‘NO SINGING’: Old Country Church singing canceled

Published 8:44 pm Tuesday, November 12, 2019

In 1919, Chicago Daily News reporter Charley Owens, responded to Shoeless Joe Jackson’s admission that he cheated in the 1919 World Series with “Say it ain’t so, Joe.”

Now, 100 years later, those who regularly attend the Singings at the Old Country Church are singing the same tune, “Say it ain’t so… John.”

For 17 years, John and Mary Senn have hosted the Singing at the Old Country Church on the Sunday afternoon before Thanksgiving.  But not this year, the Senns said.

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A sign was posted at the Old Country Church that sits on Highway 231 just south of Brundidge. The sign reads “No Singing Nov. 2019.”

“Mary and I have always looked forward to the singing each year, as a lot of people do,” Senn said. “So, we felt kind of bad about not having the singing but we decided it was time to try taking off this year. We’ve been having the singing for 17 years. Actually, we’ve had 19 singings, because a couple of years we had two singings. But, now is just the time.”

Senn said he and his wife talked about not having the singing this year and went ahead and made up their minds ahead of time.

As the word began to spread among the regulars at the Singing at the Old Country Church, the response was disappointment.

“Chan Senn told me at church. I was surprised and disappointed, just like he was,” said Jim English, a singer and song leader. “I looked forward to the singing every year and a lot of other people do, too.  The singing and the fellowship that comes with it is a part of Thanksgiving.”

English said to have the a cappella singing elsewhere just wouldn’t be the same.

“That old wood building with the great acoustics, there’s no way to duplicate it,” he said. “The Singing at the Old Country Church is special. It’s sad to think about it not happening.”

Deborah Huggins-Davis said the news that the singing won’t take place this year, left her broken-hearted.

“Paul and I look forward to the singing,” she said. “It sets the right tone for a time of Thanksgiving. We are going to miss it, greatly.”

The Old Country Church was the original church building for the Hamilton Crossroads Church of Christ. Senn said the church dates back to around 1900.

“When the new church was built in 2001, the original church building was going to be bulldozed if nobody wanted to accept the expense of moving it,” Senn said. “The announcement was made in church that if anybody wanted to move the church, they could have it. I wanted it but Mary would be the deciding factor.  Accepting that expense would be something we both wanted. Mary looked over at me and said, ‘Why don’t we?’ I was so glad.”

John and Mary Seen assumed the expense of moving and setting up the church and have hosted the annual singings now for 17 years. The hopes of the many who attend the annual singing at the Old Country Church are 17 years “and counting.”