Minutes of Sacred Harp Singings

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Camp Fasola 2012 Adult Session

Camp McDowell, near Double Springs, Alabama

June 10-13, 2012

Sunday, June 10

Arrival, Check-In, and Orientation

Arrival and check-in began at 4:00 p.m. for campers to receive room assignments, schedules, t-shirts, and name tags. Dinner was at 6:00 p.m. in Stough Dining Hall, followed by orientation at 6:45 p.m. in the Chapel. David Ivey opened orientation by welcoming campers to the tenth year of Camp Fasola. Campers present were from twenty-two to seventy-six years of age representing nineteen States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. David thanked Scott DePoy and Jeanette DePoy for organizing registration, Idy Kiser for making name buttons, and Lauren Bock for designing the camp t-shirts. David introduced the teachers, and reviewed the camp schedule.

Evening Singing

The Sunday evening singing was directed by Holy Comforter Lodge residents. The following officers served: Chairman—Les Sontag; Secretary—Rebecca Over; Arranging Committee—Zilpha Cornett and Pat Wilson. The opening prayer was offered by Holly Goettge.

Leaders: Les Sontag 30t; Rebecca Over 60; Jeff Begley 569t; Barb Patterson 86; Bill Hayes 452; SuNell Ellis 546; Cecelia Kramer 222; Martha Beverly 131t; Judy Caudle 343; Nathan Rees 360; Daniel Lee 328; Patti Sontag 178; Idy Kiser 32t; Ginnie Ely 377; Robert Kelley 171; Angela Myers 142; Richard Schmeidler 287; David Ivey 556; Dan Comstock 81t; Eddie Mash 448t; Jenna Bond Tompkins 278t; Jesse Pearlman Karlsberg 428; Mike Hinton 34t; Dan Harper 268; Theresa Westmoreland 460; Jonathon Smith 314; Judy Mincey 510. The evening devotional was presented by SuNell Ellis. Thanks and closing remarks were made by David Ivey, and the class was dismissed.

Monday, June 11

Every day there are lessons, electives, opportunities for recreation or relaxation, recess periods with snacks, and an evening class singing, along with opportunities to socialize.


7:00 a.m. Campers could choose to hike, swim, or sing on the Pradat porch. Breakfast followed at 8:00 a.m.

Lesson: Rudiments I/ Basics

9:00a.m. Robert Kelley introduced himself and led 49t. He talked about early singing of hymns in churches. Hymns are poems of praise intended for worship services, such as 289. Robert said that shape notes were used after the year 1800 and discussed the progression of singing shape notes and the itinerant teachers that went from place to place to teach people how to sing. “Harp” books were published in the 1830’s to 1840’s. The class was provided with a handout outlining the organization of The Sacred Harp, 1991 Edition. The Sacred Harp consists of many types of songs; hymns, anthems, fuging tunes, and others. The class practiced singing the major scales (lighter, happier) and the minor scales (somber, deeper). Robert explained the three aspects of music, melodics, rhythmics, and dynamics. The class reviewed the seven modes of time, the speeds of the modes, and the speed relationships to the modes of time. Accent falls under the third department of music in the rudiments. Robert stated that in FaSoLa singing we change the dynamics within each measure according to the stress of the text and the mode of time. Some general principles to follow on accent are the primary accent happens when your hand is starting down and the secondary accent happens when your hand is starting up. Accent is not about hitting notes hard, it is about relative stress. Your singing should be smooth and never choppy or violent. William Walker says that accent binds together time, text and dynamics to give the music the greatest breadth and depth of emotional power. Robert gave the class two primary goals when beginning to sing, and that is to sing shapes correctly and keep time correctly. Later, set another goal to sing the words correctly, giving reverence to the words.

Lesson: Rudiments I / Advanced

9:00 a.m. Dan Brittain opened the class by leading 48t. The class was given the handout, “A Brief Guide to Singing from The Sacred Harp... with Particular Attention to Tradition”. Dan said we need to always respect the local traditions at singings. Current tradition has the leader using one song for their lesson. Smaller singings sometimes follow the two-song custom. Usually, only one or two verses are sung, unless it is a short song. Refrains and fuging sections in a song are normally repeated on the notes and on the last verse. This permits the singing of more songs and using many leaders. The class sang 313b and 138t. On anthems, one often omits singing the notes. Singing the notes can also be omitted during the memorial lesson. Dan told the class about the three modes on time in the Sacred Harp. Time signatures also indicate tempo. The three modes of time are Common, Compound, and Triple time. There are some regional variations in speed, but most do not go to extremes. Sacred Harp does not teach leading in four beats. Dan said that beating in four takes the pulse out of the song. Older books had specific speeds for each time signature. The class sang 360 demonstrating that there are some exceptions to the general rules for speed. The class discussed 34t, 376, 73t, and 481 to point out how accent is used in different speeds. Dan led 341 showing how it starts differently, and also led and discussed 111t, 45t and 40.

Elective: Singing Favorites with Elder J.L. Hopper

10:45a.m. Judy Caudle introduced her father, J. L. Hopper, and shared stories about what it was like growing up with him. Elder Hopper began by telling the story of when he was four years old, and his grandfather gave him a nickel for learning 76 (t? b?) “Holiness”. The class sang 76t with Elder Hopper leading. Another story told by Elder Hopper was that when he was a small child, he would be put on a small table so he could be seen by the class. An older man, whom everybody called Uncle Jack, attended singings. Uncle Jack was a very enthusiastic leader! The time came when Elder Hopper announced that he did not want to be put upon a table to lead because he wanted to be able to run around the square like Uncle Jack! The class sang 534 and 112. Elder Hopper told that Doddridge thought Copernicus may have written the words to “The Last Words of Copernicus”, explaining his own conversion to Christianity from polytheism. The class sang 161. Elder Hopper admonished the class to always sing so people can understand the words. The class sang the following favorites: 269, 196, 369, 143, and 543. He thanked the class for their attendance, and then dismissed them.

Elective: Dinner on the Ground

1:00 p.m. Karen Ivey asked, which is it, dinner on the ground or dinner on the grounds? It is a personal preference on what it is called. Dinner at a singing is very important, and is an integral part of the singing itself. In the old days, dinner time at a singing was the primary time to be social, and is definitely a time for fellowship, even now. It is also a time to replenish and be fortified for the afternoon singing. Singing is hard work, and food is needed. Karen talked further about how cooking for a singing includes a unique set of skills. There is even an art to placing food on the table! Certain people have a specific place to put their food. Karen shared how influential her mother-in-law, Marie Ivey, was in passing this tradition on to her. There are some rules to follow in preparing food for a singing; do not be late, be organized, cook too much rather than not enough, always take utensils, and cook fresh for day two of a singing. Karen said it is usually not a good sign if your food is not eaten, and the older established cooks will surely take note! Over many years of cooking food for singings, Karen has seen an evolution towards preparing more healthy dishes. There are numerous options now to find and prepare healthier food. Food is also purchased and even catered sometimes. Karen offered practical suggestions like making a list of what you want to make ahead of time, your grocery list, and what dishes you will need. Transporting food to a singing can be difficult when needing to keep food hot or cold. Karen provided a display of various sized baskets, dishes, utensils, and inexpensive items to transport food. You can create two layers in a basket or cooler by using inexpensive cutting boards. Karen covered hers in contact paper. For glass lids, Karen demonstrated using rubber bands wrapped around the top handle to the side handle of the glass lid to keep it in place. There are many items made to keep dishes hot, but Karen said that her best solution found to keeping food hot was to simply wrap your dish in a thick towel, and it also can be used to wedge your dishes in your basket or cooler to keep them from sliding around. The remaining time in the class was spent making two chocolate punch bowl cakes for the evening meal, and making cookbooks with favorite “dinner on the ground” recipes.

Elective: New Prospects: Innovative Sacred Harp Sounds 1960-1991

1:00 p.m. Robert Kelley gave the class a handout about newly composed songs from the 1960 and 1991 revisions that took dispersed harmony in new directions. Robert talked about the elements that distinguish the different composers’ music. The class sang 512, and Robert pointed out that the lyrics were taken directly from scripture. The tenor line crossing the bass line happened every now and then before 1959, but became common practice between 1959 and 1991. The class sang 462, and the discord on the fermata (or bird’s eye) with the “mi” in the treble was highlighted. Robert said that A.M. Cagle was possibly the most influential Sacred Harp composer of the twentieth century, and that he was influenced by western classical music and harmony. This style can be found in 549. Cagle worked with a community of other composers. Their songs include a tall sound with the tonic commonly in the bass. Raymond Hamrick’s style and discords adapts the text to fit his musical ideas more loosely. Hugh McGraw also wrote songs in this style and was influenced by gospel. His songs also have Denson rhythms and few discords. Other tall sounding songs are 347, 464, 521, 507 and 573. Where did these composers get this sound from? The answer is from older composers, such as the Reese brothers, Billings, and Swan. Robert talked about “song gifting” in Sacred Harp. Song gifting is when a song is named after someone respected, or putting their name as the composer. The song 354t was credited to Denton, but was written after Denton died. McGraw helped write the harmony on 77b. Robert went over some songs with sinewy or ultra-dispersed harmony. In 485, the song ends with an open fifth, 504 is a tribute song, 372 and 505 have a lot of empty chords showing ultra-dispersed harmony. Songs with discords, closer harmony, and accent-centered or unusual chords were examined by the class. Examples of this are found in 464, 506, and 573. Robert explained the term Sacred Harp Fauxbourdon. This is when the third is found in the bass. The term Bass Sequent means the bass has fled, not the bass anymore. Examples of this are found in 462 and 512.

Lesson: The Memorial Lesson

2:10 p.m. Karen Rollins gave the class a handout outlining the definition, importance, history, and method of a memorial lesson. Karen said that a memorial lesson is a time to remember and think of those who are not with us. It is a unique period of time at a singing. Karen referred to Kiri Miller’s definition (“Traveling Home: Sacred Harp Singing and American Pluralism”): “a ritualized lament that involves tears, laughter, stories, and reflection.” The memorial lesson normally falls at the same place in a singing as a sermon falls in a Protestant worship service. It is important to honor those who have gone before us and honored this tradition. We sing songs of grief and love, and often associate certain songs with certain leaders as we sing. It causes us to confront our own mortality. Memorial lessons are a Sacred Harp tradition dating back to the oldest Sacred Harp convention in 1852 up to present day. In 1903, there were no deceased names listed at the Chattahoochee Convention. A Memorial Committee is usually appointed. No one volunteers to do a memorial lesson. Sign-up sheets are placed in a conspicuous location for the names of the deceased and the sick and shut-ins from the past year. Usually, two people will be asked to do a memorial lesson. One person reads the names for the sick and shut-ins and leads a song. One person reads the names of the deceased and leads a song. A memorial lesson lasts about ten to fifteen minutes total time. Topics can vary from life, death, grief, family, memories, and tradition. Following the lecture, an actual memorial lesson was held.

Lesson: How to Beat the Seven Modes of Time / Basics

3:30 p.m. David Ivey began the class referring to pg. 14 of the rudiments, highlighting points two and three. The top number in a mode of time is the number of notes in a measure; the bottom number is the type of note. In the common mode of time, the first beat is always downward and the second beat is the upbeat. When you have a three beat measure, your arm goes down halfway, then the rest of the way down, and then all the way up. Always start with the down beat and the hand always ends at the top. David said keeping time is like fingerprints, no one does it exactly the same. The class went over 2/2, 4/4, and 2/4 time. The class was shown and practiced 3/2 and 3/4 time. Compound time (6/4 and 6/8) is a combination of common and triple time. David explained that older rudiments suggested a certain amount of seconds for each mode of time, but we currently use relative speed that is stylized by the individual. David quoted Cagle saying time is very important. The best rule is to be reasonable and keep proper accent. The most commonly used mode of time is 4/4. The class looked at 569b for an example of triple time. David expressed that some 3/4 songs are better slower and some are better faster. He referenced 131b for an example of 6/8 time. Regarding time change within a song, the class looked at 43 and 448t. David told the class to always have your hand at the top when there is a time change, and recommended beating time while sitting to practice staying with the leader and build body memory. Singers are most tolerant of those who are not so accomplished on the notes, but staying in time is more important! The class was asked to observe other leaders and recommended sitting with someone more experienced to help improve. David’s final remarks to the class were to make every effort to lead smoothly and keep proper time.

Lesson: Leading and Bringing in Parts/Intermediate

3:30 p.m. Judy Caudle introduced herself as a fourth generation Sacred Harp singer. She stated that the part you bring in first on any song is called the lead part and the lead part is determined by the song you choose. When bringing in parts, Judy recommended using your voice to bring in the lead part, as well as your hand, and to be aware of your feet so as not to stumble while moving in the square. To demonstrate leading and bringing in parts, Judy led 155. Judy shared how she communicates what she wants from the class without saying anything. She said that the leader can communicate in the square by their actions and body language. Class members led songs, bringing in parts with questions and recommendations as needed. Leaders: Rebecca Over 177; Leon Pulsinelle 168; David Brodeur 475; Daniel Lee 373; Jonathan Wood and Andrew Mashchak 276; Judy Mincey 538; Ginnie Ely 196; Eddie Mash 344; Gillian Inksetter 474.

Judy’s final recommendation to the class was, if you ever lose your place while leading, keep beating time until you find your place again. The class will continue to sing as long as your hand keeps moving.

Elective: Arranging Committee

4:45 p.m. Jesse Pearlman Karlsberg spoke about how important the Arranging Committee is to a singing. Arranging directly affects the flow of a singing and being on an Arranging Committee is a great way to contribute to a singing. Good arranging takes a great deal of pride and attention to detail. Jesse said there should be three goals to have on an Arranging Committee: ensure that all people get to lead; make sure people leave happy; make the singing good. To serve on an Arranging Committee, members need to know about the Sacred Harp singers that are present, where they are from, how they lead, and what type of song they usually lead. A good idea is to refer to the minutes from the previous year for information. Pronounce names loudly, clearly, and correctly. Make the leader cards simple to fill out. Being on the Arranging Committee can be stressful because one must remain aware of what is happening during the singing. The peak energy time of a singing is usually one hour before lunch and one hour after lunch. Use the local leaders to warm-up the class; however, if a large number of visitors are present, local folks can be left out, if needed. The chairman does not have to lead first, and can turn over the singing to the Arranging Committee. Try to spread out family members and church members throughout the day and space out your leaders by gender. Be aware of relationships that may be present, such as ex-wives or ex-husbands. Honor lifelong singers that are present. Thank all the leaders at the end of the day.

Elective: Keying Music

4:45 p.m. David Ivey asked the class members why they were in keying class. The main reason people learn how to key is often out of necessity. David said to key is something a person must practice and learn oneself, but he would give some basics to help start. On pg. 17, Chapter III, of the Rudiments, the main goal of keying is found. It says to key or pitch so everyone can sing comfortably for the song to sound good. David said listening is the most important part of learning to key. Listen to others who key and decide if it was the best it could be or not. Listening to recordings is also helpful. Knowing the scale really well is absolutely essential to learning how to key. The tonic is the starting point. Of the major keys you will have a lot of A, B, C, F, G. There are not as many songs to key in D and E. Tone memory is something keyers develop. Those are notes they remember that work for a specific key. David suggested using a song that is a typical key, get it in your head, and use it for other songs as well. A good example of F major is 37b. Practicing keyers were Dan Comstock 81t; Jonathon Wood 37b; Leon Pulsinelle 47t; Rebecca Over 144; Daniel Lee 346; Ann Mashchak 163b.

Class Singing

7:30 p.m. led by St. Mary’s Lodge residents. The Chairman led 75 to bring the class to order. The opening prayer was offered by Dan Brittain. Leaders: Wendy Futral 569b; Dan Brittain 302; David Brodeur 472; Leon Pulsinelle 430; Ann Mashchak 163b; Buell Cobb 303; Caleb Dillehay 339; Annalise Perone 410t; Jonathon Wood 76t; Bea Carnathan and Zilpha Cornett 568; Andrew Mashchak 170; Charlotte Ehrman 365; Karen Ivey 506; Jonathon Smith 187; Patti Sontag 217; Mike Hinton 418; Martha Beverly 436; Jesse P. Karlsberg 167; Les Sontag 178; Barb Patterson 384; Dan Harper 209; Judy Caudle 564; Daniel Lee 47b; Chairman 147t. The devotional was given by Joann Wart. The class singing was followed by an Ice Cream Social.

Tuesday, June 12


7:00 a.m. Campers could choose to hike, swim, or sing on the Pradat porch. Breakfast followed at 8:00 a.m.

Lesson: Rudiments II / Advanced

9:00 a.m. Dan Brittain began the class leading 52b, 183, and 291. Tunes with tempo changes were discussed, and the class sang 417 to demonstrate a time change. June Mincey led 43 and Judy Caudle led 329. Dan Brittain led 387 to show how to keep a constant pulse throughout time changes. The class sang 301 as an example of a song with three time changes. Theresa Westmoreland led 486 and 455. Caleb Dillehay led 98. Dan talked about fermatas and some tricks about them and led 96 and 149. Ginnie Ely led 376. Dan led 34t, showing the tradition of leading this song slowly in the manner which T.H. Ross led it. Dan Brittain closed the class leading 35, 385b, and 399b.

Elective: Sacred Harp Harmony and Style

10:45 a.m. Dan Brittain provided the class with a handout and stated that he was going to present his personal opinions and we should not take them as the only word on the subject of Harmony and Style in the Sacred Harp. Dan said that we do not necessarily perform; we sing and write this music for the enjoyment of it. There are specific harmonic or style trends in Sacred Harp, such as each part has its own melody. Parallel harmony is not forbidden. Strong accent and breathing points are not necessarily where one would expect and regional variations do exist. Dan said his personal preference is the raised sixth is always used in minor and that written accidentals indicating the raised sixth are ignored, except for those added by the composer. Among Sacred Harp writers, Dan shared that Breedlove, Dumas, King, and the Reese brothers were those that had the greatest influence on him. Regarding stylistic issues, Breedlove’s and Dumas’s songs have a strong sense of melody and parts fit together well; Dumas uses rhythmic contrasts shown in 329; E.J. King, especially for his treble writing; H.S. Reese for his sense of rhythm in 278b (it has one of the few tri-tones in a chord that is not part of the melodic and rhythmic writing); in addition, the shifting parallels in 375 and 383, and his melodies and harmonies in 417. Theresa Westmoreland led 34t, with Dan noting the parallel between the tenor and treble. Leaders: Gillian Inksetter 288; Eddie Mash 329; Daniel Lee 278b; Judy Mincey 337; Dan Comstock 123b; Jeff Begley 419.

Elective: History of the Denson Family

10:45 a.m. Frances Robb was introduced as a descendent of the Denson family. She told the class that this is the story of the Densons, a Sacred Harp family of north Alabama.

Its patriarchs, Seaborn Denson and Thomas Denson, were sons of Levi Philips Denson, a farmer and part-time Methodist minister from a musical family that traces its roots to 17th century Virginia. Levi’s uncle, James Denson, composed “Christmas Anthem” for the 1844 Sacred Harp. Levi served in the U.S. Cavalry in the 1830’s Indian Wars, married Julia Ann Jones, also from a musical family, and moved from Georgia to recently opened Indian lands in Alabama about 1839. They lived near Arbacoochee, not far from the Georgia border. Levi bought some farmland, not very fertile, but with its own gold mine. Levi sang Sacred Harp. As a devout Methodist and part-time Methodist minister, he believed that music is a central element of worship, connecting worshippers directly to the divine.

The Denson boys worked on the farm and mined gold, a backbreaking activity for little reward. Both learned Sacred Harp at home. In 1878, Thomas, almost 16, led a lesson at the prestigious Chattahoochee Sacred Harp Convention in nearby Georgia. That year, he met Seaborn’s wife’s sister, Amanda, at a Sacred Harp singing, and they married very soon after. Their major recreation was making music at home and attending Sacred Harp singings. For the Densons, Sacred Harp music expressed their genuine religious feeling and innate musicality, and it was an antidote to hard lives, cultural isolation, and economic uncertainty.

By 1890, Thomas and Seaborn were teaching Sacred Harp and developing quick, effective teaching methods. Teaching singing schools and being recognized as master song leaders gave them public status. Singing, leading, and teaching required focus and concentration, and obliterated the stresses of the world outside the hollow square.

In 1889, Levi died. The farm was sold and the family dispersed. In 1896, Seaborn and Thomas moved in ox-drawn wagons to Winston County, Alabama, where new lands had opened. Settling near Helicon, they farmed and taught Sacred Harp. Thomas owned about 500 acres; each year he spent the farm’s profits on traveling to singings.

In 1933, Thomas Jackson Denson organized the Sacred Harp Publishing Company, buying the rights to the 1911 song book, and starting a new edition. When Tom and Seab died, the new edition was not quite complete. Tom’s son, Paine, oversaw The Original Sacred Harp, Denson Revision, through the press. This 1936 publication was a necessary condition for the spread of Sacred Harp music across America. But another major reason for the broadening appreciation of Sacred Harp, are the recordings made in Birmingham, Alabama, in August, 1942, for the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., which has distributed them widely ever since. The small fees given to each song leader ($150 in all) were turned over to Paine Denson to help pay for a monument to Seaborn Denson and Thomas Jackson Denson on the courthouse lawn in Double Springs, Winston County, Alabama.

The story of the north Alabama Densons is a typical American story. But the Densons also crafted a distinctive identity as musicians and teachers. When they stood within the hollow square to lead a song, taught singing schools, and published the Denson Revision of the Original Sacred Harp song book, they were continuing a serious and complex music with a substantial history. And individual Densons were strengthening themselves for challenges outside the hollow square. Thanks to the Densons and to all of you who sing and teach Sacred Harp today, this proud tradition endures.

Lesson: Leading Workshop / Basics

3:30 p.m. Cassie Allen, Jesse Pearlman Karlsberg, and Judy Caudle conducted this class. Jesse spoke on being prepared before you lead your song. He said to know which song you want to lead before being called and also, have in mind how many verses and repeats you would like to do. He suggested making a list of songs to lead in case your intended song gets used. Announce your song number loudly and clearly. Cassie spoke about hand and arm position while leading. Cassie said to hold your leading arm slightly to the side of your body instead of to the front making it more visible to the altos. Your leading arm needs to move from shoulder to waist. The remaining time was used for practice. Leaders: Zilpha Cornett 480; Rachel Trapp 159; Bill Hayes 503; Lincoln Richardson 73b; Pat Wilson 38b; Rebecca Over 318; Ann Mashchak 312b; Lester Sontag 178; Barb Patterson 230; Patti Sontag 40; Dan Comstock 63; Cecelia Kramer 383.

Lesson: Rudiments / Accent

3:30 p.m. Robert Kelley explained accent in a song is giving emphasis with your voice, and that accent is always present whether in words or music. Melody determines timing, but words or poetry determines accent. Robert reviewed pg. 20, chapters 6 and 7 of the Rudiments. To demonstrate accent according to the number of syllables of the text in the measure, Robert led 501. Using proper accent, the class sang 287, and was dismissed.

Class Singing

7:30 p.m. led by Mullen Lodge residents. The following officers served: Chairman—Ginnie Ely; Secretary—Richard Schmeidler.

Ginnie Ely called the class to order and led 34b. The opening prayer was offered by Barb Patterson. Leaders: Lincoln Richardson 276; Zilpha Cornett 480; Lela Crowder 274t; Rebecca Over 381; Gillian Inksetter 330b; William Hayes 277; Daniel Lee 448t; Cecelia Kramer 383; Eddie Mash 37t; Idy Kiser 385b; Dan Brittain 425; Rachel Trapp 159; Theresa Westmoreland 455; Nathan Rees 387; Annalise Perone 448b; Jonathan Wood 107; Dan Comstock 63; Caleb Dillehay 280; Ann Mashchak 312t; David Brodeur 454; Leon Pulsinelle 522; Charlotte Ehrman 157; Robert Kelley 71; Jenna Tompkins 122; Lester Sontag 457; Judy Mincey 301. Ginnie Ely led 313t as the closing song. The devotional was given by Dan Harper.

Wednesday, June 13

Lesson: Rudiments III / Basics

9:00 a.m. Robert Kelley began by having the class practice intervals from a handout. There are many repetitive intervals in Sacred Harp songs. Practicing intervals helps to memorize the more common ones, and it helps improve sight reading; however, most people find they need more practice in the minor intervals. Repeats in songs were discussed and whether they are optional or not. Repeats are required in songs when there are two lines of words, and if a repeat is in the middle of a song. A repeat at the end of a song is optional.

Robert reviewed ties and slurs. He explained that a tie is a curved line spanning notes of the same pitch, while a slur spans a combination of notes of different pitches. In both cases, one syllable of the poetry is applied to all of the notes of the group.

Robert said there are many types of songs found in the Sacred Harp, and went over some of them, referring to the Rudiments, pg. 23. The different types include plain hymns, odes and anthems, set pieces, psalms, spiritual songs, and fuguing tunes.

Robert gave the class some of his own general observations in relation to Sacred Harp music. All parts start on proper pitch without being too high or too low for the class; start on the correct sound to avoid confusion and discord; do not sing louder than the leader; all parts need to be heard; imitate the leader’s style; do not sing too loud or too long; quicker notes should be sung quieter; swell your voice on the longer notes; when tenor is below bass, augment the tenor; put volume in the lower notes, not higher; practice new songs slowly; never lag in the fuging sections—they need a slight pick-up; pronounce the words distinctly and properly; choice notes should be sung by at least one third of the class on the top note.

Lesson: Rudiments III / Advanced

9:00 a.m. Dan Brittain started the class by having them sing the minor scale from pg. 19 of the Rudiments. To demonstrate the raised sixth, Dan led 183 and 180. For a fun exercise, a copy of “Call John” was passed out to the class. This song used to be in the 1911 Edition of the Sacred Harp, and was commonly used in singing classes. For more singing exercises, Dan used 24t, 24b, and 25. The class sang 193, and was dismissed.

Elective: Songs of P. Dan Brittain

1:00 p.m. Dan provided the class with a music packet of twelve of his compositions. Martha Beverly led 472 named for Eugene Akin of Carrollton, Georgia. Dan led 313b named for Buell Cobb. Dan said that “Cobb” was sung at the resonant National Cathedral in the Crypt Chapel. Ginnie Ely led 481. Dan asked the class to sing it in 2/2, picking it up slightly on the fugue. Dan said he originally wrote it in 2/2 and then changed it to 4/4. The song “Garden State” was originally written in 3/2, but Dan felt it needed a compound feel to it. His song “Iowa” is published in the Missouri Harmony. This song moves along more than “Garden State” does. “Iowa” has also been used for a Civil War re-enactment in a church service. Dan named “Beard” for his good friend, Kelly Beard. Dan likes the 2/2 at the end very slow. This song is in the Sacred Harper’s Companion. “Kittery” was written by Billings and arranged by P. Dan Brittain. “Steel”, from the Missouri Harmony, was named for Warren Steel. It was first sung at the Potomac River Convention. It has a combined text of “Winter” and “Edom”. “Maquoketa” is taken from Psalm 104, which talks about the great Leviathan. The scaly monsters are painted by all the parts doing the scales. It was written for the Iowa State Convention. “Cowling” is named for choirmaster, Doug Cowling, who posted the lyrics, and Dan thought they were neat! “Blessed Hope” was taken from “September Psalms”. The first setting was from Psalm 130, about waters up to my neck, followed by Psalm 121, where there is always hope in the Lord. “Redding” is named for Loyd Redding, who is buried at Holly Springs. Bruce Randall collaborated with Dan on this one. You can see the changes in style between the two composers. “Pohick” is difficult to key because it starts on a non-tonic chord. The class enjoyed this special time with this gifted composer and learning more about his songs.

Elective: Sacred Harp and the Silver Screen

1:00 p.m. Lela Crowder provided the class with a handout containing the context of four motion picture films that used Sacred Harp songs in them. Many are surprised to learn that Sacred Harp songs have been the background music in several movies. Some of the films featured in the class were familiar and some were not so familiar. Lela showed film clips and the class listened to see if they recognized the Sacred Harp tunes in each clip.

The film Geronimo includes tunes “Beach Spring”, “Restoration”, “Bound for Canaan”, and “Oh Come Away”. The film Arsenic and Old Lace (Frank Capra, 1944) plays the Sacred Harp tune “Happy Land” at the end of the movie. The Ladykillers, a 1955 British comedy, starring Alec Guinness, inspired the remake of The Ladykillers by the Coen brothers, which uses the Sacred Harp tune “Weeping Mary”. In the waning days of the American Civil War, a wounded soldier embarks on a perilous journey back home to Cold Mountain, North Carolina, to reunite with his sweetheart. Sacred Harp songs featured in this film, well known to Sacred Harp singers, are “Idumea”, “I’m Going Home”, and “Wayfaring Stranger”. Cold Mountain, the film, was based on Cold Mountain, the book, by Charles Frazier.

Lesson: Questions Not Yet Answered Panel Discussion

2:10 p.m. Teacher Panel: Dan Brittain, Judy Caudle, Buell Cobb, David Ivey

Question: In a singing where the balance is off, for example, the tenor is too weak and the treble is too strong, what do you do?

Answer: Ask people to move to a different part, and try to get balance that way.

Question: I would like to know of a good technical music person to help me improve my sight reading.

Answers: a) There is no secret to sight reading, other than practice; b) Learn and master the scales; c) Look at the note groups and patterns in Logan, Melancholy Day, and other songs that use patterns over and over.

Question: Is it a “sing” or a “singing”?

Answer: a) There are regional differences. To those of us who grew up in the South; a “sing” sounds too abrupt, “singing” sounds better. Sing is a later term, but both are acceptable. b) A “sing” will never appear in the minutes book; it will always be a “singing”.

Question: I am from central Florida, and am trying to start a group. How do we improve our skills without skillful people around?

Answer: a) Some groups have gotten a grant from their county to host a singing school. Some, in Alabama, have gone to the Alabama State Council on the Arts and received money to support singing schools. Check within your local area for organizations such as an arts council, who may provide some financial support to host a singing school. b) Have weekly practice meetings to help new singers.

Question: How do you think Sacred Harp has changed the most?

Answer: a) Local singings are now moving out of the immediate area and people drive a hundred miles or more to sing. There is also a mixture of ways to sing and different tempos; b) Singings are more limited to where you can go; smaller singings are joining larger ones; c) The quality of the singing itself has changed, in part, from people singing from so many different areas; d) The singers were more in tune with one another decades ago and seemed to listen to each other better than we do today; e) Singers used to be called down on the spot if they were not leading correctly; that doesn’t happen today.

Question: Can someone on the panel comment about who was important in teaching you?

Answer: Dan Brittain recalled his first singing with Kelly Beard, who introduced himself at the Chattahoochee Convention, and introduced Dan to all of the singers. He named Loyd Redding and Jim Ayers. He learned from them to sing exactly as it is written and to pay attention to those around him. Buell Cobb named the Smith sisters. The most beautiful leading he had ever seen was Merle Jones leading 430.

Question: I am concerned about the preservation of the Sacred Harp Museum. What is being done to bring everything up to date?

Answer: Many things are currently going on at the Museum. A lot of digitization is taking place, making information more accessible.

Question: What is your opinion about leading and styles?

Answers: a) For beginners, just get up and lead. We are thrilled for those leading for the first, second, or third time. Communicate to the class what you are planning to do. b) Leading is an opportunity to display your individual style. c) Keep eye contact and do not be impatient. Do something you are comfortable doing.

Elective: Leading Workshop / Basics

3:30 p.m. Jesse P. Karlsberg opened the class by asking for volunteers to lead. Each volunteer was observed, then given assistance and instruction by the teachers, if needed. Leaders: Lincoln Richardson 228; Ann Mashchak 99; Leon Pulsinelle 270; Rachel Trapp 479; Martha Beverly 550; Pat Wilson 324; Daniel Lee 171; Lester Sontag 276; Rebecca Over 417. Jesse dismissed the class with praise for improvement!

Elective: Pentatonic Tunes and the Gapped Scale

4:30 p.m. Henry Johnson provided the class with a list of major, minor, and “almost” pentatonic songs from the 1991 Edition of The Sacred Harp. Henry stated that out of the roughly one hundred and sixty pentatonic songs, seventy-three are major, ten are minor, and the rest are “almost”. To compare, Henry referred to 230 as a song that is not pentatonic. The class discussed what the effect might have been for composers leaving out the half tones. A song that is pentatonic is 34t. It is a four part song, and all the parts were written by one composer. There was further discussion about songs ending in open chords. More songs that were discussed and observed were 153, 152, 390, 101t, 204, 73t, 70b, and 566.

Community Singing

7:00 p.m. led by Stough Lodge residents. The devotional was held at lunch time. Dan Comstock and Ann Mashchak conducted the devotional.

The following officers served: Chairman—Martha Beverly; Arranging Committee—David Broduer, Mike Hinton, and Daniel Lee; Chaplain—Jonathon Wood; Secretary—William Hayes.

The singing was called to order by Martha Beverly. She welcomed the guests, led 472, and acknowledged the composer, Dan Brittain. The opening prayer was offered by Jonathan Wood.

Leaders: Lincoln Richardson 313b; Theresa Westmoreland 455; Cecelia Kramer 47b; Rebecca Over 101t; Jonathan Wood 112; Mark Davis 291; Eddie Mash and Rob Kelley 144; Rachel Trapp 479; Barb Patterson 230; Zilpha Cornett 358; Eugene Forbes and Idy Kiser 434; Dan Harper 300; Shelbie Sheppard, David Ivey, and Karen Ivey 192; Cassie Allen and the Camp McDowell staff 299; Natalie Davis 400; Lela Crowder and Kate Coxon 277; SuNell Ellis 35; Leon Pulsinelle 444; Jeff Sheppard 72t; Wendy Futral 340; Jesse P. Karlsberg 411.


The class was brought back to order by David Brodeur leading 46. Leaders: Pam Nunn 224; Emily Burleson 448b; Linda Sides and Matthew Sides 215; Warren Steel 360; Ann Mashchak and Andrew Mashchak 206; Caleb Dillehay 182; Daniel Lee and William Hayes 131b; Judy Caudle 236; Daniel Comstock 154; Ken Tate 114; Richard Schmeidler 155; Jeff Begley and Les Sontag 135; Nathan Rees 380; Charlotte Ehrman 549; Karen Ivey, Annalise Perone, and Gillian Inksetter 464; Ann Jett 319; Bea Carnathan 341; Judy Mincey and Joann Ward 33b; Richard Mauldin and Mike Hinton 43 (for Josie Hyde); Angela Myers 108b; Ginnie Ely 228; Jenna Tompkins 278b; Jonathon Smith 189. Announcements were made. Martha Beverly led 347 as the closing song. Jonathan Wood offered the closing prayer, and the class was dismissed.

Camp was dismissed Thursday morning following 7:00 a.m. breakfast.

SHMHA President—Jeff Sheppard; Camp Director—David Ivey