Minutes of Sacred Harp Singings

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New England Sacred Harp Convention

Andover-Newton Theological Seminary, Newton, Massachusetts

October 1-2, 1999

Friday, October 1

The twenty-fourth annual New England Sacred Harp Singing Convention met at Noyes Hall on the campus of Andover-Newton Theological Seminary, Newton, Massachusetts.

Chair Ginnie Ely brought Friday’s session to order by leading song on page 34b. Robert Dove offered the opening prayer.

Officers of the Convention: Chair -Ginnie Ely; Vice Chairman—Bob Parr; Treasurer—Dennis O’Brien; Secretary—Gretchen Eckhardt; Arranging Committee Chair—Bill Holt; Memorial Committee Chair—Jessica Holland; Resolutions Committee Chair—Sue Turbak.

The officers led as follows: Ginnie Ely 59; Arranging Committee Chair Bill Holt 52 (t? b?); Secretary Gretchen Eckhardt 178; Treasurer Dennis O’Brien 339; Vice Chairman Bob Parr 528.

Leaders: Jane Zanichkowsky 442; Michael Kaye 163b; Mary Neville 504; Roland Hutchinson 553; Margaret Clark 314; Hugh McGraw 369; Susan Jaster 501; Larry Gordon 546; Laura Densmore 74b; Jim Bean 146; Laura Timmerman 68b; John Redman 551; Diane Mennella 353; Howard Katz 212.


The class was called to order by Ginnie Ely leading song on page 145b. Leaders: Katie Shimizu 155; Gary Smith 569b (Gary graciously commented that he was glad to have “come home” to New England where Sacred Harp singing began); Lyra O’Brien 94; Leonard Spencer 320; Cindy Bean 300; Aaron Girard 378b; Bobbie Goodell 72b; Dan Hertzler 47 (t? b?); Paula McGray 492; Francis Bliss 84; Charlene Wallace 365; Bruce Randall 276; Cheryl Stroud 455; June Matthews 198; George Seiler 347; Jessica Holland 168; Patty Cuyler 47b; Martin Broekhuysen 162; Ginnie Ely 373.

The class was dismissed with a prayer by George Seiler.

Saturday, October 2

Saturday’s session was brought to order by Chair Ginnie Ely leading song on page 52t. Sharona Nelson offered the morning prayer. Leaders: Ginnie Ely 228; Bob Parr 377; Gina Balestracci 28t; Guy Banks 441; Sue Turbak 335; Barbara Swetman 417; Scott Luscombe 39t; Sarah Beasley Smith 318; Eric Hildebrant 236; Eleanor Soler 277; Anne Kazlauskas 173; David Bliss 117; Jean Seiler 299; Seth Holloway 388; Karen House 492; Ed White 497; Juanita Boardman 107; Jeff Colby 496.


Ginnie Ely called the class back leading song on page 63. Leaders: Dennis O’Brien 304; Claudia Harris 56b; James Ulrich 40; Duncan Vinson 224; Gary Plouff 567; Kelly House 384; Allison Schofield 542; Peter Amidon 47t; Vera Broekhuysen 504; Barbara Smith 285t; Paul Gauthier 344; Susan Mampre 280; Tony Barrand 95.


The class was brought back by Ginnie Ely leading song on page 313t. Leaders: Lynne deBenedette 532; Michal Truelsen 474; Maura Burns 203.

Jessica Holland began the Memorial Lesson with words of reflection on the bond between past and present singers, near and far.

Lyra O’Brien read the list of the deceased: Antoinette Swetman—Alabama; Bill Murray—Connecticut; John Colt, Frank Hurst, and Elaine Smith—Massachusetts; Chris Randgaard—Minnesota; Nichole Shnar—New Jersey; Janice Glanzrock, Mae Keane, Dorothy Kelly, and Akram Scott—New York; Bob Cuyler—Oregon; Charles Lichtenwalner, Jr. and Stanley Wyatt Metz—Pennsylvania; Marjorie Hollorhan and Paul Trainor—Rhode Island; Petra Bushell and Santiago Triveo—Texas; Ken Hildick—Vermont; Evadne McNeil—Wisconsin. Jessica Holland led song on 72b in memory of the deceased.

Lyra O’Brien continued the Memorial Lesson by remembering those who could not join us because of illness. Jessica Holland read the list of the sick and shut-ins: Ethel Goodell—Colorado; Dorothy Garber and Susan Garber—Connecticut; Margery Hanson—Kansas; George Myers—Kentucky; Joan Brack, Peg Brown, Mary Gilfus, Priscilla Hertzler, Rob Martin, Muriel Plouff, Cindy Smith, and Leonard R. Spencer—Massachusetts; Ben Hertzler—New Mexico; Harriett Henry and Tauheedah Scott—New York; Bob Todd—Pennsylvania; David Terry Davis—Virginia. Lyra O’Brien led song on 457 for the sick and shut-in. George Seiler concluded the Memorial Lesson with prayer.

Leaders: Glen Wright and Anayis Wright 48t; Leigh Tintle 217; Catherine Oss 67; Richard Schmeidler 254.

Sharona Nelson offered a prayer in thanks for the food which members of the Convention were about to enjoy.


The class was called to order by Ginnie Ely leading song on 146. Leaders: Neely Bruce 362; Kshama Ananthapura 33b; Karen McArthur and Drew McArthur 142; Bill Holt 148; George Seiler 480; Kaiti Carpenter 31t; Stephen Rogge, Angel Maynard, and Ginnie Ely 454; Laura Claussen 112; Colin Kinlund 131 (t? b?); Charlene Wallace 267; Hugh McGraw 413 (Hugh offered a few words about the first time he visited the north to sing from the Sacred Harp and expressed gratitude that the tradition is being kept alive here); Kara Morin 178; Lila Farrar 268; Larry Gordon 383.


Ginnie Ely brought the class back by leading song on 87. Leaders: Chris Noren 128; Sharona Nelson 66; Ishmael Stefanov-Wagner 513; David Paton 260; Ken Mattson 163b; Gretchen Eckhardt 390; Mary Neville 547; Laura Densmore 361; Gary Smith 34b; Laura Timmerman 387; John Redman 143; Diane Mennella 208.

A business session was held to hear committee reports.

Secretary Gretchen Eckhardt reported that 220 people from 17 states and Canada came into the singing and registered; 85 leaders were called and 115 songs were led. Those registered came from the following states: Alabama—2; Arizona—1; Connecticut—5; Georgia—3; Maine—6; Maryland—1; Massachusetts—124; New Jersey—3; New Hampshire—9; New York—2; Oregon—2; Pennsylvania—1; Rhode Island—8; Tennessee—1; Texas—1; Vermont—23; Washington—1; Canada—6.

Treasurer Dennis O’Brien reported that financial contributions from attendees exceeded the costs of the convention, and therefore funds can be forwarded for use by next year’s convention.

The Resolutions Committee gave thanks to the officers and committees, to those who brought food for all to share, and to all those who traveled from near and far to join us in song.

Neely Bruce invited all to next year’s New England Convention, which will be held at Wesleyan University in Connecticut on September 29 and September 30, 2000, and he offered a few comments on the history of the New England Convention.

Announcements of upcoming conventions were made by many attendees from locations all over the United States and Canada.

Leaders: Dan Hertzler 448t; Cheryl Stroud 183; Bob Parr 200.

Ginnie Ely concluded the day of singing by leading song on page 62 as the closing song while members of the Convention took the parting hand. Sharona Nelson offered a closing prayer.

Chair -Ginnie Ely; Vice Chairman—Bob Parr; Secretary—Gretchen Eckhardt.