Together as One Hymn Choir Photos | Digital Traditions

Few regions in the Southeast retain the vitality of the hymn choir, or common meter, tradition like York County. Emerging in the 1700s from English Calvinist worship and African ritual practices, hymn choir traditions took root in slave communities in South Carolina. Today, the practice of lining out hymns through unaccompanied congregational singing is still alive and is embodied in the Together As One Hymn Choir of York County. Together As One is under the direction of Deacon John Henry Walton from Boyd Hill Baptist Church in Rock Hill. Composed of over fifty members from nineteen different churches in York County, Together As One began rehearsing in the mid-1990s. To date, they have two recorded productions available to promote the tradition to larger audiences.

Deacon John Henry Walton is also the leader of the hymn choir at Boyd Hill Baptist in Rock Hill. Deacon Walton remembers fondly the singing life of Deacon Richard "Son" Sandifer, the first leader of the Boyd Hill Hymn Choir and, as a young adult, he joined the choir under its second leader Deacon Ernest Walker. Thus, Deacon Walton is only the third leader of a hymn choir that is almost one hundred years old. The Choir received the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award in 2002.