Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum
For several years now two annual events have been important sources of funding for our new museum. In the summer for the last two years the Sourland Conservancy and Stoutsburg Cemetery Association have organized re-creations of an old time "Camp Meeting". During the winter season the same two organizations have put together a "Gospel Brunch" at a local church. Both have been very successful and helped raise money for our important cause. Find out more about them below.
The second annual “Gospel Brunch” took place on February 25, 2017 in Hopewell and by all accounts it was an overwhelming success. The food and music were superb.
The Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum would like to thank everyone who came and all those who volunteered to “make it happen".
A large crowd listened as Sourland Conservancy Director Caroline Katmann detailed the museum project and the most recent updates including grant funding. After enjoying the meal and some great conversation participants drifted upstairs for the musical portion of the event. The main sanctuary of the Hopewell Presbyterian Church was filled to capacity as the next part of the event began
The musical program started with a stirring rendition of the hymn “We Shall Overcome” as everyone stood and joined in. The first performance was by the Trenton Children’s Chorus who entertained and enchanted the audience with some readings by the children and several songs. Their young voices filled the room with joyfulness while their faces reflected the serious determination each felt toward their performance.
The second featured performer of the day, Bertha Morgan, gave no indication of the performance she was about to give as she quietly stood before the audience. The stillness gave way as she shared her innermost beliefs about the power of song and the strength it gives to the human soul. For the next twenty minutes the audience listened intently to her powerful performance. From the softest strains to the loudest crescendos her voice was wrought with strong emotions, both sweet and powerful. By the end the entire crowd was on their feet waving arms while swaying back and forth to the melody. After her final song the calls for more enticed her to do one more song. She encouraged the entire audience to stand and join in. It was a stirring encore.
As the crowd exited the room the smiles and conversation suggested that everyone who came enjoyed themselves thoroughly. We all look forward to next years's event.
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On a gorgeous Saturday in August supporters and friends gathered at Skillman Park just above Hopewell to enjoy good music, beautiful weather and friendship. The second annual “Camp Meeting” was organized by the Sourland Conservancy and Trustees of the Stoutsburg Cemetery Association to raise funds for the Stoutsburg Sourland African Museum (SSAAM), now in the planning stages.
The event featured musical performances by the renowned singer Bertha Morgan and the popular Capital City Gospel Singers. For those in attendance who were hungry tasty meals were available and for those looking for that special gift for themselves or friends the ever popular “Church Lady Aprons” were again available for purchase. The event organizers even had a special place for our younger guests to play while mom and dad enjoyed the day’s activities.
The Reverend Doctor Angela M. Battle from Pennington’s Bethel AME Church read an invocation to start the program and also to help establish the spiritual nature the music to follow.
The first performer, Bertha Morgan from Christ Baptist Church in Burlington was a favorite of many in attendance. For the uninitiated her powerful voice quickly got their attention as her soft passages gave way to amazing periods of great energy.
The second performance came from the Capital City Gospel Singers who are widely known in and around Trenton. Their renditions of old favorites and more modern arrangements of gospel music enthralled everyone who came.
All and all it was a wonderful day. The setting on soft grass beneath a small grove of tall shade trees could not have been better situated. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and most look forward to next year’s event. Many thanks go to the members of the Sourland Conservancy and everyone else who helped make the day a great success.
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