Minutes of Sacred Harp Singings

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Camp Fasola, Adult Emphasis

Camp McDowell, Double Springs, Alabama

June 12-16, 2016

Sunday, June 12

Arrival, Registration, and Orientation.

Campers arrived at 4:00 p.m. and were greeted by Jeannette DePoy and Scott DePoy at the registration tables. After receiving their t-shirts, room assignments, and schedules, campers had free time until supper at 6:00 p.m. Staff and campers met in Hall Hall with Camp Director David Ivey at 7:00 p.m. for an orientation meeting, and class singing followed. Camp Fasola is a non-profit endeavor of the Sacred Harp Musical Heritage Association (SHMHA). SHMHA has no paid staff. Shmha accepts donations and is a 501 (c) (3) organization.

Class Singing.

7:30 p.m. Led by Christ Church Lodge campers. Jonathon Smith brought the class to order leading 70t. Ted Brown offered the opening prayer. Leaders: Lauren Bock 36b; Ted Brown 33b; Frank Griggs 189; Jamie Yeats 86; Judy Whiting 350; Andy Ditzler 91; Jan May 300; Nathan Rees 32b; Bill Hayes 535; Dan Brittain 57; Naomi Duguid 268; Susan Cherones 460; Gillian Inksetter 182; Nathan Stewart 392; Dan Comstock 163t; Bridgett Hill Kennedy 500; Ginnie Ely 228; Helen Brown 542; Rick Cunningham 101t; Chris Brown 447; Lisa Bennett 224; Daniel Lee 203; Idy Kiser 108b; Richard Schmeidler 66; Judy Caudle 76t; Linda Booth 515; Ann Mashchak 373; Daryl Chesney 128; David Smead 168. Frank Cornett conducted the devotional. Ted Brown offered the closing prayer.

Monday, June 13

Every day there are lessons, electives, opportunities for recreation or relaxation, recess periods with snacks, and an evening class singing, along with opportunities to socialize.

Lesson: Rudiments I/Beginner.

9:00 a.m. Teacher—Lauren Bock. Lauren referred to page 13 of the Rudiments in the Sacred Harp and discussed what is sound, what is music, what is pitch, and what is rhythm. The class participated in a shape syllable drill, a scale drill, and a human scale game. To demonstrate the scale, the class sang “Joy To The World” and “Twinkle, Twinkle” in shape notes. Lauren gave an explanation of voice parts and elements of the page. The class looked at note duration, rest duration, and time signatures on page 13 of the Rudiments, and practiced the exercises on the page. Class dismissed.

Lesson: Rudiments I/Basics.

9:00 a.m. Teacher—Nathan Rees. The class explored the Rudiments with a questions and answers time, and explored the traditions of Sacred Harp. The scales were practiced along with singing the most common intervals. The class sang 146 and 43. Class dismissed.

Lesson: Rudiments I/Advanced.

9:00 a.m. Teacher—Stuart Ivey. A chart was displayed showing the major and minor scales. Stuart gave a summary of the shapes, scales, modes of time, and described Sacred Harp as a product of four categories: rhythm, pitch, volume, and accent. Stuart stated that “the right note at the wrong time is a wrong note”. Stuart suggested learning a group of notes, and the class sang the tenor line on 222 for an example. The class reviewed pages 507, 508 (?) and 509 (?) for a song with rhythm changes. Stuart led 69b as an example of a hold, and emphasized the need for a strong preparatory hand gesture to signal the class. Another hold example was found in 198. Another example of a change of mode was reviewed on 301. The class practiced singing intervals, and was encouraged to practice on their own. The class concluded by singing 355.

Elective: Team Tunesmith I-Sacred Harp Composition 101 (t? b?).

10:50 a.m. Teacher—Aldo Ceresa. Aldo provided the beginner tune writers with hand-outs, worksheets, and gave instructions and tips for the Team Tunesmith Challenge. The tunesmiths were given the same melody line to harmonize beginning with the bass line and then hand off the finished line to the next designated person in their group and continue until all three harmonies are complete. All compositions will be handed in on the last day of camp to be sung in the Composium session. Aldo encouraged the tunesmiths to work as a group, and individually, and have fun. He hoped this learning exercise will give a better understanding of the process of Sacred Harp songwriting, and of what make our music so special.

Elective: Rudiments Applied/Sightreading.

10:50 a.m. Teacher—Stuart Ivey. Stuart led 378t. He gave a list of essentials to learning how to sight read as follows: the page number, meter, the key (if you pitch), the clefts, the composer’s words, the music, the time signature, the pitch note, the accent, and the volume. The class practiced all four lines of 378t reading and singing. The leader should know which song they want to lead, the speed, changes of time, and sing the tenor part. Stuart led 142 as an example of a fuging tune, and said knowing how to lead one is important. Stuart suggested leading an unfamiliar song. The class practiced sight reading exercises from a hand-out. Class dismissed.

Elective: Accent.

1:00 p.m. Teacher—Nathan Rees. Nathan rhetorically asks the question, “Why sing with accent”? The most common answer is because it keeps the group together; singing as one voice. Another answer is the unique sound achieved by singing Sacred Harp music with accent. Nathan covered primary and secondary accent in 2/4 and 4/4 time. The class sang 270. Nathan explained triple time accent, and led 347 and 30b. Nathan explained compound time accent, and led 131b, 97, 387, 227. Class dismissed.

Elective: Sacred Harp Wind Band Music.

1:00 p.m. Teachers—Johnnie and Nancy Vinson. Johnnie Vinson introduced himself, and his wife Nancy, to campers. Nancy is a professional flutist. They have two adult sons, who are also musicians. For much of his career, he served on the band staff at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama. Since his retirement from Auburn, he has devoted much of his time to writing music for band. Johnnie provided a hand-out to campers with compositions and arrangements he had written for concert band that employ shaped note tunes. His compositions based on shaped note tunes are: “Overture On A Hymn Tune” (based on page 79), “Variants On A Shaped Note Tune” (based on page 58), “Echoes Of The Hollow Square” (based on “The Morning Trumpet” found in the 1909 edition of The Union Harp), “Hallelujah” (based on page 146), “I’m Going Home/Warrenton” (based on pages 282 and 145t). Johnnie played recordings of the original songs, and then, the wind arrangements. David Ivey led 295 and 85. Class dismissed.

Lesson: Leading Workshop.

2:10 p.m. Teachers—Bridgett Hill Kennedy and Judy Caudle. Judy led 155. Leaders: Zilpha Cornett 408; Chris Parris 159; Ann Mashchak 551; Frank Griggs 362; Joey Brackner 178; Kathleen McDonnell 217; Daryl Chesney 149; Dorothea Maynard 304. Class dismissed.

Lesson: And Then I’ll be at Rest.

2:10 p.m. Teacher—Aldo Ceresa. Aldo began the class by leading 77b. Aldo addressed the importance of simultaneously cutting off the voice for a rest. A good class not only stays together on the notes, but also on the rests. The class reviewed the following songs for specific rests found at the beginning, internally, and between verses: 47b, 149, 64, 457, 330t, 38b, 485, 88b, 234, 232, and 365.

Lesson: The Music & Life of Singin’ Billy Walker.

3:40 p.m. Teacher—Jonathon Smith. Jonathon led 129. He told the class that William Walker was from Spartanburg County, South Carolina, and was in the same church as B.F. White, his brother-in-law. Walker wrote his first song at the age of eighteen. A falling out had transpired between Walker and White. After Walker’s death, the Southern Harmony was reprinted by the WPA. There was a folk opera written about Walker during the 1950’s called “Singin’ Billy”, which included a handful of shape-note tunes. Walker published four books in his lifetime, which are 1835- Southern Harmony, 1846-Southern and Western Pocket Harmonist, supplements to the Southern Harmony, 1867-Christian Harmony in seven shapes, 1873-Fruits and Flowers, written for school children.

The class sang songs from a handout from each of Walker’s publications. Leaders: Jonathon Smith “The Good Physician” (SoH); Lauren Bock “Thorny Desert” (SoH); Aldo Ceresa “French Broad” (SoH). The class sang “Tender Hearted Christian” and “The Shouting Pilgrim” from the Southern and Western Harmonist. Jesse P. Karlsberg led “Solemn Call” (CH) and Jonathon Smith led “Breaker” (CH) and “Spartanburg” (CH). Jonathon led “The Last Rose of Summer” from Fruits and Flowers. Class dismissed.

Lesson: Old Minutes-What They Tell Us & What They Don’t.

3:40 p.m.—Teacher—Buell Cobb. Buell remarked that minutes can provide a view of what was sung in early times, telling us a lot, but omitting a lot of what we would like to know. As an example, he read the minutes from a Jaybird Convention of which we know the name of the church that year and the next year, but not the community or the state, or what songs were led. Buell stated that rules of a convention in counties adjacent to Camp McDowell were strict in adherence to the B.F. White, James, and Denson editions that used dispersed harmony, not modern harmony. In the twentieth century, pianos and organs were sometimes proudly reported to be in use at conventions.

Elective: The Music of L.P. Breedlove.

4:50 p.m. Teacher—Dan Brittain. The class sang songs by the early Sacred Harp master. Leaders: Dan Brittain 285t; Aldo Ceresa 407; David Ivey 123b; Jeannette DePoy 354b; Chris Brown 75; Zilpha Cornett 282. The following songs were sung without a leader: 337, 152, 342, 290, and 326. Songs from the James book were “Meditation”, “Redemption”, and “Prosperity”. Class dismissed.

Elective: Concords and Discords.

4:50 p.m. Teacher—Jesse P. Karlsberg. Jesse referred the class to page 22, paragraph 8 of the Rudiments on harmony, concord, and discord. He read B.F. White’s description from the 1844 Edition of the Sacred Harp. Jesse explained roots of chords, types of chords, progression, inversions, and mollification. The following songs were led by Jesse to illustrate: 348b, 406, 76b, 303, 36b, 354t, 548, 82t, 454, 414, 569t, 47b, 70b, 448t, 569b, and 318. Class dismissed.

Elective: Vocal Health Tips.

7:00 p.m. Teacher—Dan Comstock. Dan offered class members several tips on how to get the most out of our singing voice. He demonstrated several vocal and breathing exercises in which the class participated. Dan demonstrated how the vocal cords expand and contract with the intake and outtake of air. Dan stated that singing produces a wider vocal range than speaking simply due to the intake of air during singing. Good posture was emphasized for properly singing while in a sitting position. He advised that singers need to be safe with their voice, as the voice is the only instrument in Sacred Harp. Class dismissed.

Class Singing.

7:30 p.m. led by Advent Lodge campers. The class was called to order by Lisa Bennett leading 312b. Tom Booth offered the opening prayer. The following officers served: Chairman—Lisa Bennett; Chaplain—Tom Booth; Secretary—William Hayes; Arranging Committee—Dorothea Maynard and Naomi Duguid.

Leaders: David Ivey 457 (sung three times for a video production); Judy Caudle 267 (sung twice for video production); Jesse Karlsberg 441 (sung twice for video production); William Hayes and Ann Mashchak 551; Naomi Duguid 163b; Dorothea Maynard 361; Aldo Ceresa 440; Jeannette DePoy 201; Stuart Ivey 456; Brenda Dunlap 56b; Nancy Tkacs 81t; David Brodeur 354t; Chris Parris 354b; Zilpha Cornett 408. The chairperson thanked the group for participating. The devotional was given by Richard Schmeidler based upon Psalm 118. The closing prayer was offered by Tom Booth.

David Ivey reviewed tomorrow’s agenda. Big Dave will give the birds of prey demo at 7:00 a.m. tomorrow morning in Hall Hall. Buell Cobb did several readings from Like Cords Around My Heart. An ice cream social followed.

Tuesday, June 14

Lesson: Rudiments II/Basics.

9:00 a.m. Teacher—Nathan Rees. Nathan led 131b, and asked the class to sing the tenor line. He made note of the minor chord in the middle of a major song. The class discussed intervals, and how descending intervals are different than ascending intervals. Class members participated in singing scales and intervals. Nathan stated that intervals also build melody and music is a series of pleasing tones. Zilpha Cornett led 72t. Nathan Rees led 359. The class reviewed rhythmics, modes of time, and accent. Class dismissed.

Lesson: Rudiments III/Advanced.

9:00 a.m. Teacher—Dan Brittain. Dan provided a hand-out to campers on “Rhythmics” that stated rhythmics treats the arrangements of notes and rests in time. Thus, it is concerned with patterns in time. The traditional rudiments assigned specific speeds to each mode of time, along with specific methods of marking time. Dan’s personal reflection is that modes of time vary with regional traditions, and to respect the region when visiting. Dan reviewed time signatures listing the relative length per measure from the James’ rudiments. When leading a song, Dan offered suggestions such as, be prepared with your selection when called upon and announce the number so all can hear. If the song begins on a downbeat, first do an upbeat, to show the speed of the song, and then confidently start singing on the downbeat. If the song begins on an upbeat, do a downbeat first, again to show tempo, and then begin singing on the upbeat. It is best to do the preparatory beats while the chord is sounding: people want to start singing when they see the motion of the beat. Dan acknowledged that this practice was, and is, not universally taught. Some of the older teachers did it that way, some did not. Dan concluded with naming a few songs that traditions have influenced (183, 291, 310, and 408), and how the Denson and Cooper versions are different. Class dismissed.

Elective: Composing Tenor Lines.

10:30 a.m. Teacher—Dan Brittain. Dan provided the class with a template set up for a duple meter. In writing a tenor line, Dan gave the following points: start with a plain-tune style or one similar to 177 (not a true fuging tune, but one that has parts entering alone); use common modes of time; notes should stay within the staff; keep rhythmic patterns simple; the first note should start on “sol” or “fa” and the last measure should end on “fa”; use mostly step motion; some skips are allowed (but every note should not be a skip); try to match your tenor line to the text (sometimes the words suggest motions); and it is okay to repeat part of the tune for the second or fourth line. Dan gave text examples. Class dismissed.

Elective: Time & Tempo-New Insights.

10:30 a.m. Teacher—Jesse P. Karlsberg. Jesse remarked that the content of the class would be a theoretical one and not a practical one. Jesse stated that modes of time used to be called “moods of time”. For example, 3/2 is mathematically the same as 6/4, but they have very different moods. Mode also indicates tempo. Research was done about how much each mode is sung. The number of times each mode was used did not equal the number of times each mode appeared. Tempo as related to mood is covered in the Rudiments. Tempo used to be dictated in seconds or inches, but has since become relative, and determined at the discretion of the leader. Tempos picked up during the time of T.J. Denson, and continued to pick up further after his death. Marcus Cagle, Elmer Kitchens, and Hugh McGraw started to slow things down when the words on recordings became unintelligible, so an executive decision to slow things down was made and observed. Jesse presented the class with a graph marking the differences between tempo and mode. Jesse and Mark Godfrey studied four-thousand songs. They found strong correlation between tempo and mode. They found consistency with B.F. White’s instructions. Jesse played a recording of two songs in 4/4. One song at 2. 5 seconds to the measure and one song at 1. 3 seconds to the measure. The class felt the song at 1. 3 seconds sounded normal compared to the song at 2. 5 seconds, which sounded very slow to the class. The research also found that behavior in compound time has changed. We have sped up in 6/4 and slowed down in 6/8 bringing them closer together. Jesse presented another graph of how often we see and hear bursts in volume for each mood of time for each second of each song in the data. There is a hint at different characteristics of tempo for each mode of time. The 6/8 graph showed we have distinct tempos across the Sacred Harp world, maybe because it is less familiar and less easy to sight-read. The 2/2 graph showed two different rhythms, as in 344. The 3/4 graph showed a wide variation in tempos. To conclude, Jesse played two clips of one fast and one slower to show the difference. Class dismissed.

Elective: Singing Favorites with Elder Hopper

1:00 p.m. Teacher-J.L. Hopper. Elder Hopper was introduced to campers by his daughter, Judy Caudle. Elder Hopper had seven siblings, and his mother taught him to sing. He told a story about his grandpa paying him if he would learn the notes and lead 76t when he was very young and he did not yet know how to read. He practiced diligently until he could do it and got paid by his grandpa! Elder Hopper led the following favorites, answered questions from the class, and did a little teaching along the way! Songs: 177, 277, 311, 448t, 269, and 553. Class dismissed.

Lesson: The Memorial Lesson.

1:00 p.m. Teachers—Bridgett Hill Kennedy and Judy Caudle. Bridgett led 37b. Bridgett talked about tradition and heritage, and that most singers present are adopted into this heritage of Sacred Harp music. Bridgett stated that we have either a mutual, obligate, or symbiotic relationship. A symbiotic relationship depends or relies upon another to survive. We, as Sacred Harp singers, are in a symbiotic relationship with each other. We need each other in order to carry on the tradition. Our commonalities, shared experiences, and memories are the things that bring us together.

Judy Caudle defined the word “memory” as the power to retain and recall past experiences. She gave the definition of memorial as anything that symbolizes or celebrates a person or a place. She expressed that in a memorial lesson, we are remembering and celebrating those individuals that are no longer with us and honor their memory. The class concluded and entered into a memorial lesson.

Brenda Dunlap spoke of her first experience with the Sacred Harp approach to death, loss, and grief. She encouraged the class to enter the memorial lesson with joy. Naomi Duguid read the following list of names of the sick and shut-ins: Kermit Adams, Susan Harcrow, Eloise Wootten, Betty Shepherd, Jack Nelson, Judy Hauff, Melanie Hauff, Velton Chafin, Ozella Blackman, Ottis Sides, June Frederick, Karen Turner, Curtis Owen, Edith Owen, Cath Tyler, Ian West, Johnny Lee, Delorese Lee, Ruth Steggles, Toney Smith, Lavoy Smith, S.T. Reed, Janelle Davis, Dave Kiser, Jimmy Bailey, Anne Mauldin Chalker, and Floy Wilder. Nancy Tkacs led 335.

Jean Merritt read the following list of names of the deceased: Steve Adams, Hester Edwards, Kathleen Doss Traywick, Nellie Mae White, Lora Cargo, Robert DuPree, Elsie Calvert Moon, Bernice Williams Harvey, and Gib Amason—Alabama; Dan Adams—Connecticut; Robert DePoy and Earlis McGraw—Georgia; Charlie Derlerth—Missouri; Eveline Inksetter and Ann Henry—New York; Loraine Bayer—Ohio; Oliver Kindig-Stokes—Pennsylvania; Nadine Clarke—Tennessee; Tom Robinson—Texas; Eileen McDougall—France; Ian Whiting, Michael Spittal, Eileen Wilson, and Dave Smith—United Kingdom. Ann Mashchak led 163b in memory of the deceased. Frank Cornett closed the memorial service with prayer, and the class was dismissed.

Lesson: Music and Influence of O.A. Parris.

3:20 p.m. Teacher—Jesse P. Karlsberg. A hand-out, “The Music and Influence of Orin Adolphus Parris” was provided to the class. Jesse led 546, and gave an early lineage of O.A. Parris. Parris published through Stamps-Baxter, and started the Denson-Parris Publishing Company. Later, Parris became primarily a gospel song publisher. His last publishing company was called Convention Publishing Company. In the last decades of his life, Parris had an ambivalent relationship with publishing. The class sang 349 and 377, noting his bits of flair and accidentals that was emblematic of his style. From the hand-out, David Ivey led “A Few More Years”; Nathan Stewart led “God’s Helping Hand”; Jan May led “Weary Rest”; Jesse led “I’ll Be Satisfied”; Andy Ditzler led “The Grand Highway”. O.A. Parris was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame after his death. Jesse noted that O.A. Parris is a cousin to Chris Parris, who was attending this year’s camp. Ginnie Ely led 454. Class dismissed.

Lesson: The Pleasing Sound.

3:20 p.m. Teacher—Henry Johnson. Henry began the class by explaining the early Rudiments of White from 1844-1870, as well as the 1911 J.L. White supplement. Zilpha Cornett led 122. Henry read through White’s “General Observations” and “General Directions to singers” from the White Rudiments. Leaders: Frank Griggs 56t; Susan Cherones 56b; Henry Johnson 73t; Lisa Bennett 288. Class dismissed.

Elective: Newton & Cowper-The Odd Couple.

4:30 p.m. Teacher—Chris Brown. The class was provided a hand-out of songs by Newton and Cowper titled “The Olney Hymns”. Chris remarked that the class will concentrate on the poetry, and that words are the way we communicate our feelings. The Olney Hymns were published in 1799 and were broken up into three books; “Hymns”, “Occasional Subjects”, and “Progress and Change in the Spiritual Life”. Cowper is pronounced cooper. Leaders: Zilpha Cornett 148; Helen Brown “There Is A Fountain”; Richard Schmeidler 287.

Newton and Cowper were friends despite their differences. Cowper suffered with bouts of depression and suicide attempts. He was very troubled religiously. It was Newton’s presence that took him to Olney parish. Newton wanted to have bible studies and pray. Following a major breakdown, Cowper moved into the vicarage with Newton and his wife Mary. Newton was a very different man. He lost his mother early, his father was a sea captain, and Newton worked as a mariner. While captain of a slave ship, Newton experienced a spiritual conversion and became interested in the evangelical. Newton stayed popular because of his camp-meeting tunes. He spent the rest of his life trying to end slavery. The following songs were led from the Sacred Harp: Richard Mauldin 335; Ted Brown 105; Ginnie Ely 113; Linda Booth 34t; Helen Brown 127. The following songs were led from the Olney Hymns: Warren Steel “In Evil Long”, “Morning Meditation”; Nathan Stewart “Pleasant Ohio”; Judy Whiting “Texas”. Class dismissed.

Community Singing.

7:00 p.m. Led by Gribbin Lodge campers. Nathan Stewart called the class to order by leading 108t. Shari Harrison offered the opening prayer. Leaders: David Brodeur 439; Betty Denton and Jeannette DePoy 159; Jean Merritt 479; Ottis Sides and Linda Sides 530; Aldo Ceresa 506; Chris Parris and Lauren Bock 206; Eugene Forbes and Idy Kiser 168; Nikos Pappas 207; Richard Mauldin 43; Dorothea Maynard and Mel Maynard 282; Mark Davis 193; Zilpha Cornett 143; Brenda Dunlap 230; Warren Steel 351; Nancy Tkacs 47b; Scott DePoy and Hillevi Lasen 146; Cathy Gilbert and Lauren Bock 34t; Jonathon Smith 165; Gypsy Youngraven 31t; Jamie Yeats 169; Judy Whiting 208; Bill Hayes 452; David Smead 71; Ginnie Ely 178; Rick Cunningham 480; Jesse P. Karlsberg 417; Dan Comstock and Ann Mashchak 63; Judy Caudle and Susan Sanders 107; Richard Schmeidler 543; Chris Brown 176t; Susan Cherones 564; Nathan Rees 52b; Karen Ivey and David Ivey 212; Daniel Lee 569b; Pam Nunn 556; Gillian Inksetter 56t; Naomi Duguid and Mary Jane Wells 503; Andy Ditzler 406; Jan May 344; Daryl Chesney, Carl Godsey, and Tom Denton 45t; Lisa Bennett 505; Nathan Stewart 304; Frank Griggs 216; Gillian Inksetter and Shari Harrison 122; Bridgett Hill Kennedy 383. Nathan Stewart led 382 as the closing song. Shari Harrison offered the closing prayer, and the class was dismissed.

Thursday, June 16

Following breakfast at 7:00 a.m., campers departed, some headed for the National Convention in Birmingham, and some for other parts of the world. “The day is past and gone, the evening shades appear, Oh, may we all remember well...”

SHMHA President and Camp Director—David Ivey