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.
Click on photo for larger view

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!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

June Singing and Planning for July...

This will be a brief reminder that the Shiloh Singers monthly singing in the General Store on the grounds of the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History this Sunday afternoon, June 11, 2017. The singing will start around 1:30 P.M. and will conclude about 4:00 P.M. Gosh it feels good to get back on normal Arkansas time!

Visitors, guests, young or old who wish to learn more about Sacred Harp singing with shape notes are welcome to sit in on the session. We even have loaner books so you can follow along and if you wish, you can sing along or just pat your feet to the music. We are very informal and all are welcome.

If you arrive a little early, singers and visitors are welcome to join those who meet around noon at AQ Chicken House on Business 71, officially at 1207 N Thompson St, Springdale which is only a few blocks from the Museum. Just tell the staff you're looking for the Shiloh Singers and they can usually point you in the correct direction.  

Second, if you look at the singing calendar on the right-hand side of the webpage, it's time to make plans for the Annual Shape Note Gathering, Ozark Folk Center, Mountain View, AR. The event is scheduled for Thursday evening, July 6th, Friday, July 7th, and a all-day singing on Saturday, July 8th at the Stone County Historical Society in the Old High School Building at 204 School Ave., just off of Main Street in Mountain View. More information is found on the 2017 Regional Singing Page (page 4 of this website) with additional details about the schedule. If you want more information contact Charley Sandage, Email: 

If you can't get to the Shape Note Gathering in Mountain View, the Shiloh Singers will be back at the General Store on Sunday, July 9th. Hope to see you at one or more of the singings in June or July.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Four singings in Arkansas in May with links to updates...

Sometimes life gets in the way of all our own plans and best intentions. This month's Shiloh Singers news update will be more interactive than usual and we'll use links to more information about opportunities to sing:

Northwest Arkansas Sacred Harp Singing Convention - Saturday, May 6, 2017 - 9:30 A.M. until 3:00 P.M. in the St. John's Episcopal Church Parish Hall, 707 W. Central Ave., Harrison, AR. A pot-luck lunch will be served so bring your prize-winning hot dish, cold dish, dessert to share. Microwave heating and refrigeration available.
This singing has always been one of the highlights of each year for the Shiloh Singers. It doesn't seem to matter what the weather is - and this year the forecast is "sunny" - there always seems to be strong singers in each section to help new singers and enough food to feed all those present while everyone gets to visit with friends during the noon meal. Visitors are always welcome and loaner books are available. Hope we'll see you there.

Regular May Sacred Harp Singing - Sunday afternoon, May 14, 2017 - 1:30 until 4:00 P.M. in the General Store on the grounds of the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History at 118 W. Johnson Avenue, Springdale, AR. We usually hang a large sign on the store's front porch to make it even easier to find us. Again, loaner books are available for visitors who want to sing or just tap their foot. Sacred Harp singing simply celebrates and preserves a way of singing that was enjoyed by pioneer church members who didn't have pianos or organs. We have a lot of fun.

While we try to keep a short calendar on the Shiloh Singers home page, we also use a special page to include more details and contact information about regional singing events in Arkansas and surrounding states. We've recently updated the page for two singings in Central and Southern Arkansas.

Old Washington UMC
The Saturday, May 20th Historic Washington (AR) United Methodist Church Singing has grown each year with singers from East Texas and all around Arkansas. Somehow, singing in a historic church with wooden floors and a high ceiling and moving the church pews to form the square seating arrangement for singing, produces a sound that's hard to reproduce in modern buildings.

The 132nd annual "Old Folks Singing" in the Tull Community uses the Christian Harmony book in the morning and the Cokesbury Hymnal in the afternoon with dinner on the ground between the two sessions. The singing started as a "thank you" to everyone in the Tull Community for helping rebuild the Ebenezer United Methodist Church after a fire and everyone enjoyed the singing, dinner and fellowship so much they've repeated the event every year for 132 consecutive years. Yes, they're having a good time!
One more thing... The Sacred Harp Publishing Co. produces a newsletter several times a year. The April issue covers "Never Published Writing on Sacred Harp Singing" and highlights the life and writing of Raymond C. Hamrick. A serious work for those who wish to learn more about Sacred Harp singing. Once on the website, you can look at previous issues, subscribe, translate the text or even set up an RSS feed.
Hope to see you at Harrison and some of the other singings in the region. Sing on!!

Friday, April 7, 2017

April Singing in Shiloh Museum General Store...

I'm sure everyone marked their calendars for the Shiloh Singers next regular singing which is this Sunday, April 9th from 1:30 P.M. until 4:00 P.M. in the General Store at the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History in Springdale. As usual, visitors are always welcome and hope you'll bring a friend. That also goes for Sunday lunch at Springdale's AQ Chicken House around noon. Just ask for the Sacred Harp Singer's table.

Photo: Missouri State Sacred Harp Singing Convention, St. John United Church of Christ, Pinckney Township, MO.

Thanks to all the St. Louis hosts and all the singers at the Missouri State Sacred Harp Singing Convention on March 11th and 12th. It's always an excellent event to start the spring and summer singings for those living in the nation's heartland.

Hope that all of you will come to sing with us on Sunday and visit with friends.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Shiloh Singers in recess for Missouri Singing Convention...

I don't have an accurate headcount on all the folks with plans to attend the Missouri State Sacred Harp Singing Convention in Pinckney Township, north of Washington, MO this weekend, March 11-12, 2017, but it's not too late to bring a few friends to join in the singing and tune up the vocal cords for spring and summer singings. All the details are in the February newsletter posted on the Shiloh Singers webpage or download the PDF flyer from the St. Louis group.  One caveat that applies to any travel north and northwest of Arkansas during winter and early spring months (Yes, I'm thinking of Missouri, but any other state north of the Arkansas line too) please check the latest local forecast before you leave just to be on the safe side. You may need to bring an extra sweater this year.

Second, please mark your calendars for the Shiloh Singers next regular singing on April 9th at 1:30 P.M. in the General Store at the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History in Springdale. Hope that all of you will come to sing and visit with friends. God bless you all...

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

February 12th Singing and Missouri State Sacred Harp Convention in March...

February is a short month but things start happening quickly. First on the list is this Sunday's, Feb. 12th, monthly singing in the General Store on the grounds of the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History in Springdale. As usual, singing will start about 1:30 in the afternoon and we'll sing until 4:00 P.M. Visitors and potential singers who want to learn more about Sacred Harp or shape note singing are always welcome. If you arrive in Springdale early, you're always invited to have lunch with other early singers and friends who gather at the AQ Chicken House "around noon" each singing Sunday. Just ask for the "singer's table."

I hope our February singing is a good "warm-up" for the next big event which is considered to be one of the best of the early state singing conventions each year and being centrally located, enjoys participation by singers from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. Since so many of our local Shiloh Singers attend the Missouri Convention each year, the Shiloh Singers' March singing is declared in recess on March 12th and our next local singing will be on April 9th. Please mark your calendars.
The St. Louis Shape Note Singers are well into preparations for the 32nd Annual Missouri State Sacred Harp Convention, March 11th and 12th, and Missouri singers are hoping to see and sing with many friends and friends-we-have-not-yet-met.  It is not too early to make your motel reservations for this year's convention - especially since there is a Feb 17th cut-off date at two of the motels where we have secured reduced rates.

Photo: St. John's United Church of Christ, Pinckney, MO

Here are the reduced rates they have obtained.  In all cases, the stated rates are prior to taxes and the group name is "Sacred Harp".  Call the motel directly to obtain the reduced rates.

Washington, MO (location of the Saturday evening social) -

    Super 8, 636-390-0088:  $70 for 2 Doubles or 1 Queen.

    Best Western, 636-390-8877:  $102.60 for 2 Queens or 1 King.  Cut-off date for this rate is Feb 17th.

Warrenton, MO

    Baymont Suites, 636-456-6000:  $50/night for either 2 Queens or 1 King.

    Holiday Inn Express, 636-456-2220: $120/night for 2 Queens or 1 King.  Cut-off date for this rate is Feb 17th.

Union, MO

    Super 8, 636-583-8808: $70 for 2 Doubles or 1 Queen.

To see where these lodging options are relative to locations for the Convention and the Saturday evening social and the St. Louis metropolitan area and airport, visit:

There are also a large number of Bed and Breakfast establishments in this popular area:  Note that additional B&Bs will be displayed as you pan across this map.

We hope that the wide array of lodging choices will suit any who might want to come.  Come sing with us !

View a YouTube video from the 2016 Convention:

Thanks and a hat-tip to Paul Figura for developing and posting the above information. Visit the Google group at
While you're marking your calendars, circle or highlight May 6, 2017 which is the date of the Northwest Arkansas Convention at St. John's Episcopal Church in Harrison, AR. Singing will be from 10:00 A.M. until 3:00 P.M. with a break for a pot-luck lunch. There are more annual singings on tap for the rest of the year.

One More Thing:  We just got the 2016 Minutes/2017 Directory Books from Judy Caudle in Alabama this week. (Thank you Judy!) We'll be updating the Regional Singings webpage for 2017 in the next several days. Please let me know at Sunday's singing or with an email if you have a special singing in Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas or Louisiana that you want to promote so we can make sure your special event is added to the regional singings list on page 4 on the Shiloh Singers website. We can always add items during the year but we want to continue to promote the local events within easy driving range in our part of the country.

Hope you can get to the Shiloh Singers Singing on Sunday or sing somewhere on Sunday...

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Singing on January 8th...

The monthly reminder about our Sunday, January 8th, singing at the General Store at the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History is truncated and many hours later than originally planned. OG&E had a power outage Friday afternoon and we were in the second group of homes to be restored over six hours later.  However, it gave me a chance to break out a couple of antique kerosene lanterns that still work just fine and turn on the gas logs for warmth and ambiance. Any similar snow storm stories can be exchanged during the break on Sunday. We'll plan on starting at 1:30 P.M. and sing until 4:00 P.M. Those who get to Springdale early are welcome to join the singer's table in the back room at AQ Chicken House around noon.

My intent had been to wait until Friday afternoon to include the latest weather information. The first half of the list, A - M, got their late email on Friday night, but transmission was very slow. By the time I got the N - Z list loaded, my computer couldn't find Gmail or Google. Cox Internet and half their TV channels were down. It's now Saturday and Gail Cowart would say, "It really is a beautiful day in Arkansas." I'll post any last minute updates there.

Photo: There's a driveway out there somewhere...

As always, be sure to check your favorite source of weather information Sunday morning. The national weather service believes Springdale will enjoy"Sunny" conditions with a balmy 40 degrees by Sunday afternoon, but a very cold 10 degree is expected before daylight. Always check I Drive Arkansas' winter driving conditions at: Click on the blue snow flake icon, and you can see check boxes for both road conditions and what is on the roads. AHTD has one of the easiest to read online state maps reporting driving conditions of all the states between Mountainburg and Yellowstone National Park. It's your highway dollars at work. Check it out before winter travel and stay safe.

Hope you're staying warm and that you can join us on Sunday for our January singing.