Herman H. Harp
Herman Harp, baritone, has enjoyed a career singing in various genres of music as a soloist, member of male and mixed quartets and choral ensembles, and recording artist. He and his wife, Sonnie, are widely known for their duet singing and a full-time ministry in music that has included giving over four thousand concerts, assisting in numerous crusades, and singing on many well-known Seventh-day Adventist programs.
Herman was born and raised in Amarillo, Texas, one of six children of Taylor Edward and Ellen Gladys Still Harp. Their mother loved music and made it a central part of her life, performing professionally in country and bluegrass groups on several instruments in the 1920s and 30s.
She was best known as an accomplished fiddler and encouraged Herman's and his siblings' interest in music. He started violin lessons at age nine, and his siblings pursued their interests in guitar, violin, and other areas. All of the children sang and have continued to do so as adults, singing as soloists and/or as members of church choirs and chorales performing classical music, depending on their personal interests. One sister, Norma Rosser, also plays violin in the Amarillo Symphony Orchestra.
Herman began singing in church at age twelve. At age seventeen, he was invited to assist Ken Cox, a young Adventist pastor, in a crusade. That experience inspired him and he made a commitment to assist in evangelism whenever he could. He has since been part of over fifty crusades.
He attended Southwestern Junior College, now Southwestern Adventist University, where he became acquainted with Marvin Ponder. It was the beginning of a friendship that continues to the present. While at SWJC, they joined with Elliot Fortner and Jim Stephens in 1961 to form a quartet, the Knights of Harmony, a group that continued for the next five years, including a transfer to Union College in 1963 and extensive touring throughout the U.S. on behalf of that college. In the year before the transfer to UC, Herman traveled to California, where he sang with the Mitzelfelt Chorale for a year.
Although the quartet sang mostly gospel songs, they also did barbershop music in their tours. In addition to being in the quartet, Harp and Ponder began performing in 1961 as a folk singing duo known as the Discords. Folk music was popular at that time, and they traveled and performed on college and university campuses in hootenannies and folk singing festivals into the early 1970s, modeling their presentation of music and banter after that of the then popular Smothers Brothers duo.
Harp also sang in two other quartets, The Four Steps and The Coachman. While singing with the latter, he also worked for several recording studios and professional promotional agencies. During this time he sang stage backup vocals for several recording and touring artists. A memorable venture at this time was doing backup vocals for "Please, Mr. Custer, I Donít Want To Go," a comical hit in the 1960s that sold over a million copies.
In 1974, Ponder and Harp joined with Gene and Marie Jennings, from Nashville, Tennessee, to form a popular gospel team known as Ponder, Harp, and Jennings. For the next 22 years they gave concerts nationwide and recorded ten albums. Two of these, Unmerited Favor and Newborn Feeling, won Angel Awards in the 1990s, the first as Best Gospel Group and the second as Best Gospel Album. In 2006, ten years after they ended their ministry, they reunited for a farewell reunion tour.
Harp also taught music, directing bands and choirs at elementary, intermediate, and secondary schools in the Midwest in the 1960s and 70s. During that time he also organized independent singing groups and was a frequent soloist at numerous events.
Harp married Sonnie Hudgins, a childhood sweetheart, in 1989. They combined their talents and love of music and began singing on the weekends, doing as many as eighty concerts annually, while still working full-time in the construction business. In 1994 they decided to begin a full-time ministry in music and that summer took their first tour to Northern California and the Pacific Northwest. This was followed by a four-month tour in the Midwest and in the first year of their ministry the presentation of 225 concerts.
In a typical year they travel 70,000 to 80,000 miles, giving 250 concerts in a variety of settings and venues for the Adventist church and other denominations. They have been featured on 3ABN, The Hope Channel, and in the Amazing Facts crusades and the Family Reunion Concerts.
Beginning in 1993, when they established Daybreak Christian Artists as part of Daybreak Ministries, Inc., the Harps began releasing cassettes and CDs, an activity that has continued to the present.
In 2010 they launched a special program through Daybreak called For the Love of Music. This program provides instruments and money for lessons for children who have musical promise and dreams but are without resources. They have worked closely with music studios, missions, churches, schools, and orphanages in developing this outreach program.
Both Herman and Sonnie were honored by being inducted into the SWAU Hall of Fame in 2013 for their lifetime of service to the church, for serving as role models for young people, and bringing honor to the university.
Sources: Information provided by Herman Harp, September 2011and 2013; Northern Union Outlook, Lake Union Herald, and Southwestern Union Record magazines.
Ponder, Harp, and Jennings
Heaven Has Joys, Chapel Records, 1977
All in the Name of Jesus, Chapel Records, 1978
Glory in the Cross, Chapel Records, 1980
Highest Praise, Chapel Records, 1982
Anticipating Good Things, Chapel Records, 1985
Only Jesus, Chapel Records, 1988
Unmerited Favor, Chapel Records, 1990
Best of Ponder, Harp, and Jennings, Chapel Records, 1992
Newborn Feeling, Chapel Records, 1994
Ponder, Harp, and Jennings Live, Reunion Concert, DVD/CD, Loma Linda University Church Media Ministries Department, 2006
Marvin Ponder and Herman Harp +
Homesick For Heaven, Knights of Harmony Quartet, 1962
Green Leaves of Summer, folk music album, 1964
God is So Wonderful, Chapel Records, 1973
Songs of Faith, Book 10, Christian Record, 1975
Songs of Faith, Book 12, Christian Record, 1977
Herman and Sonnie Harp
In His Presence
We Praise Your Name
I Will Uphold You
All That I Need
Do You Know Him
When Jordon Rolls
Christmas With The Harps