Minutes of Sacred Harp Singings

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Camp Fasola 2009 (Session I)

Camp McDowell, Near Double Springs, Alabama

June 14-18, 2009

Sunday, June 14

This year’s adult session was held at Camp McDowell, an Episcopal Church camp, with motel-type housing, modern facilities, and a new chapel where many classes and all group singings were held. Campers gathered on Sunday to register at Pradat Hall, pick up T-shirts and room assignments, and get settled. A morning storm had knocked out power, but the staff put together a fine sandwich supper at Stough Dining Hall. Following that, the singers met nearby in the new Chapel of St. Francis for orientation. David Ivey welcomed all, introduced the teachers, and challenged us to become better singers during our time at camp. Over 100 campers and 30 (t? b?) staff and visiting teachers were registered from 26 states, Canada, the UK, and the Netherlands. With no power, the evening singing was shortened and only first verses used. Then campers headed back to Pradat Hall for an ice cream social, prepared by Karen Ivey, with time to renew old friendships and forge new ones. Cheers erupted when the power returned!

Monday, June 15

Some early risers joined Idy Kiser for a hike. Swimming in the camp’s pool was also available. Thirty others gathered on the porch at Pradat to sing for an hour from the Lloyd’s Primitive Hymns, led by rocking chairmen Eugene Forbes and Tom Malone, and assisted by Sandra Wilkinson. Breakfast followed at 8:00 a.m.

Campers then selected either Basic Rudiments class with Kelly House or Advanced Rudiments with David Ivey and Jeff Sheppard.

David said that music involves pitch or tone, time or length, accent or emphasis, and volume. The tonic is the first note in the scale, a Fa in major and a La in minor tunes. Measure bars are light and phrase bars are broad and indicate the end of a line of poetry. When a note has a dot behind it, increase its length by half its value. A slur associates two or more different notes with one syllable. Ties connect notes of the same pitch for one syllable of poetry. Traditional singers were taught that birds-eyes usually receive 1? times the value of the note. Regarding repeats, always observe repeat marks that occur before the end of a song. The final repeats are observed at the leader’s discretion. While it is traditional to repeat, at conventions time is a factor in limiting that practice. Use the mode of time a song is written in to determine how fast to lead it. Common modes of time and accent patterns are: 2/2 (accent 1 2), 4/4 (accent 1 2 3 4), and 2/4 (accent 1 2); triple times 3/2 and 3/4 (accent 1 2 3); and compound times 6/4 and 6/8 (accent 1 2 3 4 5 6). Accent helps singers stay together and is strongly traditional. David suggested learning a different part than you usually sing if your voice will accommodate it. It is good exercise for you; you may want to switch parts as your voice tires. Historically, all children were taught the tenor part, which also prepared them to lead any tune in tenor.

After a snack, campers could make crafts with Idy Kiser, use the camp’s recreational facilities including hiking, canoeing, and fishing, or attend two elective classes: Judy Caudle and Shelbie Sheppard teaching Basics of Learning Songs or Tom Malone’s Sacred Harp Composition for the Beginner.

Tom Malone taught about binding “agreeable tones” into chords. He assigned a tonal number from 1 to 8 to each position on the scale, and presented agreeable chords resulting from various combinations, pointing out those chords most commonly used in Sacred Harp composition. Identifying these chords from their root tone, they are the tonic chord 1-3-5; the important 6-1-3; and others 2-4-6 and 5-7-2. The 4 itself, not developed into a chord, is often used. Giving the class a tenor line, the first element to develop in a composition, Tom assigned each class member to write a treble part. Jesse Pearlman Karlsberg and Tom sang several of the efforts. Then the campers added a bass part, and Aldo Ceresa joined in to sing several. Then Tom encouraged participants to write an alto line and said that leaving out the third is fine, especially in minor tunes. Karen Swenson joined in to sing the class’s results.

Today’s T-shirt color for the day is pink, so all the guys got to wear pink and eat quiche for lunch! Then Harry Eskew presented a lesson commemorating William Walker’s 200th birthday year. Born in 1809 in Spartanburg, South Carolina, Walker was known as “Singing Billy Walker”. He was already composing by the time he reached 18. He owned a book and stationery store and sold his own tune book there, The Southern Harmony, published in 1835. He was a widely-known singing school teacher in the South and Midwest. The Southern Harmony is still used. In the 1840s, seven shape books became popular. Walker published his Christian Harmony in 1867 in seven shapes. He was the first to publish New Britain with the words Amazing Grace. Walker’s legacy is as a singing school teacher, publisher of music books, and composer of tunes in the Sacred Harp such as 45t, 159, and 146. He contributed to choral repertoire, wrote distinctive harmonies, and had an impact on congregational singing across denominations. Tunes sung during the session: 141, 159, 128, 45t, 312b, 134, 35.

Campers could choose to hike, rest, or attend electives: Tom Malone’s Accent for the New Singer or Keying Music by David Ivey and Jeff Sheppard.

David Ivey directed singers to page 17 of the rudiments, #4, where it states that the music should be pitched comfortably for all singers. Learn by listening at singings or from recordings, especially of conventions. Be aware of the male trebles, being careful not to pitch too high for them. Give the tonic first, then the starting notes for each part, ending on the tenor’s first note. Some songs are written high or low. Scan the parts quickly to look for high and low notes and whether the part stays there.

Another recess time and snacks after which campers could attend a Leading Lesson by David Ivey and Judy Caudle, Jesse Pearlman Karlsberg’s Discord Discoveries, or Joyce Walton’s Leading and Bringing in Parts, Intermediate Level.

Joyce Walton began by saying, “I’ve sung with some of the best—Marcus Cagle, Bob Denson, Irene Parker, and Marie Aldridge. We honor the people who wrote these tunes by singing them as they were written.” Joyce started singing in 1952, held singing schools in her home, and in several other places. She said there’s a knack to leading. Practice in front of your mirror. Lead smoothly to show the flow of time in the tune. Too long strokes when you beat make it difficult to keep good time. Learn from your mistakes. Make eye contact with everyone in the house and make sure they are watching you. When you are in the center of the square, you are the most important person in the room. Don’t be afraid to lead, and stay put until you’re done. The last chord in the song is the prettiest one in it. Hold that last chord for just a bit longer. If you’re going to omit a hold, you must first tell the class you will do that. Communicate. Joyce continued that we often don’t tell the keyer that we appreciate his work, but we need to do this. Everyone should keep quite during the keying. Don’t hum. Remember that our singing is not a play thing; it is worship. Honor the leader, don’t talk during the memorial, and honor whoever is in the square. Tunes led 40, 347 532, 155, 538, 300, 269, 192.

Next, campers could attend Michael Thompson’s Tenor Part class or Aldo Ceresa’s And Then I’ll Be at Rest.

Aldo Ceresa sent the class to page 15 in the rudiments to read about rests. Carefully note where rests are, whether they are increased by dots following them, and check repeats and how rests are involved. Aldo spoke about different categories of rests. Tunes with rests at the beginning of measures include 77b, 28b, 38t and b, 28t and b, 34b, 66, 313t and b. Tunes led were 38t, 77t, 28b, 38b. Then he spoke about tunes which end with a long note and have a rest at the beginning, 39b and 53. Beat through the six beats of that final note, holding it, then silence during the two beat rest, and then begin the next verse. Aldo spoke about tunes with rests in the first measure: 540, 71, 64, 325, 220, 403, 44, and 330t. Tunes sung were 540, 71. A few tricky tunes are 457, 320, and 312t. Check the time signature and notice that a rest is missing; begin singing on the upbeat. Aldo noted that when the chorus of these tunes is sung only once, sing the second ending, if there are two. Aldo continued with 4/4 tunes with an upbeat pick-up (149). Other tricky rests are in 88b, 210, 156, 231, and 143. Unusual pick-ups include 292, 146, 444, 522 (treble line), 532 (bass). Rests before time changes include 43, 417, and 455. Aldo concluded by leading 365.

Dinner followed and a bit of free time. Then campers gathered in the chapel for the evening singing.

Leaders: Jeff Sheppard and David Ivey 460; Bonnie Davis 210; Andrew Mashchak 370; Sarah West 324; Chris Brown 28b; Anne Eringa 47b; Richard Schmeidler 268; Steven Kick 542; Kevin Dyess 274t; Elizabeth Stoddard 440; Zeb Ferguson 535; Marilyn Burchett 294; Kathe Pilobosian 97; Anita Landess 58; Cheryl Foreman 344; Blake Ferguson 32t; Geraldine Sharpton 299; Chris Holley 160b; Eddie Mash 504; Judy Mincey 474; Claudia Dean 102; Pat Temple 34b; Jacqui Selby-MacLeod 82t; Sarah Langendorf 67; Shelby Sampson 30b; Robert Stoddard 435; Janie Short 350; Tom Ivey 196; Karen Swenson 149; Idy Kiser 472; Robert Kelley 449; Terry Barber 528; Mike Hinton 527; Kristie Harju 106.

Mike Hinton conducted the devotional, speaking about the rich heritage we have in The Sacred Harp. How did these words and notes come together? The composer of Odem (Second) is Mike’s grandpa, named for the man who gave him the poetry. Seaborn Denson’s wife, Sydney Burdette Denson, picked the words to go with the tunes when the James book was being revised. William Billings wrote Rose of Sharon to set the words of the Song of Solomon to music. He repeats a “weather report” in the tune. The winter he mentions, may be literal or may represent those difficult times in our lives, but they will pass.

David Ivey wound up the gathering by announcing that the camp is in Winston County which is Denson country. In Double Springs there is a monument to the Denson Brothers, and they are buried nearby. Try to get up there, if possible, while in the area. Then the campers proceeded back to Pradat for socializing and snacks. Another heavy rainstorm hit and the lights went out again. Some people lingered, others got soaked running to their cabins, but all were cheered when the power came back on shortly after lights out.

Tuesday, June 16

Morning brought a repeat opportunity to hike with Idy Kiser, swim, or sing from the Lloyd’s Primitive Hymns with rocking chairmen Gene Forbes and Tom Malone. Breakfast followed, and then Basic Rudiments with Kelly House or Advanced Rudiments with Richard DeLong.

Richard DeLong led 127, instructing that the leader must decide what tempo s/he wants and beat it from the start. Richard led 132 and told the class to watch the leader carefully, that songs can be sung in a variety of tempos. Beating in four is not mentioned in the rudiments, but “we’ll be glad to accommodate you... at least once.” When Richard leads, his voice comes in a little early before his first beat to help bring the class in quickly. He calls this “voice leading”. If you have a leader who is timid and won’t start singing, the front bench can practice voice leading to get the song started well and prevent the tempo from slowing down. Richard led 319 and emphasized that it should be sung with a strong accent. He led 298 and emphasized to watch the leader; if he keeps beating, you repeat. Traditionally the chorus is repeated on the notes and the last verse. Richard spoke about 44, noting that it begins on the last quarter note beat of the measure. Don’t pick it up too early. He said that some of the prettiest bass parts are above the staff, above the tenor. Let it thunder out! Richard noted that 197 sounds good either fast or slow. Currently, he likes it slow which highlights the bass and tenor interaction. Manchester, 392, was the town where Thomas Denson lived when he died. Richard likes this led a bit faster and notes the interplay between tenors and trebles. Richard warned to watch the key on 103; it’s written high. When asked how tenors should sing the chorus to 36b; Richard recited the first verse words for tenors “Whose anger is so slow to rise, so ready to abate, so ready to abate”. In 507; Richard said to take the 3/4 section a bit slower than usual 3/4 time to make a dramatic difference between that section and the 4/4 section which ends the song and is sung fast. On 553; Richard only holds the ritards at the end on the repeat. When leading, be sure to announce your intentions regarding details like this before beginning any song.

Following recess and snacks the options were recreation, crafts, Aldo Ceresa’s Sacred Harp Composition II, Shelbie Sheppard’s Dinner on the Grounds, or Richard DeLong’s Learning Songs, Basics.

Richard DeLong led 101t, and noted that keying takes practice. He led 415, noting it is in 6/4 with an unusual rhythmic pattern. Another 6/4 tune is 370; typical rhythm is half-quarter-half-quarter. The tunes 36b and 138t are the only ones which pick up with the basses entering on the fourth beat and the tenors answering the bass. An example of an unwritten tradition is 143 with the second line sung softly where the treble rests. Regarding rests Paine Denson said, “It’s just as important to rest as it is to sing.” W.T. Coston (for whom the song on page 382 is named) wrote that Sacred Harp music is in a class by itself and has been preserved by rural southern people. Pronunciations differ, for example: hal-lay-lu-yer; in West Alabama it’s Jurden, but in Georgia and East Alabama, it’s Jordan. The J.L. White book changed harmonies, trying to contemporize to the popular sounds of 1900. A split occurred. Later another split occurred with the publication of the Cooper book. George Pullen Jackson and other researchers have helped spread awareness of Sacred Harp across the world. Other tunes sung: 405, 148, 292, 430, 142, 383, and 110.

Lunch followed with a celebration of the life and contributions of Hugh McGraw of Bremen, Georgia. A wonderful slide show treated campers to photos of Hugh McGraw as a high school athlete, recipient of the ‘cutest guy in the senior class’ award, and as a singer and leader of Sacred Harp music. He has been recognized by the Smithsonian Museum as “a caretaker preserving something worthwhile...” Campers lined up to have Mr. McGraw sign their books and pose for photos. Then campers gathered for the group photograph in front of the chapel.

All attended Tom Malone’s session on The Life and Songs of Hugh McGraw. Richard DeLong and Jeff Sheppard told stories of their long years of friendship with Hugh. Hugh told about going to Hollywood to sing in a film about Jesse James. He sang “To The Land” from the Social Harp for the funeral scene. They sprayed onion juice at the actors so they would shed tears. When the film played in Bremen, the marquee had Hugh’s name on it. Mike Hinton then spoke. The first tune Hugh wrote was Living Hope. Mike led 527; Hugh’s second tune. Mike’s Aunt Ruth Denson formed a strong friendship with Hugh and they went to singings together. Hugh has driven hundreds of thousands of miles promoting and supporting this music. Then campers led Hugh’s tunes: 500, 517, 548, 225t, 549, “Life’s Troubles”, “Redemption’s Free”, 570, and “God’s Promise”. Jeff Sheppard spoke about George Phillips, a good leader and singer, who traveled around the area to sing. He wrote the words to Phillips Farewell and gave them to Hugh to set to music. Joyce Walton spoke about her long friendship with Hugh McGraw. She said that Hugh wanted to be a bluegrass player. Hugh took guitar lessons and his teacher recorded him. When she played it back to him, he quit. Joyce bought Hugh’s guitar with a leather strap and “Hugh” on it. Judy Hauff told about the beginnings of Chicago and mid-Illinois Sacred Harp singing in the early 1970’s. They decided to have a convention, and Hugh McGraw found out and announced that he would come. At the time, Judy said about Hugh, “maybe he’ll know something about Sacred Harp”. Chicago knew twenty to thirty songs and downstate knew the anthems. Hugh arrived with other southern singers, and there was great discomfort. But Hugh pitched and culture shock happened and the Chicagoans learned quickly. Two weeks later the Chicago singers traveled South and they have never been the same. Hugh has been everywhere in the country to help new groups form, a real ambassador.

Next campers could rest, attend a birds of prey session by Camp McDowell staff, Cassie Allen’s The Alto Part, Matt Hinton’s Theology Thoughts, or Richard DeLong’s Keying Music II.

Richard DeLong started out by saying that he has a set of standard songs for which he has the sound in his head and which he uses to pitch other tunes: these include 100 for A, 318 for F, and 285t or 546 for B flat. Richard led 159, 155, 45t. Richard emphasized that everyone must be quiet while the pitcher is trying to set the pitch. The pitcher needs to sound the pitch for all parts. The leader should sound the tenor pitch and encourage all the parts sound their pitch, the opening chord, before s/he begins the song. If you are a beginning keyer, it’s probably good to sing the triad, then sound any other notes needed. If the tune begins with a solo, pitch for the first and second entrance; for 236, give the bass, then the treble. Richard made a point of noting that you must have males on treble to have real Sacred Harp sound. In pitching, ask whether you are pitching too high and scaring away the men on treble. If so, something’s wrong so change your pitching.

Campers enjoyed recess and more tasty snacks prepared by Karen Ivey. Then campers could attend Judy Caudle and Jeff Sheppard’s Basic Leading Practice for Adults, Joyce Walton’s Leading Boot Camp for Adults, or David Ivey’s Time and Tempo class.

David Ivey told campers that we have relative tempos as well as relative pitches. The Rudiments on page 16, #15, say that “the mode of time is a guide to tempo”. Tempo needs to be in a range to allow proper accent to be sounded. Gene Forbes said that forty years ago songs were sung slower than today. In southern Alabama they were sung slower than in northern Alabama. In the 1960s, the tempo speeded up. Raymond Hamrick has studied tempo over the years. The Sacred Harp Publishing Company brought out albums which were deliberately slower and clearer, and this may have resulted in the tempo slowing down. There is no single Sacred Harp tradition regarding tempo. Years ago, there were singings in every county and many more local all-day singings. People didn’t travel so far to sing. As local singings died out and people traveled further away, slow or fast singers influenced each other and tempos moderated. Then David spoke about the tempo of several tunes. Mt. Vernon, 110, is a dirge, but is sometimes sung very fast. One of the tunes sung on the Sacred Harp Publishing Company recording was 268; David’s Lamentation, on which “O my son” is slowed down. Jesus Rose, 156, is written in 2/4, but is led on Easter as though written in 2/2. Sing 532 at a rapid pace, but slow enough to sing the words clearly and retain good accenting. In a fugue, if one part (like the basses) tends to slow down, move toward them, make eye contact, and even sing that part to keep them on tempo. In 417, there is a difference in tempo between the first and second lines. Funeral Anthem, 320, has lots of changes of time which are often sung the same; the tempo should change with time changes, measure by measure. The final three measures are often slowed down.

At this point campers could choose from Ed Thacker’s class on The Bass Part or Jesse Pearlman Karlsberg’s The Time (and Keys)—They are a’Changing.

Jesse Pearlman Karlsberg noted that twenty songs in our book change tempo. Soar Away is the only fuguing tune which changes tempo. When there’s a change in time, there should be a change in tempo. Change tempo and arm movements at the moment when the time changes. Don’t lose or gain time, lag or anticipate. Jesse led 387; Penick, which changes from 4/4 to 3/2 to 6/8. Often there are rests when time changes, but not in this song. Note that the composer uses a broad bar for each time change. The composer uses all three modes of time in this song. It’s a real teaching moment. Consecration, 448t, moves from 6/4 to 3/4. Generally 6/4 is slower than 3/4, but the Rudiments say that tempo should be appropriate to words. The first part asks God to help; this part is usually sung faster than the second part. Anthems and odes change time a lot. Funeral Anthem, 320, contains the densest changes. Aldo Ceresa led it with no tempo changes; Kelly House led it, observing the changes; quite a difference! Jeff Sheppard led 250 and taught us how to fit in the word “gathered” on page 253 (?), top line. Sing it “ga-ther-ed” on 2 eighth notes, 2 eighth notes, and the first quarter note in next measure. Other tunes sung: 43, 227, 507, 545, 240, and 355.

Campers then enjoyed dinner and some free time before the evening singing in the chapel. Jeff Sheppard and David Ivey called the class to order leading 203, followed by a blessing by Michael Rich. Leaders: Kelly House 503; Cassie Allen and Angela Myers 300; Michael Walker 306; Xaris Martinez 74t; Martha Rogers 270; Wade Kotter 122; Judy Whiting 212; Eugene Forbes 496; Karen Ivey and Shelbie Sheppard 182; Stuart Ivey 287; Margaret Gillanders 318; Ruth Steggles 49b; Ted Brown 111b; Jesse Pearlman Karlsberg 153; Sandra Wilkinson 512; Helen Brown 542; Paul Wilson 501; Connie Stanton 466; Al McCready 84; Ann Mashchak 68b; Philippa Stoddard 383; Nancy Hogan 378b; Martha Beverly 131t; Maria Wallace 38b; Lois Badey 86; Bill Hogan 388 (for Uel Freeman); Tom Malone 358.

Wade Kotter then offered a devotional in which he told campers to watch the leader. The leadership qualities of Jesus are those which we should emulate for others, like our children, students, and friends, to whom we are leaders. Then campers had time to socialize and have some snacks before lights out.

Wednesday, June 17

Again, morning began with hiking, swimming, and singing from Lloyd’s Primitive Hymns followed by another hearty breakfast. Next, Kelly House taught Basic Rudiments and Judy Hauff taught Advanced Rudiments.

Judy Hauff told campers not to worry about leading. All the instructions you need are in the book. Read and learn what is in the Rudiments and follow that. Judy challenged us to use the session’s nurturing environment to try to improve our leading style. Maria Wallace and Patti Doss led 448t with its time change. Judy emphasized that they should complete beating the last measure of the 6/4 time and immediately begin the downbeat of the 3/4 time. Judy was asked whether the leader must bring in all the parts. Judy responded to do what you’re comfortable doing. Bring in the first part for fugues, usually the basses. Learn the tenor part for tunes you lead. Look through your tunebook before you leave your seat. Check what order the parts come into the fugue and be better prepared to bring them in. On 543; Judy reminded the class that fermatas equal 1-1/2 the value of the written note. On that last quarter note fermata, make a smaller gesture in order to resume proper beating. On the top of 544, the ritard ends with the bird’s eye, and then the faster tempo resumes. Richard Schmeidler reminded us that Shelbie Sheppard taught to use pointed finger to emphasize the individual notes during the ritard, and then resume normal beating where it speeds up. On 316 the fermata should be held for about two beats, then turn to the basses and firmly bring them in. Judy said the biggest problem with 188 is to avoid beginning it too fast; it should move along, but not too fast to get in the triplets. On 327 sing “youthful hart” on its eighth and sixteenth notes a bit like a light laugh. Regarding fugues Judy noted, “The altos are not second class citizens—bring them in, too!” Next was a recess with more delightful snacks and schmoozing. Then campers attended Aldo Ceresa’s class on the 1959 Alan Lomax Landmark Recording at Fyffe. Aldo told campers that this year is the fiftieth anniversary of the original recording at Corinth Church in Fyffe, Alabama. He passed out a packet containing photos, minutes and comments about the singing. Joyce (Smith) Walton attended that singing; her voice is on the 1977 version of the Fyffe singing. Joyce identified pictures in the packet. They are the same ones as in the recording. Then Joyce led 456. Mike Hinton spoke about R.E. “Bob” Denson and Ruth Denson Edwards, daughter of Tom Denson. Bob Denson was a Biblical scholar, son of Seaborn Denson, and he had a distinctive treble voice and sat on front bench, far left. He often prayed, bringing lots of tears, and didn’t use a book when leading. He lived into his 90s. Whitt Denson was there, too. He wrote 422 which Mike led. Mike said that in the documentary Awake My Soul, it was Joyce telling Uncle Bob that she had left her book at home. Uncle Bob replied to her, “That’s like going to the cotton field without your hoe.” Then Judy Caudle spoke about her grandfather L.E. Hopper who attended the Convention on Sunday. He was a singing school teacher. He sat in all the parts with the children to help them to learn the notes. He was a quiet man, a good listener. His favorite lunch was fried pie, either apple or peach. That’s all he ate. He said, if you eat a big lunch, you couldn’t sing as well. He had a distinctive voice when he sounded the chord: faw, foghorn-like, strong, steady tone to give the singers. He would rather sing than talk. Judy led 326, the song he led at the 1959 United Convention. Another person attending was only four years old then: David Ivey. Other current singers who attended are: Eloise (Ivey) Wootten, Jewel (Hullett) Wootten, and Reba Dell (Lacy) Windom. Alan Lomax really liked Sacred Harp. He first recorded it in 1942 on primitive equipment, and later returned to Fyffe, Alabama on Sand Mountain in 1959. In 1975 he contacted Buell Cobb and in June 1980 filmed a singing at Holly Springs. Matt Hinton has gained access to this material and a high quality audio tape of this session. Matt is also hoping to re-release the 1959 material. Marcus Cagle attended the 1959 Convention. Joyce Walton said Mr. Cagle would stomp his foot and let you know if he didn’t like the changes made by the leader. Steven Kick then said that these Lomax recordings were important to him when he found them during high school. He said we are blessed to be able to meet and sing with these leaders who attended, and form this connection to Sacred Harp history. Kelly House and Tim Erickson listened to this 1959 recording at the Amherst College music library. Western Massachusetts can trace its Sacred Harp history to that event.

Lunch followed with Connie Stanton giving the day’s devotional. Connie used the analogy of a stream to emphasize that we are all part of this tradition and together we need to practice and continue moving this tradition, a gift of grace, like a great stream flowing, towards the future. She led 31t in closing.

Then all campers gathered in the chapel to hear Tom Malone’s presentation, A Life of Faithful Service: Elmer Kitchens. Several of the Kitchens siblings attended the session. Tom also handed out a packet with some tunes by the Kitchens family. Tom told us that the first time he headed south, he met Sandra Wilkinson, who said that Elmer Kitchens had been her teacher. In November 2008; Tom met Sarah Beasley Smith in Nashville, and Elmer Kitchens had been her teacher, too. Tom said that we singers need to recognize these teachers and the gifts they have given us. In the Harpeth Valley Newsletter, 1962-64, articles about the Kitchen family called them “born Sacred Harp singers”. Tom led “Love” by Elmer Kitchens. He wrote it for Sherry Marie Donaldson whose parents were members at Mt. Pleasant Primitive Baptist Church. Sherry used a wheelchair and she loved to come to church. Her nickname was Punky; she died young. Kitchens’s Rocky Mount in the Alabama Christian Harmony is similar. Sandra Wilkinson spoke about Elmer Kitchens. Wilkinson was raised in a Primitive Baptist church. In 1949, she attended singing school with Herman Wilkinson, her cousin. In 1962, she brought Elmer Kitchens to Hardeman Primitive Baptist Church for a singing school. The tune Hardeman was written by the class with his leadership. She said he was so easy to be with; he was funny, and he really encouraged Sandra’s interest in singing. He had dreams and visions and some of his songs tried to capture poetry from these. In 1967, he sent her a Songs of Zion hymnbook, dedicated to Sandra’s grandfather who had passed away. In it he credited Sandra for the words to Hardeman and gave credit to the students for composing the tune. Then Tom Malone sang the tenor part of “Oh, Come with Me” and the class sang the words. Marlin Beasley told the class that he went to church one day to find Elmer Kitchens preaching and singing. Young Marlin was so moved that he joined the church that day. Marlin led 512 and speculated that some of Kitchens’s dreams and visions may be in the words to this song. Marlin said that he preached a great funeral, and connected well with others through being a teacher, preacher, and bricklayer. Judy Hauff led “Great Jehovah”. Elder J.L. Hopper spoke about Elmer Kitchens. He built driveways, churches, but also built singing classes and church congregations. He remembered his energetic manner when directing singing classes. Elder Hopper led “In Thy Praise”, then 181, a tune which Elmer Kitchens often led. S.T. Reed said that he almost lost a crop one year trying to learn 181. Shelbie Sheppard commented that Mary Kitchens Gardner, his sister, was one of the most graceful leaders she has seen. She didn’t use a book and led with both hands. Then Mary Kitchens Gardner led 196. Jean Wade, a sister of Elmer Kitchens’s, thanked Sandra and Tom and introduced her daughter, Joy, who is a singer. Then Elmer’s brother, Charles Kitchens told us that there were five boys and five girls in Elmer’s generation, Mary was the youngest. Charles served in Wwii in the Pacific for three years and was awarded the Silver Star. He led 179. Joy Jenkins led 358. Then Jean Wade and her husband led 47b. Elmer’s daughters, Jeddy Burnette, Jackie Share, Joy Jenkins, and Jean Wade led 45t and 274t. Tom Malone and Jerry Kitchens led 343, his father’s favorite song. In closing Tom Malone, Charles Kitchens, Sandra Wilkinson, and Joyce Walton led 568.

Next campers could take some time off for R&R or attend Henry Johnson’s class, Harmony-Tradition that Sets Sacred Harp Apart.

Henry Johnson began by saying that we all know that Sacred Harp is different. The most important difference is in the harmony. Harmony is based on concords and discords, of tension and resolution and of the progression through them. Some concords are: unison, third, fifth, sixth. B.F. White was very partial to the greater fourth. Dr. John Garst in his updating of the Rudiments does not include the fourth in conventional harmony. Discords include the second and seventh and side-by-side notes. Dispersed harmony makes use of frequent chord changes, tall chords where there is a distance between bottom and top notes, parts crossing one another, and polyphony in which the melody does not dominate overall. Early composers emphasized the fourth and fifth more than the third. Look at the chords in the Rudiments on page 22, left column. If you leave the middle note out, you have an open fifth. When asked what song gives the real flavor of what Sacred Harp is, Henry offered the following tunes: 47b, 159, 111b. He especially recommended 460 Sardis, 81t Beach Spring, and 383 Eternal Day.

More snacks and a chance to visit, followed by recreation or the last classes of this camp session: Jesse Pearlman Karlsberg’s Sacred Harp Composium, Susan Harcrow’s The Treble Part, David Ivey and Jeff Sheppard’s Discussion on the Future of Camp Fasola, or Judy Hauff’s The Front Bench.

Judy Hauff began by saying that the job of the front bench singers is to make sure that every leader gets as much as possible from the song they lead and to keep the class together. The front bench singers err if they take the song away from the leader or if they let the leader stumble or blow a repeat. The front bench’s job is to make the leader look good, regardless of his/her skills. The front bench needs to be a servant and assist the leader. All four front benches should be beating the time. From this point on, Judy spoke about all front bench singers, but with emphasis on the tenor front bench. At the beginning of every tune, singers on the front bench must make eye contact with the leader. Try to find out the leader’s skills and support him/her. If the leader is nervous or clueless and the class is not following well, the front bench singers still must support the leader. If it’s a train wreck, the front bench may have to stop the song. But it’s better to try to use front bench voices to keep things going, if possible. If the song must be stopped, say something to take the heat off the leader, like, “The class needs to wake up now” or “Let’s not drag this!” If the leader makes mistakes, divert any comments. If the leader can’t beat correctly, the front bench really needs to set the tempo with its own correct beating. Watch the leader’s mouth; sometimes the leader can’t beat time well, so determine what s/he wants by watching what s/he sings. The most seasoned front bench singers should sit on the center. All front bench tenors should beat the time so that the other three sections can easily see and duplicate this. Judy then modeled problems for the front bench to deal with. She sang correctly, but beat time twice as fast; the front benchers should watch her mouth and beat correctly, hoping that she would come around eventually. When a child leads, the front bench should try to establish friendly eye contact to help guide the child. Judy was asked what to do when the inexperienced or weak singers take front bench seats, especially on the tenor front bench. Judy suggested that the chair should announce before the first break, “We have some good singers here who are sitting on back benches. Let’s have some front bench rotation.” She also said that books could be left on front bench seats to “save” them, escorting strong leaders to these seats to guarantee a strong front bench. If the tenor section is weak because many strong singers are in the other sections and the singing is unbalanced as a result, the chair should encourage movement towards the tenor section. The chair and the front bench singers have an obligation to make the singing and each leader’s lesson successful, if possible.

Supper followed and many visitors arrived for the evening’s community singing in the chapel. David Ivey gave announcements and with Jeff Sheppard led 33b. Ricky Harcrow offered the blessing. Leaders: Michael Thompson, Aldo Ceresa, Judy Caudle 424 (for Loyd Ivey); Ian Quinn 163t; Les Doggrell 410 (t? b?); Mary Wright 148; Rick Foreman 75; Anne Eringa 142; Laurin Harrison 138b; Patti Doss and Judy Caudle 426t; Will Fitzgerald 96; Sandie Scott 77t; Carol Selleck 65; Josie Hyde 507; Buck Lea and Ellen Lea 347; Roger Keyes 49t; Geraldine Sharpton 452; Jonathon Smith 186; Travis Keeton 179; Joyce Walton 192; Zackary Sitter and Kevin Dyess 176t; Ricky Harcrow and Susan Harcrow 475; Judy Hauff and Danielle Dunbar 196; B.M. Smith 318; Shannon Primm 415; Warren Steel 392; Sharon Benefield and Karen Ivey 358; Gene Pinion 280; Blake Ferguson, Zeb Ferguson, and Michael Walker 134; Kristie Harju, Connie Stanton, and Martha Beverly 384; Judy Mincey and Karen Swenson 383; Kelly House, Mike Hinton, and Steven Kick 436; Chris Holley and Xaris Martinez 480; Tom Malone and Jeff Sheppard 439; Bonnie Davis and Janie Short 210; Pat Temple 473; Robert Stoddard and Philippa Stoddard 171; Wade Kotter and Robert Kelley 294; Andrew Mashchak and Ann Mashchak 503; Eddie Mash and Tom Ivey 189; Stuart Ivey, Eugene Forbes, and Idy Kiser 217; Judy Whiting and Chris Brown 441; Robert Stoddard and Elizabeth Stoddard 165; David Ivey and Maggie Johnston 45t.

Campers then socialized, snacked and sang until lights out.

Thursday, June 18

A final early morning gathering to sing from Lloyd’s, followed by breakfast and good-byes. Camp has offered the opportunity to learn much, to hone skills, to meet singers from around the world and build new friendships, to bond more deeply with this tradition and each other. Final words and hugs were shared, and then many campers moved on to Birmingham to sing at the National Sacred Harp Convention which begins this morning.

Shmha President—Jeff Sheppard; Camp Director—David Ivey; Secretary—Martha Beverly