WMSHC 2018 Election Candidate Statements

Board Candidates

3 candidates will be elected for a 2-year term. The Board of Directors is responsible for the overall governance of WMSHC in accordance with our bylaws.

Nathan Aldrich

I’ve been singing from the Sacred Harp for eight years, largely in Western Massachusetts. What began as a musical obsession gradually grew into a sense of community that is now deeply important to me. In the past few years I’ve enjoyed the chance to support our local all-days as chair (Berkshire Foothills) and vice chair (Pioneer Valley), a wonderful outlet for my excessive planning and organizational tendencies.  I feel so grateful and fulfilled to share this music and kinship with you all, and I would be honored to serve on the WMSHC Board of Directors.

Becca Hawkins

My name is Rebecca Hawkins and I live in Northampton where I've worked at Little Schoolhouse Family Daycare since 2013. I've been singing for about six years. I first experienced Sacred Harp in a class at Bennington College in 2012 and I was immediately hooked. I sang weekly there until my graduation in 2013 when I moved to Northampton and began singing with WMSHC. I've been to numerous all-day singings and conventions including the All Quebec Singing last summer, the Keystone Convention last winter, and Berkshire Foothills, Pioneer Valley All-Day, and the Western Mass Convention for several years. Last year I served as Secretary at the Western Massachusetts Convention. I also attended Camp Fasola this past summer, a delightful experience I hope to repeat. Sacred Harp is such an important and joyful part of my life - I so value the friendships I've formed there, the incredible wider community, and the pure joy of singing together. I would be honored to serve as Secretary or Vice Chair at the 2019 Western Mass Convention. I would also like to be on the WMSHC Board; I am thoroughly invested in our singing community and would like to help in any way I can.

Sara Lennox

I came late to Sacred Harp music, but since I discovered WMSHC in May 2014 the Tuesday evening singings have brought great joy to my life.  I’m happy too that I’ve been able to facilitate second Thursday Shenandoah Harmony singings at the David Ruggles Center in Florence as well as singings before WMSHC all-day events there. And it’s great fun to have so many people (especially the Canadians!) bunking at my house during the convention, which also makes me feel ever more included in the shape note community. I’m honored to be a candidate for the WMSHC Board and to serve an organization that has given so much to me.

Janet Spongberg

I was aware of the shapenote tradition, and even the Tuesday evening singing for a long time before I walked in the doors, finally able to devote a few hours on Tuesdays to what has become a great pleasure and source of meaning and solace.  I am so grateful that the people who came before me held it and nurtured it when it was not at all clear that Tuesday nights in Helen Hills Hills Chapel might become the epicenter of something so vibrantly alive.  The care and thoughtfulness with which the singing has been constituted continually inspire me. I love Its simplicity, its intentional welcome of newcomers of every age and ability, its attention to the things that keep us together (rhythm!) rather than the things that tend to divide us, and the practice of simply singing, rather that preparing to sing, or fixing the things that go wrong when we sing.  I love that the singing itself -- the transcendent experience of joining into a whole you could not make yourself -- provides the main reason we come.  Unlike a book group, it will never gradually turn into just snacks and conversation.  The marrow of the community is the sound we make and enjoy together.  I would be honored to help it continue to thrive. 

Kit Walsh

I was honored and delighted to be nominated for a position on WMSHC's board of directors. I learned to sing in western Massachusetts. I've been a year-round regular at Helen Hills Hills for the last two and a half years, and a summer regular before that.  Previous roles I have served in the community include the Vice Chair of the Pioneer Valley All-Day singing, the Secretary of the Berkshire Foothills All-Day Singing, and the housing coordinator for the 2018 Western Mass Convention. I would be happy to be a steward of our singings by contributing time and energy to the board.

Convention Officer Candidates

Mary Andrews — Candidate for Convention Chair or Vice-Chair

I am so excited to get the chance to give back to a community and a convention that has given me so much throughout the past 10 years. I started singing when I was seven years old, and as I've grown up in the Sacred Harp community, I've learned all the inner workings of a convention and the traditions of our singing. I've also had the chance to travel to many singings across the country and Canada, as well as attending camp Fasola four times, where I've met and sung with many of our convention guests. Next year, I will most likely be singing in a different shape note community while I'm away at college, and I would love to serve as Chair or Vice Chair as a parting gift to the community. I am organized, punctual, and efficient, and I would love to use these qualities, along with my welcoming and friendly personality, to make our convention the best it can be. Thank you! 

Laura Clampitt — Candidate for Convention Chair or Vice-Chair

Since I first heard a Sacred Harp song, I have loved this music. However, it was my first experience at the Western Massachusetts Sacred Harp Convention that made me fall in love with the traditions surrounding this singing. I would be honored to serve as chair or vice chair of the Convention this year. I would bring my event planning experience from my role at in Alumni and Parent Programs at Amherst College to either of these positions, and would be dedicated to working with the other officers and volunteers to put together a wonderful convention.  

Becca Hawkins — Candidate for Convention Vice-Chair or Secretary

My name is Rebecca Hawkins and I live in Northampton where I've worked at Little Schoolhouse Family Daycare since 2013. I've been singing for about six years. I first experienced Sacred Harp in a class at Bennington College in 2012 and I was immediately hooked. I sang weekly there until my graduation in 2013 when I moved to Northampton and began singing with WMSHC. I've been to numerous all-day singings and conventions including the All Quebec Singing last summer, the Keystone Convention last winter, and Berkshire Foothills, Pioneer Valley All-Day, and the Western Mass Convention for several years. Last year I served as Secretary at the Western Massachusetts Convention. I also attended Camp Fasola this past summer, a delightful experience I hope to repeat. Sacred Harp is such an important and joyful part of my life - I so value the friendships I've formed there, the incredible wider community, and the pure joy of singing together. I would be honored to serve as Secretary or Vice Chair at the 2019 Western Mass Convention. I would also like to be on the WMSHC Board; I am thoroughly invested in our singing community and would like to help in any way I can.

Holly Laws — Candidate for Convention Secretary

I am happy to accept the nomination for convention secretary. I began singing sacred harp while a student at Wesleyan University, and have attended local singings in each place I have lived including New York City, New Haven, CT, and Western Mass while I was in graduate school. I am delighted to have returned to Western Mass, and to again be a part of the strong singing community here. I would be honored to play a role in our yearly convention, which I have attended regularly over the years, and am grateful to be a part of this community.

Nick Maione — Candidate for Convention Secretary

I am happy to accept my nomination for Secretary at the Western Massachusetts Convention this year. I remember walking into the Convention for the first time 3 years ago and being blown away. I'm honored to be nominated for a more official role in that same Convention some few years later. I would enjoy serving as the Secretary if elected. Thank you.

Micah Walter — Candidate for Convention Chair, Vice-Chair, or Secretary

I’m excited at the possibility of being an officer for the Western Massachusetts Convention! I first sang from the Sacred Harp in Pennsylvania close to seven years ago, and soon after began to travel across the East Coast seeking out conventions and singers. When I moved to Massachusetts for grad school, I wanted to be a part of a local singing community that met frequently, and so I helped to organize a biweekly singing in Cambridge for two years. I always “cast a wishful eye” towards Western Mass, though: I visited the singers there for the regular singing a couple of times when I had the time. I’m so happy that I’ve finally set down roots here (I’ve lived in Greenfield for almost a year), and I look forward to continuing to resuming an active role in the Sacred Harp community – now not as a traveler or a visitor, but as a host.I’ve served as secretary at other singings several times, but feel ready to start taking on more responsibilities in organization, preparation and publicity. Should I be elected as an officer, I would make sure that everyone could see roles and responsibilities, both to help the planning for this year run smoothly and to demystify the process for people who are curious about taking on planning roles. I would also extend the camaraderie of our community to planners’ gatherings, making the journey as memorable as the destination.