Sunday, June 03, 2007

Interesting Sacred Harp quotes

Karla DeLuca of Nacogdoches, TX: “The tradition was to sing all morning, have dinner on the grounds, then sing all afternoon. Sing all day long, sitting on a hard wooden bench, in an un-air-conditioned church, in August, with nothing but a cardboard picture of Jesus on a stick between yourself and a heatstroke…If I had been used to spending my Saturdays behind a plow instead of in front of a television, a day of singing ‘fa, so, la’ might have seemed like fun…” Nacogdoches Daily Sentinel

John Etheridge of Baker, FL: "It's not a religion. It doesn't favor any particular denomination. But when you're singing, it's a religious experience."

Bill Giesenschlag of Snook, TX: "In a cultural sense, this is the last outpost of the Old South."

David Lee of Hoboken, GA: “A living tradition changes. If it stopped changing, it would be because it died.”

Curtis Owen of Dale, TX: “There are three things I like about Sacred Harp: I like the songs they sing; I like the way they sing them; and, most of all, I like the folks that sing them.” Southwest Convnetion, 100th Anniversary CD, Disc 2, Track 19

Warren Steel of Oxford, MS: “Anything that divides people, you leave at the door of a singing, whether you're a Baptist, Methodist, Catholic or atheist.”

David Waldrop of Tyler, TX: “The Sacred Harp is a song book odd in shape, with an odd name, and as some think, has odd sounding songs sung by odd people.”

David "still learning" (in Eastern USA): “It has shaped notes -- helpful for those that need them, unobtrusive to those who don't.”

"Today I seldom hear this music, but when I do, I close my eyes and recall a time when, as far as I knew, the entire world was no bigger and no more complex than our backwoods county. Life was simple, defined by daily chores and lived in rhythm with the seasons." -- Saturday, February 11, 2006, Bob Lively, Austin American-Statesman


clinch64 said...

and as the world becomes evermore complex, many yearn for those simpler times.

R. L. Vaughn said...


J. Guy Muse said...

These are indeed interesting Sacred Harp quotes. I studied church music at SWBTS back in the mid '80s and fondly recall being introduced to the impact Sacred Harp music has made upon church music. I am a HUGE fan of hymns and Gospel hymns. In our own church planting here in Ecuador, I personally put together our "Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs" for the new churches being planted. There is a balance of the three which I believe is important to a balanced singing and worship in church.

R. L. Vaughn said...

Guy, thanks for stopping by and commenting.

When you were at SWBTS in the 80s, did you attend any of the SH singings in the rotunda at Cowden Hall? I think it was in the early to mid 80s when Dr. Reynolds started the annual event.

Tell me more about your "Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs". I have worked on a hymn book (sans music) based on that concept. The way I approached it is in three sections (1) Psalms -- metrical hymns based on the Psalms, with one hymn for each Psalm or at least part of it; (2) Hymns -- hymns/poems based on specific scriptures and/or specific doctrines of scripture; and (3) Spiritual Songs -- hymns/poems that are based more on personal experiences related to God, scripture, etc. This was my idea of how to approach it, and I'm very interested in hearing yours.

BTW, I think we as Baptists are pretty deficient in the area of "Psalms".

J. Guy Muse said...

The Psalms are from the literal texts from the Book of Psalms put to mainly Latinamerican melodies. The Hymns are a combination of traditional/historic hymns of the faith, along with what I consider to be some of the better orginal Latinamerican contributions. The spiritual songs are a carefully selected group of the more contemporary P&W songs that are popular here amongst believers.

On my home laptop we recorded all the songs onto 5-CDs to assist the new church starts to sing along with the CDs until they learn the songs. What always interests me in working with new believers in new church starts is that more often than not, they will choose as their "favorites" the hymns and psalms. The longer they are believers, they tend to gravitate towards the spiritual songs, but it is the new believers who nearly always request to sing the hymns and psalms!

R. L. Vaughn said...

Thanks, Guy. I like the idea of "singing scriptures" -- using a tune for the actual words from scripture. That's not done much here, though.

I'm curious about your last observation -- new believers...will choose as their "favorites" the hymns and psalms. The longer they are believers, they tend to gravitate towards the spiritual songs... Do you have any ideas/opinions about this phenomenon?

J. Guy Muse said...

Good question. I have often thought about why this is so, but to date can only assume that new believers aren't initially so influenced by all the Christian media (TV, Radio, music industry, etc.) The longer they are Christians, the more they are exposed to the Christian marketing and media machine and become influenced by its offerings.

R. L. Vaughn said...

Guy, that sounds like a very real possibility of what happens.