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 In many places, traditional singings have been replaced by gospel quartet concerts, but Sacred Harp singings still preserve the music, style and customs of the days before the War Between the States, in which everyone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. Please note that the singing has been changed from Sunday to Saturday, and the singing will begin at 10:00 AM. 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. 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-fifth annual Sacred Harp singing at Taylor United Methodist Church (formerly held at Pilgrim's Rest Primitive Baptist Church) was called to order following the preaching service on a rainy Sunday by Warren Steel leading song on page 48t and 36b. John Van Horn led the morning prayer. Leaders: John Van Horn 73t, 106, 108b; Hugh Bill McGuire 82t; Anne Steel 171, 107, 480; Jess Weller 157, 445; George Easley 34b, 313t; Cliff Hall 268, 277; Chiquita Walls 335 in memory of Aubrey Enochs.
Warren Steel called the class together leading song on page 270 and 288 (in memory of Nellie Davis). Other leaders: Mary Amelia Taylor 35, 505, 472; Kathleen Brown 117, 282, 283; Will Ingraham 160t, 39t, 39b; Jack Barbera 40, 42, 45t; Jan Murray 31t, 31b, 285t; Joe Thompson 84, 217, 414. Warren Steel "Hurricane Creek."
John Van Horn brought the class together leading songs on page 3236 and 196. Leaders: Anne Steel 504, 200; Jess Weller 47t, 47b; Devon Newburn 201, 129; George Easley 438; Cliff Hall 159, 503; Mary Amelia Taylor 99, 390; Kathleen Brown 128, 388; Will Ingraham 466, 440; Joe Thompson 73b, 479. It was announced that in future years this singing will take place on the Saturday before the second Sunday in October, beginning at 10:00 a.m. Following announcements of future singings Warren Steel led the closing song on page 134, and the class was dismissed with prayer by Joe Thompson.
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