It seemed to me that there were more younger people on the last day of the National Sacred Harp Convention; today was not quite the sea of gray heads that I saw yesterday. Not that there’s anything wrong with gray hair; that’s now officially my hair color on my driver’s license. But I like it best when there’s a more even distribution of ages.
After the first break, two girls in their early teens stood up together to lead the class. The tenor front bench reminded them to announce the number of the tune they were leading, and once they got the pitch, they started right in. When they had finished, I heard someone from the tenor front bench, and someone else from further back in the tenors, say the same thing in approving voices: Good job.” The girls smiled as they walked out of the hollow square.
Then a middle-aged woman from the altos was called, and she brought an older teenaged girl with her into the hollow square. The girl stood where I couldn’t see her, so I don’t know how well she led, but I do know that she was smiling pretty broadly when the tune was over.
A little later on, a young man, perhaps in his early twenties, was called into the hollow square and invited an older woman to stand there and lead with him. He obviously knew what he was doing. And there you have something of a progression of ages: two young teens who need each other’s support, and an older teenager who didn’t mind having an adult nearby when leading; and then the young adult who is more competent than some of us older adults.