Holland named president of singing convention

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 11, 2017

Singing is something that Randall Holland of Gantt has always enjoyed. So, it was only fitting when he was recently voted president for the Alabama State Singing Convention.

“Basically, what we do is have singings on every Friday night in different counties,” Holland said. “We do what is called shape-note singing. It’s a really good time singing and praising God.”

During the weekly singings, Holland said the crowd size varies, but the said the state convention is always packed.

“We usually have around 80 people or so come out for the Friday night singings,” Holland said. “The state convention is always big, and I’m trying to figure out where we are going to put them all.”

The two buildings that are used for the Covington County singings and will be used for next week’s state convention, were built by Holland in Gantt.

“I had this old sawmill that I sold awhile back and I wound up buying it back and using the wood to build our singing hall,” Holland said. “We can accommodate around 200 people and I expect there to be at least that many.”

Holland said that he has loved singing since he was little, but only recently opened his own singing hall.

“I went to a singing awhile back and just fell in love with it,” Holland said. “There was a place we use to go to singings and it started going from 55 people down to about 15. I came back one day and told my wife that I was going to build my own singing hall. I bought back the old sawmill and then turned around and had a guy give me $1,000 because he heard about what I was doing.”

The good deeds from the people around him didn’t stop there, Holland said.

“We didn’t have a lot of money going into it, and really didn’t know how we were going to come up with the money,” Holland said. “That’s when everything started falling into place. One day someone showed up with lights for it and then a lady in Opp gave me a grand piano. The piano needed to be fixed and the place in Montgomery said it would be $3,200 to fix. I didn’t know how I was going to come up with the money, but then one day at a singing in Samson a guy walked up to and handed me an envelope. He said that maybe this would help out. I stuck it in my pocket and forgot about it until I got back home that night. I opened it up and there was $3,100 inside it.”

Generosity from others continued to bless Holland in his endeavors.

“A few weeks after that, we needed chairs,” Holland said. “Once again I didn’t know where they were going to come from. I was sitting there talking to my wife when the phone rang. It was a friend of mine who knew about what we were doing. He asked me where I was in the process and told him about the chairs. He then said, ‘They are paid for and will be on there Monday.’ Things and people like that are what have made this happen.”

Now that it’s completely finished, Holland said he wants to invite everyone to come out and experience the singing or one of their Sunday morning services.

“We want everyone to come out and see what it’s all about,” Holland said. “This a place for everyone to go. It’s free to everyone and everyone that comes is involved. When it comes to your turn. You get to pick the song, pick the pianist and lead the song. Along with the singings, we also started doing like an early church service. We start that at 8 a.m., and we have a lot of people that come up from Florida to the service and then enjoy the rest of the day on the lake. The services are usually only about 30 minutes long. We aren’t trying to start a church so we don’t hold an offering or an invocation.”