Saturday, April 17, 2021
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Music and Heritage Festival 2012


      The Music and Heritage Festival is held every five years in the beautiful and charming village of Singers Glen, Virginia.  The Singers Glen opera (actually, a musical drama) tells the story of Joseph Funk, who started the first Mennonite printing house in the United States.
      Funk created a hymn book, which is still in print today called the Harmonia Sacra. He had his first hymn book printed in 1816 and set up a print shop in the Glen in 1847.  Funk was also famous for the singing school that he and his sons had in Singers Glen.
Dale MacAllister starts one of the walking tours of the village of Singers Glen.   Even people who have taken the tour before, come back because Dale gives such fascinating details about the history of the Glen.  This was the largest group he had ever had on a tour.

  A painting by Joe Burruss of the old store building in Singers Glen.
Displays were set up in the old school (now the Community Center) of historic pictures, items, and other memorabilia. 
Historian Dale MacAllister
, the creater and chairman of the Festival, welcomes everyone to the event.

  Scott Zane Smith, a professor of music and theater at James Madison University, has directed the opera three times. He was deeply touched that this show was dedicated in memory of his sister, Marla Golladay, who died from cancer in 2012.
Singers Glen, the opera, begins as Joseph Funk (Paul Roth) and his children mourn the death of his wife, Rachel.
Aunt Martha (Lisa Seymour), standing with the children, helped with raising them after the death of their mother.
Bishop Peter (Sam Showalter) expresses concern to Joseph Funk for having a music school and teaching music other than religious music.
The Mennonites believed that there should not be any musical instruments used.
Singing school...Notice that the men sat on one side and the women on the other.
 Joseph Funk teaching his method of singing using the shapes and syllables "faw, sol, law, and mi", which is used in the Harmonia Sacra hymnal that he published. The Harmonia Sacra is still used today.
 Edy Henry and Kathy Rhodes leaving the stage.
 Son Timothy leads the singing school for the youth.
 The youth practice harmony during the singing school.
 Joseph Funk's sons, Solomon (Tyler Everett Adams) and Benjamin (Stephen Lowe) started elbowing each other during the singing school. All of a sudden, the boys got caught up in the music and started dancing.
 Timothy (Mike Sakell), one of Joseph Funk's sons, was reprimanded by Bishop Peter because he caught the young people dancing.
 The young people are hanging their heads at being caught by Bishop Peter.
 Bishop Peter speaking with Joseph Funk after finding the youth dancing during the singing school.
 Professor Scott Smith with orchestra members, Dr. Erin Murphy, Dana Scruggs, and Brian Rector.
 Funk's children, young Benjamin (Baylan Nagy) and daughter (Erin Nagy).
 Professor Scott Smith applauds the orchestra members at the end of the performance.
 Aunt Martha (Lisa Seymour) with her real life husband, Mark Seymour.
 People from the audience complimented Bishop Peter (Sam Showalter) on his performance.
 There were many workers behind the scenes for the Music and Heritage Festival such as Lee Burgoyne, parking attendant.
 Lori and Vada Simmons enjoy country ham sandwiches before the first performance of the opera on Saturday.
 Rev. Paul Glovier led the community church service on Sunday morning. Rev. Jim Eckard delivered the message.
 Donna Sampson, organist at Donovan Memorial United Methodist church, played the keyboard.
  Betsy Gray, pianist at the Singers Glen Baptist church, played the pump organ for the community service.

Singers Glen Music & Heritage Festival

 by Dale MacAllister, Chairman

     The Music & Heritage Festival is held every five years, and 2012 was the year for another festival, scheduled this time for September 22nd and 23rd. Most previous festivals were held in early August when the weather was unbearably hot. The move to September was made for more enjoyable weather, and this year produced perfect conditions. There were only a few drops of rain and pleasantly mild temperatures. The 2012 festival was dedicated to the memories of Singers Glen resident Joe Funk, a great-grandson of village founder Joseph Funk, and Marla Golladay, director Scott Smith’s sister.

     The walking tours of the village, which have always been part of the festival, were well attended. A special bonus for the tours this time was a guided look inside the ca. 1810 Joseph Funk house, thanks to Sam Showalter of the Harmonia Sacra Society. Paige Grassmann also let us visit the Pattee House, originally the home of Joseph Funk’s grandson William C. Funk.

     From the beginning, the festival highlight has been the opera Singers Glen by noted composer Alice Parker. This time all the right elements came together to give us the three best performances ever. Scott Zane Smith directed the opera for the third time. The cast costumes were outstanding thanks to dedicated efforts by Paula Putman. We had flute, strings, and guitar for the music. Finally, practice was the more intense than in the past. Musical performances, including a Harmonia Sacra sing, were scheduled around the operas.

     Shelby Funk Burruss gathered local historic items from lenders and combined them with her own collection of Singers Glen and Funk family items to fill a room in the Community Center with interesting artifacts, photos, and displays.

     Sunday led off with a community worship service with village resident Jim Eckard as the speaker. This was followed by a community picnic. The festival concluded with the third performance of the opera.

     After all the bills were paid there were enough funds left over to provide small amounts to the local Fire Company, Rescue Squad, Ruritan Club, and Donovan Memorial Church, which received $300 to help compensate for the loan of items for the opera and a location for choral practice. Some of the musicians and performers were also given partial compensation for their help with the festival.

     Comments from those who attended were generally positive and reaffirming. The next festival in 2017 may seem like it will be a long way off, but it may sneak up on us. Then Singers Glen will again celebrate why it has been called “The Birthplace of Sacred Music in the South.”