Minutes of Sacred Harp Singings

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National Sacred Harp Convention

Trinity United Methodist Church, Birmingham, Alabama

June 12, 13, 14, 1997

Thursday, June 12

The eighteenth session of the National Sacred Harp Singing Convention met at Trinity United Methodist Church, Birmingham, Alabama.

Chairman Buell Cobb called Thursday’s session to order by leading song on page 31 (t? b?). Chaplain Gaylon Powell led the morning prayer. Leaders: Mark Davis 129; Kathy Williams 497; Linda Thomas 106; Don Bowen 283; Berkley Moore 45b; Mike Hinton 373; Dennis O’Brien 480; Lora Cargo 498; Donald Smith 35; Sherry Guthery 340; Velton Chafin 564; Mrs. Elvin D. Morris 290; John T. Hocutt 240; Frances Jones 361; David Ballinger 111b; Liz Bryant 270; Jeff Colby 346; Ola D. Meadows 222; A. C. McGough 475.


Jesse Roberts called the class back to order with song on page 282. Leaders: Cindy Franklin 297; Jewel Wootten 49b; Linton Ballinger 36b; Jeanne T. Schaffer 178; Glen Harper 40; Carla Smith 369; Walter S. Hartley 198; Linda Sides 73b; John Redmon 299; Lee Rogers 228; Matthew Wojcik 189; Judy Whiting 503; Hal Kunkel 470. The convention next went into business session. The following officers and committees were elected and appointed: Chairman—Buell Cobb; Vice Chairman—Mark Davis; Secretary—Kathy Williams; Chaplain—Gaylon Powell; Arranging Committee—Cindy Franklin, Susan Roberts, and Dennis O’Brien; Finance Committee—Don Bowen and Judy Mincey; Resolutions Committee—Liz Bryant and Ginnie Ely; Memorial Committee—Mike Hinton, Ruth Brown, and Cora Sweatt. The business session was closed.


The class resumed singing with David Ivey leading song on page 202. Leaders: Terry Wootten 176t; Duncan Vinson 131b; Teenie Moody 365; Evelyn Harris 30t; Kathy Robinson 192; Flarce Creel 546; Regina Clark 312b; Sheila Wootten 296; Kathleen Robbins 48t; Henry Guthery 431; Edna Ruth Phillips 490; Cassie Franklin 344; Caroline Humphreys 344; Peter Irvine 448t; Henry Johnson 338; Catherine Oss 163t; Jenny Gurley 112; B. J. Harris 303b; Jerry Schreiber 528; Eugene Forbes 566; Travis Keeton 73t. Gaylon Powell led the blessing for lunch.


The afternoon session began with Helen Bryson leading song on page 272. Leaders: Mary Oruc 383; Bob Bonnell 75; Freeman Wootten 384; Kurt Davis and Dustin McCowan 354b; Willie Israel 114; Jenny Wootten 155; Jacob Griffith 146.

The United Kingdom group, With One Accord, was then introduced by Buell Cobb. The group, who brought 14 of their members to the convention, then sang selections from their repertoire of 18th and 19th century music. It is in this music that the roots of Sacred Harp can be found.

Leaders: Paul Gauthier 101b; Dan Huger 47t; Lynne deBenedette 542; Leola Smith 318; John Schaffer 352; Reuben Ball 544; Elizabeth Muhleisen 269; Joanne Hoover 72b; Kathy Vlach 143; Nancy Van Den Akker 102; Sharon Kellam 567; Eliza Goodhue 148; Jane Zanichkowsky 454; Lomax Ballinger 59.

Buell Cobb led song on page 323t as the closing song. Closing prayer for the day was led by Elder Donald Smith.

Friday, June 13

The Friday session of the Convention was called to order by Chairman Buell Cobb leading song on 33b. Chaplain Gaylon Powell led the morning Prayer.

Leaders: Mark Davis 171; Kathy Williams 506; Gaylon Powell 216; Ginnie Ely 454; Dennis O’Brien 209; Judy Mincey 474; Don Bowen 475; Carla Smith 100; Judy Hauff 536; Kelly House 345b; Cora Sweatt 73t; Richard DeLong 419; Jill Thompson 31t; Tim Eriksen 378 (t? b?); Mike Hinton 288; Bill Hogan 270; Lyra O’Brien 179; Freeman Wootten and Stephen Hullett 145b; Bernard Collard 452b; Ila Ingle 436.


Cindy Franklin brought the class to order leading song on page 269. Leaders: Lou Cotney 196; Gary Smith 34b; Becky Briggs 405; Joan Aldridge 189; Marlin Beasley 336; Samford University students with Jim Brown 159; Ann Ballard 512; Regina Glass 296; Willie Mae Moon 217; Annie Boyd 137; Clarke Lee 182; Syble Adams 532; Eloise Avery 425b; M. H. Creel 530.


The class resumed singing with Toney Smith leading song on page 444. Leaders: Henry Jackson 400; Pauline Griggs 43; Harry Eskew 128; Susan Roberts 385 (t? b?); Edna Ruth Phillips 569b; Jenny Gurley 358; Julie Lee and Kathy Lee 59; Jesse Roberts 294; Charles Kitchens 127; Warren Steel 119. Harrison Creel led the blessing for lunch.


The afternoon session began with David Lee leading song on page 278b. Leaders: Herb Bailey 70t; Charlene Wallace 122; Laurie Allison 112; Frances Mary D’Andrea 335; Doug Allison 277; Lisa Davis 200; Sam Jones 103; Elsie Beasley 460; Cassie Franklin 542; Bomar Roberson 310; Myra Dalton 176t; Milton Oliver 321; Lora Cargo 348b; Edward Howton 318; Linda Sides 81t; Johnny Lee 170; Peter Irvine 319; Louise Holland 144; Kathryn Smith Bowers 66.


David Lee brought the class to order leading song on page 39t. Leaders: Teenie Moody and Judith Vanlandingham 117; John Bailey 340; Elene Stovall 99; Elder Marshall Avery 53; Ruth Johnson 145t; selections from English group, With One Accord; Anne Steel 61; Jerry Schreiber 362; Bobby Gooddell 287; Julietta Haynes 192; Nell Estes 222; Hal Kunkel 193; Lee Steinmetz 491; Henry Johnson 388; Janet Fraembs 146; Catherine Oss 84; Eugene Forbes 495; Steve Warner 147t; Lorena Moore 440; Anne Heider 352; Rosa Hughes 47b; Laura Clawson 48t; Kenneth DeLong 548; Warren Steel 131t.

Buell Cobb and Mark Davis led song on page 235 as the closing song. The closing prayer was led by John Etheridge.

Saturday, June 14

Chairman Buell Cobb opened the Saturday session of the Convention by leading song on page 52 (t? b?). The opening prayer was led by Elder Jesse Roberts.

Leaders: Mark Davis 38b; Don Bowen 503; Judy Mincey 540; John Plunkett 168; Caroline Humphreys 155; Travis Keeton 57; Shelbie Sheppard 142; Pam Nunn 269; Richard Mauldin 146; Bob Bonnell 64; Michele Cull 40; Katie Trawick 224; Dorothea McCowan 304; Robert Meek 236; Bud Oliver 270; Laura Densmore 99; B. M. Smith 28b; Terry Hogg 47b.


The class was called to order by Dennis O’Brien leading song on page 339. Leaders: Eugene Forbes 32t; Helen Bryson 456; Jim Carnes and Celia Carnes 48t; Mary Oruc 77t.

Buell Cobb then remarked that the first National Convention had been the brainchild of Hugh McGraw. He recognized and honored Mr. McGraw for his contributions to Sacred Harp music. Mr. McGraw then led 312b.

At this time the session was turned over to the Memorial Committee. Ruth Brown introduced the memorial lesson by making the following remarks: “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come before His presence with singing!” So wrote the psalmist in the 100th Psalm.

Every hour somewhere in this land of ours joyful noises are being made: the first joyful cry of a newborn baby; the joyful scream of victory; joy in listening to music; the joyful sound of the song of a bird; the tinkle of a wind chime.

The psalmist admonished us to come before His presence with singing. Many groups and individuals do just that: choral groups, soloists, choirs, Sacred Harp singers. Sacred Harp is uniquely different. Singers come from all walks of life, represent all religious faiths, and different nationalities. Somewhere almost every week Sacred Harp singers meet to sing for the pure joy of it. It’s a joyful noise made for the comfort and satisfaction of the singer. This loyal, loving group meets to sing, weep, pray, laugh, eat, and talk together. We help, respect, defend, and love each other. And, faithfully, we pause to remember together those who in the past year have vacated a chair in their singing group. We remember their ever ready smiles, friendly handclasps, shared jokes, innocent pranks, the times they sat beside us and sang their joyful noise.

We remember all these things with gladness—gladness because we knew them—gladness mixed with sadness, because in some way, almost every person in this room has been touched by the lives of some of the deceased. We can remember something special about many of them.

As we read the names of the deceased, hold these people close to your heart—they are probably listening to us today as we remember them. Mike Hinton read the names of the deceased: Alabama—Tom Harper, Jimmy Causey, Delta Wootten, Buddy Tindal, Hazel Cagle, Tommy Creel, J. T. Conn, Will Battles, Josephine Gibson, Halie Armstrong, Willie Blackwood, Clelan Cobb, Lola Jenkins, Cary Graves, Rodger Morrison, Lola Myrtle Roberson, Bonnie Ashley, Vena Holley, Elder A. L. Beckett, Myrl Etheridge, Tina Reid Rogers, Elder Bernard Moon, Milton Wallace, Curtis Dutton, Johnnie Sue Beasley, Mae Doss, Tilda Moseley, John Bain, Ruthie Cozart, J. J. Sexton, Floyd Stieffel, Clydus Moon, Otis Nall, Ed Latham, Dillie Creel Harris, and Catherine Neely; Georgia—Eva Corley Reeves, Edna Wilson, Horace Lambert, J. E. Allen, Silas Lee, and William Headrick; California—Marilou Jolly and Mike Warner; Texas—James Canfield, Sue Vaughn, and Ray Barnett; Mississippi—Louis Porter and Janice Nelson; Colorado—Don Johnson; New Mexico—Erik Hand. The song on page 235 was sung in remembrance of the deceased.

The song on page 400 was then sung for these sick and shut-in friends: Alabama—Ralph Heath, Lurlene Heath, Mae Seymour, Virgil Phillips, Ruby Phillips, Jap Walton, and Kim Cagle; Georgia—Mozelle Sheppard, Jerry Sheppard, Ann Ray, Mary Frances Dannals, and Gordon Ashman; Texas—Ed Craig, Alcie Craig, Herbert Leopard, Myra Palmer, Junior Smith, and Verna Powell; Nebraska—Barbara Scudder and Jean Carhart; Virginia—Kat Kincaid; Massachusetts—Madolin McGray and Michael Arinello; North Carolina—Mary Morse. The song on page 45t “Amazing Grace” was sung to close the memorial lesson. Gaylon Powell led the closing prayer.

Leaders: Kathy Williams 38t; Tim Cook 163b; Ginnie Ely 434; Lyra O’Brien 234; Chris Bell 358; Justin Keeton 385 (t? b?); Willie Israel 86; Jacob Griffith 114; Jeff Sheppard 455; Paul Gauthier 280; Andy Morse 183. Elder Marshall Avery led the blessing for lunch.


The afternoon session began with Gaylon Powell leading song on page 406. Leaders: Anne Steel 318; Juan Martinez 186; Ros Rigby 228; Richard DeLong 283; Howard King 276; Denise Burleson 383; Mattie Townsel 124; John Van Horn 268; Bernard Collard 66; Charles Estes 460; Amanda Denson 300; Myrtice Graham 157; Laura Akerman 454; Helen Brown and Ruth Cooper 299.


Mike Hinton brought the class to order leading song on page 543. Leaders: Matt Wojcik 504; Henry Zittrouer 127; Noel Rush 412; Judy Whiting 178; Joanne Warson and Gillian Warson 117; Dianne Avery 35; Jesse Roberts 372; Jill Thompson 198; Lynne deBenedette 56b; John Schaffer 350; Dan Huger 417; Elizabeth Muhleisen 133; Joanne Hoover 501; Jane Zanichkowsky 260; Judy Hauff 521, 528.

The Convention entered a business session to hear committee reports.

The Finance Committee reported contributions of near $1900, covering the expenses of the convention. Don Bowen and Judy Mincey, Finance Committee.

The Resolutions Committee thanked the Chairman and Vice Chairman for working so hard to bring the Convention together once more; the Arranging Committee for their ability to see that everyone led; the Memorial Committee for the beautiful memorial lesson; the Finance Committee for their diligence in seeing that costs are covered; and the people who prepared and contributed food for the Convention. Along with those who have put forth so much effort, we are grateful for each one who has come from close at hand or far away.

We are thankful for this music that brings us together in bonds of love and for the poetry that speaks to us in many different ways.

When, on Thursday, we sang, to the tune of “Fulfillment”, “God’s holy spirit down is pouring, And Christians joining heart and hand,” we were singing about the experience that draws us, time and again, to sing together—truly with one accord. In the hope of singing with you all again at the 1998 National Convention, Liz Bryant and Ginnie Ely, Resolutions Committee.

The Secretary reported that 460 people from 22 states and England registered during the three days of the Conventon, and that 190 leaders led 242 songs.

State distribution of registrants is as follows: Alabama 303; Georgia 44; England 14; Massachusetts 14; Florida 13; Mississippi 12; Illinois 10; North Carolina 7; Kentucky 6; Texas 6; Tennessee 5; New York 4; Colorado 3; Louisiana 3; Rhode Island 3; California 2; Nebraska 2; Washington 2; Pennsylvania 2; Virginia 1; Missouri 1; South Carolina 1; Connecticut 1. Kathy Williams, Secretary.

All reports were accepted as presented to the Convention, and the business session was closed.

Buell Cobb, Mark Davis, Kathy Williams, and Gaylon Powell led song on page 62, and singers took the parting hand to close the convention. The closing prayer was led by Chaplain Gaylon Powell.

Following the day’s singing, a large group of singers made the traditional trip to Alabama Folk Life Festival’s City Stages to present a program of Sacred Harp music.

Chairman—Buell Cobb; Vice Chairman—Mark Davis; Secretary—Kathy Williams; Chaplain—Gaylon Powell.