Old Country Church singing: An uplifting happening

Published 11:00 pm Monday, November 19, 2012

Jarrod Brooks took his turn leading the singing at the Old Country Church Sunday afternoon. The leaders chose their favorite hymns during the first 30-plus minutes of the singing and requests were taken the remainder of the one hour and 15 minutes.

The last song requested at the singing at the Old Country Church Sunday afternoon was hymn number 435.

When the last note faded, the gentleman who requested the song, made a correction.

“I said number 635.”

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John Senn smiled and shook off the man’s request for just one more song. “No, that’s it.”

Senn and his wife, Mary Sue, host the a cappella singing each year the Sunday before Thanksgiving. He sets the time at one hour and 15 minutes.

One hour’s not long enough and an hour and a half is too long. But, those who attend the singings would sit and sing until the afternoon shadows engulf the Old County Church. They all leave wishing for “just one more song.”

Jack and Judy Walters are regulars at the Old Country Church and as soon as they walk down the steps of the historic church, they beginning thinking about “next year.”

“The singing at the Old County Church is one of the most energized, uplifting happenings in Pike County,” Jack Walters said. “It revives your spirits. I can’t think of anything better than the singing at the Old County Church.”

Walters said that, back years ago, there would be a singing every Sunday at a church somewhere around.

“But, they’ve kind of played out and I sure do miss them,” he said.

Walters led a couple of songs Sunday afternoon, including one of his favorites, “Heaven Is Surely Worth It All.”

“My daddy was a good singer and leader but I don’t know music,” he said. “I wouldn’t know a note on a signboard. But I love to sing the old hymns and I like to lead the best I can.”

Judy Walters said she has only missed a couple of the a cappella singings over the years and looks forward to going to the Old Country Church every year.

“The singings are wonderful,” she said. “They are inspiring. The songs that we sing are the older songs, the ones that were sung years ago. I get such a blessing from them.”

The Old Country Church was the original church building at the Hamilton Crossroad Church of Christ and was moved to its present site more than 10 years ago.

Many of those who attend the singing at the Old Country Church have roots in the Church of Christ and a cappella singing.

Richard Chapman doesn’t but he, like so many others, has grown to love and appreciate that form of singing.

“I go primarily to listen,” he said. “It’s amazing. Even with the lack of instrumentation, the people harmonize so beautifully. It’s like a well-rehearsed choir but it’s not because the people come from all over.”

Chapman said he has only attended the singing for a couple of years but now looks forward to it.

“The singing is not anything that I hear in my normal church attendance and I really enjoy it,” he said. “It’s a way, too, of maintaining an old tradition and that’s something that we don’t do enough of.”

The singing at the Old Country Church is a gift to the community from John and Mary Sue Senn and, oh, what a gift it is, Jack Walters said. “We are all so thankful for this wonderful blessing.”