Huntsville Sacred Harp Newsletter

Number 30, April 1999

David Ivey, Editor (
16021 Deaton Drive, Huntsville AL 35803
(205) 881-5291

Annual Huntsville All-Day Singing

The fifteenth annual session of the Huntsville Sacred Harp Singing will be held at Burritt Museum on Saturday, May 1 from 9:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. You are invited to come and join in with the singing or just to listen.

No Doubt About It: Singing A Family Matter

By Joseph M. Jones

If youíve any doubt that Sacred Harp singing is a family thing, hear a recitation of some of the blood connections at two Huntsville/Burritt Museum singings last year. At the 95th United Sacred Harp convention in September 1998, seven Ballinger brothers led lessons. They are the children of Hamilton and Artie Ballinger of Fayette County in northwest Alabama. Actually, the elder Ballingers had eleven children, nine boys and two girls, and all learned to love and sing Sacred Harp. The seven who directed at that convention were Lavaughn, Leon, Linton, Lomax, Earl, Larry, and Buddy. But thatís not all. Actually the Ballinger family has been heisting these tunes since well before the the turn of the century -- six generations, now -- and Teresa, Amanda, and David Ballinger, children of Jimmy and Debbie Ballinger and grandchildren of Lavaughn, led songs at the United, representing the sixth generation of family singers. Three generations of the family were present at the event.

Other three-generation families were on hand: the Creels, Harrison and Flarce of Dora, Alabama, along with Cindy and Cassie Franklin of Sumiton; the Iveys of Sand Mountain: Coy, Rodney, David and Karen and their three children, Allison, Richard, and Stuart, the latter being of Huntsville; and longtime Wootten singing family of Sand Mountain, represented by Syble Adams, Pam Wilkerson, and KeriAnn Wilkerson.

At an all-day singing at the same location in May 1998, ten grandchildren of Millard Fillmore McWhorter, Sr. gathered for a rare mini-family reunion. Coming from several surrounding states, they are descended from a prominent singing teacher and composer who was also a farmer and sheriff in Cleburne County, Alabama last century and into the third decade of the 1900s.

So, for many, singings are for more than just singing. They are for meeting and hugging kin as well, to say nothing of the midday feast and the all-day fellowship with others who, though not blood relatives, are nevertheless sisters and brothers.

In Memoriam

Huntsville Sacred Harp singers were saddened last October in the sudden death of one of our singers, Mr. Jim Freyder. Jim and his wife, Carol, began singing Sacred Harp in the early 1990s and have been faithful supporters of Huntsville singings since that time. A resident of Huntsville since 1979, Jim was a retired lieutenant colonel with the U.S. Army and a member of Latham United Methodist Church. Huntsville singers were honored to sing some of Jimís favorite songs at his funeral. The following note was received from Carol Freyder.

Thank you to all who sang at Jimís funeral. Many people commented about how impressed they were with the singing. I know that Sacred Harp music was one of Jimís real pleasures. Thanks again for coming. -- Carol

1999 Schedule of Singings

Huntsville Sacred Harp Website:

Copyright 1999 David Ivey. All Rights Reserved.

Please send your news, announcement, or article for the newsletter to David Ivey, 16021 Deaton Drive, Huntsville, AL 35803; or email to

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