2016 Old Folks Day
At the risk of jinxing the record, as far as we can remember there have been only two rainy Old Folks Days since the early 1960's making it necessary to move the dinner-on-the-grounds indoors. (To be honest, we don't remember them because we were toddlers.) 2016 did not stray from the norm - no humidity, mild temperatures, and a few puffy white clouds made for a glorious feast under the legendary oak trees in the church yard and a singing in the sanctuary that made Dutch Cove ring once again with shaped-note singing in the Blue Ridge style. (Click on the photos for a description.)
Old Folks Day is now an official site of the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina!
Quay always had Underwood Smathers of Smathers Market in Canton keep back the biggest ham he had in the butcher shop for Old Folks Day. Sue Smathers had a secret ingredient for making it so tender it would melt in you mouth. We know it, and we aren't telling. There was none left this year. Just saying...
Morning Star UMC is set in beautiful Dutch Cove just south of Canton, NC. The church's history traces back to early German Lutherans. The area was named Dutch Cove after a mispronunciation of Deutsch, which pertains to the German language and people who settled the cove.
Among the most legendary dinner-on-the-grounds in the shaped-note singing tradition, Old Folks Day brings out the best of local cooks and bakers. The fact that the fall harvest is coming in adds to the bounty!
Extra chairs were brought into the choir loft and many sang from the congregational pews as well. Old Folks Day 2016 had a very high attendance!
A resurgence of interest in the Blue Ridge style of shaped-note singing is attracting a new generation of singers!
New singers learn quickly when experienced leaders take them under the wings. Larry Beveridge, known for his resonate bass voice, is on the staff of the Quay Smathers Memorial Singing School, and several of his protégés were in attendance.
Old Folks Day is the oldest Christian Harmony shaped-note singing in the world to continuously use the original book by William Walker - this has been accomplished by facsimile editions through the years, the latest of which is the 2015 edition by Folk Heritage Books. A popular feature of the Quay Smathers Memorial Singing School is the display of rare shaped-note books.
We were pleasantly surprised when hymnologist and leading authority on William Walker, Harry Eskew, came to sing with us!