Sacred Harp singing has been in my family before I was born. I was the last of
six girls and four boys, one brother deceased at 6 yrs old before I was
We would all sit around the fireplace and sing Sacred Harp from the
B.F. White book and later from the Denson Revision.
My parents were brought
up in Eastern Alabama, and Sacred Harp was prevalent there. I was born in
Eastern Texas and moved to South Georgia at an early age, being involved in
Sacred Harp singing wherever we lived.
When I was about 6 or 7 yrs. old, I
got my Daddy's song book, sat on the porch and taught myself the notes and the
words of Holy Manna.
As a child , I would attend the Singings with my
parents. I would sit on the front row with my Daddy & sing my little heart
out. I was asked many times to lead songs, but at that young age, I was too
shy. My Mother had a beautiful Tenor voice.
We always attended the South
Georgia singing Convention held near Cordele, Ga. held the first week-end in
November. We would spend the night with the Pless Harden family, because travel
was not as easy then as it is today.
After my parents passed away, my eldest
brother, C.W.(Coot) Laminack and my precious Sister-in-Law, Ruth, would still
attend the Singings in the area.
With time off for Nursing School, getting
married and rearing two wonderful children, I didn't get to attend as much as
I'd have liked. However, my two children were rocked and sung to sleep with
Sacred Harp songs. I made every effort to attend Singings with my Brother and
Sister-in-Law when possible.
I didn't start leading songs until we had annual
Singings at my home Church, Old Valley Grove Primitive Baptist Church near
Ocilla and Tifton, Ga. What a joy to be able to stand in the center of the
square and hear the the beautiful blend of voices all around. I would watch my
brother to see if I were keeping time correctly. How I miss him now.
that all my family who were Sacred Harp Singers are gone, I still try to attend
as many Singings as I can. I have been blessed these 85 years to be able to
attend and sing with some of the best in Savannah, Ga. at Faith Primitive
Baptist Church and Macon, Ga. onVineville Ave. as well as Emmaus Primitive
Baptist Church in Thomaston, Ga.
There are many who have been dear to my
heart through the years: Raymond & Horace Hamrick, Richard Johnson, Harry
& Mildred Dumas, Hugh McGraw, Oscar McGuire, The Frank Sheppard Family, The
M.T. Sheppard Family, Charlene Wallace, Mary Brownlee and her sisters, Martha
& Rose, and many others, too many to name, except those with whom I have had
the priviledge to join in Savannah. God bless each of them for allowing me to
sing with them.
It is such a thrill to see the younger generation taking
interest in Sacred Harp, and I pray that it will live on in future generations.
May God continue to bless me to attend whenever possible, and may God bless all
who sing Praises to His Name's Honor and Glory through Sacred Harp.
Mary Agnes Laminack Roberts