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Natural History of a Northern Sacred Harp Zealot

Leads a dull meaningless existence. Gainfully employed, has a rock-solid credit rating and actually takes vacations to see family members. Sniffs around old moldy tunebooks and odds 'n' ends of music. Enjoys good choral music. Likes Western Wind recordings.

Finds soul at a singing and discovers it vibrates in fourths. Is incoherent during breaks and lunch. Brain is damaged from trying to sing syllables, make words line up and sight-read simultaneously.

Still dazed. Has attempted leading, determines previously damaged brain not up to keeping tempo and cheats by imitating front row tenors. Encounters Southerners.

Drags friends, lovers, parents, sisters and brothers to nearest singing or makes them listen to recordings. Discovers sad truth: most people idiots. Makes first Holly Springs trip. Goes into brain daze again. Still has credit line left on cards. Sticks to medium pace C.M. tunes in leading. EASTER ANTHEM is favorite. Old friends suspect cult involvement. Gets metaphysical at 4 a.m. Tears up during Memorial Lesson.

Subscribes to all known newsletters and online lists, collects all available recordings, buys all available shapenote books. Wants to strangle northerners who twist southern traditions. Hates Western Wind. Singing notes is easy, can sing words on BEAR CREEK at speed. Still is allowed a credit line, but is maxed out on Birmingham flights. Daydreams grandiose Sacred Harp schemes at work. Is starting to lead fuging tunes. Knows all verses of PARTING HAND. Watches for want ads from Alabama. Finds choral music insipid. Tears up at odd times during singings.

Leads fuging tunes in sections. Sings "Top 100" by heart including notes. Rarely leads from top fifty. Travels to singings throughout South. Has discovered joys of Cooper book singings. Can smell out a newly hooked singer at 100 feet. Has come to peace with non-singing friends. Has more southern than northern friends. Credit cards all revoked but has beaucoup frequent flier miles. Tears up thinking of singers.

There aren't any elderly Northern Sacred Harp zealots. They all move South and morph into Southern Oldtimers.

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