Savannah Sacred Harp Singers

Old-time songs sung powerfully


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Forum Home > How Did You Become A Sacred Harp Singer? > Ms. Agnes Roberts

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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 born.
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.
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

February 17, 2009 at 8:15 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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