Friday, September 11, 2015

Singing on 9/13 and Other Events in September and October

September 13th Singing at the Shiloh Museum: It's time for the monthly reminder that the Shiloh Sacred Harp Singers of NW Arkansas will be singing in the General Store of the Shiloh Museum on Sunday afternoon, September 13, 2015 from 1:30 until 4:00 P.M. Visitors are always welcome, so come watch, tap your feet, look at the music in a loaner book while we're singing and join in the the singing.

Photo: Bill Caldwell leads the Shiloh Singers at the August 9th singing in the Shiloh Museum General Store.

Children, or "next generation singers," are also welcome to join in too. The fact is that our singing sessions are somewhat informal and you'll be surrounded by others who just enjoy singing the old songs as they were sung by our ancestors before small rural congregations could afford pianos and organs. Your participation is encouraged. 

Updated: 9/14/15 After the Singing Report - Had 25 adults and children at the singing plus the local cat who helped entertain the children. Just as the singing ended, a kitten of a similar color showed up at the open door but was afraid to come in. The children instinctively made a bee-line for the kitten who instinctively ran for the barn at full speed and was not seen again.  It is wonderful to have children to attend and sing. 

We also had about several college students who were taking a music class and Andrew Albers and Bill Caldwell gave them some history and info on sacred harp and our type of singing. Hope they all make an A+ on their assignment. We were also joined by several singers from the Tulsa group planning their singing school and singing in Oct. 26th. 

Syd Caldwell forwarded an email Monday morning from Stanley Smith, one of the Sacred Harp composers who plans to be with us at the October NWA Singing Convention. Syd used a cell phone yesterday to share a couple of Sacred Harp songs with Stanley. One of the better uses of cellular technology: 
Thanks for calling and letting me hear “Not Made with Hands” and “Haw Ridge”. Ya’ll did a great job on both. Relay to all that I appreciate it very much. I sure did my heart good hear your singing and that you did my song. Ya’ll did so good, you can do it again sometime. Looking forward to being out there soon. - Stanley
September 26th Singing School and Sacred Harp Singing in Tulsa: But the monthly second Sunday singings are only just the start for the next two months. We're even more excited by the news that Sacred Harp singers in the Tulsa area have organized as Tulsa Friends of Sacred Harp Singing and they have planned a one-day Tulsa Shape Note School and Singing on Saturday, September 26, 2015 from 9:30 A.M. until 3:30 P.M. at the First Lutheran Church, 1244 S. Utica Ave. Dan Brittain will be leading the singing school. Thanks to Frank Christel for sharing the Facebook page link for more information about the Tulsa event at: and to Elaine King who is hosting the Tulsa group's new Facebook pages.

Updated: 9/11/15 - We just got a note from Frank that the Tulsa group has posted their web page at: with info, slides and a YouTube video. Check it out.

October 23rd and 24th NWA Fall Sacred Harp Singing School and Convention: We've already talked about the NW Arkansas Fall Sacred Harp Singing School on Friday evening, Oct. 23rd and the All-Day Singing Convention and Dinner on the Grounds on October 24th in Springdale. The singing school will be in the General Store, where we usually sing each month, from 6:30 to 8:30 P.M. The Saturday convention will be across the street from the Shiloh Museum entrance in the 1st Security Bank Community Room, just south of the drive in bank. The singing will start at 9:30 A.M. and conclude at 3:30 P.M. with a pot luck noon meal. Rather than repeat all of the details again in the newsletter, you can catch up with the details on last month's newsletter posting. Thanks again to Elaine King's creative efforts on her computer, click on this link: NWA Singing School and Convention flyer for a PDF copy that you can easily view or download to print and share with others.

Other Official and Unofficial activities: Updated: 9/11/15 - Thanks to Syd Caldwell for his note that Susan Young, Outreach Coordinator at the Shiloh Museum, will present a program on Sacred Harp at the Harrison Public Library on September 22, 2015 at 5:30 P.M.

As usual, any singers or visitors who wish to join the singer's table at AQ's Chicken House in Springdale for AQ's usual assortment of chicken dishes are welcome to arrive around noon this Sunday. Just ask the reception desk for directions to the singers and they'll point you in the right direction. It's a good time to visit and ask questions about Sacred Harp singing.

...And one more thing: We're still having headaches (program updates? regressions? driver error?) with our email and mailing list software. The September email newsletter was delayed while the mailing list was pieced back together yet again. While I hope the lists (two of them now) will stay fixed this time, we had to eliminate several damaged entries. IF you DID NOT get a copy of the September newsletter this month, and would like to get back on the list, please send an email to: so that we can make sure you are on the list. Of course if you got a copy and wish to just follow the news on this web site, directions for getting off the list are at the bottom of each newsletter.

As always we'll look forward to singing with you on Sunday afternoon.

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:

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:
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.