Friday, November 7, 2014

Next singing on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 9

The weather forecast for Springdale looks like nice weather to drive though your part of the Ozarks to the November Singing on Sunday, Nov. 9th. After the NWA Fall Sacred Harp Singing Convention and Singing School, it will be nice to welcome everyone back to the General Store and enjoy the store's unique sound generated by a hardwood floor and high metal ceiling. We'll start singing at 1:30 P.M. and sing until about 4:00 P.M. The General Store is located next to the old barn on the grounds of the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History at 118 W. Johnson Ave. in Springdale. As usual, anyone who arrives early is welcome to join some of the singers at Springdale's AQ's Chicken House to stock up on a few calories to burn up during the singing.

Thanks to the Springdale First United Methodist Church for hosting the event and to their support staff for making sure we had everything needed for a successful singing. Thanks to the Shiloh Museum for helping with the Fall Singing Convention news releases to the local media this year. Susan Young's advance PR campaign seems to have worked. We had people who reported they had read about the singing in the papers. Syd reported that the NW Arkansas edition had an article about the singing with quotes from Dan and Bill on the first page of the Sunday local section. See:
Photo: Rene Greene leads the singing school on Friday evening.

It takes more than a few new singers and a single instructor to make a worthwhile
singing school. It's hard to thank Rene Greene and the other strong Alabama singers enough as they arrived on Friday for the singing school and convention. Rene is a remarkable instructor and all the local singers who turned out in support were appreciated as well. All of us certainly hope all of the visitors felt welcome and encouraged to come back and sing with us in the General Store on Sunday.

In summary, we had a final total of 33 participants for the Friday night school, Saturday singing or both. We enjoyed having you at the school and singing and hope to sing with you again. And as usual, the cooks in the group again managed to reach a record high for lunch with crock pots and bun warmers as well as all manner of seriously good food and desserts. I loved the desserts.  

Other high notes: We were particularly glad that Darryl and Lea Criss were able to join us for the Saturday morning session. Darryl has made remarkable progress and it was wonderful to see him sitting again the bass section. Mary Ellen Wilkerson and Anita Buswell were back in their usual bass and treble sections. Once again the list is too long to include everyone, but all of you - old singers or new - contributed to an enjoyable evening and all-day singing in Springdale. Thanks for all your efforts to get there and helping us have a wonderful singing.

Photo: Singers paused for a group picture after lunch.

Earlier this week, the mail lady drove up the driveway to deliver a large box. Picked up, the bulky box weighed about as much as a good heavy quilt which sounded like a Katy project. But there was another smaller box within big box. I thought, "Maybe it's a box of song books Dan ordered to replace the ones we sold at the convention." No books. The small box contained a collection of Sacred Harp CD's still shrink wrapped in their jewel boxes. "What in the world!"

We owe one more note of thanks to Bruce Rye for his unrestricted donation of the CDs to our group. How best to use them to promote Sacred Harp singing is something we need to talk about on Sunday. Thanks Bruce, for thinking about the singers and favoring us with one more tool and such an opportunity to extend traditional Sacred Harp shape note singing in the Ozarks.

Hope to see everyone on Sunday in Springdale. Enjoy your Sunday afternoon drive...

Thursday, October 9, 2014

October Schedule Update: 10/09/14

There's a lot going on in the month of October with many moving parts. I'll try to be as brief as I can and point people in the direction of the latest information I have at the moment.

Of course the singing at the opening of the Johnny Cash: Arkansas Icon
Arkansas Studies Institute
at the Butler Center Underground Gallery in Little Rock is tomorrow, Friday, October 10th. The latest info from Dan Brittain is repeated below:

--Area of performance is in the Butler Center Galleries located in the Arkansas Studies Institute (ASI) at 401 President Clinton Avenue Little Rock, Arkansas 72201
--Start 5:00 and finish at 7:30 and take a couple of breaks
--Parking is available in the Main Library parking lot directly behind ASI
--Probably be good to meet at 4:30 or so.
--Tunes: 49T, 36B, 63, 34T, 81T, 87, 45T, 168, 203, 354B (maybe with the Tull addition), 472. That's probably enough, but if you want, you can request some that evening.
It really looks like a fun event for those Sacred Harp Singers who can attend.

The regular 2nd Sunday of the month Sacred Harp singing in the General Store at the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History in Springdale is scheduled for October 12 from 1:30 until 4:00 P.M. In addition to the singing, this will be the last chance to reviewing the plans for the NWA Fall Sacred Harp Singing Convention and Singing School on October 24th and 25th. So the session is important on both counts. We'll have a table at the Springdale AQ's Chicken House about noon for those who wish to arrive early before the singing.

The details of the NWA Fall Sacred Harp Singing Convention remain as printed in the post just below this update. Please check the printable flyer and map for more information. Feel free to print an extra copy for your church bulletin board or share a copy with a friend. Rene Greene, from Glencoe, AL has signed on as the primary instructor and we're very glad to welcome her back with us for this year's singing school and convention.

And one more thing: With the best news we've heard lately, Syd Caldwell reported this week that Darryl Criss, one of our bass singers from Fayetteville, has returned home from the hospital and hopes to attend the Fall Singing Convention. Syd added that Darryl has made remarkable progress and we're all looking forward to singing with him again.

We'll post another update in the week before the Friday singing school and all-day Saturday singing convention with any last minute updates. Hope to sing with you in Springdale in October.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Planning for a busy October...

"I'm not an alto."
We had a good singing on September 14th with all the parts covered with the 10 singers and 1 cat present. Thanks to everyone who joined us and helped make it such a pleasant Sunday afternoon.

Photo: Joey, the visiting cat, decides which section to join while Katy and Cody continue singing on 9/14.

We also discussed planning for the NWA Fall Singing Convention and plans for the singing school on the evening of October 24th and the all-day singing on Saturday October 25th. Dan Brittain also gave us an update on the October 10th singing event in Little Rock. Thanks to Dan for taking a leadership role in gathering singers from all over Arkansas. Email: Dan Brittain directly if you can sing at the October 10th event.

What we know so far:

October 10, 2014:
The area for the singing will be in the Butler Center Galleries located in the Arkansas Studies Institute (ASI) at 401 President Clinton Avenue Little Rock, Arkansas 72201. The singing will start at 5:00 and finish at 7:30 with a couple of breaks during the event. Parking is available in the Main Library parking lot directly behind ASI. Dan added that there are several events happening in the area along with ours, so please try to arrive a few minutes early so that we can get properly organized before the event.
Update I  Glynn Garrett made the following suggestions on parking:
  • Parking in downtown Little Rock is challenging at best. Anticipate paying for parking at library, on street, in parking garage -- wherever you end up.
  • Suggest attendees have $5 for parking, and some quarters if they find an open meter. I think after 5 or 6 it's free at the meters, but not before.
  • Also, this time of day will
    have lots of traffic leaving downtown, and it may take a bit to navigate to the library.
Glynn also passed along a link to the UALR's Center for Arkansas History and Culture with more information about "Johnny Cash: Arkansas Icon," and opening night. See:

October 12, 2014:
Regular Shiloh Singing at the General Store at the Springdale Museum. Last chance to gather everyone's ideas for the Singing School and Fall Convention. BR is working on flyers and Gail Cowart has planned some new signs for the event. Space in the First United Methodist Church in Springdale across the street from the Shiloh Museum has been reserved. We also need to talk about the lunch plans for October 25th.

October 24, 2014:
Shape Note Singing School from 6:30 to 8:30 P.M. Bring a friend as no prior experience is necessary and even experienced singers will always learn something new about Sacred Harp singing. We always need experienced singers to help the new singers.

October 25, 2014:
Northwest Arkansas Sacred Harp Fall Singing Convention from 9:30 to 3:00 P.M. Books will be available for loan or purchase, and lunch will be a "pot luck" lunch. For the map readers and GPS users, the official address is 206 W Johnson Ave., Springdale, AR 72764. However, we suggest using the parking lot on north side of building and annex entrance for easy access to where we'll be singing again.
Printable Flyer for the 2014NWA Sacred Harp Fall Singing Convention (PDF)
Printable Map for the 2014 NWA Sacred Harp Fall Singing Convention (PDF)

Further updates will be posted on:  as they become available.

October 25th is also a "Football Weekend" in Fayetteville. If you plan to spend Friday evening in Springdale or parts north and sing on Saturday, you may want to quickly make reservations on the north side of town at some distance from the stadium in case some of those wild hogs get loose in the hotel hallways and escape capture in the morning darkness. I love the Arkansas Razorbacks and their fans, but I always like to think ahead as much as possible...\B)

Thanks to Syd Caldwell for being our group's "ambassador." Syd has called and visited with Darryl and Lea Criss several times and reported that Darryl has made sufficient progress that he has been moved to Health South, near the Washington Medical Center, in Fayetteville. At least that's a step or two closer to home for both Darryl and Lea. Please keep both of them in your prayers.

Looks like October is going to be a busy month but a good one for Sacred Harp singing in Arkansas.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Shiloh Singers Reminder for August 10th

Late August Update - I got a note from Willi Goehring, one of our Shiloh Singers, who has been working with the Fayetteville Public Library and the Fayetteville Roots Festival. The library is hosting a celebration of the life of Mary Celestia Parler, one of Arkansas most important and most overlooked folklorists with a free, hugely interactive exhibit in the Fayetteville Public Library from September 28th to the 31st.

If you're within driving range on Thursday, the 28th, from 6-8, there will be an Ozark Music Listening Party, where about a dozen traditional musicians will play selections from archived recordings and generate discussion on why preservation of folk practices is so vital!

Also on the schedule, KUAR is doing a live broadcast from the Walker Community Room on Friday, Aug. 29th, and some of the singers who live further away might want to listen to the live broadcast from 12 noon until 2 P.M.

While not exactly Sacred Harp singing, many of our singers can relate to folk music and the traditional forms of singing. For more information about the library's schedule for the Fayetteville Roots Festival, visit:


Another quick singing reminder. The Shiloh Sacred Harp Singers of NW Arkansas will be singing in the General Store on the grounds of the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History on Sunday afternoon, August 10th at 1:30 to 4:00 P.M. We'll bring an extra fan and a cooler for the water. Visitors and first-time singers are always welcome. Hope to have some updates on singings and plans for the October 24th and 25th Singing School and NWA Fall Singing Convention.

At noon, we'll have a table at AQ's Chicken House in Springdale before the singing and plan to adjourn for coffee and ice cream after the singing. All are invited to these optional activities for visiting and catching up with friends and singers we only get to see once a month.

Photo - Syd Caldwell will be singing in Henderson, Texas this weekend and spreading the news about our annual NWA Fall Singing Convention in Springdale. Last month in Alabama, this month in East Texas, Syd is our goodwill ambassador wherever he travels.

The East Texas Sacred Harp Singing Convention was organized in 1855 and records show a continuous history since 1868. If you live in the southern half of Arkansas, within driving distance and have an open Saturday or Sunday, the singing is held in the Henderson Civic Center at 1005 Hwy 64 W. Singing starts at 9:30 A.M. on both Aug 9th and 10th using the Cooper Book. Texans always have a spirited singing.

That's about all the news at the moment.
Hope to see everyone in Springdale on Sunday.