Monthly Archives: December 2013

Introducing Vol. 2, No. 3 of the Sacred Harp Publishing Company Newsletter

The fifth issue of the Sacred Harp Publishing Company Newsletter recounts the extraordinary lives and achievements of significant figures across Sacred Harp’s history and presents new insights drawn from the minutes of Sacred Harp singings. Our issue begins with Sacred Harp Publishing … Continue reading

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Remembering Those Who’ve Gone Before: Sacred Harp Publishing Company 2013 Citation Awards

On October 11, 1969, the Sacred Harp Publishing Company began a practice that continues to this day. The Board of Directors voted to present citations to “honor and express appreciation to loyal supporters and dedicated singers for outstanding work in … Continue reading

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Uncle Tom Denson’s Last Lesson: Observations and Impressions of a Son

Introduction: Observations and Impressions of a Grandson From the earliest years of my life I have heard of my grandfather, Tom Denson. “Pappy Denson,” “Dad Thomas,” “Uncle Tom,” “Professor Denson,” T. J. Denson, Thomas Jackson Denson, and “Mr. Denson” are … Continue reading

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“Melancholy Day”: Letters of Condolence after the Death of Thomas Jackson Denson

Editors’ Note: Sacred Harp singers from across the South wrote to Paine Denson expressing their condolences and sharing their memories after the death of his father, singing school teacher, leader, and composer Thomas Jackson Denson. T. J.’s death on September 14, … Continue reading

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“Oh, What a Happy Time”: The NEA National Heritage Fellows Concert in Washington D.C.

What are your hobbies? What are you passionate about? I bet most of you will say sports, reading, or cooking, right? Well, for me and many others, music is a passion—but not just any music: Sacred Harp singing. This tradition … Continue reading

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Mt. Zion Primitive Baptist Church Singing, July 4, 1997: M. B. Forbes Playing the Harmonica

Anyone browsing the 1997 minutes from the singing at Mt. Zion Primitive Baptist Church in Ashland, Alabama might be a bit surprised to read of this lesson: “M. B. Forbes 164, 59 (on his harmonica).” After dinner, M. B. Forbes … Continue reading

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The Cold Mountain Bump: Hollywood’s Effect on Sacred Harp Songs and Singers

Almost every Sacred Harp singer has heard of the film Cold Mountain, the 2003 Academy-Award-winning motion picture which featured a pair of songs from The Sacred Harp: “I’m Going Home” (p. 282) and “Idumea” (p. 47b). The film led to an … Continue reading

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“There Are More Singings Now Than Ever Before”: Hugh McGraw Addresses the Harpeth Valley Singers

Editors’ note: In 1964, Hugh McGraw, then executive secretary of the Sacred Harp Publishing Company, gave a talk on the past, present, and future of Sacred Harp singing for the Harpeth Valley, Tennessee, Sacred Harp singers. His audience included prominent … Continue reading

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William Walker: Carolina Contributor to American Music

Introduction When it comes to the hymnody of the nineteenth century South, The Sacred Harp often comes to mind. After all, The Sacred Harp is still celebrated in singing practically every weekend across the United States. One singing school teacher … Continue reading

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