When I asked my mom if she knew of any recordings of music at East Armuchee Baptist Church she at first told me no. Then, almost as if I had willed it into existence, a few days later my mother–rummaging through some old junk–found a bag of old cassette tapes. She wasn’t sure where the tapes had come from but decided they were probably from her mother (my Grannie). One of the tapes was labeled Singing Sermon. David Pruett, the pastor at East Armuchee since 1981, often sang for the congregation. Usually, he sang one song after the congregational singing was finished. But sometimes, on Sunday evenings, he did several songs in lieu of a sermon, dubbing them “singing sermons.”
I got excited when Mom told me she had found this tape (but had not yet listened to it). “Listen to it and see if it has the congregation singing, Mom!”
She did listen. And it did have one song with the entire congregation. They sang “Lord, I’m Coming Home” by William J. Kirkpatrick (found on page 214 of the red hymnal). Dad digitized the tape for me. So far, this is the only known recording of congregational singing at East Armuchee (or any Armuchee Valley church) that I have unearthed.
So now I pass on a bit of aural history to you with the East Armuchee Baptist Church congregation singing, led by Jackie Broome with piano by Linda Pope Buffington. Throughout my entire life growing up at East Armuchee, Jackie led the music, and Linda played piano. This was recorded on 26 May 1985. Click below to listen.
The music from this tape fills me with images and sounds from the past so vivid that I can almost see the men and women standing around me, their music an expression of worship more pure than any sermon ever could be.
What I wouldn’t give to have a recording from the early days of East Armucheee, to hear what my ancestors sounded like as they came together in song. Music is such an interesting–yet virtually undocumented–part of the history of the little country churches that dot the Armuchee Valley. That’s why I’m doing what I can with Jordan’s Journey to change that. Watch this blog for more East Armuchee church history coming later this year.