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Hymn sing an event for families

August 29, 2004|by BONNIE H. BRECHBILL

MERCERSBURG, Pa. - Not only did Connie Mann perform in the gospel concert Saturday evening at Lions Club Community Park in Mercersburg, she made most of the food sold at the refreshment stand.

The Mercersburg resident said she prepared eight gallons of ham and bean soup, eight gallons of chicken corn soup, 20 pounds of steamers and 36 pies for the 14th annual Southern Gospel Hymn Sing.

"Everything is as homemade as I can make it," Mann said.

She picks the raspberries and strawberries for the pies and makes the apple pie filling.

"We keep the prices low; it's a big family thing," Mann said. "We want families to come and enjoy themselves."

The Clever Family Gospel Singers was started by her father about 50 years ago, Mann said.

Now, Mann and her sister, Maxine Hornbaker, sing soprano; Mann's daughter, Karen Hornbaker, sings alto and plays the keyboard; and her brother-in-law, Lester Egolf, sings tenor. Mann's husband, Charles, runs the sound equipment.


Guest guitarist Ronnie Thomas joined them on stage Saturday.

The group performs Southern gospel at revivals, outings and "anything to do with gospel hymn sings," Connie Mann said.

The Clever Family sponsors four hymn sings every summer, Connie Mann said.

The first one, in the early 1990s, was a benefit for a family whose son had died, and 30 to 50 people attended, she said. Now, about 200 to 300 people bring their lawn chairs and enjoy an evening of gospel music. Most huddled under umbrellas or tents to escape the sun.

Pastor Reuben Egolf of Mount Calvary Tabernacle in Williamson, Pa., where the Manns are active members, said the summer concerts "provide a place for people to come and enjoy gospel music, food and fellowship." Egolf served as emcee for the concert.

Also performing were Threshold from Beaverdale, Pa.; Messengers of Praise from Martinsburg, W.Va.; The Good News Gospel Singers from Martinsburg; and Jerry Bennett of Lavergne, Tenn.

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