Thursday, March 22, 2012

Arkansas Living History Association Annual Conference hosts two shape note programs

The effort to spread the word about Sacred Harp singing as a traditional form of folk singing seemed to be a great success. Dan Brittain led a three hour workshop entitled "Historic Shape Note and Sacred Harp Singing" at the Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park on Friday afternoon, March 2nd. The workshop drew six participants and plus three regular Shiloh Singers in addition to Dan. Several of the workshop participants were already quite accomplished singers and soon filled the meeting room in the old log barn with song.

Just before lunch on Saturday, March 3rd, a shorter 45-minute concurrent conference session gathered 16 participants for a quick introduction to the history of Sacred Harp singing in Northwest Arkansas using the 2009 video made with a grant from the Arkansas Humanities Council and the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History in Springdale. Dan then involved the group in singing a few shape note songs followed by a spirited question and answer session. Dan answered as many questions as asked and nobody missed lunch, but if questions asked are a measure of participant interest, I think both session participants and the local singers enjoyed the concurrent session.

A special thanks to our hosts from ALHA, the Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park staff, and the Shiloh Museum staff who helped us at the workshops and conference sessions. We appreciated everyone's hospitality and all that was done to make the conference sessions a success for participants and presenters.

Of course, we welcome any of the ALHA participants to any of our monthly singings and two area singings in May and October. More about the May event  below.