Thomas Kupensky, Elise Kasper, Bill Currie, Jeremy Swilley, Sonny Frank, and Tom Pavoubek; Kentucky—Vena Sargent; Mississippi—Louie Porter and Janice Nelson; New Hampshire—Maggie McCallion; New York—Herbert Buckingham Khaury and Marian Schroeder; Oregon—Joyce Fisher, Carol Bruhl, and Milo Minato; Pennsylvania—Chet Burn; South Dakota—Lorene Schlenker and Ella Taylor; New Mexico—Erik Hand; Wisconsin—David Proctor. In memory of the deceased, Suzanne Flandreau led the song on page 285t.

Richard DeLong then spoke: “I hope I can say something that will mean something to you. There are a couple of people on that list very near and dear to me, and it was awfully hard to sing for them, and not with them.

You know, I’ve spent 8 years of my life trying to teach kids fun and unique things about history. I’ve also taught them some ugly things, some nasty things, about how we made war on each other, killed each other, enslaved each other, based on race, gender, beliefs and religion. And to me, Sacred Harp, the most precious thing about it, is that we can all come together, right here in this hollow square, and put that aside. We can shut that out. We can bar the door. We’ve developed a love for it, and every one of us has a personal testimony about this hollow square and what it means to you, what it means to me—what it means to me is not the same thing it means to you. These people we’re singing for had a testimony, but they can’t tell it.

Hazel Cagle had a testimony. She was a Primitive Baptist; some of these Primitive Baptists can be hard-headed. She’d come up here, sing, and put anything else aside. She loved to sing. Kim just looked after her for 44 years, carried her to singing and carried her to singing. They came up here I don’t know how many times; when I asked him, he said he didn’t know. But she went to singings till she was hardly able to go, because that’s what she wanted to do. Kimzy’s been faithful; he’s looked after her 44 years, faithful, and he’s hurting.

And these other people are hurting—I counted 18 names on that list that I’ve sung with, personally, 18 names. Kimzy asked me to sing 543; we’ll try to do that.”

After leading the song on page 543, he continued: “I would say that, as in a song we sang earlier, ‘let our songs abound, and every tear be dried.’ I would say at this convention, or any Sacred Harp gathering, let our songs abound. If you haven’t figured out how to come together, and love one another, and get along in the world, you don’t have to answer to me; you’ve got a much higher power to answer to.”

Mary Rose O’Leary then read the list of sick and shut-in: Alabama—Jerry Sheppard, Mozelle Sheppard, Virgil Phillips, Ruby Phillips, Hadyn Creel, and Jap Walton; California—Dario Landazuri and Chris Thorman; Georgia—Mary Frances Dannals; Illinois—Josephine Mead, Hal Blumenthal, Pamela Veerhusen, John DeNys, Catherine DeNys, Marge Pesavento, and Frances Giunchedi; Indiana—Charlotte Allison; Maryland—Jack Hinchey; Michigan—Viola Smith; Minnesota—Sue Majerus; Mississippi—Cleo Hawkins and Bernice Embry; Virginia—Sally Barnes and Robert Toone.

Mary Rose said: “I’d also like to remember people who aren’t able to come for whatever reason, and I hope that with this song we can sing them back to us.” She led song on page 168.

The Memorial Committee then turned the class over to the Chairman who announced there would be one more singer before lunch. Ted Mercer led song on page 85, and Herb Schroeder led a prayer for lunch.


Kathryn Krug brought the class back together leading song on page 155. Leaders: Regina Glass 180; Louis Hughes 31 (t? b?); Becky Browne 362; Edith Tate 98; John DelRe 360; Kristin Richardson 466; Buell Cobb 187; Marcia Johnson 288; Jim Pfau 129; Ann Jett 327; Terry Wootten 436; Regina Clark 300; Jesse Roberts 245; Flarce Creel 475; Allison Stovall 454; Melanie Hauff 215; Roy Nelson and Louise Nelson 87; Karen Ivey 200.


David Barford called the class back leading song on page 276. Leaders: Norman Slaton 280; Jo Dell Albi 361; Gene Hauptmann 163b; Chandler York, Jeremy York, and Maurice York 47b; Pat Temple 209; Darlene Cann 45t; Wendy Popp 472; John Seaton 47t; Suzanne Flandreau 68b.

David Barford expressed special thanks to Greg Munson and the University of Chicago Folklore Society for the opportunity to sing in this space.

Paul White then led song on page 551. Leaders: James Brock 354b; Matt Wells 299; Mary Wright 145b; Steven Schmidgall 136; Brad Hunnicutt 378 (t? b?); Joe Todd 470; Charles Wells 231; Cheri Treffinger 89. John Bailey spoke on behalf of the Resolutions Committee as follows: “We resolve to give thanks for this glorious tradition of singing and for the bright and beautiful weather. We thank the Irish American Heritage Center and the University of Chicago Folklore Society for providing the wonderful facilities. We are thankful for all the food and for those who brought it. We thank Kate Thomas and Alan Thomas for organizing dinner on the grounds and the dinner for the social, recognizing all the work that this involves. Thanks to all the singers who came from near and far. Thanks especially to Ruth Brown for organizing the bus tour from Alabama and Georgia. Thanks for the excellent work of the Chicago Sacred Harp Singers and friends who planned and organized this convention. Finally, we are thankful for the Source of our existence, which makes all things possible. Be it further resolved that we each return next year.”

Announcements were made of many upcoming singings across the country. The closing prayer was offered by Herb Schroeder, and “The Parting Hand” was led by the officers.

Chairman—David Barford; Vice Chairman—D. J. Hatfield; Secretary—Kathryn Krug; Assistant Secretary—Virginia Warren.