The village of Taylor, known for its combination of the traditional life with modern and original arts, will host its twenty-sixth annual all-day Sacred Harp singing on Saturday, October 12 at the United Methodist Church. Singing will commence at 10:00, followed by potluck dinner and more singing until 3:00 PM. Warren Steel of Oxford will be in charge. The Reverend Annette Ford and the congregation invite the public to attend and participate. Taylor United Methodist Church, with its resonant wooden floor and beaded wood walls, is an ideal location to hear this thrilling harmony, which is not accompanied by harps or any other instruments.
A Sacred Harp singing is a non-denominational community musical event. Named for The Sacred Harp, a songbook first printed in 1844, Sacred Harp singings are often associated with church homecomings and memorials. In Lafayette County, Sacred Harp singing dates to the 1870s, when several area churches instituted annual singings that were among the best-attended events in their communities. In many places, traditional singings have been replaced by gospel quartet concerts, but Sacred Harp singings still preserve the music, style and customs of the days before the War Between the States, in which everyone sings and everyone is invited to lead his or her favorite selections. The songbook includes pieces by the first American composers along with many southern folk hymns and camp-meeting songs. Sacred Harp singing is featured in the documentary film Awake, My Soul, as well as in the Miramax film Cold Mountain.
Today Sacred Harp singing is experiencing a massive revival: singings and conventions have sprung up all across the United States, as well as in Canada, the United Kingdom and Ireland. Larger singings attract hundreds of singers and listeners, who learn about the music from the Internet or by word of mouth: Warren Steel maintains a Sacred Harp home page at Ole Miss.
This singing was formerly held at Pilgrim's Rest Primitive Baptist Church. Members of that congregation, and residents of Taylor, Sand Hill, Springdale and Pine Flat, are particularly invited to attend, as are visitors from the Oxford-University community. Local residents are asked to bring a dish to share for dinner. For more information, call Warren and Anne Steel at 236-5356.
From Oxford, take Old Taylor Road (Old Taylor Road exit from hwy 6/US278) to the south 7.5 miles to the village of Taylor; church is on your right. From Bruce and points south, take hwy 9W and hwy 7 toward Oxford. After you cross the Yocona River take a left on hwy 328. (You can ignore signs that say that hwy 328 is closed.) After 3.5 miles bear right on CR 335 (Cutoff Road) until it ends, then turn right; look for the church on your left.
The twenty-sixth annual Sacred Harp singing at Taylor United Methodist Church (formerly held at Pilgrim's Rest Primitive Baptist Church) was called to order by Warren Steel leading song on page 59. John Van Horn led the morning prayer. Leaders: Warren Steel 39t, 187; Hugh Bill McGuire 310; Henry McGuire 105, 234, 504; Dameron and Cesare Neyman 178, 39b, 56t; Drew McGuire 344, 77t, 492; Vicky Neyman 282, 268; Jeff Corbett 230, 326, 276; Arlon Gardner 278t, 277, 76b.
Warren Steel reassembled the class leading song on page 36b. Other leaders: Bobby Neyman 163b, 146, 479; Julie Heerin 417, 176b; Brenda Chafin 142, 203, 542; Anne Steel 348b, 163t, 318; Louis Garner 373, 397, 378t; John Van Horn 65, 196.
Warren Steel called the class together leading song on page 280. Leaders: Andy Davis 269, 434, 47b; Mary Amelia Taylor 472, 298, 546; Jan Murray 457, 31t. In a memorial lesson, Warren Steel led 85 and 131b in memory of Charlie Gates, Virginia Carter, Sammye Baker and Emily Boswell. Other leaders: Dameron Neyman 274t; Vicky Neyman 120, 87; Drew McGuire 101t, 114; Jeff Corbett 179, 569b; Arlon Gardner 507, 455; Bobby Neyman 117, 347; Julie Heerin 354b, 330b; Brenda Chafin 200, 430; Anne Steel 67, 480; John Van Horn 209, 300; Andy Davis 254; Mary Amelia Taylor 376; Jan Murray 129; Cesare Neyman 513. Following announcements of future singings Warren Steel led the closing song on page 235, and the class was dismissed with prayer by Mary Amelia Taylor.
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