Friday, June 12, 2015

Next singing this Sunday, June 14... Plans for July Ozark Folk Center Gathering

It has been a long time since we've joined together to sing. May 2nd in Harrison for the NWA Sacred Harp Singing Convention was almost six weeks ago, and after all the rainfall last month, I hope that all of the Shiloh Singers have a chance to enjoy a wonderful drive through the Ozarks' thick green forests on Sunday, June 14, 2015. The destination is the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History's General Store to sing from The Sacred Harp and the Missouri Harmony from 1:30 to 4:00 P.M. The temperature is expected to be in the 80's with an occasional shower to cool things down. For those who can get to Springdale around noon, the ad hoc lunch group will gather at AQ Chicken House on Hwy Bus. 71 for lunch and catching up with news of family and friends. All are welcome, bring a friend and enjoy the afternoon with singing.

First of all, our thanks to all who participated in the Harrison event, the cooks who brought their best dishes and desserts, to Dan Brittain who has been the guiding light behind this annual event and the congregation of St. John's Episcopal Church who generously opened their doors to provide such a wonderful place to sing. I'm sorry if you were unable to attend. We had a good time but you were missed.

The month of July is not far away and we have several events to talk about. First, the annual Ozarks Folk Center State Park Shape Note Gathering, scheduled for July 9-11 in Mountain View, AR. The instructors for the school and singing will be Gaylon Powell and Dan Brittain, both well known in the nationwide Sacred Harp and Shape Note world. Holly Ruth Gale and Charley Sandage will assist. 
July 9, Thursday evening - A short introductory singing and discussion at 6:00 until 6:45 P.M. to introduce the event in the small White Oak Auditorium located in the Administration Building.  Folks can go to the main show in the theater and buses will be available afterwards to take attendees directly to the main auditorium for the evening program.
July 10, Friday - On the stage of the Folk Center Auditorium, a presentation of all the oblong shape note books in use today. We will have samples from each to sing. Teachers can also earn in-service credit for participation on Friday.
    9:00- 11:30 A.M. - Morning session
    1:00 – 4:00 P.M. - Afternoon session
    7:00 P.M. - The singers take part in the Friday show.

July 11, Saturday- An exciting new event for the Folk Center as part of the weekend gathering. There will be an All-Day singing at the Old High School Auditorium. One half of the day will be devoted to the 1991 Denson Book, the other half to the Christian Harmony. Location: Old Mountain View High School Auditorium (Stone County Historical Society), 204 School Avenue, just off of Main Street in Mountain View.
    10:00 - 11:35 A.M. - Morning session
    1:15 - 3:30 A.M. - Afternoon session
Plan on a Dutch treat for lunch. I think we called that "foraging" on your own when I was in the Army. Of course, we will add more details as they become available, or check out the Ozark Folk Center Announcement at:
Then on Sunday, July 12th, knowing that not everyone can get to Mountain View on Saturday, we still plan on having our regular monthly singing in Springdale in the General Store from 1:30 until 4:00 P.M. following the normal Sunday schedule.

One more thing: Thanks to Allyn Lord, Director at the Shiloh Museum who forwarded the announcement of the reprinting of the Original Sacred Harp tune book originally published in 1911. The singers at Harrison in May actually had a chance to see a copy of the reprint. It's a piece of history some of you may want to keep in your personal library.

Original Sacred Harp: Centennial Edition

"We've just published this commemorative reprint of a much-loved 1911 historical edition of The Sacred Harp, with a new introduction on the book’s legacy and context. Edited by Jesse P. Karlsberg, this Centennial Edition of Joseph Stephen James's Original Sacred Harp" makes newly accessible a trove of engaging music and James’s fascinating historical notes on each of the book's 609 songs."

Learn more historical information about the book: "Old Strings on a New Harp" by Jesse P. Karlsberg.

To order a copy of the book, visit The Sacred Harp Publishing Co: "Original Sacred Harp: Centennial Edition" publisher's page.

To view or download a PDF copy of the May, 2015, "Sacred Harp Publishing Company's  Newsletter" that you can print and share, visit:

Photo and text from the Sacred Harp Publishing Company, May 13, 2015.

And a personal note: Several of the regular singers already know that the Shiloh Singers mailing list has grown in size to the point we had to split the database into two smaller mailing lists to keep from apparently exceeding Google's limits on  non-commercial mailings. Later, we found that some of the email names and addresses were corrupted at some point before, during or after the conversion process. I'll spare you the details. However if you know of a singer who no longer gets the Shiloh newsletter and should, or a new singer who registered and never got a newsletter, please let me know or encourage them to resubscribe. I've been working with computers since the days when dinosaurs like the big IBM's roamed the earth and sometimes their smaller cousins - Windows, Macs and Linux - still win.

We hope to see all of you who can get to Springdale on Sunday. We'll make a joyful noise and have a good time.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Singing at the NWA Sacred Harp Singing Convention on May 2nd...

2015 NWA Convention Flyer. Click on image for printable full-sized PDF version.

Our newsletter is published earlier than the usual monthly reminder to give all of the NW Arkansas Sacred Harp Singing Convention on May 2, 2015 in the Parish Hall of St. John's Episcopal Church in Harrison AR. The church is located at 707 W. Central Avenue and directions are found in the attached flyer. This special spring event starts at 9:30 A.M. and continues until 3:00 P.M. with a break at noon for a pot luck lunch. Singing will be from The Sacred Harp (Denson book) and The Missouri Harmony. Loaner books will be available. The Harrison singing traditionally has been well attended by singers from Missouri, Oklahoma, sometimes from Texas and from all over Arkansas. As usual, visitors, children and new singers are always welcome.

The pot luck lunch is always a special treat and St. John's Parish Hall has a well equipped kitchen with refrigerators, microwaves, etc. to help keep things cold or warm dishes to serving temperature if needed. Singers are invited to bring their favorite meat dishes, casseroles, salads and desserts. Others may wish to bring a cooler and soft drinks. At the moment, we're well supplied with cups, dishes, plastic ware, napkins, thanks to Gail Cowart. Our host, Dan Brittain, usually has the coffee pot perking by arrival time. Donuts to go with the coffee or fruit plates for the morning arrivals or breaks usually travel well in a cooler.

As to motels and hotels, I never did find one website that had all the information about accommodations in one spot. Things like name, location, map, phone number, rates and ratings that were the staple of paper AAA travel guides apparently don't always translate easily into web pages. Harrison's Convention and Visitors Bureau has the most comprehensive descriptions I found on the web (but no maps or rates). The best map of where the motels are actually located is found on  I ended up checking Trivago for distance to the downtown area, rates and ratings. If you have a favorite booking agent, Priceline, Expedia and others are also linked from the Trivago site. If you collect Wyndham, Choice Hotel, or other travel points, do your own thing. With thanks to Dan, who supplied the new picture (in color) for this year's flyer so you can easily identify St. John's Episcopal Church, is our final word on directions, motels and phones. Drop an email to Dan at if you have questions or need more help.

At the April 12th singing at the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History, several singers brought up the point that our usual May 2nd Sunday singing date would arrive on Mother's Day. Mother's rule! Those present quickly concurred that the May 10, 2015 singing at the museum was canceled and we should still spend time with our mothers, family and friends on Mother's Day. The next regular singing will be on June 14th.

Map: Downtown Harrison. Click on image for larger version.

The information we included in the April newsletter regarding the annual Ozarks Folk Center State Park Shape Note School and Singing scheduled for July 9-11 in Mountain View, AR has been posted on the Shiloh Singers calendar. I'm sure we'll talk about the Thursday evening through Saturday event, but I'm hearing some favorable discussions about the Saturday, July 11th, singing in the Old High School Auditorium. See the webpage for the known details.

One More Thing: If you know of a singer who might be interested in attending the NW Arkansas Sacred Harp Singing Convention, share a copy of the flyer with them, or post a copy on the church or choir bulletin board, or even better, bring them with you. We've always had a good singing at Harrison, no matter what the weather, good people getting together to enjoy singing has always turned out well. Hope you'll join us in Harrison on May 2nd.
Shiloh Singers a little more lead time to make plans for the

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Take a break and sing with the Shiloh Singers of NWA on Sunday, April 12th...

It's that time of the year when those among us who have done their taxes can rejoice that the task is completed. Those of us who are using a new tax software application are still trying to figure out new features and directions. I hope that everyone is either finished or close enough to being finished that we can all take a Sunday afternoon break on April 12th and come to the regular April singing in the general store at the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History. The singing will start at 1:30 and will continue until 4:00 P.M. The usual before singing and post singing get togethers starting around noon at Springdale's AQ Chicken House, and dessert somewhere after the singing. All singers and visitors are welcome to sing along or just watch and listen.

Photo - The singers at the 2015 Missouri State Sacred Harp Singing Convention at St. John's United Church of Christ in Pinckney Township near the Missouri River. 

During the past month, members of the Shiloh Singers participated in singings near Washington, MO and Old Washington, AR. The Missouri State Convention gathered participants from all over middle America. The bad weather along the eastern side of the Mississippi River kept some of the regular attendees from making the trip from Georgia and Alabama, but we hope to see many of our old friends next year. The St. Louis singers do a marvelous job with both the singing and the Saturday and Sunday meals and have earned the appreciation of all who attended the 2015 edition of their event.  

The afternoon singing in Washington, AR was only the second year of a special event held in conjunction with the annual Jonquil Festival hosted by the Historic Washington State Park. Saturday, March 21st, was bright and sunny with the Jonquils all looking their best and great attendance. Sunday had intermittent rain and cooler weather but the warm welcome from the singers and the curious on-lookers in the Historic Washington Methodist Church made up for the weather outside.

Photo: Robert Vaughn explains the basics of shape note singing at the 2015 special singing in the Old Historic Methodist Church at the Jonquil Festival at Historic Washington State Park on March 22nd.

Thanks to all the singers from Arkansas and Texas who attended. Discussion after the singing trended toward maybe having a similar event next year with an all day format and lunch at the state park. The Historic Washington State Park and surrounding community is a special place in Arkansas history and a special place to visit any time during the year.

Prior planning must be done in advance Department:

Update 4/11/15:  I got a note from Bob and Gina Cauley who now live in Divide, CO but sang with the Shiloh Singers when they lived in Arkansas. If any of the singers on the newsletter list happen to be headed out to Colorado during late April, the Colorado Springs singers have planned an all-day singing and pot luck lunch for Saturday, April 25th, (9am-3pm) at Chapel of Our Saviour, (in Broadmoor) 84th Street, Colorado Springs, CO 80906. The contact for the event is Mary Margaret Alvarado  You can "google" the address for a map. Please let me know if you can attend and I'll pass along additional info.

OK folks, mark your calendars now so there is no confusion! Dan sent me a note that Mountain View Shape Note Gathering is scheduled for 9-11 July at the Ozarks Folk Center State Park.
Thursday evening - a short singing at c. 5:30 to introduce the event -  the small White Oak Theater (over by 6:45 so folks can go to the main show in the theater).
Friday - on the stage of the Folk Center Auditorium - a presentation of all the oblong shape note books in use today. We will have samples from each to sing. The singers will sing as part of the regular Friday evening show. Teachers can get in-service credit for Friday.
Saturday- a NEW EVENT for the Folk Center as part of the gathering. All-Day singing at the Old High School Auditorium. Great venue. 1/2 day 1991 book, 1/2 day Christian Harmony. Dutch treat for lunch.
More details will follow as they become available. The Mountain View event is an opportunity to gain a wider appreciation for the different variations of shape note singing. It's something to put on your "bucket list" if you haven't been there and the Saturday singing adds more icing on special Folk Center event.

Any further updates and additional pictures will be posted on the Shiloh Singers webpages in a few days (after April 15th?). Park your pencils, file your forms in a folder and get away from your computer screen while sharing the tradition of Sacred Harp singing this Sunday. You'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Shiloh Sacred Harp Singers March Newsletter... Opportunities abound!

Syd and friends lead at Texas Convention
First, a quick reminder that the Shiloh Sacred Harp Singers will be recessed to allow singers to attend the Missouri State Sacred Harp Convention this Saturday and Sunday, March 7th and 8th. We're keeping a careful eye on the weather forecast for the Washington, Missouri area which should clear on Friday with sunny weather with highs in the mid-50's and lows about 29 degrees. While the Interstates toward the St. Louis area are expected to be clear, the secondary roads may require more care. If you're headed that way, please be sure to check the forecast. For more information the Missouri State Convention, see the February newsletter posted on our web page.

The Shiloh Singers will reconvene on Sunday, April 12th, at 1:30 to 4:00 P.M. in the General Store on the grounds of the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History in Springdale.

Perhaps the most important news is that Robert Vaughn of Mount Enterprise, TX has sent out a note to gauge the interest of Arkansas singers to participate in a Sunday afternoon, March 22nd singing at the conclusion of the Jonquil Festival at Historic Washington State Park in Washington, AR. The Historic Washington Methodist Church would host the event again this year from 3:30 to 5:30 P.M. The festival is a three day event. According to the festival announcement in the park calendar:
Thousands of jonquils welcome craftspeople, entertainers and visitors to the town of Historic Washington. Unique crafts and delicious foods are just part of the attractions from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, then again from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sunday. Tours of the park, historic homes, and museums are available at regular price.  Call the park at (870) 983-2684 for details.
I have to admit that I wished we could have spent more time at the festival booths and community attractions when several of the Shiloh Singers participated last year. For more information about the state park and local community attractions, check out the Washington State Park website for pictures, maps, etc. If you're interested in singing at the event, it makes sense to carpool. Please let me know if you're interested and we'll see what we can put together a list plus let Robert know how many from the Shiloh Group expect to attend by sending a quick email to

We also hope to have more details about the NWA Arkansas Spring Sacred Harp Convention after discussion in Missouri. In the meantime, stay warm and stay safe. Hope to see you at one of the singing opportunities in the next month.