The village of Taylor, known for its combination of the traditional life with modern and original arts, will host its twenty-eighth annual all-day Sacred Harp singing on Saturday, October 10 at the United Methodist Church. Singing will commence at 10:00, followed by potluck dinner and more singing until 2:30 PM. Warren Steel of Oxford will be in charge. The Reverend Eddie Willis and the congregation invite the public to attend and participate. Taylor United Methodist Church, with its resonant wooden floor and beaded wood walls, is an ideal location to hear this thrilling harmony, which is not accompanied by harps or any other instruments.
A Sacred Harp singing is a non-denominational community musical event. Named for The Sacred Harp, a songbook first printed in 1844, Sacred Harp singings are often associated with church homecomings and memorials. In Lafayette County, Sacred Harp singing dates to the 1870s, when several area churches instituted annual singings that were among the best-attended events in their communities. In many places, traditional singings have been replaced by gospel quartet concerts, but Sacred Harp singings still preserve the music, style and customs of the days before the War Between the States, in which everyone sings and everyone is invited to lead his or her favorite selections. The songbook includes pieces by the first American composers along with many southern folk hymns and camp-meeting songs. Sacred Harp singing is featured in the documentary film Awake, My Soul, as well as in the Miramax film Cold Mountain.
Today Sacred Harp singing is experiencing a massive revival: singings and conventions have sprung up all across the United States, as well as in Canada, the United Kingdom and Ireland. Larger singings attract hundreds of singers and listeners, who learn about the music from the Internet or by word of mouth: Warren Steel maintains a Sacred Harp home page at Ole Miss.
This singing was formerly held at Pilgrim's Rest Primitive Baptist Church. Members of that congregation, and residents of Taylor, Sand Hill, Springdale and Pine Flat, are particularly invited to attend, as are visitors from the Oxford-University community. Local residents are asked to bring a dish to share for dinner. For more information, call Warren and Anne Steel at 662 236-5356.
From Oxford, take Old Taylor Road (Old Taylor Road exit from hwy 6/US278) to the south 7.5 miles to the village of Taylor; church is on your right. Note for detour in 2015: From points south, take hwy 7 through Water Valley. Turn left on CR 315 (at the Shell station). After crossing the Yocona River take a right on hwy 328. After about 5 miles turn left on CR 733; this is the main street of Taylor; look for the church on your left.
The twenty-seventh annual Sacred Harp singing at Taylor United Methodist Church (formerly held at Pilgrim's Rest Primitive Baptist Church) was called to order on a rainy Saturday by Warren Steel leading song on page 47t and 52t. The Reverend John Wesley Leek led the morning prayer. Leaders: Warren Steel 67, John Van Horn 108t, 108b, 53; Charity Vaughn 176b, 335, 129; Carol Watts 46, 40, 490; George Easley 34b, 313t, 523; Dameron Neyman 312b, 48t, 44; Cliff Hall, 288, 63, 59.
Warren Steel reassembled the class leading song on page 137. Other leaders: Bobby Neyman 479, 347, 105; Cesare Neyman 45t; Andy Davis 47b, 196, 434; Vicky Neyman 268, 269, 178.
Warren Steel called the class together leading song on page 280. Leaders: Anne Steel 282, 142, 480; John Van Horn 200, 39t; Charity Vaughn 186, 212. At this time, Warren Steel led a memorial lesson for sick and shut-ins Kenneth Stead and Henry McGuire, and in memory of deceased Hugh Bill McGuire, W.M. Allen, Earl Yarber, William Hunt and Joshua Lowe, leading songs on page 400 and "Hurricane Creek." John Wesley Leek led the memorial prayer. End of memorial lesson. Other leaders: Carol Watts 29b, 341; George Easley 378t, 438; Dameron Neyman 284, 399t; Cliff Hall 159, 277; Bobby Neyman 276, 163b; Cesare Neyman 568; Andy Davis 236, 222; Vicky Neyman 209; Anne Steel 208, 318; Warren Steel 36b. Following announcements of future singings Warren Steel led the closing song on page 176t, and the class was dismissed with prayer by George Easley.
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