David Regen created the Second-Sunday Singalong in an effort to preserve the old time gospel style of music. In addition to gathering a collection of these songs into a printed song book used during the singalong, he has also written several songs in this style.
Every month Bellevue Christian Church hosts the Second-Sunday Singalong on the second Sunday. The community is invited for the hour-long songfest, and musicians are welcome to bring their instruments and participate in the band. The Singalong began in 2002 and celebrated its 10th anniversary in July of 2012.
9:30 AM to 10:30 AM
Fellowship and worship immediately following.
Read more from popular Tennessean columnist, Mary Hance, Ms. Cheap:
Singalong is about more than your voice! I love to sing, but the sad truth is that I cannot carry a tune. So the only way I can joyfully sing without being self-conscious is to warble in my car, occasionally sing to my baby granddaughter when no one is around or sing along in a large crowd of strong and forgiving singers. And that is why I am so delighted to know about the free Second Sunday Singalong that is open to all at 9:30 a.m. on the second Sunday of every month at Bellevue Christian Church.
The hour of enthusiastic singing was right up my alley since I love old-time gospel and Southern music and many of the old hymns from my Mississippi roots. Honestly, as cheap as I am, I would actually pay good money to be able to join in the group singings of favorites such as "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" and "Keep on the Sunny Side" and "When the Saints come Marching In." It is almost like a "fix."
This monthly sing-in was started by David Regen almost 13 years ago. And David is the mainstay, playing dobro "with an expert touch" and leading most of the songs with his rich voice.
The instruments in the hour-long sing-in on my recent visit included a dobro, banjo, bass fiddle, two guitars, two fiddles and the church piano. Some weeks, a harmonica, drums, cello and an occasional ukelele or auto harp join in.
The way it works is that the musicians set up in the front of the church, and singers and wannabe singers fill the church's pews and request their favorite songs from the 106-song song book (that David lovingly put together) to create a 14-18 song playlist for each month's event.
The organizers make it easy for those of us who don't remember all the words as David's songbook has the words and the music.
I have to say the hour of singing did me a world of good, and it brought back lots of precious memories of church with my grandparents (who could not sing well either) and memories of church camp when we would rowdily join in the singing of some of these classics.
Each week about 50 or more people of all ages, which includes some members of the Bellevue congregation and those from other churches and denominations, gather in this sweet church that has been in existence since 1832 and whose current sanctuary was built in 1917.
If you want to know how this singing event got started, Regen, a retired professor of physiology at Vanderbilt University Medical School and a member of Woodmont Christian Church, gives this account: "In the early '00s, the president of the Bellevue Christian Church (Carolyn Lovelace) and my wife, both calligraphers, talked up the possibility of my bringing a couple of pickers to the church to perform a few songs in their service.
"The acoustics were wonderful, so it occurred to us that we should attempt a monthly singalong separate from the worship service. We've been doing it ever since," he said. "Now, I don't know how we'd ever stop it."
Lovelace, who helps lead the singing each week, said one of Regen's goals in starting the Singalong "was to pass this music on to a new generation," an objective that she says has been "somewhat achieved, since there are almost always several participants at the Singalongs under the age of 12."