We recently published volume 2, number 3 of the Sacred Harp Publishing Company Newsletter. This issue includes an article I co-wrote with Mark T. Godfrey and Nathan Rees on the quantitative effect of Cold Mountain on Sacred Harp singings, an essay by Harry Eskew that I revised on William Walker’s contributions to shape-note hymnody, and a collection of letters of condolence after the death of Sacred Harp patriarch Thomas Jackson Denson that I edited. Nathan Rees and I introduced the new issue of the Newsletter as follows:
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 Company Executive Secretary Karen Rollins’ remembrance of the four 2013 recipients of posthumous citations from the company: Harrison Creel, Jerry Enright, Lonnie Rogers, and George Seiler. Two additional pieces focus on one of the first recipients of a Publishing Company citation, singing school teacher, composer, and Publishing Company co-founder Thomas Jackson Denson. Company President Michael Hinton recounts family stories about “Uncle Tom” Denson, his grandfather, and introduces an account by Denson’s son Howard of his father’s last lesson, at the 1935 United convention. Another article collects letters of condolence written by prominent singers to T. J.’s other son, Paine, in the wake of Denson’s death. Harry Eskew recounts the contributions of nineteenth-century composer, arranger, and songbook editor William Walker, and in an excerpt from a 1964 speech, Hugh McGraw addresses some common criticisms of Sacred Harp singing and describes the state of the tradition in the mid-1960s. Turning to the present, Cheyenne Ivey contributes an account of the eventful trip twenty-two Sacred Harp singers made to Washington, D.C. this fall to join 2013 NEA National Heritage Fellow David Ivey in a celebratory concert. Two additional articles mine the Minutes of Sacred Harp Singings. Nathan Rees shares the story of M. B. Forbes and his harmonica, and Jesse P. Karlsberg, Mark T. Godfrey, and Nathan Rees draw on minutes data from 1995–2013 to measure the effect of Cold Mountain on our singings.
We invite you to leave comments on these new articles and to write us with your feedback and suggestions of topics for the future.
Vol. 2, No. 3 Contents
- “Remembering Those Who’ve Gone Before: Sacred Harp Publishing Company 2013 Citation Awards,” Karen Rollins (Bowden, Georgia)
- “Uncle Tom Denson’s Last Lesson: Observations and Impressions of a Son,” Michael Hinton (San Antonio, Texas) and Howard Denson (Tuscaloosa, Alabama)
- “‘Melancholy Day’: Letters of Condolence after the Death of Thomas Jackson Denson,” C. J. Griggs (Atlanta, Georgia), Thomas Simpson McLendon (Carrollton, Georgia), Wilber E. Morgan (Atlanta, Georgia), and W. T. Coston (Dallas, Texas)
- “‘Oh, What a Happy Time’: The NEA National Heritage Fellows Concert in Washington D.C.,” Cheyenne Ivey (Henagar, Alabama)
- “Mt. Zion Primitive Baptist Church Singing, July 4, 1997: M. B. Forbes Playing the Harmonica,” Nathan Rees (Knoxville, Tennessee)
- “The Cold Mountain Bump,” Jesse P. Karlsberg (Atlanta, Georgia), Mark. T. Godfrey (San Francisco, California), and Nathan Rees (Knoxville, Tennessee)
- “‘There Are More Singings Now Than Ever Before’: Hugh McGraw Addresses the Harpeth Valley Singers,” Hugh McGraw (Bremen, Georgia)
- “William Walker: Carolina Contributor to American Music,” Harry Eskew (Macon, Georgia)