Huntsville Sacred Harp Newsletter

Number 21, October 1994

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

Friday Night Singing

Friday, November 4th
7:00 - 8:30 pm
Burritt Museum

Sacred Harp Singing School Set

A Sacred Harp Singing School will be held on Saturday, January 14th from 9:00 am until 12:00 noon at Burritt Museum. There is no admission charge. Instruction will focus on Sacred Harp fundamentals, including the shape notes, major and minor scales, moods of time, leading, history, and traditional practices. Please plan to attend now. Beginning and experienced singers of all ages are welcome!

A Tribute to my Father

By Paul Frederick

I have been around Sacred Harp singings as long as I can remember. My father, Floyd Monroe Frederick, was a lover of Sacred Harp music and faithfully supported the singings in and around his community during his lifetime. My mother, Sarah Alice Mullins Frederick, did not sing but she supported my father by preparing large baskets of food to help feed the visiting singers for all local singings.

God had a place of honor at our home. Our Dad taught us to love ourselves and one another. He valued hard work, urging us to always do our best. He shared his love of music with us. With his beautiful treble voice he sang and taught Sacred Harp music in north Alabama and Mississippi. In the summertime after supper our family often sang together on the porch of our home. And oftentimes we would gather and sing at the homes of friends and neighbors who loved to sing.

My Dad carried me to singings as early as I can remember and when he would be called to direct the singing, I would go with him and hold his leg. When I could remember the tunes, I would try to sing with him. After I was grown he would relate to me some of these times which he said were joyous occasions in his life.

He composed several songs during his singing career, but never had one published in the Sacred Harp songbook until the 1960 revision. One of his songs was published in the 1958 revision of the Christian Harmony. While he was composing these songs he would delight in getting my sisters and I together in order to sing all parts.

The last singing I attended with him was at Mountain Home Church near the little town of Bear Creek in Marion County, Alabama on the second Sunday in September 1960. This was the first time that I had the opportunity to use the new 1960 revision of the Sacred Harp book. Dad asked me to direct, with him, one of the four new songs written by him that was published in this edition.

On the second Sunday in October 1960 I was preparing to leave my home in Birmingham to come to Huntsville when I received a phone call with the news that my father was in the hospital at Hamilton, Alabama suffering from a severe heart attack. He had attended the Sacred Harp singing at the Courthouse in Fulton, Mississippi on that Sunday. During the afternoon session he collapsed while directing the song "Anthem on the Saviour". He led to the place where the key changed to A Major, and the last words he spoke before he fell were, "The next we hear of this blessed Saviour". He never regained consciousness, but he left this life with a song in his heart.

[Ed. Note: Paul Frederick and his wife, Peggy, have been ardent Sacred Harp supporters in Huntsville. Like his parents before them, Paul and Peggy are faithful to support singings, including provision of large baskets of food.]

1995 11th Annual All Day Singing

Saturday, May 13th
9:30 am - 2:30 pm
Burritt Museum

1995 Huntsville Singing Schedule

January 14th (Saturday) 9:00 am - 12:00 noon
February 3rd (Friday) 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
April 7th (Friday) 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
May 13th (Saturday) 9:30 am - 2:30 pm
August 4th (Friday) 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
November 3rd (Friday) 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
[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 am. 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.

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.

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 on September 9th and 10th.

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