Friday, September 8, 2017

Singing on Sunday and planning for more singing in October...

This is a busy weekend at the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History. If you're a quilter, on Saturday, Sept. 9th, there's the 40th Annual Quilt Fair on the lawn between the museum and general store. The quilt fair includes a variety of quilts, and there's live entertainment by Greenland Station band. The quilt fair will be open between 10 A.M. and 2 P.M.

Second, the Shiloh Singers of NW Arkansas will be singing in the country store on Sunday afternoon, Sept 10th, starting at 1:30 and continuing until 4:00 P.M. As usual, visitors and visitors with children are invited to sit in on the session. They can just listen or they can use a "loaner" song book to follow along and hopefully even sing along. The country store is the white building east of the museum building and barn at 118 W. Johnson Avenue in Springdale.

If you prefer to have lunch before singing, there's usually a table or two of singers at AQ Chicken House at 1207 N Thompson St in Springdale. Visitors are also welcome to really sit down and visit and ask questions. We try to gather around noon.
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Photo: Andrew Albers leads the outdoor singing under the trees at the Murrell Home in October, 2016. 

The Shiloh Singers have been invited again to have an old fashioned outdoor singing at the 2nd Annual Agriculture Festival at the Murrell Home Historic Site in Park Hill, OK. The three day festival starts on Friday October 6 with demonstrations, exhibits, entertainment, food, shopping and more. I guess the outdoor singing is more. Last year there was a pioneer church service delivered at 11 A.M. as it might have been under the trees near the Murrell Home. After a short break for lunch and forming a square with benches, hay bales or bring your own camping chairs, the singers will conducted their regular October 8th Sunday Singing at the Murrell Home from about 12:30 until 3:30 P.M. We've just changed the location.

Click on poster for larger version
As was the case last year, singers from Oklahoma are invited to bring guests and join the fun. We enjoyed meeting singers from the Tulsa area and the Oklahoma City group that meets in Edmond on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of every month.  We enjoyed meeting singers from Oklahoma, Missouri and Arkansas last year and hope to meet even more new friends and singers in the historic setting that the Murrell Home provides. Singers are also invited to explore the home and exhibits during their visit.

For more info about the Murrell Home Historic Site see:

There's a second October event we need to discuss at this Sunday's lunch and plan at the Sunday singing. The NW Arkansas Fall Singing is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, 9:30 A.M. 3:00 P.M. Syd Caldwell has been planning on a Singing School on Friday evening, October 20th, before the all day Saturday singing which last year ran from 6:30 until 8:30 P.M. Both new singers and more experienced singers can benefit for the instruction in an informal environment paced to mix instruction and a warm up for the Saturday singing to follow. More details will be provided after the planning session in next month's newsletter and on the website.

I know everyone has been busy. Some of our singers have many friends, fellow singers and relatives in Texas as well as Florida, Georgia and Alabama. Katy and I share your concerns. We found out about the Shiloh Singers by attending the quilt show in 2004 after we moved to Arkansas. It's a busy time but Sunday afternoon is a good time to gather, sing, enjoy the company of like-minded singers. Join us and spend an afternoon singing the old shape note songs with harmony and enthusiasm. It will do you a world of good! Hope to see you Sunday!

Friday, August 11, 2017

August 13th Shiloh Singing Canceled... Outdoor Singing added in October!

Goodness knows the Shiloh Singers are reluctant to cancel a scheduled singing, but the information gained from an informal survey of singers in the NWA area suggested the Shiloh Singers cancel the Shiloh Singers' August 13th monthly singing in Springdale. After we counted the survey results, it became apparent that a number of our strongest singers and regular song leaders planned to attend the 150th Annual East Texas Convention on August 12th and 13th in Henderson, TX, or other travel plans. Imagine conducting a series of singings for over a century and a half! That has to be special and not many groups can celebrate such a historic occasion.  You can certainly understand why dedicated singers wanted to be there. So we will send along our best wishes to all the singers in Henderson this weekend and hope they enjoy the best singing in their 162 year history.

So, the Shiloh Singers will have their next regularly scheduled singing on September 10, 2017, in the General Store of the Shiloh Museum from 1:30 P.M. until 4:00 P.M. and hope you will mark your calendar for the singing. The usual noon pre-singing lunch at AQ Chicken House in Springdale will return to the schedule as well.

Now, what I hope will be good news for all the Shape Note singers in the Oklahoma, SE Kansas or SW Missouri, and Arkansas area. One of the highlights of our singing calendar last year, was moving the regular October singing location from the General Store to conduct an outdoor singing at the George M. Murrell Home on the final day of their Antique Agriculture Festival which is scheduled for Friday thru Sunday, October 6-8, 2017. The singing is scheduled on Sunday, October 8th and will follow a pioneer church service before lunch. After the service the benches and hay bales will be moved to form a square and an old-fashioned outdoor singing will commence from shortly after noon until about 3:00. Singers of all faiths and vocal ranges, guests and festival visitors are welcome to sit down and sing or just listen. Visitors may arrive and join at any time. Anyone is welcomed to borrow a songbook and sing along with the group. They may even recognize a tune they sang many years before. The festival booths and hands-on events made all the singers feel at home and the Murrell Home staff were especially gracious hosts. For more information about the Murrell Home historic site visit:

One of my favorite old pictures from a history book about Sacred Harp singing (which I cannot find at this moment) shows the leaders of an outdoor singing or singing school being conducted outdoors in the shade of a brush arbor. The trees at the Murrell Home grounds kept us in the shade, but the hay bales scattered around the wagon being used as a stage provided the "soft seats." I was reintroduced to just how comfortable a couple of hay bales could be from my days as a youngster when I would slip out to the horse shed make sure our old mare that was gentle enough for me to ride had plenty of water and feed. I was also known to find a couple of hay bales in the shed and take an afternoon nap.

No naps, just good singing at the Antique Agriculture Festival

For long range planning, the Shiloh Singers will host the Annual Northwest Fall Singing in Springdale on Saturday October 21, 2017 from 9:30 until 3:00 P.M. Syd Caldwell is also working on a Friday evening Singing School for those who want to learn more about the basics of Sacred Harp. Details will follow in the September newsletter or on the Shiloh Singers webpage when available. 

One more random thought. The Arkansas Razorbacks are playing the Auburn Tigers in Fayetteville on Saturday, October 21st. You might want to make hotel/motel reservations in the Springdale and northward areas a little earlier than would be normal. 

I hope all of the travelers stay safe and hope we'll get to see you all next month. 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

July Shape-Note Gathering in Mountain View and Shiloh Singers Monthly Singing in Springdale

It's time for the 2017 Shape-Note Gathering! Starting with an orientation on Thursday evening, July 6, then continued on Friday, July 7, with singing seminars conducted by nationally respected instructors, and concluding with a traditional all-day singing on Saturday, July 8, in the former Mountain View High School Auditorium. 

For those who want a short version from the Ozark Folk Center website:
Venues Ozark Folk Center- Music Auditorium and White Oak Theater, Stone Co. Historical Society
Admission/Registration No admission fees or preregistration required. Participants will enter thru the front doors at the Large Auditorium Friday morning and will be given badges there to allow movement thru the park on Friday ONLY. All participants should check in and enter via the front doors at the Large Auditorium. 
Introduction to Shape-Note Singing concert/discussion Thursday Eve- 6 PM - 6:45 PM - White Oak Auditorium (Administration Building), Ozark Folk Center, this is an open event, no admission charge. 
Friday Singing and Teaching Seminar Dan Brittain and Gaylon Powell will lead singing and teaching sessions on the stage of the main auditorium at the Ozark Folk Center.  The morning session will run from 9 AM to 11:30 and the afternoon session from 1:30 PM until 4.  Those attending the shape-note sessions only can enter free of charge at the front entrance of the auditorium.  Crafts ground visitors may come and go to the shape-note session via the rear entrance of the auditorium. Participants in the singing will be featured as part of the performance at the Ozark Folk Center’s nightly concert. 
Saturday Singing A traditional singing, using both four-shape and seven-shape books will be held in the old Mountain View High School auditorium on School Avenue, one block south of East Main (the turn is between Best Drug Store and Conoco) in Mountain View.  The morning session will run from 9 AM until noon and the afternoon session from 1:30 AM until 4 PM.
The Saturday all-day singing is a chance for the seminar students to put what they've learned into practice and is open to anyone - young, old, new or experienced singers. Whoever wants to sit in and enjoy shape-note singing from a variety of song books is welcome. Loaner books will be available. 

Thanks to the Ozark Folk Center and the Stone County Historical Society for the use of their facilities. There are no admission or registration fees for the instruction. No pot luck lunch is planned for Friday or Saturday. A variety of restaurants are available in Mountain View. Several are listed on the map linked below or use your favorite search engine for more selections. If you still need motel reservations, don't wait too long.

PDF Map to Ozark Folk Center and Old Mountain View High School

Finally, I should repeat the reminder that the Shiloh Singers of NWA will be back at the General Store on Sunday, July 9th at the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History General Store with singing from 1:30 until 4:00 PM. If you arrive early, singers and visitors are welcome to join us at AQ Chicken House on Bus. 71, just a couple of blocks north of the museum about noon for lunch and fellowship.

With all the singing going on next weekend, I certainly hope you can get to a singing somewhere. I'll hope to see you there!