About 100 gospel singers gathered at LifeSong Baptist Church in Greenbrier Friday and Saturday for some good old-fashioned camaraderie, gospel singing and pot luck luncheon. This was the annual Arkansas-Oklahoma Gospel Singing Convention, led by Arkansas President Larry Hutson. Every year they elect next year’s officers and they alternate states. Next year’s President elect is Thomas Williston from Oklahoma.
People of all faiths gathered to sing together from many traditional shape-note song books and listen to individuals, trios and quartets perform. Pianists took turns playing for everyone on the two pianos, one of which was a grand piano, located in the church. Singers and pianists gathered from as far away as four different neighboring states and many have been attending this convention on the fourth week-end in August since the early 1960’s.
At lunch time, everyone had a chance to renew old friendships and reminisce about conventions of the past. Dean Patton, who was born in 1929 and Saw Rie, both who live on Horseshoe mountain in Greenbrier, had many tales to tell when retired teacher Ben McNew stopped by to say hello. Larry Hutson said, “You’re never too old to go to a Southern gospel sing-in.”