Minutes of Sacred Harp Singings

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National Sacred Harp Convention

Trinity United Methodist Church, Birmingham, Alabama

June 18, 19, 20, 1998

Thursday, June 18

The National Sacred Harp Convention met at Trinity United Methodist Church, Birmingham, Alabama. Chairman Buell Cobb called Thursday’s session to order by leading song on page 52 (t? b?). Tom Owen led the morning prayer.

Leaders: Mark Davis 37 (t? b?); Kathy Williams 437; Don Bowen 384; Ginnie Ely 349; Ruth Brown 36b; Henry Schuman 432; Elvie Morris 480; Elder Ricky Harcrow 142; Letisha Crocker 490; Rodney Ivey 99; Kathy Robinson 192; Flarce Creel 299; Elder Donald Smith 172; Leola Smith 408; Ila Ingle 442; John Hocutt 317; Sheri Taylor 354t; Henry Guthery 543; Mike Hinton 373; Judy Mincey 538; Richard DeLong 224.


Ricky Harcrow called the class back together leading song on page 82t.

Buell Cobb called the convention into a business session. Officers elected were as follows: Chairman—Buell Cobb; Vice Chairman—Mark Davis; Chaplain—Tom Owen; Secretary—Kathy Williams. Committees were appointed as follows: Arranging Committee—Henry Schuman, Cindy Franklin, Bob Parr, and Anne Kazlauskas; Memorial Committee—Mike Hinton, Linda Thomas, and Donald Ross; Resolutions Committee—Pat Temple and Ginnie Ely; Finance Committee—Don Bowen, Coy Ivey, and John Redmon.

Leaders: David Lee 64; Marie Aldridge 204; Josh Rogan 300; Joel Cohen 108b; Lisa Webb 117; Gene Wakefield 56t; Ann Jett 546; Catherine Rogan 551; James Howell 68b; Hubert Nall 47t; Wanda Capps 222.


The class was called to order by Tom Owen leading song on page 176t. Leaders: Linda Sides and Ottis Sides 97; David Rust 150; Frances Jones 334; Sherry Guthery 340; A.C. McGough 454; Edith Tate 532; Ottis Sides and Linda Sides 569b; Coy Ivey 84; Christie Allen 475; Bill Hogan 29b; Jeb Owen 176b; Norma Latham 270; Cassie Franklin 183; Travis Keeton 426t; Jeannette DePoy 456; Daphene Causey 434; Evelyn Harris 30t; Diane Wall 144; Regina Glass 302; Michelle Rogan 178; Liz Rogan 542; Richard Schmeidler 474; Warren Steel 396; Sharona Nelson 522; Duncan Vincent 361. Elder Ricky Harcrow led the prayer for lunch.


David Lee called the class to order leading song on page 274t. Leaders: Bob Parr 272; Lee Rogers 273; Cindy Franklin 198; John Redmon 358; Jackie Tanner 137; Marlen Rust 66; Linda Thomas, Cheryl Bourn, and Phyllis Williamson 45t; Lomax Ballinger 168; Vivian Rogan 32t; Beth Todd 122; Helen Brown 143; Amanda Denson 216; Linton Ballinger 186; Berkley Moore 114; Gary Rogan 448b; Pat Temple 566; Pearl Guier 49t; Mark Miller 422; Joan Aldridge 276; Mary Wright 145b; Joe Todd 71; Lou Cotney 218; Lynne deBenedette 48t; Julietta Haynes 430; Pernie Pelfrey 83t; Ann Ballard 57; Anne Kazlauskas 179; Gary Smith 34b; Judy Hauff 47b; Delores Canerdy 268; Judy Whiting 503; Laura Clawson 335; Willie Israel 86; Eugene Forbes 482; Donald Ross 225t.

Buell Cobb and Mark Davis closed the Thursday session by leading song on page 46. The class was dismissed with prayer by Gary Rogan.

Friday, June 19

Chairman Buell Cobb called Friday’s session to order by leading song on page 31b. Chaplain Tom Owen led the morning prayer.

Leaders: Mark Davis 42; Kathy Williams 277; Tom Owen 35; Don Bowen and Coy Ivey 47t; John Redmon 198; Donald Ross 419; Mike Hilton 146; Linda Thomas 39t; Pat Temple 85; Ginnie Ely 546; Henry Schuman 318; Bob Parr 297; Anne Kazlauskas 203; Ann Ballard 421; Cecile Cox 282; Peter Irvine 56b; Catherine Oss 362; Diane Ross 497; Willie Mae Moon 441; Tim Eriksen 33b; Gavin Blakeley 274 (t? b?).


Coy Ivey called the class back together leading song on page 56t. Leaders: Jackie Tanner 30t; Elene Stovall 454; Mark Miller 378b; David Richardson 314; Ed Snell 460; Chita Blakeley 195; Josh Rogan 182; Kurt Davis 354b; LaRue Allen 302; Bradley Allen 385b; Catherine Rogan 268; Richard Ivey and Stuart Ivey 222; Keri Ann Wilkerson 45t; Jonathan Blakeley 74t; Liz Rogan 220; Jeb Owen 344; Cassie Franklin 336; Michelle Rogan 236; David Ivey and Karen Ivey 298; Tim Cook 327. The lunch prayer was led by Elder Marshall Avery.


The class was called to order by Louis Hughes leading song on page 138b. Leaders: Genny Gurley 340; Syble Adams 171; Judy Caudle 234; Annie Jewell Boyd 137; Floy Wilder 273; Dorothea McCowan 304; Barner Roberson 383; John Etheridge 76b; Mattie Townsel 143; H.J. Jackson 384; Edna Phillips 189; Bob Bonnell 75; Charlene Wallace 455; George Cox 303.


Cindy Franklin called the class back together leading song on page 269. Leaders: Eloise Avery 426b; Pam Wilkerson 183; Frances Mary D’Andrea 532; Becky Briggs 335; Erskine Vandergrift 59; Peggy Bergman 436; Elder Marshall Avery 278b; Elsie Beasley 192; Edward Houghton 373; Nora Parker 276; Myril Jones 430; Laura Boosinger 61; Louise Holland 37b; Christie Allen and Margaret Keeton 432; Linda Sides 475; Bill Hogan 121; Beth Todd 250; Richard DeLong 542; Joel Cohen 290; Jeannette DePoy 129; David Rust 123b.

Buell Cobb and Mark Davis closed Friday’s session by leading song on page 235. The closing prayer was led by Donald Ross.

Saturday, June 20

Saturday’s session of the Convention was called to order by Chairman Buell Cobb leading song on page 425. The morning prayer was led by Mark Davis.

Leaders: Mark Davis 417; Kathy Williams 53; Tom Owen 347; Don Bowen 570; John Redmon 299; Donald Ross 313b; Mike Hinton 288; Pat Temple 48t; Ginnie Ely 454; Ann Ballard 204; Seth Holloway 354b; Louis Hughes, Jr. 448t; Richard Mauldin 36b; Sarah Smith 129; Leon Ballinger 490; Mike Hawkins 560; Judy Whiting 147t; Oscar McGuire 441; Kiri Miller 163t; Walter Olson 168; Vivian Rogan 72b; Liz Bryant 270; Henry Zittrouer 34t; Glenn Keeton 475; Patricia Mauldin 63; John Plunkett 383.


Ginnie Ely called the class to order leading song on page 276. Leaders: Lynne deBennedette 29t; Jewell Wootten and Freeman Wootten 378t; Jessica Holland 117; Emily Jones and Pernie Pelfrey 348b (for Rosa Hughes); Joshua Keeton 268; Willie Israel 148; Leola Smith 185; Ashley Keeton 358; Warren Steel 320.

The Convention was then turned over to the Memorial Committee. Mike Hinton made the following remarks: My aunt Ruth Denson Edwards died about 20 years ago. She had certain stories and expressions, and always ended with “...Don’t you know?” We knew and loved Aunt Ruth, her phrases, and her music. Many of the people whose memory we honor today had certain phrases, certain words, and yes, certain Sacred Harp tunes that they loved, and when we hear “their special song, their sugar stick”, we think of then. We honor Sacred Harp Singers, those singers sat in the class and led songs. Some cooked food and fed our bodies. Some of the singers we honor today sat in the congregation and never sang, but they knew every syllable and word of every song sung.

The term “Sacred Harp Singer” is an inclusive term. And what did these singers sing about, what did they believe as they laughed, loved and hugged us? They sang of failing bodies, of being weary of lingering here, of never giving up the shield. They sang of the rose of Sharon, and being homeward bound, of seeking a long sought home, and bidding us adieu. They sang of meeting in heaven to sing praises of our Lord and King. They sang of never parting again, of shouting and singing hosanna, for heaven’s my home. As we hear the names of the deceased who have left us in the past year, remember their lives, their songs, and honor their memories, and visualize them around that great heavenly hollow square—don’t you know!

Linda Thomas read the list of deceased: Alabama—Mae Seymour, Kim Cagle, Keterina Sanders, Bob Sanders, Bob Fannin, Charlie McCoy, Hadyn Creel, Mamie Creel, Gene Phillips, Lillie Phillips Hartley, Ozetta Gilliland, Vernice Calvert, Eugene Blackwood, Estelle Napier, Unie B. Howard, Barrett Ashley, Seldon Creel, Arnold Edwards, John Forman, Hussell Godsey, Ila McGhee, Mariam Houbler, Jerry Huckeba, Claude Moon, Hollis Sizemore, Clifford Wakefield, Ed Wade, Lula Bynum Canady, and Edward Godsey; Maine—Mary Berueffy; Georgia—Anne Block, Edna Wilson, Jerry Sheppard, Gertrude Bateman, Elder Jason Davis, and Bob Hart; Florida—Janet Rogers; Texas—Gladys Hill, Lynn Hanna, Barbara Cooper, and Louie Smith; Mississippi—J.C. Mills and Ray Davis; Tennessee—Beatrice Ezzell; Virginia—Robert Toone and Susan Wantland; Massachusetts—Raoul Desy, Maddolin McGray, Jack Foran, and Stella Ward; California—Leon Wilson, Marilou Jolly, and Gail Rich. Donald Ross led 163b in memory of the deceased.

Linda Thomas led 503 for the following sick and homebound: Alabama—Virgil Phillips, Ruby Phillips, Jap Walton, Cora Beasley Sweatt, F.P. Cargo, Rosa Hughes, Mary Gardner, Mr. and Mrs. J.C. Hardin, Herbert Phillips, Johnnie Blakely, and Vera Blakely; Texas—Ed Craig, Alcie Craig, Herbert Leopard, Verna Powell, Mildred Edmonds, and Kelly Beard. Georgia—Horace DeLong, Mary Frances Dannals, Albert Bryson, and Mozelle Sheppard; Tennessee—Mel Kersey; Washington—Joanne Hoover; Florida—Phillip Lee. Donald Ross closed the Memorial Lesson with prayer.

Leaders: Toney Smith 225t; David Carlton 362; Hugh McGraw 448b; Margaret Kyles, Lee Kyles, Katie Thomas, and Velma Walker 335; Pamela Keeton 171; Genny Gurley 340. The blessing for lunch was led by Mike Hawkins.

LUNCH The class was called to order by Diane Ross leading song on page 504. Leaders: Marlon Beasley 73t; Jim Carnes 440; Myril Jones 142; John Bealle 543; Eloise Clark 372; Dan Gibbons 377; Denise Burleson 300; Tim Reynolds 547; Dianne Avery 551; Dave Gibson 146; Cath Oss 95b; Helen Brown 40; Tim Erickson 236.

The Convention then went into Business Session to hear Committee Reports.

The Finance Committee reported that due to generous giving over the three days, the expenses of the Convention had been met. Don Bowen, Coy Ivey, John Redmon—Finance Committee.

The Resolutions Committee made the following report.

Be it resolved that this Convention:

  1. thanks Chairman Buell Cobb, Vice Chairman Mark Davis, Chaplain Tom Owen, and Secretary Kathy Williams for their work for the Convention.
  2. give grateful thanks to the Arranging Committee: Henry Schuman, Cindy Franklin, Bob Parr, and Anne Kazlauskas.
  3. gives gratitude to the persons serving on the Memorial Committee: Mike Hinton, Linda Thomas, and Donald Ross.
  4. that all present today and on previous days are grateful to the following insistent persons who have faithfully, forcefully, and enthusiastically collected enough money to meet the expenses of the convention: Don Bowen, Coy Ivey, and John Redmon.
  5. give thanks to everyone who brought all the delicious food which fueled the singing each day—many, many thanks. To those devoted souls who set out, picked up, and cleaned up cheerfully behind the scenes, let us give a standing ovation. To the food committee, headed by Anne Ballard, many thanks.
  6. and to all those who traveled to be here without all of whom, there would be no singing, all our thanks.

Pat Temple and Ginnie Ely, Resolutions Committee.

Secretary’s report. During the three days of the Convention:

  1. 450 people from 20 states and England came into the singing and registered.
  2. 229 leaders were called, and 314 songs were sung. The breakdown of numbers is as follows: Alabama—346; Georgia—24; Texas—18; Massachusetts—10; Illinois and Florida—6 each; Mississippi—5; Tennessee, North Carolina, and Ohio—4 each; Virginia, Connecticut, and England—3 each; South Carolina, Indiana, New Jersey, Maryland, New York, and Rhode Island—2 each; Missouri and Utah—1 each. Kathy Williams, Secretary.

Leaders: Judy Hauff 528; Duncan Vincent 33b; Joe Todd 196; Mary Wright 103; David Richardson 49b; Regina Glass 200.

Buell Cobb and the other officers led 62, and the members of the Convention took the parting hand to close the Convention. Chaplain Tom Owen led the closing prayer.

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.