Minutes of Sacred Harp Singings

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Garden State Sacred Harp Singing Convention

Montclair, New Jersey

May 16-17, 2003

Friday, May 16

The eleventh annual session of the Garden State Sacred Harp Singing Convention was held at Montclair Friends Meeting House in Montclair, New Jersey on Friday and Saturday before the third Sunday in May. The class was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Gina Balestracci leading 312b. Hal Kunkel offered the opening prayer.

A business meeting was held with the following officers elected or appointed to serve: Chair—Diane Mennella; Vice Chair—Claire Simon; Secretary—Ellie Soler; Treasurer—Dick Levine; Chaplain—Hal Kunkel; Arranging Committee—Laura Densmore, Tom Tucker, and Cathy Tucker; Memorial Committee—Paula McGray and Dennis Leipold; Housing—Susan Bingham.

Leaders: Diane Mennella 59; Claire Simon 31t; Ellie Soler 86; Laura Densmore 313t; Susan Bingham 30t; Roland Hutchinson 49b; David Hough 496; Jean Seiler 217; Richard Schmeidler 84; Donna Abrahams 528; Rachel Speer 47b; Bob Parr 297; Katharine Hough 480; George Seiler 183; Bill Holt 168; Eileen Metzger 101b; Dick Levine 155.


The class was called to order by Bradford West leading 48t.

Roland Hutchinson introduced Tim Eriksen to the class. Tim conducted a singing school which included singing all or part of 72b, 414b, 328, 304, 499, and some brief anecdotes in connection with the Sacred Harp music used for the film “Cold Mountain,” with which he was involved.

Leaders: Ginny Landgraf 372; Hal Kunkel 475; Tom Tucker 445; Laura Timmerman 111b; Patricia Geritz 34b; Thom Metzger 399t; Cathy Tucker 332; Howard Katz 362; Linda Shea 495.

Diane Mennella led 323 (t? b?) to close the Friday session, Hal Kunkel offered the closing prayer, and the class was dismissed.

Saturday, May 17

Claire Simon called the class together at 10:00 a.m. leading 565. Jean Seiler offered the morning prayer.

Leaders: Gerry Hoffman 210; Guy Bankes 510; Paula McGray 47t; Barbara Swetman 383; Anne Johnston 430; Bill Dunn 345b; Dennis Leipold 150; Karen Snowberg 551; Frank Evans 229; Inga Knets 171; Charlotte Ehrman 503; Michael Kaye 66; Sally House 99; Claire Chapin 344.


The class resumed singing with Barbara Swetman leading 148. Leaders: Bradford West 269; Marty DeNys 299; Margaret Bornick 236; Dick Levine 228; Tim Eriksen 182; John Holbrook 145b; Kelly House 376; Bob Mills 271t; Rick Johnston 145t; Eliza Cavanaugh 274t; Ronald Bornick 454; Tim Brown 163b; Sue Hanson 556; Tom Gibney 501; Lawrence Yamazaki 455; Doron Henkin 201; Diane Mennella 318; Laura Densmore 302; Dan Hertzler 330t; Susan Bingham 340; Minja Lausevic 270; Roland Hutchinson 553; Jean Seiler 472; Hal Kunkel 558.

Paula McGray conducted the memorial lesson and reminded us that we have a responsibility to care for one another. Dennis Leipold read the following list of sick and shut-ins and led 68b in their honor: Judy Wagner—New Hampshire; Hugh Anderson, Molly Mason, Paul Vasko, Sr., and Stanley Brown—New York; Mary Seiler Kneeland, Marilyn Darch, and Dick Sparks—California; Bob Scorgie and Jean Ducrow—Wisconsin; Sam Willman—Iowa; Margaret Peckman—Florida; Claudia Rose—New Jersey; Marie Betts Bartlett and Nick Mesloh—Massachusetts; Mado Venier—France.

Paula McGray read the following list of deceased and led 235 in their memory: Donald Edwin Meitzler—Connecticut; Lillian St. Clair Meitzler, Esther St. Clair Ammann, and Daniel Shea—Massachusetts; Barbara Carns and Dinah Breunig—Vermont; Jonathan Eberhard—Washington, D.C.; Frances M. Duncan—Maryland; Bob Williams—Connecticut; Harry Bingham, Franklin Gracer, Karin Wennstrom, Jamie Lynn Drummer, John Moore, Paul Vasko, Jr., Glen Steinnfast, and Andreas Albrecht—New York; Dorothy Henry—Florida; Mario Erranti, Charles Simone, G. Robert Jacks, Don Juel, Dr. Ed Dowey, Jr., and David Frisch—New Jersey; David Nagy, Rev. Dr. Allan Winn, and Charles Coleman—Pennsylvania; Jeannette Hardin—Virginia; Lavaughn Ballinger—Alabama; Kenneth Rebman—Colorado. Hal Kunkel closed the memorial lesson with prayer.

Leaders: George Seiler 347; Katharine Hough 408; Tom Tucker 42; Ginny Landgraf 504; Rachel Speer 112; Richard Schmeidler 474, Gina Balestracci 180. Chaplain Hal Kunkel said grace for the noon meal.


The afternoon session was brought to order. Leaders: Laura Densmore 155; Ellie Soler 277; Donna Abrahams 373; Bob Parr 542; Cathy Tucker 385b; Thom Metzger 89; Gerry Hoffman 196; David Hough 384; Eileen Metzger 421; Guy Bankes 532; Laura Timmerman 535; Linda Shea 399b; Patricia Geritz 479; Barbara Swetman 333; Bradford West 426b; Inga Knets 216; Dennis Leipold 217; John Holbrook 282; Anne Johnston 445; Bill Dunn 335; Kelly House 475; Tim Eriksen 442; Kshama Ananthapura 88t; Clarice Kjeralff 84; Dick Levine 300.


Dan Hertzler brought the class to order leading 39t. Leaders: Doron Henkin 564; Brenda Peña 229; Michael Kaye 254; Aldo Ceresa 50t; Sally House 569b; Gina Balestracci 543; Frank Evans 200; Paula McGray 327; Tim Brown 198; Tom Gibney 147 (t? b?).

A business session was held to hear committee reports.

The Secretary reported 164 attendees from 12 states were registered; and 64 leaders led 113 tunes.

The Treasurer reported expenses had been met with a small surplus to begin next year.

Guy Bankes and Rachel Speer gave the Resolutions Committee report of thanks to everyone who had made this convention possible.

The officers led 62 as the closing song, and the Chaplain dismissed the class with prayer.

Chair—Diane Mennella; Vice Chair—Claire Simon; Secretary—Ellie Soler.