Minutes of Sacred Harp Singings

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Big Singing Day Digital Get-Together

Marshall County, Kentucky and Elsewhere

Sunday, May 24, 2020

The 2020 Big Singing—which would have been the 137th session—was necessarily cancelled. Mark Cain subsequently suggested to the membership of the Society for the Preservation of Southern Harmony Singing that, even though we would be unable to convene at the Marshall County Courthouse as is our usual practice, we meet via Zoom on Big Singing Day, 2020 and sing a song or two... or many more. A poll of the SPSHS membership and other supporters of Southern Harmony singing who expressed interest revealed that a majority of the singers preferred to convene via Facebook Live.

Due to the format, individuals were not able to direct the songs of their choice. Before the get-together, people suggested numbers that ought to be sung; their names appear below in conjunction with the song they requested. All selections were from the 1854 edition of The Southern Harmony.

The get-together was convened at 1:15 p.m. by Lesa Lovett, Kerry Lovett, and Ron Pen selecting 103. Selections: Lisa Sieverts 3t; Erin Fulton 6b; Lisa Bulawsky 256; David Carlton, Marcelyn Thobaben, and James Thobaben 16 (in memory of Tierre Williams); Peter Urquhart 7t; Brenda Dunlap 19t; Claire Outten and Matt Meacham 83; Connie (no last name given) 13t; Darlene Abell 159b; Tom Ivey 76; Darlene Abell 332; Mary Elizabeth Garrison 57; Bob Schinske 322; Matt Meacham 296; Tim Reynolds 33; Darlene Abell 89b; Kate Fine 178; Ray Turner 92t; Tim Gregg 59; Stephanie Davis Taunton 133; Matt Meacham 11; Emily Ross 43 (by request); Amy Hollinger 51 (by request); Connie 89t. The group sang 334, their traditional parting song, and were dismissed.

Though no memorial was conducted, we wish those loved ones of Southern Harmony singers who have died in the past year to be remembered in these minutes. They include Barbara Grossman of Lexington, KY, wife of Mark Klar; Helene Rice Perkins of Lexington, KY, mother of Pat Waggener and mother-in-law of Don Waggener; and Tierre Williams of Nicholasville, KY, foster son of James and Marcelyn Thobaben. Thanks to William Ralph Paris for helping collect these names. May their memory be for a blessing.

Amanda Groves wisely suggested that we seek permission to use the Marshall County Courthouse in Benton, KY for the first “link” in the livestreams. Sadly, the County Clerk’s office did not get back to us in time. Erin Fulton, Tim Gregg, and Marcelyn Thobaben hosted a livestream from nearby Draffenville, KY. We were joined by David Carlton in Nashville, TN; Brenda Dunlap in Washington, DC; Melissa Howrey Fulton in Amy, KS; Tom Ivey in Charleston, SC; Matt Meacham in Edwardsville, IL; Saul Jerome E. San Juan in Austin, TX; Peter Urquhart in Portsmouth, NH; and Sumie Zook in Sacramento, CA. Many thanks are due to Saul Jerome and Melissa for helping keep the livestreams running smoothly, to Emily Ross for walking us through the process for the first time, and to Mark Cain for suggesting the whole idea. He wrote in his initial e-mail to the SPSHS membership, “My goodness, what an interesting addendum to our 136-year history this would be!” It was.

Secretary—Erin Fulton