Sonnie Hudgins Harp
Sonnie Harp, a soprano, pianist, and composer, has enjoyed a music career as a performer of both gospel and traditional classical choral music. She and her husband, Herman, are widely known for their full-time ministry in music, which has included giving over four thousand concerts, singing in numerous crusades and on many well known Seventh-day Adventist programs, and recording several records, cassettes, and CDs.
Sonnie was born in Cheyenne, Wyoming, one of five children born to Franklin Webster and Althea Lorraine Kinney Hudgins. All of the children were musical and from their earliest years actively participated in the ministry of their father, who was a pastor and departmental leader in the Adventist church and assisted in the work of the Voice of Prophecy and Faith For Today. Both he and his wife, who served as a secretary to both H.M.S. Richards, Sr., and his son as well as others, were musical and encouraged their children's efforts in that area. Sonnie took piano lessons in grade school and voice lessons in academy and college.
The whole family often performed together and in smaller groups. Sonnie and her two sisters, Barbara and Beverly, whose voices blended well together, often sang as a trio. Both Sonnie and a brother, Steven, have pursued careers in music.
Because of the nature of their father's work, the family moved often, the longest time they lived in one place being seven years in Oklahoma City. Sonnie attended Mount Vernon Academy in Ohio and then the academy at Southwestern Junior College, later Southwestern Adventist University, where she studied voice and sang in the choir under Harold Lickey.
When he left the college in 1960, she studied with his replacement, Paul Hill, and sang under him in the Mizpah Choraliers, the select college choral group. She would work with him again when he became choral director at Columbia Union College, now Washington Adventist University, and sing in its select choir, Pro Musica. Both men had a profound effect on her musical development and commitment to excellence and introduced her to the classical choral repertoire. She has since joined community chorales whenever possible to continue singing music in that genre.
Throughout her career, Sonnie has been active in evangelism as a singer, choir director, and pianist. In the 1980s, she began to write poetry about her life experiences. Her first attempt at setting music to her writings was a song, "You Promised Me," an expression of her faith in God's promise to save his children. It was an immediate success and well-known Christian artists recorded it as well as other songs she subsequently composed.
She married Herman Harp, 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 80,00 miles, giving 250 concerts in a variety of settings and venues in 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.
In 1999 she published her first songbook, Sonnie's Songs, and six years later released Sonnie's Songs, Volume Two. Sonnie scored and prepared both songbooks for publication by using a computer music software program. 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 Sonnie and Herman were honored by being inducted into the SWAU Hall of Fame in 2013 for their lifetime of service to the church, serving as role models for young people, and bringing honor to the university.
Source: Information provided by Sonnie Harp, September 2011 and 2013.
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
Sonnies Songs, Volume One 1999
Sonnies Songs, Volume Two 2005