Minutes of Sacred Harp Singings

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Garden State Sacred Harp Singing Convention

Montclair, New Jersey

May 19-20, 2000

Friday, May 19

The eighth annual session of the Garden State Sacred Harp Singing Convention was held at the Montclair Friends Meeting House.

The class was called to order at 7:30 p.m. by Gina Balestracci, who welcomed everyone and led song on page 209. Susan Bingham led the class in prayer.

The convention then went into a business session with the following officers and committees elected and appointed: Chairman—Gina Balestracci; Vice Chairman—Rosemary Greenaway; Secretary—Donna Abrahams; Treasurer—Roland Hutchinson; Arranging Committee—Karen House; Food—Diane Mennella and Ellie Soler; Housing—Susan Bingham; Reception—Susan Bingham and Marlene Levine. The business session was closed.

The class resumed singing with Rosemary Greenaway leading song on page 200. Leaders: Roland Hutchinson 66; Donna Abrahams 86; Ginnie Ely 59; Dan Hertzler 99; Bill Holt 148; Blake Morris 228; Inga Knets 276; Dick Levine 49b; Juanita Heyerman 159; Michael Kaye 163b; Barbara Swetman 415; Chris Noren 110.


The class resumed singing with Laura Densmore leading song on page 155. Chairman Gina Balestracci introduced Paula McGray, leader of the singing workshop. The workshop concerned itself with ways in which someone not born into the shape note tradition might approach singing. It included: welcoming new singers; leading (patterns of fuging entrances); songs for warming up the class, being kind to your own voice, and the collective class voice (how the class responds at different times of day including just after “dinner on the grounds”); and in seminar style. Many people asked questions that were answered or further investigated by the entire class. Leaders during the workshop were: Liz Pagan and George Seiler 31t; Cheryl Doehler and Susan Bingham 198; Laura Densmore 74b; Barbara Swetman 183; Paula McGray 473; Michale Kaye and Paula McGray 217; Claire Simon and Paula McGray 155; Ginnie Ely 196; Paula McGray 64, 338, 298, 47b, and variant transcribed from oral practice, 224, 48t, which ended the workshop.

The evening session ended with Gina Balestracci leading song on page 114. Rosemary Greenaway led the closing prayer.

Saturday, May 20

On Saturday morning the class reassembled, and the session was called to order by Gina Balestracci leading song on page 173. Ginny Landgraf led the opening prayer.

Leaders: George Seiler 68b; Laura Densmore 313t; Dennis Leipold 475; Laura Timmerman 47t; Gabriel Kastelle 318; Mary Ann Daly 85; Bradford West 426b; Eileen Metzger 77t; Susan Bingham 340; Richard Schmeidler 474; Jean Seiler 530; Thom Metzger 29b; Mary DeNys 163t; Guy Bankes 313b; Bob Parr 377; Cathy Tucker 344; Gerry Hoffman 189; Frank Evans 479; Ginny Landgraf 506; Roland Hutchinson 486; Karen House 510; Tom Gibney 147b; Paula McGray 432; Allen Fannin 39t; Mryka Hall-Beyer 280; John Redmond 496.


The class resumed singing with Dennis Leipold leading song on page 112. Leaders: Tom Tucker 210; Charlotte Ehrman 34b; Tim Eriksen 245; Brenda Peña 77b; Kelly House 224; Hal Kunkel 296; Marty DeNys 232; Rosemary Greenaway 335; Tim Slattery 171; Elise Meyer-Bothling 61; Chris Noren 282; Barbara Swetman 417; Doron Henkin 193; Ginnie Ely 269; Blake Morris 129; Miriam Kilmer 504; Dick Levine 569b; Juanita Heyerman 155; Dan Hertzler 229; Donna Abrahams 372.

At this time the session was turned over to the Memorial Committee. Ginny Landgraf led song on page 384 for the following sick and homebound: Elsie Allen—California; Susan Garber and Dot Garber—Connecticut; Thomas Lumbard—District of Columbia; Joan “Tommy” Sahler—Georgia; Darlene Bianconi—Maryland; Peter Henkel—Michigan; Paula LaForest—New Jersey; Mia Arthur, Bryce Butler, Mia Durso, Harriet Henry, and Michael Novenche—New York.

Rosemary Greenaway led song on page 137 (with the Cooper Book alto) in memory of Virgil Phillips; and 330b for the following deceased: Virgil Phillips and Antoinette Swetman—Alabama; Arthur Allen—California; Roland Venier—France; Dolly Hudgins—Georgia; E.J. “Sam” Holt—Maine; Frances Hoffman and Doris Rovark—Maryland; Ed Wright—New Hampshire; Carolyn Davis Avins, Lois Brown, Andy Cappon, and Ellen Gottfried—New Jersey; Ben Hertzler—New Mexico; Joe Bailey and Karen Hamilton—New York; Robert Evans—Ohio; Bessie Buffington and Laura Sherman—Pennsylvania; Paul Rhodes—Texas; Jason Sweetland—Washington; George Lippl and Pat Lippl—Wisconsin; Chris Randgaard—Minnesota. Barbara Swetman closed the memorial lesson by thanking the class, speaking about how comforted she felt for being remembered on last year’s sick and shut-in list after she was in a traffic mishap on her way to the Garden State Convention.

The class resumed singing with Gina Balestracci leading song on page 475. Leaders: Bill Holt 436; Laura Densmore 212; George Seiler 480; Gina Balestracci 59. Blake Morris led the class in a blessing for the food.


The class resumed singing with Gina Balestracci leading song on page 106. Leaders: Dennis Leipold 30b; Laura Timmerman 497; Gabriel Kastelle 180; Mary Ann Daly 117; Bradford West 513; Eileen Metzger 448b; Susan Bingham 361; Richard Schmeidler 254; Jean Seiler 299; Thom Metzger 70b; Mary DeNys 128; Tim Eriksen 34t; Guy Bankes 444; Cathy Tucker 236; Bob Parr 260; Brenda Peña 73b; Gerry Hoffman 99; Kelly House 376; Frank Evans 181; Ginny Landgraf 160t; Roland Hutchinson 153; Karen House 76b; Tom Gibney 501b; Bob Todd 178.


The class resumed singing with Blake Morris leading song on page 32t. Leaders: Ellie Soler 347; Charlotte Ehrman 147t; John Redmond 532; Sally Findlay 159; Paula McGray 208; Allen Fannin 182; Tom Tucker 142; Diane Mennella 457; Hal Kunkel 528; Mryka Hall-Beyer 148; Mary DeNys 547; Tim Slattery 272; Elise Meyer-Bothling 82t; Chris Noren 268; Barbara Swetman 168; Doron Henkin and Daniel Henkin 354b; Ginnie Ely 456; Blake Morris 179; Miriam Kilmer 285 (t? b?).

The convention then entered into a business session to hear announcements and committee reports.

The Treasurer reported that contributions received would cover the cost of the convention.

The Arranging Committee reported that 109 people from nine states, the District of Columbia, and two countries registered during the two days of the convention. Announcements were made. Thanks were given to all the officers, committee members, and singers. End of business session.

The class resumed singing with Dick Levine leading song on page 84. Leaders: Juanita Heyerman 287; Dan Hertzler 352; Caroline Sawyer 86; Catherine Oss 441; Donna Abrahams 120; George Seiler, Ginnie Ely, and Susan Bingham 454; Bill Holt 217.

Gina Balestracci led song on page 62 for the closing song as the singers took the parting hand. The class was dismissed with prayer led by Guy Bankes.

Chairman—Gina Balestracci; Vice Chairman—Rosemary Greenaway; Secretary—Donna Abrahams.