Minutes of Sacred Harp Singings

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Ohio State Convention

Columbus, Ohio

February 20-21, 1999

Saturday, February 20

The seventh session of the Ohio State Convention was held at the Kerns Religious Life Center, Capital University, Columbus, Ohio, and was organized by the Columbus singers. Laura Russell called the convention to order at 10:00 a.m. leading song on page 72b. Beth Todd led the opening prayer.

A business session was held with the following officers elected or appointed to serve: Chairman—Laura Russell; Vice Chairman—Steve Postellon; Secretary—Michele Rae Biery; Treasurer—Michael Darby; Arranging Committee—Barbara Bowers and Michele Rae Biery; Memorial Committee—John Bayer; Resolutions Committee—John Bealle; Chaplain—Beth Todd; Registration Committee—Steve Postellon; Food Committee—Brad Oglesby.

Announcements were made. Laura Russell made special note that Lorraine Sawyer resigned earlier in the week as this year’s chairman due to the terminal illness of her father, and had appointed her, Laura Russell, to take up the task. The convention was asked to keep Lorraine and her family in their thoughts and prayers, and to be mindful of them throughout the weekend’s singing. End of business session.

Leaders: Michael Darby 31t; Steve Postellon 276; Michele Rae Biery 40; Barbara Bowers 34b; Fred Todt 299; Nathan Barford and John Daniel delRe 274t; Eloise Clark and Karen Amelia Arnett 209; Jim Coppock 542; Joe Todd 441; Richard Overturf 147t; Shawn Fenton 344; Debbie Hall 84; Linda Coppock 196; Michele Cull 163b; Dave Barford 189; Bob Meek and Joyce Brown 99; Charles Wells 569b; Merle Mateika 68b; Leyland delRe 98; Phil Jensen 287; William Shetter 195; David Wright 406.


Michael Darby brought the class to order leading song on page 135. Leaders: Brad Oglesby 192; Beth Todd 501; John Bealle 250; Stephen McMaster 528; Karen Freund 222; Jerry Enright 74b; Gary Gronau 181; Kelly Macklin 179; James Page “North Atlantic”; Melanie Hauff 421; Becky Browne 142; Paula McGray 300; Marcia Johnson 288; Patricia Butterfield 384; John Bayer 53; Lois Hurt 49t; Debbie Barford 163t; Maria Knecht 99; Emmie Barford, Regina Bayer, and Leyland delRe 497. Beth Todd led the class in prayer.


Laura Russell, Henry Schuman, Dean Russell, and Ken Russell called the class to order leading song on page 148. Leaders: Henry Schuman 318; Kathryn Knecht 541; Marlen Rust 66; Virginia Cameron 85; Charles Knecht 379; Alexander Knecht 410 (t? b?); Loraine Bayer 39b; Sylvia Thomas 143; Michael Darby 369; Linda Coppock 532; Merle Mateika 63; Shawn Fenton and friends 178; Bob Meek 454; Charles Wells 149; Nathan Barford and John Daniel delRe 268; DeDe Heeter 128; Dave Barford 348t; Michele Cull 496; Stephen McMaster 347; Karen Freund 42; Jim Coppock 186.


Michele Rae Biery called the class to order leading song on page 481. Leaders: Stephanie Hysmith 198; Virginia Cameron 457; Joyce Brown 495; DeDe Heeter 312b; Jerry Enright 377; Gary Gronau 436; Kelly Macklin 540; James Page “South Dakota”; Melanie Hauff 216; Becky Browne 215; Paula McGray 213t; Marcia Johnson 218; Patricia Butterfield 348b; Lois Hurt 358; Debbie Barford 86; Marlen Rust 107; William Shetter 378t; David Wright 272; Joe Todd 270; Linda Coppock and Karen Keeton 504.

Announcements were made. Laura Russell led song on page 146 as the closing song. Beth Todd led the closing prayer, and the class was dismissed at 4:00 p.m.

Sunday, February 21

The Sunday session of the convention was called to order at 10:00 a.m. by Laura Russell leading song on page 515b. Beth Todd offered a reading from Psalm 95, and led an opening prayer.

Leaders: Beth Todd 32t; Henry Schuman 77t; Eloise Clark 44; Steve Postellon 569t; Eric Conrad 163t; Leyland delRe 27; John Daniel delRe and Nathan Barford 144, 260; Richard Overturf 133; John Bayer 417; Fred Todt 551 (for Kay Bieszczad); Jeff Franklin 523; Emmie Barford, Regina Bayer, and Leyland delRe 343b; Brad Oglesby “Marcia”; John Bealle 80t; Sylvia Thomas 444; Loraine Bayer 225t,


Beth Todd called the class to order leading song on page 566. Leaders: Debbie Hall 474; Emmie Barford 113; Stephanie Hysmith 31t; Maria Knecht 100; Michael Darby 324; Laura Weber 535; Regina Bayer 35; William Shetter 373; Alexander Knecht 481; Jerry Enright 125; Gary Gronau 448t; Stephen McMaster 282; Charles Knecht 58; Kelly Macklin 328; Karen Freund 171; Kathryn Knecht 90; Dave Barford 224; James Page 411; Melanie Hauff 430.

John Bayer, Marcia Johnson, and Melanie Hauff led the memorial lesson. Marcia Johnson spoke of the importance of this tradition and how dearly all singers should honor it. Marcia Johnson read the list of the deceased, led song on page 34t, and mentioned departed friends associated with this song. Those remembered were: Janet Borman, Cherie Stephans, and Elaine Rast—Illinois; Ethel Klein and Helen Cruz—Florida; Kim Cagle and Mae Seymour—Alabama; Bill Judd and Aleene Poole—Ohio; and Robert Shaw.

Melanie Hauff read the list of the sick and shut-ins. She spoke of how meaningful the tradition of passing a card around for all to sign (as this convention had done) must be to those unable to attend, and urged everyone to keep in touch with those on the list. Melanie Hauff led song on page 335 for the following: Kay Bieszczad, Luetta Palmer, and Lorraine Sawyer and family—Ohio; John Peters—Pennsylvania; Lawrence Underwood and Lula Underwood—Alabama. The Memorial Lesson was closed with prayer led by Marcia Johnson.

Chairman Laura Russell thanked the committee members for their moving lesson and asked Chaplain Beth Todd to lead a prayer before the noon meal.


The afternoon session began with Steven Postellon leading song on page 49b. Leaders: Becky Browne 36b; Paula McGray 37t; Marcia Johnson 434; Patricia Butterfield and Suzanne Reall 419; Lois Hurt 130; Debbie Barford 200; Michele Rae Biery and Kimberly Crawford 532; Marlen Rust 290; Greg Halbe 107; Paul Fisharm 149; David Wright 383; Joe Todd 124; Michael Darby 131b; Laura Weber 147 (t? b?); Jeff Franklin 556; Karen Amelia Arnett 497; Eric Conrad 70b; Henry Schuman 137; Fred Todt and Joseph Pimentel 155; Brad Oglesby 87; Gary Gronau 110; Stephen McMaster 236.

Paula McGray requested permission of Chairman Laura Russell to personally thank Brad Oglesby and his food committee for their fine work throughout the weekend providing abundant and delicious meals. The class unanimously agreed. Announcements were made of future singings. Laura Russell thanked Eric Conrad for the creation of a convention website, and commended Brad Oglesby for hosting the Saturday evening social.


Laura Russell brought the class back to order leading song on page 415. Leaders: Barbara Bowers 313b; Phil Jensen 81t; Paul Fisharm 375; Greg Halbe 68 (t? b?); James Page 254; Lois Hurt 79; Marcia Johnson 485; Melanie Hauff 203; Eloise Clark 64; Richard Overturf 480 (a favorite song of Lorraine Sawyer); Stephanie Hysmith 484; Marlen Rust 114; Charles Knecht 30b; John Bealle 217; Phil Jensen 202; Debbie Hall 184; Katheryn Knecht 376; Sylvia Thomas 372.

In a brief business session, Laura Russell thanked the officers and committees for taking up their tasks upon such short notice, expressed appreciation to Michael Darby, Fred Todt, and John Bealle for their inestimable advice and assistance, and thanked the convention for the joy and fellowship of song. The following committees made their reports:

Secretary and Arranging Committee reported that twelve states were represented: Ohio, Michigan, Virginia, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Indiana, Wisconsin, Missouri, Massachusetts, New York, and Maryland. Also represented were Canada and Germany. There were 35 non-leaders; 61 leaders; 87 songs led on Saturday; 81 songs led on Sunday; for a total of 96 people registered and 168 songs led.

The Treasurer reported that the various collections had enabled the convention to meet its obligations.

Resolutions Committee: “Once again the Resolutions Committee faces the daunting task of choosing from the many whose efforts made this convention possible the few whom time permits a brief word of thanks. We would like to thank Capital University, and especially Chris Baker, for the use of this excellent facility. We would like to thank the many who have labored long in their kitchens to provide a tasty and generous dinner; and we especially thank Brad Oglesby and Pat Bennett for tending the crock pots until the dinner hour. We would like to thank the many singers who have traveled from states near and far to sing with us. Notable, we regularly enjoy the company of sizable contingents from Louisville, from St. Louis, Bloomington, Chicago, and from the state of Virginia. In all the authority vested in it, the Resolutions Committee implores the singers of Ohio to take heed of the announcements of the conventions of all our guests and make your travel plans accordingly. A very special thanks this year is extended to Lorraine Sawyer who strove throughout the year to make the preliminary arrangements for the convention, and then was called away suddenly by the illness of her father. Finally, we resolve our highest praise for Laura Russell, who only Wednesday took over as chair and has provided astute and seamless leadership throughout the weekend. All of this, respectfully submitted.”

Richard Overturf stated that this has been a difficult year for Lorraine Sawyer as her father has fought a long battle against a grave illness, and how difficult it must have been for her to miss the convention. Laura Russell asked, on behalf of the Columbus singers, that despite her resignation and in recognition of her preparation work, Lorraine Sawyer be named in the minutes as Honorary Chairman.

Vice Chairman Steve Postellon announced that the February 2000 Ohio State Convention will be hosted by the Northwest Ohio Singers. The locations in Bluffton and/or Bowling Green will be announced later.

Laura Russell asked the convention officers to join her in the square and all led song on page 62 as the closing song, extending the parting hand to everyone present. Beth Todd offered a closing prayer. Chairman Laura Russell officially dismissed the convention until next year.

Chairman—Laura Russell; Honorary Chairman—Lorraine Sawyer; Vice Chairman—Steve Postellon; Secretary—Michele Rae Biery.