Thursday, April 7, 2016

Take a tax break on Sunday afternoon...

Click this link for PDF
UPDATE: 4/13/16 - As discussed at the April 10th monthly singing, Dan Brittain has agreed to conduct a two hour introductory singing with a short review for new singers with a question and answer time on Friday evening, April 29th, in the St. John's Parish Hall from 6:30 until 8:30 P.M. This is an opportunity for new singers as well as existing singers to learn more about Sacred Harp singing. Experienced singers are invited to help anchor all the parts.

The Northwest Arkansas Convention will be held on April 30, 2016 from 10:00 A.M. until 3:00 P.M. St. John's Episcopal Church in Harrison, AR with a pot luck lunch at noon. We also have access to the kitchen for cooling or warming your special dish or dessert. Please print and share the flyer with a friend that might want to learn more about the singing school and convention. Visitors, new singers and children are welcome.

We've also added an interactive Google search that lists Harrison motels/hotels, their current prices, ratings and a map.  Click on this link for the list of hotels. It's another good place to sing in Arkansas.


Like many people, I've been up to my 3-ring notebook with bank accounts and envelopes of receipts working on taxes. If you need a break from doing your taxes, come sing with us at the General Store on the grounds of the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History on Sunday afternoon, April 10th, from 1:30 until 4:00 P.M. If you're a visitor, or a new singer, we welcome both categories and you can listen in, tap your foot, and we'll loan you a book so you can join in if the music moves you to sing along. I should also mention that young and old are welcome. Even our most experienced singers were new singers once upon a time.

If you get to Springdale a little early, say around 12:00 noon on Sunday, please join a few of the singers who gather at the AQ Chicken House in Springdale for lunch. Just ask for the singers at the reception desk and they'll point you in the right direction. 

Syd Caldwell sent us an email about his Georgia trip to sing with the 2016 Georgia State Convention: 
"The singing was great both days and some strong loud singing. ...At the end of Sunday I sat toward the back and listened as they called Bill and Nancy Price and a lady from Oregon to lead and I went and asked Bill if they wanted me to lead with them and we all led 288 for our Shiloh gang."
Photo Credit: Thanks to Martha Beverly and Flicker

UPDATE: 4/13/16 - Thanks to Syd Caldwell who mentioned on Sunday singing that Southern Field Recordings had posted the recordings from the Georgia State Convention at:

One more thing: The dogwoods have popped out and the 2016 version of springtime in the Ozarks is turning green as fast as it can. Not only can you sing Sacred Harp this Sunday, you can get a nice ride in the country to get there. That always sounds like a good deal to me.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Wish you were here...

While there is no Sunday Sacred Harp singing in Springdale on March 13, 2016, there was plenty of good singing in St Johns United Church of Christ in Pinckney Township along the Missouri River. I understand that not everybody can free up the time to attend, but we wanted you to have a small sample of what has been an enjoyable weekend of singing.

Note: You can click on the box in the lower right hand corner after loading to view full screen.

One more thing. The Shiloh Singers website now has a new "tab" which leads to a 4th page designed to promote neighboring groups, and singing events in north and south Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, East Texas and Louisiana. It builds on a list of Arkansas and Texas singings put together last year by Robert Vaughn, Mount Enterprise, TX. It's a new page and we're still checking the layout against a variety of browser software and devices -- all of which may look a little different than the others. If you see something on the new page that looks out of place or needs correction, please send us a quick email with your correction or suggestion.

Hope you're having a good weekend wherever you happen to be. We'll look forward to seeing you in the Shiloh Museum General Store on April 10, 2016 when we'll be singing again in Springdale. 

Monday, February 8, 2016

Shape Note Singing Events for February, March and April...

There are so many things to talk about, we'll have to be brief in the newsletter and hope you'll check out the webpage for more information and pictures about what's on the schedule for the next month. We're even working on a schedule page for the website!

First up, thanks to Frank Christel in Tulsa. There is a Sacred Harp concert to be held this Thursday evening on the University of Tulsa campus at 7:30 P.M. The program, Concerts with Commentary: The Sacred Harp will be conducted in Lorton Performance Center, Gussman Concert Hall 550 South Gary Place Tulsa, Oklahoma. See for more information.

Thanks to Public
Radio Tulsa
Classical 88.7

UPDATED: 2/24/16 Thanks are again due Frank Christel and the Tulsa singers for sharing the Public Radio Tulsa Classical 88.7 website with photos and recordings of individual tunes and commentaries from a recent concert at the University of Tulsa dedicated to Sacred Harp music. The February 11th concert in the Lorton Performance Center was interspersed with commentaries about old time singing traditions and how the tunes were written and sung.

I have often suspected that many of our Sacred Harp tunes are only one musical arrangement away from concert halls or church choirs as well as movies. The songs sung and played during this concert presentation are an example of that close relationship with traditional singing. It's refreshing to hear our Sacred Harp tunes sung with such care and the emotion that they deserve. 

As I listened to the tunes in the set of audio recordings available on the site, I was convinced the University of Tulsa Music Department, Dr. John S. Powell and Prof. Dana Maher and all the participants deserve our appreciation for taking our traditional music to a new audience. I only wish I could have been there.

If you missed it the performance, the next best thing is to visit the concert's website at:

Singing in General Store on Feb 14.
Second on the calendar: We've had over 30 singers and visitors at both the December and January monthly singings. I hope everyone can attend our February Singing in the General Store on the grounds of the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History this Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016. We'll be singing from 1:30 until 4:00 P.M. and you're invited to bring a friend (also known as a new singer) with you. There are two events we also need to discuss briefly during the meeting.

St. John's UCC
Saturday, March 12, and Sunday, March 13, 2016, the Saint Louis Shape Note Singers will sponsor the 31st Missouri State Sacred Harp Convention in the historic St. John's United Church of Christ, located near Marthasville, MO. The church was constructed in the 1870's in the rich farm land on the banks of the Missouri River. Besides singing in a marvelous old church setting, a relatively new singer has the opportunity to absorb enough Sacred Harp singing to make the trip worthwhile. Even a more experienced singer will learn new songs, and how other groups sing your old favorites. In the past, sufficient Shiloh Singers have attended that we've declared a recess to our own March singings in Springdale. If you want more information, visit the St. Louis Shape Note Singers website at:  The official 2016 Missouri Convention Flyer with specifics, directions and suggested accommodations in Washington, MO:

George M. Murrell Home Historic Site
In the long range planning department, there's also an invitation to conduct a Sunday afternoon singing on the grounds of the George M. Murrell Home Historic Site in Park Hill, OK on October 9th in conjunction with their Antique Agriculture Festival. We could sing in our traditional square starting after lunch and sing until 3:00 P.M. which allows singers and visitors an early start back home. This event would be a cooperative event with the Oklahoma City Sacred Harp Singers, Shapenote Oklahoma in Tulsa, and the Shiloh Singers of NWA and provide a wonderful opportunity for outreach and promote Sacred Harp singings in Eastern Oklahoma and NW Arkansas as well as help promote the historic Murrell Home. Since we operate by consensus and are all volunteers, we need to talk about it and make sure we have a full crew on board before we set sail.

Finally, please circle April 30th on your calendar for the annual Northwest Arkansas Convention on Saturday, April 30, 2016, 10:00 A.M. until 3:00 P.M. at St. John's Episcopal Church in Harrison, AR. There's also a pot luck lunch during the noon break. We'll be singing from The Sacred Harp and Missouri Harmony.

If that sounds like we're going to be busy, it's also an opportunity to enjoy some great singing that will fit a variety of calendars and schedules. We'll try to post the regional calendar (subject to further suggestions and changes) on the website next week after the February singing.

One more thing: For those who can get to Springdale's AQ Chicken House on Sunday, Feb. 14th about noon, there's usually a table (or two) with singers from the Shiloh group. It's a good place to catch up on news, events, ask questions and enjoy each others company. Singers, friends and visitors are welcome.  We might even find a place for dessert after the singing!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Mini Singing School at 1 PM and Regular January Singing at 1:30 on Sunday...

Update: 1/21/16 - Just a couple of quick updates. We had 31 singers at the January 10th Mini-Singing School and Monthly Singing in the Country Store. Thanks to Nancy Price from the Oklahoma City Sacred Harp Singers for helping us with "singing the notes" and warming everyone up for the regular singing that followed. 

Nancy also asked that I remind everyone that Texas has a singing on January 30, 2016. The William J. Reynolds Sacred Harp Singing will be held in Cowden Hall, at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1809 West Broadus, Fort Worth, Texas, starting at 9:00 A.M. until 3:00 P.M. Singing will be from The Sacred Harp, 1991 edition. Lunch will be dutch treat. For more info: (817) 923-1921, ext. 3100. I've also added a link to the full Texas singing calendar in the Online Resources section of the sidebar.


Hope all of you are having a Happy New Year and are ready to sing on Sunday, January 10th, in the Country Store on the grounds of the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History in Springdale. The starting time will be a little different on Sunday. Nancy Price has offered to teach a mini singing school to help any new (or older) singers with the notes, something that's been on the group's wish list for a while. Thus we'll start the short singing school at 1:00 P.M. and then conduct the regular January singing from 1:30 P.M. until 4:00 P.M., our usual time. Thanks to Nancy for volunteering to help our group with singing the notes.

Photo: Singing in the country store on December 13, 2015.

In other business, Dan Brittain received a note from Amanda Pritchett, who works with the Oklahoma Historical Society and the George M. Murrell Home in Park Hill, Oklahoma (just outside Tahlequah). They will be holding their first annual Antique Agriculture Festival on October 7-9, 2016. I'll bring some copies of her note to the Sunday meeting for discussion but to strike a match to warm up your thinking:
  +  First of all, there might be a way this event could help promote the singers and Sacred Harp groups in Tulsa and Oklahoma City.
  +  With sufficient notice, we could possibly move our regular October 9th singing or sing on October 8th if that works better for everyone and supports the Oklahoma organizations and singing groups.
  +  We could also mention our NWA Fall Sacred Harp Singing Convention on Saturday, October 22nd.

Katy and I attended the open house and festivities at the historic Peter Conser House near Heavener, OK, each year.  Katy enjoyed looking at the quilts and I always enjoyed the blacksmith displays and looking at the old tractors and antique automobiles in the field behind the house. In any case, there is an invitation on the table and an opportunity that might benefit our Oklahoma neighbors. If you have any ideas, thoughts or suggestions and cannot make the Shiloh Singing on Jan. 10th, please send me a note so we can include your ideas in the discussion.

The Shiloh Museum is conducting an Early Spring Cleaning in the Country Store. There's more "stuff" in the store's closet than will fit on the shelves or in the bathroom closet. We plan to request space for our 3 boxes of song books and the large banner and hanger Gail Cowart built for the front porch that we use on days we sing in the store. The museum will continue to maintain a 12 cup coffee maker but each group will need to bring their own coffee, cups and other supplies. My thought is to put the singer's coffee break supplies in plastic bags (for freshness) together with our name tags, pens, handouts, and sign-in sheets all together in one easy to store and move plastic box. With all the groups helping that should free up more space and reduce clutter for the museum and all the groups using the store. Please let us know if you have something you want to keep that we haven't mentioned so we can preserve it for you on Sunday.

And two more things... In view of the early 1 P.M. start of the mini singing school, we'll plan to arrive for lunch between 11:30 and 11:45 at the world famous AQ Chicken House in Springdale. All are invited to join us, just ask at the reception desk and they'll point you in the right direction.

Sunday's weather may be a little brisk for Arkansas natives or downright chilly for transplanted Floridians like me. The National Weather Service forecast is for "mostly sunny" but cold. I'll just wear my "Little Abner" boots and Maine socks and we will all look forward to singing with you on Sunday in the country store.