Friday, August 7, 2015

Sunday Singing at the Shiloh Museum on August 9th

This has been one of those weeks when neither my schedule, the Greek financial bailout, nor the famous Italian trains would have run "on time." The best thing I can say about this week is that the Shiloh Singers will be meeting and singing in the General Store on the grounds of the Shiloh Museum in Springdale on Sunday afternoon, Aug. 9th, at 1:30 and we'll all get to sing in the company of friends. That's always a good way to end a busy week.

We also need to discuss and start planning for the October NW Arkansas Sacred Harp Fall Singing Convention and Singing School on October 23rd and 24th. Thanks to Syd Caldwell and the always helpful staff at the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History, Much of the planning framework has already been sketched out.

Syd has arranged for Robert Vaughn, a 5th generation Sacred Harp singer, author, composer and ordained Baptist minister from Mount Enterprise, TX to conduct the convention's annual singing school on Oct. 23rd, the evening before the all day singing on Saturday. In fact, this weekend, Robert will be leading and singing at the 148th East Texas Convention in Henderson, TX.

Photo: Robert Vaughn leading the singers at Historic Washington (AR) United Methodist Church on March 22, 2015.

What we think we know about the schedule and enough to start marking your calendar if it's not already added to your October page:
Friday, Oct. 23, 2015 - 6:30 P.M. until 8:30 P.M. - NWA Fall Sacred Harp Convention Singing School
Location: Shiloh Museum General Store, 118 W. Johnson Avenue, Springdale, AR 72764
Instructor: Robert L. Vaughn, Mount Enterprise, TX
Beginner class for those new to sacred harp singing or who want to learn more about the fundamentals of 4-note shape note singing.

Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015 - 9:30 A.M. until 3:30 P.M. - NWA Fall Sacred Harp Convention
Location: 1st Security Bank Community Room, 110 North Main Street (south of drive-in bank), Springdale, AR 72764.
All day singing with pot luck lunch at noon. Singing will be from The Sacred Harp (Denson Book), Missouri Harmony, and B. F. White Sacred Harp (Cooper Book, 2006 Ed.). Loaner books are available. Visitors, new singers and their children welcome.
For those of you who instantly recognized that on Saturday, Oct. 24th, the University of Arkansas Razorbacks will play the Auburn Tigers in Fayetteville. Unless there is a late October hurricane or an early winter snow storm, there's an excellent chance that most hotels and motels will approach their capacity on Friday and Saturday nights. While there are at least 20 hotels and motels listed by Google in the Springdale area, if you plan to stay overnight in the Fayetteville/Springdale area on a Razorback football weekend, please consider making your room reservations earlier than normal this year. To help that process, Syd has reserved two small blocks of rooms in Springdale in his name with premium or budget rates for the event, but the convention rates are only good for a limited time: the HOTEL RESERVATION DEADLINE IS AUGUST 21, 2015. After that, the block of rooms will be released and regular room rates will be in effect based on the market and availability.
Comfort Suites, 1099 Rieff St. Springdale, Phone: 479-725-1777 - 4 stars - $149.00/night
Heritage Inn Springdale, 1394 W. Sunset Ave. Springdale Phone: 479-751-3100 - 2 stars - $69.00/night

Singers who earn points with a favorite hotel or motel chain or use their favorite hotel booking agent like Expedia or Trivago can use their own system to search for competitive rates on their own, but please start early!

As we get closer to the actual singing convention dates, I'm sure there will be additional information and I'll post the usual maps and a flyer you can download, print and share on the Shiloh Singers website. And if the schedule works better next week, I may actually get a chance to post some of the other items I had planned for this month's edition of the newsletter. Watch this space.

Photo: Dan Brittain teaching the next generation of shape note singers at the July 11th Ozark Folk Center Shape Note Gathering.

One more thing: For those who plan to attend the Aug. 9th singing and can get to the AQ Chicken House in Springdale around noon or a little later, there's an open table of Shiloh Singers usually in the back enjoying one of AQ's many fine dishes before the singing and catching up with friends and fellow singers. There's also coffee and ice cream at Denny's after the singing. Both events are open to all singers and we can usually add chairs or bump more tables together if we need more space. You are invited.

Hope to see you in Springdale on Sunday...

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

July Sacred Harp Events make a busy schedule...

July is shape note singing month in the Ozarks. Everyone has the opportunity to get involved in the shape note singing tradition with the Ozark Folk Center hosting their annual Shape Note Gathering on July 9-11, 2015 in Mountain View. According to the latest schedule I've seen, minor adjustments were made to the schedule and maps added for the Thursday through Saturday events:

July 9, Thursday
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 from.
9:00 A.M. - 11:30 A.M. - Morning session
11:00 A.M. - 1:00 P.M. - Lunch
1:00 P.M. – 4:00 P.M. - Afternoon session
4:00 P.M. - 7:00 P.M. - Dinner
7:00 P.M. - The singers will sing as part of the regular Friday evening 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 Stone County Historical Society in the Old High School Building at 204 School Ave., just off of Main Street in Mountain View.
10:00 A.M. - 11:35 A.M.
- Morning session
11:35 A.M. - 1:00 P.M. - Lunch (Click the map thumbnail for nearby restaurants.)
1:00 P.M. - 3:30 P.M. - Afternoon session      
Just a reminder to plan on a Dutch treat for lunch. We called it "foraging" on your own when I was in the Army. Of course, we will try to update the Shiloh website if updates become available. The original Ozark Folk Center Announcement is at: http://www.ozarkfolkcenter.com/events/?isofc=1&id=2325

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. The normal lunch group will be at AQ's Chicken House around noon for lunch and we'll see who might be available for post-singing pie and coffee at Denny's near the Interstate afterwards. This really sounds like a good four days of singing and I certainly hope you can sing at one or more of the events. We'll also bring an extra fan or two to keep things as cool as we can.

Photo: Cory Winters leading the Shiloh Singers on June 14th in Springdale at the Shiloh Museum's General Store. 

In Other News - The Shiloh Singers get-together on Sunday, June 14th, enjoyed a good turnout with 20 singers. The fans kept things fairly cool. Thanks to all who attended.

Shut-ins - Holly Childs, one of our faithful tenors, has spent several days in the hospital after surgery and her daughter, Lisa, has reported positive results and a good prognosis for getting back home in the next few days. Prayers for her speedy full recovery will be appreciated, I'm sure. Holly, we'll miss you this Sunday, but hope you'll feel better by our August singing. Please let us know if there are others that need to be added to the prayer list for the Sunday singing.

That's about all the news I know to print. We hope we'll see you in Mountain View or Springdale this long singing weekend.

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: http://www.ozarkfolkcenter.com/events/?isofc=1&id=2325
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 HotelGuides.com.  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 pdan.brittain@gmail.com 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