Minutes of Sacred Harp Singings

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Cleburne County Sacred Harp Singing Convention

Edwardsville Baptist Church, Edwardsville, Alabama

Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Cleburne County Sacred Harp Singing Convention assembled for the 128th session at Edwardsville Baptist Church, Cleburne County, Alabama, on the third Sunday in August. Cecil Roberts welcomed the singers and visitors, then called the class to order by leading 56t using a 1936 edition of The Sacred Harp. The book was donated to the convention by Midge and Al Huester in 1942 in memory of J.W. (Uncle Will) Laminack. The book was given with explicit instructions that the only time it can be used is for the introductory lesson of this convention. Jack Nelson offered the opening prayer. Cecil Roberts led 278t.

Leaders: Rene Greene 120, 63; Donna Bell 485, 343 (in memory of Bud Oliver). Cecil Roberts told the class that this convention was organized on September 28, 1889 at St. Michael Lutheran Church, and was designated the Cleburne County Sacred Harp Singing Convention. He read an excerpt from the minutes written in August, 2011, “We, the class of singers of the 121st session of the Cleburne County Sacred Harp Singing Convention voted to move this convention to Edwardsville Baptist Church on August 21, 2010, under the leadership of our chairman William Stanly Edwards. May his soul rest in peace and his memory always remain in our hearts and mind forever.” Cecil told the class that the original minutes of the convention were available for viewing for anyone wishing to do so.

Leaders: Judy Chambless 319, 413 (in memory of Hugh McGraw); Glenda Collins and Bert Collins 35, 40; Robert Chambless 303 (in memory of Jeff Sheppard), 225t; Jack Nelson 32t, 524; Samuel Williams 326; Gary Davis 565, 426t; Ed Thacker 77t, 313t; Virginia Dyer 122 (in memory of Harold DeLong), 155 (for Charlene Wallace).


The class resumed singing with Rene Greene leading 171. Leaders: Winfred Kerr 500, 318 (in memory of Lonnie Rogers); Henry Johnson 52t, 55; Karen Rollins 350 (in memory of B.M. Smith), 227; Rebecca Over 77b, 283 (both songs for Charlene Wallace); Nancy Novotny 201, 278b; David Brodeur 160t, 160b; Tony Hammock 313b, 314; Richard DeLong 224, 365 (in honor of Charlene Wallace); Fallon Cook 481, 146; Andy Ditzler 381; Andy Ditzler and Rebecca Over 476; Ann Simpson 388, 445.

Karen Rollins conducted the memorial lesson. She told the class that a fellow singer passed away the previous evening and the family had gathered to sing her home: just like singing at a funeral. Karen stated that singing to someone as they are dying is a beautiful image to me. As a group we are blessed that we sing. People who go to church and sing don’t get the joy that we do. Karen continued by saying that we are blessed that singing is such an important part of our lives, as it was to these people we’re thinking about. The sick and shut-ins honored were Chris Holley, Concetta Branson, Charlene Wallace, and Robby Rivers. The deceased remembered were Hugh McGraw, B.M. Smith, Eloise Wootten, Bernice Cook, Gail Jackson, Edith Owen, Geneva Prichard, Lynn Swafford Key, Harold DeLong, Mike Taylor, and Edna Ruth Phillips. Karen led 46. Henry Johnson closed the memorial lesson with prayer.

Leaders: Rebecca Over 285t; Nancy Novotny 299. Judy Chambless thanked the church for welcoming the singers twice a year. Richard DeLong led 358. The blessing of the noon meal was offered by Brother L.B. Yates.


Cecil Roberts brought the class back to order by leading 477. Leaders: Jason Stanford 159, 475; Chance Cook 192; Glenda Collins and Bert Collins 340; Gary Davis 335; Rene Greene 436; Ed Thacker 75; Ann Simpson 47t; Samuel Williams 336; Fallon Cook 333; David Brodeur 483; Henry Johnson 515; Jack Nelson 560; Rebecca Over 411; Andy Ditzler 119; Nancy Novotny 135; Tony Hammock 148; Winfred Kerr 36b; Jason Stanford 285b; Donna Bell 137 (for Ruth Daniel).

A business session was held, and the following officers were retained for next year: Chairman—Cecil Roberts; Vice Chairman—Rene Greene; Secretary—Donna Bell; Arranging Officer—Judy Chambless.

Announcements were made, and Cecil Roberts thanked everyone for coming. Cecil Roberts, Rene Greene, and Donna Bell led 323t as the closing song. The closing prayer was offered by Cecil Roberts, and the class was dismissed.

Chairman—Cecil Roberts; Vice Chairman—Rene Greene; Secretary—Donna Bell