Huntsville Sacred Harp Newsletter

Number 22, January 1995

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

1995 Huntsville Singing Schedule

[Other special events may be added.]

Sacred Harp Singing Radio Program

By Linton Ballinger

Did you know that there is a Sacred Harp radio program currently on the air? Thirty-five years ago in June 1959, Mr. R.A. Stewart, a retired rural mail carrier started the Sacred Harp Singing Program on the radio station in his hometown of Houston, Mississippi. It continues today on station WCPC 940 on the AM frequency on Sunday mornings from 8:00 to 8:30 a.m. It is the second longest continuous running program on this radio station.

Early in the tenure of this program, Sacred Harp singers would meet at nights in the home of a singer and record programs on the old open reel recorders. Many of these old recordings continue to be played on today's programs. Over the years the library of recordings at WCPC has grown with the addition of present day recordings. Lloyd Wood, a west Alabama singer from Hackleburg, Alabama, was responsible for making many of these early tapes featuring singers from the Mount Lebanon community in Fayette County and other singers from Marion County where he resided.

Sponsorship of the thirty minute program currently costs $50 per program and is paid for by contributions from lovers of Sacred Harp singing. Most programs are sponsored by an individual or a group from a church that is having a singing on that Sunday. Sponsors often issue special invitations to their singing. In addition to playing the recordings of Sacred Harp singing, the announcer provides the listing of all Sacred Harp singings on that Sunday, plus the singings scheduled for the following weekend. For the past few years I have sponsored the program on the Sunday preceeding the Huntsville Saturday all day singing in May, asking other singers to join us for our annual singing. We may want to make a recording and send it to the station for use next year on the Sunday prior to our singing.

AM WCPC just barely reaches the Huntsville area, with reception in some locations being better than others. A non-profit association currently administers sponsorship of the program. If you have interest in supporting the continuation of this program, contributions in any amount may be sent to the Secretary/Treasurer, Mr. Johnny Humber, at Route 2, Fayette, AL 35555. Give it a try next Sunday morning at 940 on your AM dial.

[Ed. Note: Another Sacred Harp program ran on WFPA AM 1400 in Fort Payne, Alabama during the 60s and 70s. The hour long program was a live production each Sunday morning from 8:30 to 9:30. Many Sand Mountain, Lookout Mountain, and Fort Payne area singers would sing at the radio studio and then proceed to church or a local singing. I sang at several of these live radio programs as a child usually with my paternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Eulas Ivey.]

1995 United Sacred Harp Convention Set

The 1995 United Sacred Harp Singing Convention (held in Huntsville in 1989) will be held at Liberty Church in Henagar, Alabama (70 miles east of Huntsville on Sand Mountain in Dekalb County) on September 9th and 10th. Plan now to attend.

1995 11th Annual Huntsville All Day Singing

Saturday, May 13th
9:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Burritt Museum

Sacred Harp Books, Tapes Available

The Sacred Harp, 1991 Edition books are available again. The price is a very reasonable $10. Also, the Bound for Canaan cassette tape is available for $9. This field recording of a traditional singing at Antioch Church on Sand Mountain was selected as one of the top thirty folk recordings of 1991 by the Library of Congress.

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