They say memory is formed of images, but not necessarily of the images we have physically seen with our own eyes but by photographs. So when anyone speaks of the history of the Macon County Singing Convention I can almost see it as clearly as if I was there myself a hundred years ago walking down the sidewalk to get to downtown Lafayette for this glorious singing event wearing but what else - a big pink hat.
This Friday and Saturday, May 23 and 24 the 100th Annual Macon County Singing Convention will meet at the Lafayette Missionary Baptist Church to celebrate this milestone. The birthday celebration will begin at 7:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday at 10 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. “Registration will be at 5:30 p.m. on Friday and 9 a.m. on Saturday,” said Convention President Danny Patterson.
Donna Patterson will be handling the food and a special cake with shape notes on it will be served on Saturday. Some of the best musicians in the south will be at the 100th birthday session, traveling from several states. “The President of the National Gospel Singing Convention, Ms. Jo Parker, from Montgomery, Alabama will also be on hand,” said Patterson, “and I expect there will be other representatives of state conventions in town as well.”
“I started going to the singing convention when I was around 10 years old,” said Mrs. Annice Jones, long time piano teacher. “It was a big affair and a lot of people used it as a homecoming as well as coming to sing. There would be thousands of people in downtown Lafayette and I remember the bus line from Nashville would put on extra drivers and buses as well to accommodate the huge crowd.”
Mrs. Annice said they would stay all day and she recalls that she had her first taste of Coke at the convention and it cost a nickel. “They had vendors all around the square but they were not out in the streets they were on the sidewalks most of the time and you could buy ice cream, cold drinks, hot dogs or whatever you desired. It was truly a big event and a lot of people would just walk the streets greeting people and stopping to talk to a long lost cousin or whatever. The courthouse would be packed with listeners, but that was nothing compared to the throng of people outside who enjoyed the event.”
Annice said it was a fun time back them and everybody was happy. “It was truly magical and we shared a lot of good times.”
Well this weekend is time to enjoy fellowship once again and everyone would love to breathe life back into this age old tradition, and all it will take is walking out the door and driving to the Lafayette Missionary Baptist Church this Friday and Saturday for plenty of good singing, fellowship and food.
“See you this weekend!!!”