Sacred Harp singers remember Ken Sundberg

Published 8:13 pm Tuesday, June 7, 2022

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The Pioneer Museum of Alabama hosted the annual Sacred Harp Singing on Saturday with a large number of singers from across the Wiregrass and River regions in attendance.

Barbara Tatom, museum director, said this year’s Sacred Harp Singing was special in that it honored and remembered Trojan Kenneth Sundberg, who organized and promoted the Sacred Harp Singings at the museum.

“Ken was very committed to providing this opportunity for those in our area who are singers and also for those who want to come and enjoy this old form of music,” Tatom said. “He encouraged interest in Sacred Harp singing and was dedicated to keeping it going here in Pike County.”

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Stanley Smith, singer and composer, remembered “Ken” as a friend, a fine singer and a dedicated promoter of Sacred Harp music.

Ken Sundberg, he said, believed it was important, not only to sing the more popular songs in the Sacred Harp songbook, but to also learn and appreciate the less popular songs.

“At each singing here at the Pioneer Museum of Alabama, Ken would have at least one unfamiliar song that he had dug up,” Smith said with a smile of remembrance. “He would lead us in learning the new song and then we would sing it. Ken thought that, as keepers of Sacred Harp music, we should continue learning songs as we carry forward this very special form of singing.”

Smith said Sundberg enjoyed singing and leading Sacred Harp music and he enjoyed the friendships he had cultivated over the years.

The Sacred Harp singers agreed Ken Sundberg was a good friend to each of them and a dedicated promoter of Sacred Harp music.

“We all have fond memories of Ken,” Smith said. “We miss him and will long remember him and his dedication and contributions to Sacred Harp music.”

The Sacred Harp singers chose to sing “Happy Home” (… to my happy home far away …) in remembrance of and love for their friend, Ken Sundberg.

Tatom said the annual Sacred Harp Singings at the Pioneer Museum of Alabama not only attract singers, but also provide opportunities for others to learn about the traditional method of singing that originated in the New England states and has been carried on throughout the South.