Minutes of Sacred Harp Singings

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Midwest Convention

Chicago, Illinois

May 30-31, 1998

Saturday, May 30

The thirteenth annual Midwest Sacred Harp Singing Convention opened at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 30, 1998 at the Irish American Heritage Center in Chicago, Illinois with Chairman David Barford leading song on page 207. David Barford welcomed singers from near and far. David Lee led the class in prayer.

Leaders: Kathy Krug 107; Connie Karduck 475; Jerry Enright 29t; Francis Gurtz 128; Jerilyn Schumacher 79; Julie Vea 101t; Suzanne Flandreau 163t; Jim Page 160t; Debbie Barford 39t; Ann Heider 362; Constance Leininger 384; Gary Gronau 137; Lois Hurt 551; Kelly Brest Van Kempen 145b; Patricia Butterfield 474; Al Frank 361.

RECESS

The morning session resumed with David Barford leading song on page 27. Leaders: Joanne Hoover 66; Henry Schuman 432.

A business meeting was held and the following officers were elected or appointed: Chairman—D. J. Hatfield; Vice Chairmen—Ann Heider and Steve Warner; Secretary—Debbie Barford; Assistant Secretary—Lorena Moore; Arranging Committee—Connie Karduck, Lisa Grayson, Julie Vea, Richard DeLong, and Jan Ketelle; Memorial Committee—Judy Hauff, David Ivey, Jeannette DePoy, and Denise Kania; Finance Committee—Kelly Brest Van Kempen, John Bailey, and Steven Levine; Resolutions Committee—Judy Mincey, Dean Slaton, Beth Hoffman Reed, and David Lee; Chaplain—Shelley Robbins.

Leaders: Judy Mincey 538; Berkley Moore 29 (t? b?); Kit Pfau 58; Dave Ressler 419; Denise Kania 217; Brad Oglesby 460; Jerome Colburn 229; Kathy Lee 34b; Bob Meek 441; Shelbie Sheppard 195.

RECESS

D. J. Hatfield brought the class back with song on page 145t. Leaders: Mary Rose O’Leary 318; Rodney Ivey 186; Martha Beverly 497; Jonathan Frank and Nathan Barford 260; Kathleen Thro 36b; Louis Hughes 480; Daryl Mayberry 454; Dan Havens 86; Sandy Schultheis 99; Steven Levine 350; Elene Stovall 528; Paul Foster 442; Janet Borman 440; Coy Ivey 222.

LUNCH

The afternoon session began with Ann Heider and Steve Warner leading song on page 84. Leaders: Don Bowen 77t; Carolyn Deacey 290; Mark Davis 354 (t? b?); Kay Bieszczad 45t; Lisa Grayson 428; Don Howard 142; Marcia Johnson 179; Richard DeLong 224; Jessica Roberts 532; Jeff Sheppard 316; Petrina Patti 324; Brad Honycut 294; Reba Dell Windom 192; David Lee 117; Kathryn Bowers 178; Ted Mercer 216.

RECESS

D. J. Hatfield and Steve Warner brought the class back leading song on page 32t. Leaders: Emmie Barford 113; Jeb Owen 328; Pauline Childers 498; Stephen O’Leary 160b; Aura Lee Furguson 535; Jessie Roberts 486; Kathy Williams 383; David Ivey 112; Shelley Robbins 299; Jeannette DePoy 436; Jim Pfau 201; Lorena Moore 148; Chandler York 56t; Cassie Franklin 269; Mark Davis 240; Beth Todd 335.

The arranging committee announced the total number of songs sung, and chaplain Shelley Robbins dismissed the class with a prayer.

Sunday, May 31

The Sunday morning session of the Convention began at 9:30 a.m in Ida Noyes Hall of the University of Chicago with Chairman D. J. Hatfield leading song on page 61.

Leaders: Anne Heider and Steve Warner 52t; Beverly Enright 543; Colette Miller 348b; Tom Owen 163b; Pam Nunn 236; Gordon Olsen 344; Kris Richardson 335; Joe Todd 270; Amy Lee 323b; Warren Steel 377; Sue Kessel 304; Mike Hinton 365; Beth Hoffman Reed 299; Melanie Hauff 277.

RECESS

D. J. Hatfield called the class back to order leading song on page 171. Leaders: Kathy Kaiser 203; Rich Overturf 448b; Ashley Roberts 504; Ted Johnson 89; Martha Durand 127; David Wright 302; Lorraine Sawyer 567; Paul Wyatt 47t; Deborah Johnson 133; Dean Slaton 498; Hannah Roberts 143; Jim Solheim 444.

RECESS

The class resumed singing with Steve Warner and Anne Heider leading song on page 36b. Leaders: Midge Olsen 198; Sarah Davie 503; Steve Schmidgall 319.

Judy Hauff began the memorial lesson. “In 1988 David Ivey attended his second Midwest Convention; he’s been here many times since. He was asked to serve on the Memorial Committee at that time, and he did so, with distinction. He chose to single out during that Memorial, a man named D. T. White, whom many of you knew, although, many in this room did not. When Ted Mercer and I made our first wild rush down South in 1985, he was one of the first people we met, and David mentioned exactly that fact in his Memorial. He said, ‘He didn’t wait for people to come to him, he came to them,’ and that was exactly the experience we had. We jumped off the plane in Atlanta, raced over to Holly Springs, stood around blinking at the sights that greeted us, and here through the crowd comes D. T. White, who promptly took charge of us, steered us straight over to his car, popped the trunk, and began loading us up with cookies, ‘Bama fans, whistle-shaped lollipops, and I don’t know what else, keeping up that characteristic line of patter of his that had everyone giggling all day. So of course we were delighted with D. T. White, and thought the world of him, but within just a couple of years he was snatched away. We’d been having such a good time, we didn’t even think in those terms. But suddenly he was gone, and it was a bad jolt for us. He was the first of the jolts, but not the last.”

Judy continued, “The longer we sing this music, the more likely we are to know the names on the list. Richard DeLong has said he can look around the square, and see faces that he no longer sees, and hear voices he no longer hears. I can look around myself, at Jeff Sheppard, and think of Ruby Gibson, or look at Pauline Childers, and think of many people, maybe Mamie Creel, now; or at Shelbie Sheppard and Pam Nunn, and think of Lessie Cates; at Reba Dell Windom, and think of Willa Mae Holt, Margie Lacy, Noah Lacy, and Leonard Lacy; at Ted Johnson, and think of his brother, Don Johnson, at Connie Karduck, and think of her mother—people I knew, and miss.”

“Up here we are 20, 30 (t? b?), 40, 50 (t? b?)-somethings, but down South it’s more like 60, 70 (t? b?), or 80 (t? b?)-somethings, and this is why the Memorial Lesson was actually made a part of the singing, because everyone would lead their tune as a memorial for someone they loved.”

“I’ve had this persistent idea for really a long time that I am a visitor, a learner, a student; I’m a beginner, I’m a borrower in this tradition, an idea that I’ve held onto, but it doesn’t work in the face of the way other people let me know what they think my role is. When I’m made to feel like family, can I just step in, and step back out of this? I guess not; as far as Sacred Harp is concerned, you are what you are—or maybe you are what you sing, not to mention what you eat.”

Asking David Ivey to lead for those from the South, Judy then read the list of the deceased as follows: Roberta Friend, Ingeborg Hoover, Natale Ambrogi, Frieda Storment, Lisa Schlaggar, and George Barford—Illinois; Leland Beckus and Kevin Blood—New Mexico; Willa Mae Holt, Venie Faith, and Anne Black—Georgia; Kim Cagle, Estelle Napier, Hollis Sizemore, Hadyn Creel, Mamie Creel, and Seldon Creel—Alabama; Ray Davis—Mississippi; Opan Johnson, Ruth Reid, and Audre Johnston Floyd—Florida; Rita Gorman—Pennyslvania; Joan Hamre—Iowa; Jean Ritter and Usha Helweg—Michigan; Dottie Horn, Leon Wilson, and Pete Rydell—California; William Whitelaw, Karen Wlard, and Carol Kirchner—Minnesota; Grace Vandenburg and Roberta Opedahl—Wisconsin; Louie Smith—Texas; Jane Thomas—England.

David Ivey prefaced his lesson with the following: “We lead for singers, we lead for listeners, we lead to remember our relatives and friends. Mr. Hollis Sizemore was a listener who was just at our singing at Huntsville early in May; some of these, Kim and Hazel Cagle have made the trip up here several times. What Judy said about feeling like coming into the tradition struck me, because one thing I’ve been most thankful for in the singing as it has spread North, and as you folks have become Sacred Harp singers yourselves, you have embraced the tradition of Sacred Harp as it has been maintained through the many years. You could have had your own singings, done things different ways, chosen not to have Memorial Lessons, chosen not to do things in the way the tradition has been, but you didn’t.”

“And I think because of that over the years, that you are traditional singers, and we really appreciate your support when you come to sing with us. We appreciate your remembering people in the Memorial Lesson.” He then led 87 for the Southern deceased. Denise Kania, cradling her sleeping daughter, led 122 for all the others.

The list of sick and shut-ins was then read: Essie Calvert, Ernie Jett, Virgil Phillips, Ruby Phillips, Lawrence Underwood, Lula Underwood, and Woodie Walker—Alabama; Verl Gurtz and Ethel Klein—Florida; Mary Frances Dannals, Horace DeLong, Gladys Harper, Lil Huener, Beth Huener, C. Huener, and Emma Kelly—Georgia; Danny Albrecht and Marie Davie—Minnesota; Richard Allison and Liz Jacobs—Indiana; Isabel Arnold—Massachusetts; Kelly Beard—Texas; Dorothy Conniff—Wisconsin; Delores Doss, Nurse Knighton, and Frances Giunchedi—Illinois; Bernice Embry, Cleo Hawkins, and Hugh Bill McGuire—Mississippi; Mel Kersey—Tennessee; Viola Smith—Michigan; Ursula Woodfield—New York.

Jeannette DePoy led 427t (?) after these moving comments: “Some of you may know that my mother passed away about two months ago, and I was given the most beautiful gift before she died. I had the opportunity to say everything I ever wanted to say to her before she died. Nothing was left unsaid between us. I say this to remind you of the people whose names are on this list. You can have a wonderful gift too; you have the opportunity to say to all of those people on that list how much you love them. Don’t wait. Don’t wait, thinking that they’ll be at the next singing and you’ll get a chance to talk to them then. Say it now. Let them know, and their families and their friends know, how much you love them.”

After her lesson, Judy Hauff added, “I left one name off the sick and shut-in list deliberately, because I got a call the other night that was another bad jolt. It was Joyce Walton. Many of you know Joyce and Jap Walton; they are as devoted to Sacred Harp as anybody could be, and have taught singing schools and travelled together for years; Jap himself was an Arranging Committeeman at this Convention at least twice. He suffered a stroke almost two years ago, and they have been unable to go almost anywhere. I would like to lead a song that Jap so often leads. I understand the hymn to this tune was written by his aunt. Please skip the notes and sing the first and third verses; repeat the third verse.” The class then sang 420, which concluded the Memorial Lesson.

Martha Henderson led the class in song on page 445. Chaplain Shelley Robbins led the class in prayer before lunch.

LUNCH

D. J. Hatfield brought the class back together leading song on page 97. Leaders: Lisa Davis 200; Jacob Griffith 542; Anna Pfau 99; Kathy Wallace 506; Buell Cobb 398; Gretchen Pfau 312b; Charles Wells and Matt Wells 49b, 300; Kiri Miller 455; Allison Stovall, Elene Stovall, and Linda Thomas 192; Chandler York, Jeremy York, and Maurice York “Gilbert” (by Jeremy York), 276; Paula McGray 391; Keith Willard 32t; Judy Hauff 536; Johanna Fabke “Boulder” (by Ted Johnson).

RECESS

The class resumed singing with Jan Ketelle leading song on 212. Leaders: Larry Nothwehr 28b; James Gingerich 29t; Jenny Willard 274t; Samuel Sommers 422; Alice Bejnar 490; Carol Buche 297; Carol Crawford 34t; Wendy Wahn 480; John Seaton 47t; Rachel Airmet 457; Bill Hamblin 155; Gladys Epting 146; Coy Ivey, David Ivey, and Rodney Ivey 424.

A business session was held for the purpose of hearing reports from various committees.

Judy Mincey spoke for the Resolution Committee: “The Resolution Committee would like to offer thanks for this marvelous singing. A special thanks to the Irish American Heritage Center, the University of Chicago Folklore Society, and especially to the U of C Sacred Harp singers, Kiri Miller and her crew, for helping to secure this marvelous space; to the Locating Committee and to all of the other committees. You don’t know what it’s like to put on a show this big, but just get yourself on one of these committees and find out how much work it really is. It’s a joy, but it’s also great labor, and everybody needs to serve”.

“Many thanks to all of the cooks who brought the amazing food, with a special heartfelt thank you to Kate Thomas and Nora Storment, who did all the food set-out, drinks, and clean-up; to Sue Kessell for arranging the splendid social on Saturday night; to all the other committee members and officers, you all have turned this into a must-not-miss event for any Sacred Harp singer in the country. To everyone else who helped with set-up and clean-up, all this chair-moving, you guys are terrific. Many thanks to the Chairman, D.J. Hatfield, and especially to all you singers, those of you who came from everywhere, from all over the country, and to all of you locals who housed us, fed us, carried us back and forth, our hearts are full; and especially to God our Father, who gave us voices to lift in His praise”.

Announcements were made of upcoming singings across the country. After taking “The Parting Hand”, the class was dismissed with prayer by Chaplain Shelley Robbins.

Chairman—D.J. Hatfield; Vice Chairmen—Anne Heider and Steve Warner; Secretary—Debbie Barford; Assistant Secretary—Lorena Moore.