Minutes of Sacred Harp Singings

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Central Ontario Sacred Harp Convention

Friends House, Toronto, Ontario,
and Detweiler Meetinghouse, Roseville, Ontario

August 21-23, 2020

The third Annual Central Ontario Convention, which would have been held on the fourth Sunday in August and the Friday night and Saturday before, had to be cancelled in 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, Pleasance and Chuck Crawford conducted a Memorial Lesson during the Toronto Shape-Note Singing Community’s weekly Wednesday-night Zoom singing on September 2nd.

Pleasance began: The Memorial Lesson is an important and treasured part of the Sacred Harp tradition, and one that we in Ontario have honored since our very first Central Ontario All-Day Singing in 2003.

The lesson usually begins with a list of the Sick and Shut-In. In 2020, at the time of our convention, we did not seek names for this list. What follows are words we might have spoken.

Many in the singing community are sick, and we wish them well. Many others are caring for the sick, and we pray for their continuing health. All of us are, in a sense, shut in—and shut out—because we cannot truly gather to sing. We fervently hope that, by August 2021, we will be able to come together again in one place.

With those thoughts in mind, let us sing 50b Humility, verses 1 & 3.

Our list of the deceased combines the one compiled by Rebecca Over for the cancelled Mount Zion Memorial Singing in Georgia on July 26th and our own list for August 23rd.

Chuck and Pleasance then read the following names: Mark Hyatt, Ottis Sides, Margaret Spurlock, William Napper, Velton Chafin, Bill Windom, and Jewell Hulett Wooten, all of Alabama; Stephen O’Leary, California; Robert “Robby” Rivers, Charlene Wallace, Bentley McGuire, Richard DeLong, and Ida Kerr Snow, all of Georgia; Aubrey Barfield, Florida. Tierre Quantrell Williams, Barbara Jean Grossman, and Helene Rice Perkins, Kentucky; Dorothy Crawford Connor, Maine; Bill Beverly, Michigan; Kathryn Smith Bowers, Missouri & Colorado; Paul Foster, Ohio; Judy Toole, Tennessee; Sonny Erwin, Texas; Janis Thibault Davies, Ontario.

Pleasance continued: In memory of the deceased, let us sing 330b Fellowship, verses 2 & 3.

Pleasance concluded the Memorial Lesson with this prayer by Maya Angelou:

Father, Mother, God,

Thank you for your presence

during the hard and mean days.

For then we have you to lean upon.

Thank you for your presence

during the bright and sunny days,

for then we can share that which we have

with those who have less.

And thank you for your presence

during the Holy Days, for then we are able

to celebrate you and our families

and our friends.

For those who have no voice,

we ask you to speak.

For those who feel unworthy,

we ask you to pour your love out

in waterfalls of tenderness.

For those who live in pain,

we ask you to bathe them

in the river of your healing.

For those who are lonely, we ask

you to keep them company.

For those who are depressed,

we ask you to shower upon them

the light of hope.

Dear Creator, You, the borderless

sea of substance, we ask you to give to all the

world that which we need most—Peace.


Chairpersons—Lloy Cook and Heather Schramm; Secretary Pro Tem—Pleasance Crawford