Sunday, May 31, 2015

Possible Sacred Harp composer

A tentative study of the person who may be the composer E. F. Williams:

WILLIAMS, E. F. This might be Eli Fletcher Williams (March 23, 1838—November 15, 1923). He was born in Russell County, Alabama to South Carolina natives Eli Williams and Mary Hollingsworth Truesdale. Williams joined Company A of 34th Alabama Infantry in 1864 and served as a Private for 11 months. He was wounded in fighting at Atlanta, Georgia. He was paroled in North Carolina at the end of the war and returned to Alabama. On March 21, 1867 he married Lucy Adaline Kidd (1841—1914) in Elmore County, Alabama. The marriage was performed by Methodist minister Robert A. Timmons. Eli and Lucy had 8 children. They buried at Pleasant Grove Cemetery, Eclectic, Elmore County, Alabama. He is a brother of one of two possible William Lafayette Williams who composed songs for The Sacred Harp
      117 TIMMONS  
      458 FRIENDSHIP

Saturday, May 30, 2015

People may say, and other music quotes

"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing." -- Florence Foster Jenkins

"In the old 'Southern Harmony; and the later 'Sacred Harp' there are songs and melodies which have not been excelled by any composition of the more pretentious writers and composers of the latter days." -- from the Winfield Enterprise, Marion County, AL, July 20, 1899

"Life is a song - sing it." -- Sai Baba

"Every heart sings a song, incomplete, until another heart whispers back." -- Plato

"Singing is my passion, my first love and the secret of my energy. Music to me is like finding my inner self, my soul." -- Kailash Kher

"The only thing better than singing is more singing." -- Ella Fitzgerald

"The Author, having different views upon the science of music from those published in other works, did not feel satisfied that they should lie hidden in mystery for ages yet to come, while, by an exposition of them, he may enlighten millions yet unborn." -- John Gordon McCurry, in his Preface to The Social Harp

"Some authors direct that A in la and fa shall be sounded as it is in father; but I greatly prefer the broad sound as in law, as being more musical and dignified." -- Samuel Wakefield, p. 9 in Minstrel of Zion 

 "This work seeks not a place in the higher departments of poetry and music. It is rather designed as a contribution to the songs of plain Christian people, who make little pretensions to highly cultivated musical and poetical taste." -- William Hunter, p. 3 in Minstrel of Zion

"Many of the airs in this book I learned in childhood from the sweet voice of my mother." -- William Hauser in his Preface to The Hesperian Harp

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Does Jesus forgive you, and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Musically-minded quotes

Sacred Harp

"If God didn't want this, he would have cut it off way back then." -- Dewey Williams

"Sacred Harp music is defiantly old-school." -- unknown

“It’s different from mainstream church music. It’s primitive, enticing and ethereal, all at the same time. It’s a very powerful form of worship.” -- Renè Greene

"...the powerful and sometimes sorrowful old sounds of Sacred Harp are alien to modern progress and prosperity which does its best to ignore the harsher aspects of life and death..." -- F. E. Abernethy

"You don't get harmony when everybody sings the same note." -- Doug Floyd

"Music is a sensation of pleasure produced in the mind by means of sounds." -- Elam Ives, Jr.

"Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life." -- Berthold Auerbach

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Inappropriate dress?

On Yahoo Parenting, writer Rachel Bertsche asked, Should This High Schooler Have Been Suspended for Her 'Inappropriate' Dress?

Both the student and the author Bertsche elevate how the student feels above the school's rules. "Reay admits that her dress may have been an inch or two short of that, but says she was focused on wearing a dress that made her feel like she could conquer the world."

The proper question is not whether the student violated the rules, but whether the rule is appropriate or should be changed. The student clearly DID violate the dress code. The school's dress code (p. 16 ) states that "Skirts, dresses, or other similar attire must extend at least to the top of the knee cap, from the front and from the back." Bertsche points out that the student's dress “passes many schools’ 'fingertip rule'” and “is hardly inappropriate.” Whether Bertsche thinks the dress is appropriate or whether it doesn't violate some other school's rules is immaterial. The picture on the Yahoo Parenting page makes it clear that it did violate the rules of the school where the student attended. Dress code's are always questionable -- especially in how consistently they are applied -- but once a school adopts a dress code that is satisfactory to the community, students should comply with it. If the community is not satisfied with it, they should seek to get it changed. What they should not do is seek to encourage students to violate it.

There are certainly some technical issues in this incident that are questionable -- for example, whether the teacher or school allowed her mother the opportunity to bring appropriate clothing. But in the end it seems the student was suspended for her insubordination rather than her clothing. It's not clear, but she may have also violated the cell phone policy. 

Nevertheless, I think that this and other similar recent incidents signal the rampant modern belief that people should be able to do what they feel like, rules be damned. The writer ends her piece by quoting the student, "...all women need to realize that they should wear what they feel good in." But the simple fact is that we cannot go the route that always allows all, whether men or women, to "wear what they feel good in."

Friday, May 22, 2015

The Great Day, Judge Falkner

Falkerner, Judge. The song The Great Day was added to The Sacred Harp in 1860 (p. 386). It was composed by J. P. Rees. It originally had 5 stanzas "as sung by Judge Falkerner" of Alabama (whether or not the stanzas were actually written by him). "Judge Falkerner of Ala" is probably Thomas Jefferson Falkner. He was the son of Job Falkner and Mary Gulledge, born April 22, 1810 in Jasper County, Georgia and died April 22, 1895/6 in Montgomery, Alabama. One of his markers in the Marbury Baptist Church Cemetery (Autauga County, Alabama) reads "Rev. Judge Falkner April 1810 April 1896 A Baptist Minister & One of Gods Greatest." He was a lawyer, judge, Baptist preacher and held several offices in Alabama – including Senator. During the War Between the States he was a Lieutenant Colonel of the 8th Confederate Cavalry. "He was fully allied to the Democratic party." [Note: this song was replaced by Carry Me Home in 1902 and does not appear in any Cooper editions of The Sacred Harp. Nevertheless I found this man while researching other Sacred Harp composers and decided to include this information about him. The tune was removed from the Denson book in 1936 and then returned (with alto added) in 1966.]

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Rest for the Weary

McDonald, William (March 1, 1820—September 11, 1901) was the son of Joseph McDonald and Mary Wilson, born in Belmont, Waldo County, Maine. He was a preacher, writer, composer and editor. He became a preacher in the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1839. McDonald served churches in Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, New York and Massachusetts, as well as Appleton, Wisconsin. He was admitted to the Maine Conference in 1843. In 1855 he transferred to Wisconsin and pastored at Appleton. He was well remembered there; someone writing 50 years later described McDonald as "...the most eloquent preacher that ever filled an Appleton pastorate." He joined the New England Conference in 1859. He was an active member of the National Holiness Association, serving as both Vice-President (1868—1884) and President (1884—1893). He was also editor of the Advocate of Bible Holiness from 1870 to 1894. Within this movement he "urged Holiness adherents to remain faithful to Methodism" and "vigorously opposed the growing movement to organize independent Holiness churches." McDonald was editor of several songbooks, including the Wesleyan Minstrel, the Wesleyan Sacred Harp, the American Hymn & Tune Book, and Tribute of Praise. The latter book, co-compiled with L. F. Snow, became the basis for the 1882 official hymnal of the Methodist Protestant Church. McDonald married Frances Jordan. They are buried at the Forest Hills Cemetery at Jamaica Plain in Suffolk County, Massachusetts. In The Melodeon by J. W. Dadmun (see Steel, p. 102) the song Rest for the Weary (p. 18) is attributed to "Revs. W. McD. and J. W. D." John Julian credits the original poetry to Samuel Young Harmer, stating is was "slightly altered, and set to music by the Rev. W. McDonald of Boston, Massachusetts." If correct, taken with Dadmun's attribution, this may suggest that McDonald was the original composer and that Dadmun arranged it.
474       Rest for the Weary

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A Golden Wedding.

A Golden Wedding.
  On Tuesday ult., the golden wedding
of Maj. B. F. White and Thurza White was
celebrated at their residence in DeKalb
county, this State. Many valuable presents
were made by the children and grand-children
of the aged couple. A large number of
friends partook of a sumptuous dinner. Maj.
White is the author of the Sacred Harp.
Among those present were thirty-four grand-
children, of which number our Mr. Byrd con-
tributed eleven. A still longer life to the
oldest couple in DeKalb.
Atlanta Sunday Herald, Jan. 11, 1874 -- page 8

Grace quotes

G.R.A.C.E. -- God's riches at Christ's expense (unknown)

"I would far rather convey grace than explain it." -- Philip Yancey

"Grace is ‘the last best word,’ the only unsullied theological word remaining in our language." -- Philip Yancey

Grace first contrived the way
To save rebellious man;
And all the steps that grace display
Which drew the wondrous plan.
Philip Doddridge

"Grace is love that cares and stoops and rescues." -- John Stott

"By the grace of God I am what I am." -- Paul

"My grace is sufficient for thee." -- God

Sunday, May 17, 2015

High in Yonder Realms of Light

The hymn below was written by Thomas Raffles (1788-1863). According to John Julian's Dictionary of Hymnology, it was first published in the Supplement to the Evangelical Magazine for December 1808, and then in William B. Collyer's Collection in 1812. It originally had six 8-line stanzas. It was sung at his funeral.

1. High in yonder realms of light
Dwell the raptured saints above,
Far beyond our feeble sight,
Happy in Immanuel's love.

2. Pilgrims in this vale of tears,
Once they knew, like us below,
Gloomy doubts, distressing fears,
Torturing pain, and heavy woe.

3. But, these days of weeping o'er,
Past this scene of toil and pain,
They shall feel distress no more,
Never--never weep again.

4. ‘Mid the chorus of the skies,
‘Mid th’angelic lyres above,
Hark--their songs melodious rise,
Songs of praise to Jesus' love!

5. Happy Spirits! ye are fled
Where no grief can entrance find:
Lulled to rest the aching head,
Soothed the anguish of the mind.

6. Every tear is wiped away--
Sighs no more shall heave the breast;
Night is lost in endless day--
Sorrow, in eternal rest.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Ernst Friedrich and Carry Me Home

Friedrich, Ernst (September 1872—August 24, 1932) was born in Ohio, the son of [Name unknown] and Catherine Friedrich, who emigrated to the U.S. from Germany in 1852. He married Rose Wirth in 1905 and they had two children, Ernst Jr. and Alma. He worked as a typesetter in 1900, learning the trade circa 1895 at Franklin Type Foundry. He is listed in the 1910 census as a "Printer" at a "Music house" and in 1920 as a "Music Printer." At least from circa 1918 to 1922 (and probably longer) he worked for the Armstrong Printing Company, a Cincinnati printer who specialized in shape note song books. With Frank J. Reis, he sang the duet that W. M. Cooper used to arrange the tune on page 386 of The Sacred Harp, Revised and Improved, 1902. Ernst and Rose are buried in the Vine Street Hill Cemetery in Cincinnati, Ohio.
386      Carry Me Home (“as sung by” w/Frank J. Reis)

Friday, May 15, 2015

Frank Reis and Carry Me Home

Reis, Frank J. (January 1862—Janurary 12, 1929) was the son of Xavier Francis Reis and Helena Sutterer. They immigrated to the United States from Baden, Germany in 1853, and Frank was born in Ohio. Frank Reis married Mary Meineke (1861—1927) circa 1885. She was also born in Germany. He worked as a typesetter from 1880 through 1900 (based on censuses). In 1910 he was described as a "Printer" in the industry of "Music." In 1920 he is occupation is a "Prop" (proprietor?) of a Music Printing Company. Frank and Mary are buried in the Vine Street Hill Cemetery in Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio. With Ernst Friedrich, also a Cincinnati music typesetter, he sang the duet that W. M. Cooper used to arrange the tune on page 386 of The Sacred Harp, Revised and Improved, 1902. Cooper had the song book printed in Cincinnati, so may have became acquainted with them and their song through that process.
386      Carry Me Home (“as sung by” w/Ernst Friedrich)

Constitutional Convention and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

In Memory of "Goose," alias Joe Louis

Obituary of Al Leon Chapman (1938--2015) son of Robert Obie Chapman and Ellen Francis Hutson, one of the former players of a great Laneville HS basketball team (didn't see this mentioned elsewhere so thought I'd mention it here)

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

94 yr old graduate, and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Baptizing Baby Jack

An important and sometimes intense discussion between same-sex marriage supporters and Bible-believing Christians is whether this new direction of same-sex marriage success will result in limiting the religious and doctrinal practices of churches and ministers. For example, whether this will:

  • require ministers to solemnize marriages to which they object 
  • require churches to make facilities and services equally available 
  • expose churches and/or religious leaders to civil lawsuits for discrimination 

Supporters give a resounding "No" and then wonder why conservative and evangelical Christians don't believe them. The incident in Central Florida revolving around "baptizing Baby Jack" is a good example of why the skepticism.

According to the article Gay Dads Claim Church Agreed to Baptize Their Baby and Then Abruptly Backed Out the same-sex fathers of "Baby Jack" wanted to have their baby baptized. A lot of the reporting is from their standpoint. From that point of view it is reported that "just three days before [the baptism] was set to unfold, McCaffrey said that Clark called and informed him that there was an internal debate at the church and that some congregants opposed the baptism." Susan Russell at Huffington Post has written Baptism, Baby Jack and the Bishop of Central Florida suggesting that the Bishop may "be guilty in 2015 of singling out LGBT parents seeking the sacrament of baptism for their children." Now there is a petition at Faithful America to "Make sure that no priest in your diocese ever again denies the holy sacrament of baptism to a child on the basis of the parents' sexual orientation." Clearly the LGBT movement is not just concerned about what happens in bakeries and flower shops -- they want to influence the religious decisions of denominational bodies and local churches.

This is probably a little more complex for Episcopalians than it would be for Baptists and other free congregational type churches -- since they are not simply governed locally. Nevertheless, it is clear that at least some people want to come into our churches and tell us how to practice our faith -- despite continually stressing that they do not.

As a side issue, I laughed a little when the "Reverend" Russell asked WWJD. What would Jesus do? According to Russell, "He'd baptize Jack." This in spite of the fact  -- even if you believe in infant baptism -- that Jesus never baptized anyone. I suppose that doesn't matter, if you ignore the Bible and make up its meaning as you go. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Children of the King

1. God alone is King, we know, 
As through life we onward go; 
Soon we’ll see Him in the sky, 
Meet Him there no more to die. 

2. Heaven waits us, filled with bliss, 
Not compared to worlds like this; 
Keep in mind this hope so sweet, 
Until at His throne we meet. 

By W. W. Titley, 1901

Saturday, May 09, 2015

What are “CMEs”?

“CMEs” are Christmas, Mother’s Day and Easter churchgoers.

I heard this recently and thought that other inquiring minds might also be dying to know.

Friday, May 08, 2015

Part of the song

"When they get together for an all day singing and dinner on the grounds they come to be part of the music, and I have observed no other art form in which the creator became such a part of the art he created as the Sacred Harp singer and his song." -- F. E. Abernethy in "Whither the Wings of Song," The Texas Historian, May 1977

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

The Language of the Sky

THE SKY 389b, Sacred Harp tune by R. F. M. Mann, 1869

Loud swell the pealing organ’s notes;
Breathe forth your soul in raptures high;
Praise ye the Lord with harp and voice;
Join the full chorus of the sky.

Say how may earth and heav'n unite?
And how shall man with angels join?
What link harmonious may be found?
Discordant nature to combine?

This hymn was written by Anna Letitia Aikin Barbauld (1743-1825). According to John Julian (pp. 113-114), it first appeared in 1807 in the supplement to A Collection of Hymns and Psalms for Public and Private Worship selected and prepared by Andrew Kippis, Abraham Rees, Thomas Jervis and Thomas Morgan (1795). It is hymn 8 on page 8 in the supplement in the back of the book. It is titled "The Harmony of Praise." The original appears in slightly different wording and form from our present hymn in The Sacred Harp. The order of the stanzas are reversed. Rather than long meter, it is It is as follows:

How may earth and heav'n unite?
How shall man with angels join?
What link harmonious may be found
Discordant natures to combine?

Swell the pealing organ’s notes!
Breathe your souls in raptures high!
In praises men with angels join;--
Music's the language of the sky.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Atheists, and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Continuous singing, lining or not?

Warren Steel pointed out to me the following interesting piece about "continuous singing".

It is often objected that the reading of the line interrupts the singing and "spoils the music." Well, the singing is indeed necessarily and temporarily interrupted; but edification is thereby promoted; and suppose the music marred, or even "spoiled," what then? Is the chief end now to worship the music? This is idolatry, however refined. It is, I believe, the uniform testimony of those who from this country visit the churches of the reformation in the British Isles, that the united voices of the worshippers in the great congregation there, where all "sing praises with understanding;" far excel all the choirs, solos or quartets in American churches.

Again, it is said that "all our people ought to be so well acquainted with the Psalms as to be able to sing them without a book." Suppose this to be the case with adults; it is not to be expected of children, whom God commands, as we have shown, to concur in this part of his service. But it is proper to add, that perhaps those who bring this objection, may be found as deficient in this part of Christian acquisition as some of their brethren. Besides, there is a vast difference between committing the Psalms to memory, and "getting them by heart." Satan himself excels in the former as we see (Ps. 91:11, Matt. 4:6): but the latter is beyond his power. I have known a young man who excelled all the members in a fellowship meeting, in committing to memory all the Psalms and both Catechisms! He married a Papist, and went to mass! His memory was not at fault; but "his heart was not right with God." "Five words" outweighed with Paul, "ten thousand words in an unknown tongue," or what is equivalent, absolute silence, (1 Cor. 14:16).

David Steele in Continuous Singing in the Ordinary Public Worship of God, Considered in the Light of Scripture and ...

Sunday, May 03, 2015

The Fa-Sol-La or the Do-Re-Mi

"Both musical traditions continue, still following the original styles of singing. In February 1963, about 1000 singers met at the National Guard Armory in Marshall for the Ark-La-Tex-Oma, four-state singing convention, while a meager forty-six souls continue to sing the Sacred Harp songs at Lone Pilgrim Church in Upshur County."

I found this quote in "The Fa-Sol-La or the Do-Re-Mi" by Louis Daigle. This is an article published in The Texas Historian, Volume 37, Number 5, May 1977, p. 7 by the Texas State Historical Association. It isn't an apples to apples comparison, since the author is comparing a four-state 7-shape note gospel singing convention to a local Sacred Harp singing. But here's another thing I find interesting. Some 50 years after the year referenced, it appears that the Ark-La-Tex-Oma Singing Convention was no longer in existence. In contrast, the Sacred Harp was still plodding along -- 363 people attended the East Texas Sacred Harp Convention, including people from 9 states and 2 foreign countries. (Not quite 1000, but a lot better than zero.)

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Singing by the whole worshipping assembly

"...the potent hindrance is that Christians do not regard it as a duty..."

"Do you not live in sin in living in the neglect of singing God's praises? If singing praise to God be an ordinance of God's public worship, as doubtless it is, then it ought to be performed by the whole worshipping assembly. If it be a command that we should worship God in this way, then all ought to obey the command, not only by joining with others in singing, but in singing themselves. For if we suppose it answers the command of God for us only to join in our hearts with others, it will run us into this absurdity, that all may do so; and then there would be none to sing, none for others to join with.

"If it be an appointment of God, that Christian congregations should sing praises to him, then, doubtless, it is the duty of all; if there be no exception to the rule, then all ought to comply with it. But if persons be not capable, because they know not how, to sing, that doth not excuse them, unless they have been incapable of learning. As it is the command of God that all should sing, so all should make conscience of learning to sing, as it is a thing which cannot be at all decently performed without. Those therefore who neglect to learn to sing live in sin, as they neglect what is necessary in order to their attending to one of the ordinances of God's worship."

From "Christian Choirs," in The Baptist Magazine, October 1857

Friday, May 01, 2015

Mansfield's Remarks on Singing

In what has been nearly ten years ago, I posted a series of articles that variously addressed "how to sing". I am adding the following "remarks" by D. H. Mansfield to that list and will hope to follow up with a few more.

The American Three Parts was published by D. H. Mansfield (1810-1855) in 1848. He included tunes from the masters of the New England singing school tradition -- such as, Billings, Holden, Read, Swan, Holyoke, Morgan -- as well as "eminent American authors now living" and "distinguished European composers." After his preface and rudiments of music, Mansfield ends with the following "Remarks" (p. xvi).
1. Singing, as a part of public worship should, if possible, be performed by the whole congregation. But if there are any who cannot, or will not learn to sing, they ought not to mar the devotion by attempting to sing in public.
2. Every singer should have a tune book; but he ought to commit so thoroughly to memory as not to be entirely dependent upon it in a public performance. The singer who is obliged to refer constantly to the music he is performing, will produce but little effect.
3. Musical instruments may be useful where singers are not thoroughly trained, but if they are, no instrument can add to the sweetness or effect of their music. If instruments are used, great care should be taken not to disturb the congregation in tuning them.
4. If there is a select choir, the members of it should receive their places with reference principally to their singing abilities, and not with reference to their wealth, station, or general talent.
5. The tune must be keyed to suit the singers. It is supposed to be written where it can generally be performed with the greatest effect. Some choirs may require it a note higher or lower.
6. If, under a dispensation of grace, sinners may come into the "congregation of the Lord," to hear and receive the benefits of the gospel, no person who is profane or vicious, should be permitted to abuse the worship of God by taking a place in the choir.
It is a painful fact that, many who assume this responsible part of public worship, feel themselves at liberty to disturb the remaining exercises, by turning over their books, reading, whispering, &c. &c., as if every thing of importance was done when they had gone through with their thoughtless and miserable apology for SINGING PRAISE TO GOD, and they were not at all interested in the great truths of the gospel.
Remember then, my young singing friends especially, your duty. Why are you permitted to sing?—God is merciful. Praise Him! Why are you called together on the holy Sabbath? JESUS CHRIST HATH DIED!—AND IS RISEN! Praise Him! O praise Him! What influence is that which moves so sweetly upon your hearts while you hear the blessed gospel? 'Tis the Holy Ghost! He would win you gently back to God! Praise Him! Sing praises! Think what the gospel offers you,—

Salvation on earth, and a Mansion in Heaven

Sing then. There is cause for joy—
Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow
Praise Him, All Creatures Here Below 
Praise Him Above. Ye Heavenly Host 
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost

Daniel Hale Mansfield was the tenth child of Jacob Mansfield and Charity Payson. He was born June 23, 1810 in or near Barrettstown, Maine. In 1845 D. H. Mansfield married Lucy Maria Fairbanks. She was the granddaughter of singing master John Fairbanks. D. H. was both a Methodist preacher and an itinerant singing master. He died February 25, 1855 and is buried in the Morey Hill Cemetery in Knox County, Maine.