Minutes of Sacred Harp Singings

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Western Massachusetts Sacred Harp Convention

Davis Ballroom, Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts

March 11-12, 2000

Saturday, March 11

The Western Massachusetts Sacred Harp Convention was called to order at 9:30 a.m. by Chair Catherine Oss leading song on page 318. Catherine Oss led the class in an opening prayer.

Following introductory comments, the Saturday morning session was turned over to David Ivey who led a singing school. David Ivey provided a useful and easy to understand description of the rudiments of Sacred Harp singing focusing his comments on pitch, timing, and accent.


The class was reassembled by Vice Chair Eliza Cavanaugh leading song on page 34b.

David Ivey continued the singing school by focusing on everything one should consider when leading at a convention.

George Seiler offered a prayer before the class was dismissed for lunch.


The afternoon session was called to order by Eric Morgan leading song on page 59. Leaders: Tim Eriksen 300; Richard Delong 419; Allison Schofield 442; Peter Irvine 387; Lynne deBenedette 542; Rodney Ivey 475; Kate Richardson 312b; Dennis O’Brien 304; Tom Gibney 147b; Kshama Ananthapura 58; Max Berueffy 411; Janet Morgan 282; Jeannette DePoy 82 (t? b?); Ruth Hooke 198; Henry Johnson 138b; Karen House, Sally House, and Kelly House 503b; Neely Bruce 254; Ginny Landgraf 428; Allen Fannin 163t; Lyra O’Brien 101b; Scott DePoy 146; Elene Stovall 436; George Seiler 347; Mary Ellen Donaldson 383.


The class was called back together by Jeff Colby leading song on page 30b. Leaders: Linda Shea 323b; Karen Ivey 142; Duncan Vinson 26; Lori Rodgers 217; Gabriel Feinwold 40; Katie Servos 504; Anne Kozlouskus 207; Jim Desmond 269; Greta Eckhart 178; Michael Ryan 122; Kathy Tucker 144; Dennis George 480; Lydia Vernon-Jones 510; Carol Selleck 89. Announcements were made. The singing resumed with the following leaders: Matthew Wojick 290; Paula McGray 546; Dan Hertzler 47b; Chris Noren 362; Anne Pratt 496; Ginnie Ely 313t.

Catherine Oss led song on page 335 to close the Saturday session. Tom Mousin dismissed the class with prayer.

Sunday, March 12

Chair Catherine Oss brought Sunday’s class to order by leading song on page 48t. Vice Chair Eliza Cavanaugh offered an opening prayer by reading two verses from the 89th Psalm.

Leaders: Eliza Cavanaugh 48b; Eric Morgan 274t; Jeff Colby 345b; Kelly House 59; Laura Timmerman 41; Karen House 446; Lynne deBenedette 99; Barbara Swetman 415; Kara Morin 178; Guy Bankes 532; Inga Knets 171; David Ivey 481; Laura Clawson 176t; Rosemary Greenaway 203; Oona Coy 569b; Ellie Soler 358; Henry Johnson 56b; Mirjana Lausevic 216; John Redman 236.


The class was called to order by Peter Irvine leading song on page 72b. Leaders: Roland Hutchinson 553; Hannah Coyle and Kelly House 39t; Paula McGray 31t; Diane Mennella 386; Corbin Rodgers and Eric Morgan 401; Martha Lang 504; Phill Wisor 68b; Gina Balestracci 352; Richard Schmeidler 474; Kelsey Wessels 276; Paul Gauthier 565b; Mary Ann Morrison 38t; Tom Tucker 457; Alexis Brie Wildau 300; Aaron Girard 163t; Jeannette DePoy 566; Eliza Goodhue 163b; Laura Risk 179; Sherry Wong 183; Ruth Hooke 155.

Vice Chair Eliza Cavanaugh offered the following words for the memorial lesson: “We feel a loss when someone passes on whom we love; someone who taught us to sing or to live, or one who taught the ones who teach us. Life can seem lonely, jagged...and our hearts go out in sadness to those who are most deeply affected by the loss. Yet, Sacred Harp singing reveals the unbreakable bond between us and points us to a higher joy. In singing for these people, we can celebrate their lives and the immortal effects they’ve had on our singing and on our experience.” Eliza Cavanaugh led song on page 229 in memory of the deceased: Sybil Baird, Antoinette Swetman, Vester Jones, and Flossie Jones—Alabama; Dorina Holt, Helen Desmond, and Barbara Keany—Connecticut; Charles Cofone—Florida; Dollie Hudgins and Horace DeLong—Georgia; Nelly Martin—Kentucky; Marsha Foster—Maryland; Peg Brown, Tom Lapan, Barbara Lisa Mears, Jean Hosmer, and Paul Leblance—Massachusetts; Chris Randgaard—Minnesota; Nicole Shnarf—New Jersey; Tina Hand and Ben Hertzler—New Mexico; Ursula Woodfield—New York; Edward Lowe and Elizabeth Place Berry—North Carolina; Estes Benson—Rhode Island; Bill Akaman—Vermont.

Oona Coy continued the memorial lesson by leading song on page 70t for the sick and shut-in: Jap Walton, Joyce Walton, Virgil Phillips, and Ruby Phillips—Alabama; Ursula Roscole—California; Dorothy Garber and Jack Phillips—Connecticut; Elsie Lawless, Donald Lawless, and Ben James—Massachusetts; Sharon Neely Nygren—North Carolina; Joe Geornoff and Jordan Glover—New York; Katie Clark—Vermont. Catherine Oss led song on page 49t to close the morning session. Martha Lang offered a prayer before lunch.


The afternoon session was brought to order by Max Berueffy leading song on page 39b. Leaders: Tim Eriksen 282; Will Thomas 209; Richard DeLong 380; Allison Schofield 74b; Rodney Ivey 384; Kate Richardson 101t; Nate Morrison 189; Kshama Ananthapura 349; Janet Morgan 400; Allen Fannin 110; Karen Ivey 192; Lori Rodgers 85; Scott DePoy 114; Jim Desmond 347; Elene Stovall 270; Cathy Tucker 480; George Seiler 268; Linda Shea 547; Lydia Vernon-Jones 95b; Dennis George 137; Carol Selleck 235; Matthew Wojick 250; Chris Noren 455; Anne Pratt 49b; Barbara Swetman 485.

Chair Catherine Oss called a business meeting for the purpose of hearing committee reports.

The Secretary reported that the convention was well attended with 216 registrants from 20 states. Of the 216 who registered, 86 led.

The Finance Committee reported that enough money was collected to cover the expenses of the convention.

The Resolutions Committee submitted the following report thanking the following committees and people for their hard work in making this a successful convention: Welcoming Committee—Linda Shea, Chair; Arranging Committee—Kelly House, Chair; Publicity Committee—Tim Eriksen, Chair; Signs—Jim Desmond and Berk Meisler; Locating Committee—Kara Morin; Memorial Committee for a fine lesson—Chair Eliza Cavanaugh, Phill Wisor, and Oona Coy; Finance Committee—Jeff Colby and Kara Morin; Social—Ruth Hooke and Richard Hooke; Food—Laura Clawson, Lynne deBenedette, and Paula McGray; Singing Schools—Laura Timmerman, Coordinator; Massachusetts Cultural Council; Country Dance and Song Society for loan of books; David Ivey for a wonderful singing school; Dan Richardson for recording; Sacred Harp Publishing Company for the books; Smith College—Chris Fargey, Special Events Coordinator; Tim Brusso, building manager/chairs; Office of Public Safety; Officers—Catherine Oss, Chair; Eliza Cavanaugh, Vice Chair; Jeff Colby, Treasurer; Eric Morgan, Secretary; and all the visitors.

Chair Catherine Oss asked if the Western Massachusetts Sacred Harp Convention should have a convention the following year. Those in attendance responded in the affirmative. A call for those interested in attending meetings of the Western Massachusetts Sacred Harp Convention was made.


The class was brought to order by Kara Morin leading song on page 228. Leaders: Ginnie Ely 498; Inga Knets 168; Roland Hutchinson 36t; Laura Clawson 186; Mirjana Lausevic 131b; Diane Mennella 271t; Paul Gauthier 428; Gina Balestracci 430; David Ivey 138 (t? b?); Rosemary Greenaway 53; Tom Tucker 369; Kelsey Wessel 147t; Alexis Brie Wildau 448t; Martha Lang 551; Mary Ann Morrison 269; Sherry Wong 70b; Richard Schmeidler 66; Aaron Girard 299.

Announcements were made. Catherine Oss, Eliza Cavanaugh, Jeff Colby, and Eric Morgan led song on page 62 as the closing song, and the class was dismissed with a prayer offered by Catherine Oss.

Chair—Catherine Oss; Vice Chair—Eliza Cavanaugh; Secretary—Eric Morgan.