Minutes of Sacred Harp Singings

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Oliver Kindig-Stokes Memorial Singing

York Friends Meeting House, York, Pennsylvania

Saturday, April 27, 2019

The 4th annual Oliver Kindig-Stokes Memorial Singing (12th annual York All-Day Singing) was held at York Friends Meeting House in York, Pennsylvania, on Saturday before the fourth Sunday in April. Sasha Hsuczyk called the class to order by leading 303. Ruth Wampler offered the opening prayer. The following officers and committees were elected or appointed to serve: Chairman—Sasha Hsuczyk; Secretary—Colleen Hayes; Treasurer—Ruth Wampler; Arranging Committee—Joel Bassett.

Sasha Hsuczyk welcomed everyone and gave opening remarks. Leaders: Colleen Hayes 406; Joel Bassett 123b; Jim Griffin 49t; Elizabeth Patton 30t; Lamar Matthew 31t; Joyce Forry 354b; Jeff Shenk 142; Anna Melton 421; Thomas Ward 201; Barbara Hohenstein 176b; Harry Scott 485; Hollie Long 527; Guy Bankes 444; Doron Henkin 439; Sandy Cryder 39t; Yona Hunter 345b.


Hayden Arp called the class back to order by leading 111t. Leaders: Nancy Tkacs 474; Leon Pulsinelle 197; Len VanderJagt 270; Tom Stokes 402; Laura Densmore 542; Jesse Beller 209; Katy Hunter 347 (in memory of Concetta Branson); Keillor Mose 48t; Barb VanderJagt 155; Dan Miksiewicz 70b; Sara Lott 187; Roland Hutchinson 376; Rachel Hall 377; Ryan Nash 300; Elsa Phemayotin 383; Ruth Wampler 394 (in memory of Oliver Kindig-Stokes); Justin Bowen 131b.


Susan Greenberg called the class back to order leading 71. Ben Cocchiaro led 436.

Jesse P. Karlsberg spoke to the class prior to the presentation of the Sacred Harp Publishing Company’s posthumous citation to Oliver Kindig-Stokes. He said, when I was thinking about Oliver, Elisha James King popped into my mind. Elisha James King is the co-compiler of the Sacred Harp and he died when he was 23 years old. He actually died when this book was being produced. Though we don’t know a lot about his life, we know that E.J. King wrote twenty-four songs. They run the gamut: major and minor songs, plain and fuguing tunes, an anthem, arranging old tunes and writing new tunes. He wrote an ode, called the ‘Ode on Life’s Journey’, which is one of my favorite songs, 227 in The Sacred Harp. It’s a song I know Oliver loved. It has a text that was in a lot of schoolbooks for exercises in school where they would take verse and write the verse in prose, almost like translating it into prose. The text of ‘Ode on Life’s Journey’ starts with E.J. King’s prose. It starts with the phrase, ‘I began life’s journey when young…’ I know Oliver found that funny. I found that funny. I think we could also say E.J. King began life’s journey when young. He set out and did a lot. He moved across state lines. Again, we don’t know very much, but we know he was an active composer and really embarking on his life’s journey at a young age. I would say the same thing about Oliver.

Jesse said, the Sacred Harp Publishing Company started giving these citations in 1969 and has awarded them to about one-hundred singers in that time. The minutes of our meeting when we adopted this program, said that this citation is meant to honor and express appreciation to loyal supporters and dedicated singers for outstanding work in the company and untiring support of and dedicated service to the cause of Sacred Harp music. The conditions are as follows: 1. Posthumous—the singer must be deceased. 2. Singer must have been active in or a stockholder of the Sacred Harp Publishing company (Oliver was a stockholder). 3. Person must be a teacher, writer, or outstanding supporter and leader of Sacred Harp singing. 4. The citation must be approved by a two-thirds majority of the Board of Directors. 5. The plaque must be presented at the honoree’s memorial or home singing by an officer or director of the company.

Jesse continued, Oliver to me, was a wonderful person, one of my favorite people. Oliver was a dedicated person, a generous person, a curious person, a historically-minded person, a handsome person, a graceful person, a funny person, and a deeply kind person. Oliver was all of these things in many facets of his life, not just in Sacred Harp singing. Oliver was involved in founding this singing (York All-Day, which is now his memorial singing). He was a young person but he taught singing schools. He was a learner and a half, maybe two and one-half learners.

I knew Oliver when he was relatively young. A lot of my favorite experiences with Oliver were as his camp counselor, not as his teacher, but as the person responsible for his well-being at Camp Fasola for a few years. Oliver was easily my favorite camper. Every morning he would get up. He was in the bottom bunk in the middle section of the building that has now burned down. He would sit on the edge of his bed and look at the schedule for the day and ask me to come over and we would pick out classes for him to go to. By this point all the other boys in his dorm had run off to play in the woods. But Oliver was coming up with his plan for learning and wanted input. He was so serious and so excited about being there. Oliver was a student of old recordings. He was a student of old singers. He spent more time at camp than any other young camper sitting by older singers. He learned by asking them questions but he also learned by just absorbing, by picking things up from them. He was an exceptionally perceptive person. He was perceptive in a kind of an intellectual sense, an emotional sense, and also a physical sense.

If you watched Oliver lead, you would see that he had a kind of physical intelligence. He was a natural leader. He was exceptionally graceful in the square. He was a joy to watch when he led songs. Many older southern women loved watching Oliver lead. Shelbie Sheppard, who taught the class on leading at Camp, was really trying to critique Oliver’s leading. She could not bring herself to do it because it was too beautiful to watch.

Oliver was a great friend. He was a great conversationalist. He was a jokester. He was the person you wanted to be with at a social. He was a mentor. He was a mentor to me. He was a mentor to many people older than him, people about his age, and people younger than him. The Sacred Harp Publishing Company, Incorporated, decided to give this citation for Oliver in 2016. It is being presented to the family in 2019.

The presentation of the citation plaque was made to Ted Stokes, Tom Stokes, Elizabeth Pilar, and Charlie Pilar by Jesse P. Karlsberg.

Leaders: Alex Forsyth 227; Stefani Priskos 213t; Aaron Weiss 445; Elizabeth Pilar and Charlie Pilar 159; Anna Mays 441; Jesse C. Polhemus 498; Joanne Fuller 309; Dan Hunter 116; Yael Tarshish 272; Jesse P. Karlsberg 423; Angharad Davis 216; Tarik Wareh 354t; Erin Fulton 322; Ted Stokes 43. Mary Capron asked a blessing before the noon meal.


Hollie Long called the class back together by leading 30b. Leaders: Lorah Hopkins 455; Hayden Arp 405; Liora O’Donnell Goldensher 556; Gina Balestracci and Joan Trout 408; Hal Kunkel 250; Molly V. Sauder 569b; Tim Morton 76b; Ina Shea 266; Sara Lott 224; Jesse Beller 333; Elsa Phemayotin 419; Justin Bowen 434; Sarah Sauder and Ruth Wampler 472; Keillor Mose 380; Angharad Davis 304; Jesse C. Polhemus 156; Erin Fulton 513; Stefani Priskos 285t; Sandy Cryder 384; Sasha Hsuczyk 414 (in memory of Oliver Kindig-Stokes and Katherine Glatter).


The last session was called to order by Leon Pulsinelle leading 106. Leaders: Doron Henkin 399b; Tarik Wareh 401; Joanne Fuller 192; Harry Scott and Lamar Matthew 344; Susan Greenberg and Yael Tarshish 372; Ryan Nash 186; Liora O’Donnell Goldensher and Rachel Hall 500; Jesse P. Karlsberg 396; Thomas Ward and Colleen Hayes 35; Alex Forsyth and Dan Miksiewicz 426t; Aaron Weiss and Sharon Murnane 163t; Dan Hunter, Katy Hunter, and Yona Hunter 521; Ted Stokes, Tom Stokes, Elizabeth Pilar, and Charlie Pilar 203.

The Secretary reported that sixty-two leaders from fourteen states and Australia led eighty-six songs and eighty-eight people were registered. The Treasurer thanked everyone for their generosity, as expenses were met and the surplus was being donated to the Oliver Kindig-Stokes Memorial Fund for scholarships to Camp Fasola. Resolutions were given by Stefani Priskos and Dan Miksiewicz, followed by announcements.

Sasha Hsuczyk, Colleen Hayes, and Ruth Wampler led 62, and those who wished took the parting hand. Ted Stokes offered the closing prayer, and the class was dismissed.

Chairman—Sasha Hsuczyk; Secretaries—Colleen Hayes and Ruth Wampler