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MacDowell Music Club learns about shape notes

Lanise Aultmann and Gene Horton

The MacDowell Music Club of Crystal Springs met Jan. 8 at Crystal Springs United Methodist Church. Fourteen members and three guests were present.
The program, “The Wonder of Shape Notes,” was introduced by Gene Horton. He then introduced guest speaker Lanise Aultmann, who has been involved in shape note singing and training for many years. She gave the history of the sight-reading method and the singing schools through which it has been taught over many years. Singing schools are still very popular, especially in the southeastern United States. She brought a large number of shape-note publications for members to view.
Aultmann is the executive director of the Mississippi Boychoir. She had literature for members to take and told of a concert by the choir at Camp Wesley Pines Jan. 23 and another performance at Tougaloo College Feb. 4-5.
After the program, the meeting was called to order by club president Leslie Horton. The National Federation Collect was recited and the National Federation Hymn sung.
Billie Jane Davis introduced the Together We Sing song, “Beautiful Dreamer,” and club members sang with Martha Traxler leading and Joan Ervin as accompanist.
January was the month for the Founder’s Day observance. In recognition, Horton shared a history of the club as prepared by her grandmother, Mrs. J. T. Biggs Jr., when she was president of the club.
Committee reports were given. A Grand Night IX is Friday, April 1. Practices started Jan. 9. The Chautauqua Christmas display was highly successful with many thanks going to club member Nick Bassett. The Musical Tour of Homes will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 14. The tour will take the place of the club’s regular meeting. On tour will be the homes of Paula and Randy Berry, Barbara Finch, Brent and Melissa Duncan, and Francis and Sherry Jackson.
The meeting closed with the singing of “The Gift of Song,” after which the membership and guests enjoyed refreshments and fellowship.
February’s meeting is scheduled for Feb. 12 at J.T. Biggs Jr. Library. Program coordinator is Jim Kitchens, who will present “The Wonder of Jimmy Rogers’ Music.” Hostesses are Gayle Easter (chair), Jan Cohn, Susan Snyder, and Nancy Sullivan. Accompanist will be Sheila Bycofski.