Musical Memories of RichsquareMusic has had a special meaning for me ever since I was a little girl listening to my Mother practice hymns on the piano for Sunday School at Richsquare. I remember how we would study our lesson together at home and then Mother would search for just the right hymn to play for Sunday School that carried out the message of the lesson. From this early experience, the words to a song were very important to me because of the meaning they conveyed.
As children, we always enjoyed the brief recess after Sunday School but when Mabel S. Johnson began to play a beautiful overture we knew it was time to return to our seats. It was time to settle down and "centre down" for worship service. What expression Mabel could bring to those hymns as she played and how I loved to listen!
Quarterly Meeting was an exciting time when I was young. There were tables to set up out-of-doors, extra food to prepare for the big dinner and visiting Friends to meet. But the part I liked best was the singing. When Meeting began and we all sang "O Come to the Church in the Wildwood," I believed that all who came were responding to "our" song. It was a musical invitation.
I remember we had a week of special evening meetings one summer. We would hurry to get our chores done and supper over in time to get to church, just as the sun was setting. Then the service would open with the hymn, "Day is Dying in the West, Heav'n Touching Earth with Rest." To this day, whenever I see a lovely sunset, I am reminded of the words of this song and the contentment they bring.
Time passed and several of us in the neighborhood were married. As our children came along there were new songs to sing. Action songs and "The B-I-B-L-E" for vacation Bible school. How we did enjoy the reports from summer camp that the young people gave! There were always some new fun songs they had learned.
Lois Jordan and her daughter Karen played piano accompaniment for our active youth group during the 60's and 70's . Their songs added much to our worship services and their willingness to participate was constant. I can still hear them singing "Happiness is to Know the Savior" and "Pass it On."
It seems to me we have been blessed with music at Richsquare. Aunt Frances Harned played the piano for many years for worship service and was always ready to accompany a guest that wanted to sing a solo. And we did have several special numbers through the years.
When Wilfred and Alice White's four daughters began to sing together, it was always a treat to hear them harmonize. They were kept busy singing for church, bridal showers and local weddings. The years have flown by and Linda, Grayce, Martha and Mildred all have homes of their own now. But this spring they returned to sing at Richsquare for the wedding of their brother Fred White to Ginger Harter. What a celebration for us all to share!
Kevin Niles keeps us up-to-date on many of the newer gospel songs. We appreciate the hours of musical ministry Kevin has given at Richsquare. His sister Brenda has sung for us too. Recently, while wintering in Florida, I attended a service and heard the solo "Oh, How He Loves You and Me." Immediately I recognized this meaningful song as one Kevin had sung for us at Richsquare.
Through the years I have realized that certain hymns were favorites of this member or that one. Whenever or wherever I hear these songs, memories of that person flood my mind. I share a favorite with my husband. It is "How Great Thou Art." If you really think of the words as you sing them, it's like a sermonette. I believe this was a favorite of Uncle Clyde Harned, too.
Did you ever have a tune going through your mind off and on all day long? I have and many times it's a hymn I learned as a child. The words are a message I may especially need for that day.
I am thankful for my heritage of sacred music. To me, the songs I learned at Richsquare are a spiritual treasury of devotion, comfort and assurance. As we continue to sing the old hymns and the new songs at Richsquare, more memories are in the making.
Dorothy White McConnell
Daughter of Everett and Ruth White
Sister of Wilfred
Wife of Ernest McConnell