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Monday, November 30, 2009

Singing in the Heights

The 6th Annual Heights Sacred Harp Singing will be held Saturday, December 5, from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm at the Heights Church of Christ on 1548 Heights Blvd. in Houston, Texas. Singing will be from both the 2006 (Cooper) Revision and 1991 (Denson) Revision. Loaner books will be available. Dinner will be provided by the church and local singers.

Note: there will not be a singing school at 9:00 this year as in years past. This differs from the information at the link above.

Houston Heights is an historic suburb of Houston dating back to the 1890s. The building in which we will sing was designed in 1924 by notable Houston architect Alfred Finn.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Random truth quotes

"In times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -- George Orwell

"How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four; calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg." -- Abraham Lincoln

"Most truths are so naked that people feel sorry for them and cover them up, at least a little bit." -- Edward R. Murrow

"Son, always tell the truth. Then you'll never have to remember what you said the last time." -- Sam Rayburn

Friday, November 27, 2009

Righteousness

Psalm 141:3 - Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.

"Doing righteousness does not constitute one righteous before God, but proves that a man is already righteous before Him, and that he is already born of Him."
--Elder P. T. Oliphant, 1914

Thursday, November 26, 2009

We plow the fields and scatter

We plow the fields, and scatter
the good seed on the land,
but it is fed and watered
by God's almighty hand;
He sends the snow in winter,
the warmth to swell the grain,
the breezes and the sunshine,
and soft refreshing rain.
Refrain:
All good gifts around us
are sent from heaven above,
then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord
for all His love.


He only is the Maker
of all things near and far;
He paints the wayside flower,
He lights the evening star;
the winds and waves obey Him,
by Him the birds are fed;
much more to us, His children,
He gives our daily bread. Refrain

We thank Thee, then, O Father,
for all things bright and good,
the seed time and the harvest,
our life, our health, and food;
no gifts have we to offer,
for all Thy love imparts,
and, what Thou most desirest,
our humble, thankful hearts. Refrain


Words: Matthias Claudius, 1782;
trans. Jane Montgomery Campbell, 1861

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Day set aside for thanks

I Thessalonians 5:18 - In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

God's people ought to be thankful people.
God's people ought to be thankful at all times.
God's people ought to be thankful in everything.


May you and yours have a blessed day tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Random music articles/sites

The IMSLP / Petrucci Music Library is a free public domain sheet music library that has been online since February 2006. According to their site, their "goal is to create a virtual library containing all public domain music scores, as well as scores from composers who are willing to share their music with the world without charge."

Sixty-Sixth State Gospel Singing Convention Takes "Shape" in Dothan (October, 1996) by Stephen Grauberger

Wiregrass Sacred Harp Singers (Southern Alabama)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Evangelical Lutheran split

We've not heard as much as this in the news as with the Episcopal Church a few years ago. But the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America will probably split over gay marriage. In August the ELCA voted to allow gay and lesbian pastors. More conservative Lutherans will probably form a new denomination within the next year.

(It takes them much longer to split than it does Baptists!)

Friday, November 20, 2009

God's condescension to human affairs

Hymn 46

Up to the Lord, that reigns on high,
And views the nations from afar,
Let everlasting praises fly,
And tell how large his bounties are.

He that can shake the worlds he made,
Or with his word, or with his rod,
His goodness, how amazing great!
And what a condescending God!

God, that must stoop to view the skies,
And bow to see what angels do,
Down to our earth he casts his eyes,
And bends his footsteps downwards too.

He overrules all mortal things,
And manages our mean affairs;
On humble souls the King of kings
Bestows his counsels and his cares.

Our sorrows and our tears we pour
Into the bosom of our God;
He hears us in the mournful hour,
And helps us bear the heavy load.

In vain might lofty princes try
Such condescension to perform;
For worms were never raised so high
Above their meanest fellow worm.

O could our thankful hearts devise
A tribute equal to thy grace,
To the third heav'n our songs should rise,
And teach the golden harps thy praise.


Isaac Watts

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Taylor on call to preach

From John Taylor's History of Ten Baptist Churches:
"The next winter I travelled to South Carolina, either to live there, or get him to return with me. We returned in the spring, and the church called me forward to preach, at which I have continued for more than fifty years...I have said above I could get no satisfactory answer, as to my call to the ministry. My present impressions are, that the call lies in a good man's motives to the work, and the call of the church. If a christian has preaching talents, and the church says preach, he may go on safely. This is my call, and for no other do I look at present, though in my youth I laboured long for evidences of my call, of which a visionary something would then have satisfied me.

"I have said, a good motive to the work, and the call of the church, is all sufficient as to a man's authority to preach the gospel. By a good motive to the work, I understand, the man's own soul must be converted, for except he is born again, he cannot have a spiritually good motive, and is what Paul designs, by 'the husbandman that laboureth must first be partaker of the fruit.'

"It is this produces a desire in him, after what Paul calls a good work -- this is a feeling sensibibity in him, that 'one man's soul is worth more than all the world,' and while the love of Christ constrains him, he will very gladly, or readily, spend and be spent, for the salvation of his fellow men. All this I felt for many months, to the amount of robbing me both of sleep and food; and adding to that the voice of the church -- but all did not satisfy me, for I was not called as the ancient prophets and apostles were, but to glorify God, and benefit men, is the sole ground of the ministerial motive, and there is no self serving, in all this sacred business -- in all this I have felt conscious for more than half a century.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
[300]

"My own belief is, that none properly understands the gospel or voice of the shepherd, but his sheep, or the true christian. Therefore the voice of the church is very essential; in the call to the ministry, the bridegroom is out of the way; what the bride does in his absence, should be valid. The church ought to act under great responsibility, being accountable to the chief shepherd at his return; so help us Lord, that we may all have boldness in the day of judgement [sic]. The instruments of my encouragement, in my early days. I had three gospel fathers, to-wit : William Marshall, the instrument of my first awakening and convertion; James Ireland, the man who baptized me, and under whose pastoral care I lived for some time; and Joseph Reding, under whose care, and with whom I travelled near ten years, before I was a married man; all these men seemed tender towards me, as if I was their natural Son.

"But the greatest instrument of my encouragement after all, was the Bible itself -- there I saw the whole will of God at once; in point of both practice and opinion, what I saw in this heaven born book, I received as the voice of God to me, and was the invaluable guide of my whole man, both in motive and acctions; to this I appeal in all controversy, and by this I expect to be judged at the last day."

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hear what the Lord hath spoken

Hear what God the Lord hath spoken,
"O my people, faint and few,
Comfortless, afflicted, broken,
Fair abodes I build for you:
Themes of heartfelt tribulation
Shall no more perplex your ways;
You shall name your walls, Salvation,
And your gates shall all be praise.

"There, like streams that feed the garden,
Pleasures, without end, shall flow,
For the Lord, your faith rewarding,
All His bounty shall bestow;
Still in undisturbed possession
Peace and righteousness shall reign;
Never shall you feel oppression,
Hear the voice of war again.

"Ye no more your suns descending,
Waning moons no more shall see;
But your griefs forever ending,
Find eternal noon in Me:
God shall rise, and shining o'er you,
Change to day the gloom of night;
He, the Lord, shall be your Glory,
God your everlasting Light."


William Cowper (1731-1800)
Olney Hymns, 1779

Monday, November 16, 2009

Arcadian

arcadian
adjective: Idyllically pastoral: simple, peaceful.
noun: One leading a simple rural life.

"After Arcadia, a region of ancient Greece whose residents were believed to have led quiet, unsophisticated lives of peace and happiness."

Friday, November 13, 2009

Toward a definition

Below are miscellaneous quotations dealing with the definition of "gospel song"/"gospel hymn". These are materials I gathered in trying to understand what others are saying about "gospel songs" and how they define them. There is a wide variety of usage of the terms.

"In comparison with hymns, which are generally of a statelier measure, the gospel song is expected to have a refrain and often a more syncopated rhythm." -- Wikipedia

"The folk hymn is known by its musical character. The melody, and it is usually assigned to the tenor, is often in one of the ancient modal scales. Certain tones are omitted or less conspicuously employed, giving the impression of a gapped scale of five or six notes." -- American Hymns Old and New, Vol. 2. Albert Christ-Janer. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1980, p. 293)

"The gospel hymn was developed to meet the needs of revival and prayer meetings...The mood of the text might be optimistic or pleading; the music was tuneful and easy to grasp. The rudimentary harmonies, the use of the chorus, the varied metric schemes, and the motor rhythms were characteristic. A marchlike movement as in 'Shall We Gather at the River' was especially typical. The device of letting the lower parts echo rhythmically a motive announced by the sopranos became a mannerism which was abused by later writers...The best of the gospel hymns have a direct simplicity which has appealed to singers ever since the appearance of the first gospel hymnals." (He places George F. Root among the earlier composers of the style.) -- American Hymns Old and New, Vol. 2. Albert Christ-Janer. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1980, pp. 365-66)

Gospel songs revolve around the seminal three chords: the I, IV, and V chords. The first phrase very often ends on the V chord and the second phrase resolves back to the I-chord. -- Pierce Phillips

In close harmony, the alto and tenor parts largely parallel the melody so that all three parts may be played on a keyboard, while the bass part, though not melodically tied to the soprano, fulfills a harmonic function. This describes the hymn tunes of Mason, Hastings, Bradbury, etc. as well as much early gospel music, especially of the more homophonic variety. -- paraphrase of Warren Steel

"Variety notwithstanding, by the end of the twentieth century there were three main streams of gospel music stylistically, each with various subsets. The oldest is usually called gospel song or gospel hymnody. By the twenty-first century, it might be called traditional gospel, or, more properly, historic gospel, for from it flow the other two streams of black gospel and Southern gospel.

"Traditional gospel grew out of the Northern, urban revival tradition of evangelist Dwight L. Moody and his songleader/soloist Ira D. Sankey in the 1870s, and it remained the dominant musical style of revivalist-oriented churches for more than a century. Its rhythmic, melodic and harmonic structures were rooted in the European tradition of music composition and performance....The music was melodically tuneful, employing eighth notes more often than the slower-feeling quarters. Compound meters, particularly 6/8, were characteristic, producing a lilting quality for which gospel hymnody became famous (as in, for example, "Blessed Assurance, Jesus is Mine"). The melodic range was designed for congregational song and was therefore limited to that of the untrained voice from about middle C to top-line F. Harmonies were generally primary triads, although secondary triads, borrowed minor chords, and secondary dominants became part of the harmonic vocabulary. The often-published characterization of gospel music employing 'barbershop' harmonies is inaccurate, however.

"Most characteristic of the gospel song was a contagious chorus or refrain that summed up the text's meaning in a succinct and memorable manner. The opening words of the refrain were usually the name of the song, unlike older hymns that were identifed by their opening words. The precedent for these choruses was the secular 'household' or 'parlor' song, composed by Stephen Foster and others. In fact, many of the first generation gospel hymnists such as George F. Root were successful composers of secular music in the verse/chorus mode. p. 293

"Aldine S. Kieffer was perhaps the single most important figure in the birth of Southern gospel music." p. 215, Encyclopedia of American gospel music by W. K. McNeil

"Gospel as a separate musical art form emerged primarily in the South and, as one music historian has argued, stands alongside jazz, blues, and country music as 'the fourth great genre of grass roots music' and 'the fourth major type of southern music'." p. 4, Close harmony: a history of southern gospel by James R. Goff

"12. The 'Gospel' Hymn...It came at last into world prominence with the work of the Evangelist Moody and his musical colleague, Ira D. Sankey, which was actively pursued in the United States and Britain during the 1870s, 1880s, and 1890s...widely circulated [in] Songs and Solos...drawing largely on a type of tune that had already become popular in the United States, the type with a lively rhythm and a harmonization consisting of little more than alternations of the three chief chords of the key (tonic, dominant, and subdominant). To this type the American W. B. Bradbury (1816-1868) had been a considerable contributor...When its history comes to be studied it will probably be found that behind Sankey and Moody lies the powerful influence of the American Camp Meeting." -- p. 504, The Oxford Companion to Music by Percy A. Scholes (10th edition revised and edited by John Owen Ward), London: Oxford University Press, 1975

"Musically, the typical gospel song is in a major key, in common (4/4) time, with numerous repeated notes in a melody that is more interesting than the parts that accompany it." p. 288 "Gospel songs of this type often display repetitive rhythmic and melodic features and rudimentary antiphonal and responsorial textures." -- p. 300, A Portion for the Singers, R. Paul Drummond, Christian Baptist Press, 1989

"The gospel song seems to embody all that the old Sacred Harp songs did not: close harmony, the use of accidentals, and in some cases the concentration of melodic interest into a single part." -- p. 153, Public Worship, Private Faith, John Bealle

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Styles in the Sacred Harp

There are a number of musical "styles" contained in the Sacred Harp -- early American music, folk hymns, psalm & hymn tunes, fuging tunes, odes & anthems, campmeeting songs, gospel songs, among others. I will record some of my attempt to sort this out in my own mind, which may or may not prove helpful to others. I rely on R. Paul Drummond's exposition and definition of Primitive Baptist song, as well as comments from Dr. Warren Steel. Much of this is left up to wide variations of opinion. What follows is a hodge-podge I've collected.

A Portion for the Singers (Drummond) identifies four broad categories of music found in Primitive Baptist hymnals: Southern Folk Hymns (folk hymns, Sacred Harp, fuging tunes, anthems); Mason-Bradbury Hymns, Gospel Songs (Kieffer/Showalter variety, Sankey/Bliss variety, Stamps/Baxter/Brumley variety), and Traditional Protestant Hymns. This is very similar to what is found in Sacred Harp, with the exception of the Stamps/Baxter/Brumley variety. Attempts to categorize music can be fraught with difficulties. For example, Drummond points to "Ortonville" and "Toplady"/"Rock of Ages" as examples of the problems of such categorizations (A Portion for the Singers, R. Paul Drummond, 1989, p. 18) -- "Ortonville" long since becoming a part of "folk tradition" and "Toplady" being a very traditional Protestant hymn. Yet, because of their origins, both are part of the Mason-Bradbury category of song. There is no reason that some categories cannot overlap, or a some be found in more than one category.


Psalm and hymn tunes (Examples: Old Hundred, Ninety-Third Psalm, Bethel) -- generally short tunes designed for one stanza of metrical hymn.


Folk hymns (Examples: Wondrous Love, New Britain, Pisgah) -- contrafactum of a secular folk song, ballad of religious experience, and camp-meeting spiritual

Campmeeting Songs (Examples: Sweet Morning, Farewell Vain World, The Morning Trumpet)

Campmeeting songs incorporate simple words with "simple tunes and meters [that] required no skill and therefore invited everyone to participate in the service." -- Bernard A. Weisberger, They Gathered at the River, Boston, 1958, p. 148

"The refrain or chorus is perhaps the predominant feature, not always connected with the subject-matter of the stanza, but rather ejaculatory. In some instances such a refrain was merely tacked on to a familiar hymn or an arrangement of one." -- Louis F. Benson, The English Hymn, New York: George H. Dornan Co., 1915, p. 293 (The interrupting refrain is a short phrase interpolated between the lines of the primary text.)


Paul Drummond sees a difference between "a first generation folk hymn" and those later composed "in the style". "Like most attempts at stylistic imitation these pieces tend to exploit clich├ęs and most take on a rather uninspired, pedestrian quality." -- A Portion, p. 252 (In this he implicates a number of early Sacred Harp composers -- including both Rees brothers and Edmund Dumas. I would disagree with his assessment of their "pedestrian quality".)


Fuging tunes (Examples: Stratfield, Ocean, Mount Pleasant) -- usually begins with a homophonic section, in the course of which a definite cadence is reached; a new start is then made in which each individual part makes an entrance in succession, often utilizing some form of imitation; and the final phrase most often ending homophonically. (Irving Lowens and R. Paul Drummond)


Anthems (Examples: Easter Anthem, Rose of Sharon, David's Lamentation) -- "a musical setting for chorus of a non-metrical prose text, sectionalized by changes in tempo, meter, key, texture, and sonority." (John Worst)

Gospel song (Examples: Let Us Sing, Marriage in the Skies, Sweet By and By)

"Musically, the typical gospel song is in a major key, in common (4/4) time, with numerous repeated notes in a melody that is more interesting than the parts that accompany it." -- A Portion, p. 288 "Gospel songs of this type often display repetitive rhythmic and melodic features and rudimentary antiphonal and responsorial textures." -- A Portion, p. 300


"The gospel hymn was developed to meet the needs of revival and prayer meetings...The mood of the text might be optimistic or pleading; the music was tuneful and easy to grasp. The rudimentary harmonies, the use of the chorus, the varied metric schemes, and the motor rhythms were characteristic. A march-like movement as in 'Shall We Gather at the River' was especially typical. The device of letting the lower parts echo rhythmically a motive announced by the sopranos became a mannerism which was abused by later writers...The best of the gospel hymns have a direct simplicity which has appealed to singers ever since the appearance of the first gospel hymnals." (Janer places George F. Root among the earlier composers of the style.) -- Albert Christ-Janer, American Hymns Old and New, Vol. 2. New York: Columbia University Press, 1980, pp. 365-66


"The melodic range was designed for congregational song and was therefore limited to that of the untrained voice from about middle C to top-line F. Harmonies were generally primary triads, although secondary triads, borrowed minor chords, and secondary dominants became part of the harmonic vocabulary...Most characteristic of the gospel song was a contagious chorus or refrain that summed up the text's meaning in a succinct and memorable manner. -- W. K. McNeil, Encyclopedia of American Gospel Music, p. 293


The gospel song and Mason-Bradbury hymns tend to closer harmony than many of the early American tunes and folk songs. In close harmony, the alto and tenor parts tend to parallel the melody so that all three parts can be played on a keyboard. The bass part is not melodically tied to the soprano, yet fulfils a harmonic function. This describes the hymn tunes of Mason, Hastings, Bradbury, etc. as well as much early gospel music, especially of the more homophonic variety. (Warren Steel)


"The music of the 'Better Music boys' found in the hymnals of Primitive Baptists are typically short, strophic hymn-settings in major keys with limited ranges and easy tessituras." -- A Portion, p. 278 (Drummond gives "Brown" by Wm. Bradbury as an example.)

Methodist theatrical (Examples: Enfield, Dartmouth)

A few songs in the Sacred Harp are described by scholars as the "Methodist-theatrical style” of hymn-tune. These are imitations of those in 18th century British collections like Butts' Harmonia Sacra and Madan's Lock Hospital Collection. (Warren Steel) Someone described these as having "theatrical embellishments and a gallant cadence".

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The American Fuging Tune

This conference paper compares and contrasts the American fuging tune with its British predecessors: The American Fuging Tune: ‘Marks of Distinction’ by Maxine Fawcett-Yeske

"...what strikes one as 'distinct' and 'emphatic' about American fuging tunes is the degree to which psalmodists employed certain procedures that were found only in limited usage in the early British prototypes and the innovative ways Americans developed those attributes into significant stylistic features. It is the creative patchwork of contrapuntal alternatives, the harmonic procedures that become refreshingly anachronistic (compared to contemporary developments abroad), and the expressive partnership of word and music wherein the American voice so loudly resounds."

{Added reading: The Sacred Harp: American Shape Note Hymns Cross the Atlantic by Lewis Jones}

Monday, November 09, 2009

Life the day of grace and hope

HYMN 88, L. M.

Life the day of grace and hope. Eccl. 9:4-6,10.

Life is the time to serve the Lord,
The time t' insure the great reward;
And while the lamp holds out to burn,
The vilest sinner may return.

The living know that they must die,
But all the dead forgotten lie;
Their mem'ry and their sense is gone,
Alike unknowing and unknown.

Then what my thoughts design to do,
My hands, with all your might pursue;
Since no device nor work is found,
Nor faith, nor hope, beneath the ground.

There are no acts of pardon passed
In the cold grave, to which we haste;
But darkness, death, and long despair,
Reign in eternal silence there.


Isaac Watts (1674-1748)
Hymns and Spiritual Songs, 1707

Friday, November 06, 2009

Patrick Henry’s Defense of the Baptist Ministers

Copied:

Three Baptist ministers had been indicted at Fredericksburgh for preaching the Gospel contrary to the statute.

Patrick Henry hearing of this rode some fifty miles to volunteer his services in defence of the oppressed. He entered the court, being unknown to all present save the Bench and the Bar, while the indictment was being read by the clerk.

He sat within the bar until the reading was finished, and the king’s attorney had concluded some remarks in defence of the prosecution, when he arose, reached out his hand for the paper, and without more ceremony proceeded with the following speech:

“May it please your Worships, I think I heard read by the prosecutor, as I entered this house, the paper I now hold in my hand. If I have rightly understood the king’s attorney of the colony has framed an indictment for the purpose of arraigning and punishing by imprisonment, three inoffensive persons before the bar of this court, for a crime of great magnitude, as disturbers of the public peace.

May it please the court, what did I hear read? Did I hear it distinctly, or was it a mistake of my own? Did I hear an expression, as if a crime, that these men whom your Worships are about to try for a misdemeanor, are charged with - - - -What?” and continuing in a low, solemn, heavy tone, “Preaching the Gospel of the Son of God?” Pausing amidst the most profound silence and breathless astonishment, he slowing waved the paper three times around his head, when, lifting his hands and eyes to heaven, with peculiar and impressive energy, he exclaimed: “Great God!”

The exclamation, the burst of feeling from the audience were all overpowering. Mr. Henry resumed: “May it please your Worships: In a day like this, when truth is about to burst her fetters, when mankind are about to be aroused to claim their natural and unalienable rights, when the yoke of oppression, that has reached the wilderness of America, and the unnatural alliance of ecclesiastical and civil power are about to be dissevered, at such a period when liberty, liberty of conscience, is about to awake from her slumberings, and to inquire into the reason of such charges as I find exhibited here to day in this indictment!”

Here followed another long pause on the part of the speaker, while he again waved the indictment around his head, and a deeper impression was made on the auditory. Resuming his speech, “May it please your Worships; There are periods in the history of man, when corruption and depravity have so long debased the human character, that man sinks under the oppressor’s hand, becomes his servile, his abject slave; he licks the hand that smites him, he bows in passive obedience to the mandates of the despot, and, in this state of servility, he receives his fetters of perpetual bondage.

“But, may it please your Worships, such a day has passed away! From that period when our fathers left the land of their nativity for settlement in these American wilds, for liberty, for civil and religious liberty, for liberty of conscience to worship their Creator according to their own conceptions of heaven’s revealed will, from the moment that they placed their feet upon the American continent, and in the deeply imbedded forests, sought an asylum from persecution and tyranny, from that moment despotism was crushed, the fetters of darkness were broken, and heaven decreed that man should be free, free to worship according to the Bible.

“Were it not for this in vain were all their sufferings and bloodshed to subjugate this New World , if we their offspring must still be oppressed and persecuted.

“But may it please your Worships,” continued the speaker, “permit me to ask once more, For what are these men about to be tried? This paper says, “for preaching the Gospel of the Saviour to Adam’s fallen race.”

Then in tones of thunder he exclaimed; “What law have they violated?” While the third time, in a low, dignified manner, he lifted his eyes to heaven, and waved the indictment round his head.

The court and audience were now wrought up to the most intense pitch of excitement. The face of the prosecuting attorney was pallid and ghastly, and he seemed unconscious that his whole frame was agitated with alarm; while the judge, in a tremulous voice, put an end to the scene, now becoming excessively painful, by the authoritive declaration: “Sheriff, discharge those men.”

-- From Reminiscences of Baptists Of Virginia by William Smoot

Thursday, November 05, 2009

John Waller on Matthew 16:18

"Did God then leave Himself without a witness? Did the gates of Hell prevail against His church? Were the foundations of His kingdom laid in sand, that it yielded to the storms of persecution which befell it during the reign of the Man of Sin? Or did the church exist and stand, as firm as the rock of its foundation? And where was it in the long and dreary night, from the revelation of the Son of the Perdition until until the Reformation of the sixteenth century? There inquiries demand serious consideration and satisfactory answers.

"It will not do, be the way of response, to urge the existence of an 'invisible church.' This is to evade and not to meet the difficulty. The Savior did not build an 'invisible church' upon the 'rock' confessed by Peter. The Church of Christ on earth is visible. The light of the gospel was not given to be put under a bushel. The Church of the Redeemer is as a city set upon a hill, whose light cannot be hid. . . It is certain from the positive testimony of the Scriptures, that the adherents of Popery from the beginning, saw, and hence pursued and persecuted the saints of the Most High -- the people or church of the Redeemer -- those who followed the Lamb whithersoever He went -- who would not worship the beast, neither his image -- and who refused to receive his mark upon their foreheads or in their hands."
-- John L. Waller

{John L. Waller (1809-1854) helped to found the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky where he served as clerk, general agent, and moderator of that body. He also founded and edited the "Western Baptist Review" from 1845 – 1851 and later served as the first editor of the "Western Recorder." Notice that Waller denied that Matthew 16:18 referred to the invisible church. He also believed this verse was scriptural proof that true churches existed from the origins of Popery until the start of the Reformation. The above quote is from the Southern Baptist Review, August-September, pp. 560-561.}

---Copied The Landmark Southern Baptist forum

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Singing in Dallas

Singers will gather Saturday, November 7 (d.v.) to sing from the 1991 Revision of the Sacred Harp at Lovers Lane United Methodist Church on 9200 Inwood Rd. in Dallas, Texas. The gathering will be in the Wesley Chapel and is scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m.

Official Singing Flyer

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Let patience have her perfect work

"The only thing worse than not having any patience, is having patience, and being mad about having to have it." -- Copied

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Random Sacred Harp quotes 2

"I have seen this music go from a national curiosity to a cool pursuit. Keep it healthy by singing it, loving it, and contributing to its future." -- Martha Beverly

"Nothing is weirder than Sacred Harp. Its favored subject matter--the pilgrim, the grave, Christ's blood--is stark; its style--severe fourths and otherworldly open fifths--has been obsolete for more than a century. Its notation, in which triangles, circles and squares indicate pitch, looks like cuneiform. Yet it exudes power and integrity. Five people sound like a choir; a dozen like a hundred." -- From "Give Me That Old-Time Singing"

"Be sure not to force the Sound thro' your Nose; but warble the Notes in your Throat" -- William Billings

"Shape note singing is one way to recapture the sense of happiness and participation that was common to all Americans long ago during the great age of participatory singing." -- Bruce Hayes

"I’m not trying to write any jawbreakers; I like a good plain tune best." -- Marcus Cagle

"European music is less agreeable to the American ear than her own." -- Abraham Maxim, in The Northern Harmony, 2d ed. (Exeter: Norris and Sawyer, 1808). I think a lot of Americans have flip-flopped on this issue since 1808.