Minutes of Sacred Harp Singings

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The United Sacred Harp Musical Association

Camp McDowell, Double Springs, Alabama

September 9-11, 2016

Friday, September 9

Linda Sides began the singing by welcoming those in attendance for the convention, guests, and visitors. She explained the evening singing was going to consist of “A Sampler of Longer Lessons Led Long Ago”. Linda stated that in doing her research, Margaret Keeton, Ozella Blackmon, and Willodean Barton recalled when leaders were given a time slot to sing, such as fifteen minutes. The Arranging Committee would call “time!” to end the lesson. The following leaders are descendants of those that led longer lessons. They led the same lesson as it was recorded in the original minutes. Linda remarked there were many prominent singing families from West Alabama, who were not named in the singing, but they are represented in spirit, hence the term, “sampler”. A hand-out was provided to the class with the year, original leaders, song numbers, historical notes, analysis of lessons by mode, and excerpts from original minutes.

Leaders: Chris Ballinger 82t, 112, 400, 460, 274b (his great-great- grandfather, J.W. Ballinger’s lesson from the Fayette County Courthouse singing, 1920); Mike Hinton 80b, 176b, 101t, 57, 329, 106, 126 (his uncle, Paine Denson’s lesson from the B.F. White Convention, Birmingham, 1930); Linda Sides 42, 65, 416 (J.D. “Dee” Wall’s lesson from the first Denson Memorial singing in Winston County, 1941. Wall was a brother-in-law to O.A. Parris and an uncle to John Hocutt); Rebecca Over 170, 274t, 355 (Lee Wells’s lesson from the first Alabama State (combined) Convention, 1941. Wells was a prominent singer and promoter of Sacred Harp from Jasper); Zilpha Kitchens Cornett 362, 361, 408 (her uncle, Elmer Kitchens’s lesson from the Sacred Harp Centennial, Double Springs, 1944); Dylan Feezell 434, 196, 360 (his great-great-great-grandmother, Ida Denson McCoy’s lesson from the Sacred Harp Centennial, Double Springs, 1944); Roma Rice and Loretta Whitman 288, 339, 406 (their grandfather, Levi Godsey’s lesson from the Winston County Convention, Shady Grove, 1944); Seth Poston 168, 203, 216 (his great-grandfather, Sim Wakefield’s lesson from the Clear Creek Convention, Old Flatwoods, 1948); Ainslie Allen, Emma Calvert, and Amelia Jett 132, 29t (their great-great-grandmother, Annie Reid Creel’s lesson from the New Hope singing, Walker County, 1952); Elene Stovall 428, 318 (her father, Demus Aldridge’s lesson from the Johnson Schoolhouse singing, Fayette County, 1952); Brenda Chafin 180, 183 (her grandfather, Marion Chafin’s lesson from the Pinetucky singing, Walker County, 1952); Dorothea Maynard 155, 159 (her grandmother, Emma Keeton Beasley’s lesson from the singing at Old Flatwoods, Walker County, 1955).

Linda Sides gave acknowledgements and thanks to the following for the planning and research of the singing: Buell Cobb, Ozella Blackmon, Larry Ballinger, Jerry Kitchens, Roma Rice, Margaret Keeton, Clarissa Fetrow, Jesse P. Karlsberg, Henry Johnson, Willodean Barton, Mike Hinton, Ann Jett, and those who led the lessons. A closing prayer was offered, and the class was dismissed.

Saturday, September 10

The 113th session of The United Sacred Harp Musical Association met at Camp McDowell, Double Springs, Alabama, on the second Sunday and Saturday before in September. The class was called to order by Jesse P. Karlsberg leading 31t. He made welcoming remarks, followed by the opening prayer offered by Ron Harper.

Leaders: Kathy Williams 37b; Angela Myers 345b; David Brodeur 569b; Nathan Rees 448b; Eddie Mash 328; Danny Creel 475; David Ivey 103; Linda Sides 225t; Brenda Chafin 542; Bridgett Hill Kennedy 486; Elene Stovall 492; Zilpha Cornett 143; Nicholas Thompson 442; Richard Mauldin 446; Judy Chambless 154; Daniel Bearden 407; Ann Jett 88t; Ann Riley Gray 142; Karen Freund 272; Cindy Tanner and Lucy Heidorn 155; Robert Chambless 84; Wanda Capps 299; Emily Brown 434; David Carlton 448t.


The class was called back to order by Jesse P. Karlsberg and Kathy Williams leading 220. A business meeting was held and the following officers and committee members were elected or appointed to serve: Chairman—Kathy Williams; Vice Chairman—Linda Sides; Secretary—Angela Myers; Arranging Committee—Cindy Tanner and David Brodeur; Finance Committee—Rodney Ivey and Cheyenne Ivey; Memorial Committee—Buell Cobb and Eddie Mash; Resolutions Committee—Rebecca Over and Ginnie Ely; Chaplains—Ron Harper, Danny Creel, and Rick Cunningham.

Leaders: Ron Harper 396; Karen Rollins 278b; Kelsey Ivey 278t; Judy Mincey 474; Buell Cobb 52b; Mark Davis 436; Philip Denney, Gayle Denney, and Kacey Cook 164; Cornelia Van den Doel 277; Warren Steel 392; Karen Ivey 146; Loretta Whitman 129; Bea Aaron 456; Mary Huffman 163t; Sandie Scott 472; Leslie Booher 473; Marilyn Burchett 49t; Richard Ivey 90; Hazel Heinze 145t; Lauren Bock 97; Cheyenne Ivey 182.


Rodney Ivey called the class back to order leading 101t. Leaders: Tom George 297; Nancy Price 34b; Rebecca Over 397; Dan Brittain 209; Ginnie Ely 196; Lynne deBenedette 344; Rick Cunningham 504; Cassie Allen 485; Barbara VanderJagt 384; Daniel Lee 566; Erik Mason 569 (t? b?); Barbara Swetman 353; Reba Windom 411; Andy Ditzler 402; Pat Temple 373; Tammy Powell 454; Darrell Swarens 507; Lisa Bennett 98; Jonathon Smith 326; Mary Wright 495; Gary Glover and Rebecca Over 114; Gillian Inksetter 352; David Smead 543; Marian Mitchell 48b; Alex Forsyth 336; Cecelia Kramer 191; Linda Thomas 556; Rodney Ivey and Gary Huffman 294 (by request).

Kathy Williams led 56t as the closing song. Ron Harper offered the closing prayer.

Sunday, September 11

The Sunday session of The United Sacred Harp Musical Association was called to order by Kathy Williams, who welcomed the class, and led 31b. Rick Cunningham offered the opening prayer.

Leaders: Linda Sides 215; Angela Myers 63; Rick Cunningham 42; Cindy Tanner 436; David Brodeur 298; Rodney Ivey 482; Karen Rollins 168; David Ivey 517; Rebecca Over 399t; Ginnie Ely 228; Eddie Mash 503; Daniel Lee 58; Andy Ditzler 134; Pat Temple 59; Reba Windom and Pam Nunn 222 (in memory of B.M. Smith and Jeff Sheppard); Amber Davis 192; Cornelia Van den Doel 335; Darrell Swarens 36b; Lisa Bennett 505 (in memory of Earlis McGraw); Lisa Geist 273.


The class was called back to order by Kathy William leading 270. Leaders: Jamey Wootten 313t; Larry Ballinger 133; Gail Doss and Dan Brittain 513; Jonathon Smith 440; Mark Davis 283; Mary Wright 477; Winfred Kerr 146; Jared Wootten 106; Susan Allred 434; Karis Askin 240; Cheyenne Ivey and Rodney Ivey 389; Marlin Beasley 318; Tammy Powell 527; Judy Chambless and Robert Chambless 527; Philip Denney and Kacey Cook 142, 358; Gillian Inksetter 160b; Ken Tate 319; Greg Allred 56t.


Rodney Ivey called the class back to order leading 170. Leaders: David Smead 491; Hubert Nall 176b; Roma Rice 93; Cassie Allen 227; Alex Forsyth 386; Shane Wootten and Linda Thomas 39t; Stuart Ivey 30b; David Carlton 376.

The memorial lesson was conducted by Buell Cobb and Eddie Mash. Buell began by describing Ruth Brown as a great leader, and stated that her husband had been chairman at the United. Buell read remarks from a memorial lesson conducted by Ruth Brown at the National Convention on June 14, 1997. Buell stated that the memorial list was long, and was made up of warm, caring spirits from the very elderly, (the sweet natured gentleman, S.T. Reed), to the very young (Oliver Kindig-Stokes), to family members of those present today. He read the following list of names of the deceased: Steve Adams, Kermit Adams, Gary Smith, S.T. Reed, Elsie Moon, Toney Smith, Hester Edwards, Sandra Spradling, Kenneth Fannin, Kathleen Doss Traywick, Bernice Williams Harvey, and Solomon Flower—Alabama; Joe Nall—Florida; Donald Klein—Colorado; Alfred Caldwell, B.M. Smith, Earlis McGraw, Geneva Prichard, and Bernice Stedman Thompson—Georgia; Janelle Davis—Illinois; Henry Reynolds—Mississippi; Charlie Derleth—Missouri; Tony Conrad and Evelyn Inksetter (Quebec)—New York; Oliver Kindig-Stokes—Pennsylvania; Betty Jo Bennett—South Carolina; Ruth Redmond—Texas; Ruth Steggles—United Kingdom. Buell led 153 in their memory.

Eddie Mash stated that many faces were missing from the crowd. He said many things can keep us from singing together, such as sickness and just the difficulties of life. He talked about a story in the Bible where four people carried a man with palsy, and took him where he needed to be, and that we are to carry each other in times of need. He referenced the scripture that “the greatest commandment is love”. He recalled getting a phone call when he missed some singings, and reminded us that little things mean so much. He challenged the Sacred Harp family to collectively join our efforts to pick each other up and encourage one another even if it is only a small part. Eddie read the following list of names of the sick and shut-ins: Willodean Barton, Lavoy Smith, Ottis Sides, Anne Mauldin Chalker, Velton Chafin, Johnnie Chafin, Laura Densmore, Edward Swetman, Anne Missavage, Ben Price, Bobby Willis, Karen Turner, Idy Kiser, Susan Harcrow, Roberta Strauss, Bruce Rowland, Eloise Wootten, Nate Green, Norma Green, Wayne Reed, Roy Davis, Alice McGuire, Margie Smith, Betty Shepherd, Jewel Wootten, and Douglas Conn. Eddie led 472 in their honor. Shane Wootten offered prayer to close the memorial service.

Leaders: Marty Wootten 475 (in memory of B.M. Smith); Marian Mitchell 532; Daniel Bearden 301; Barbara Swetman 383; Nathan Rees 462; Susan Cherones 56b; Mike Hinton 480.


Nicholas Thompson led 64 to bring the class back together. Leaders: Danny Creel 269; Kelsey Ivey 500; Richard Mauldin 43; Judy Mincey 510; Ann Riley Gray 186; Ann Jett 327; Karen Freund 309; Erik Mason 102; Hazel Heinze 515; Lauren Bock and Jesse P. Karlsberg 234; Cecelia Kramer 444; Barbara VanderJagt 496; Lynne deBenedette 77t (in memory of Jerry Enright); Marilyn Burchett 29t; Leslie Booher 274b; Sandie Scott 268; Bridgett Hill Kennedy 304; Richard Ivey 371; Elene Stovall 396; Gary Glover and Rebecca Over 312b; Judy Caudle 216 (in honor of Betty Shepherd); Wanda Capps 203; Jayne Fulmer 454; Nicholas Thompson 464; Karen Ivey 384.

A business session was held to hear committee reports. The Secretary reported that all expenses were met. The Arranging Committee reported that sixteen states and three countries were represented. The Resolutions Committee gave thanks to God for his bounties and blessings upon us and for gift of these songs. They thanked the officers for their work, those who made contributions, and everyone behind the scenes for a joyous and happy weekend of singing and fellowship. They resolved to meet again for the 114th session of the convention on the second Sunday and Saturday before in September, 2017. The Location Committee reported that they will be looking at returning to Camp McDowell or other similar settings. They will report to the officers when a location has been determined for next year. All reports were accepted, and the business session was closed.

Kathy Williams and Linda Sides led 62 as the closing song. Rick Cunningham offered the closing prayer, and the class was dismissed.

Chairman—Kathy Williams; Vice Chairman—Linda Sides; Secretary—Angela Myers