Saturday, December 7, 2013

December 8th singing canceled due to weather conditions...

I wish I didn't have to write this update, but phone calls, emails and three different weather services pointed to continued cold weather and freezing rain or drizzle on Sunday. Saturday's weather should improve in the NWA region but another smaller weather front is expected to follow Saturday evening or Sunday. The second front is not expected to be as severe as the past few days and weather conditions may improve on Saturday with highs in the mid-twenties followed by night time temperatures in the mid-teens. But Sunday high temperatures in Springdale are only expected to reach 29 degrees.

The Friday afternoon check of the Weather Channel's Interstate Forecast for Sunday also suggested "Poor" (orange) driving conditions for Joplin and "Poor" for I-40 at Fort Smith and "Caution" (red) for I-40 east of Russellville. While I-540 is not specifically shown on the Interstate Forecast map, common sense suggests possible "Poor" conditions in the mountains between I-40 and I-44 in Missouri, particularly if freezing drizzle is added to the equation. The roads may be salted and plowed but there are some long bridges and steep hills in the shade on 540 and the connector to Joplin. Some two lane roads may also be less than ideal.

So after emails and phone discussion, the consensus was to lean toward the side of being safe rather than sorry. Thus the Sunday December 8th singing has been canceled. Like many of you, I wish the weather was better and hate to miss a Sunday singing. At least we can look forward to wishing each other a Happy New Year in person at the January Sunday singing on January 12, 2014. Stay safe and warm this weekend.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

December 8th Singing and the Winter Weather Watch...

December 8th Singing: Katy's been busy decorating two Christmas trees with all the Christmas ornaments she's collected over the years -- more than will fit on a single tree. Like many other singers, we've both been looking forward to the December 8th gathering of the Shiloh Singers to celebrate completion of another year of singing Sacred Harp music and munching on Christmas cookies and other delights at the 1:30 P.M. singing in the Shiloh Museum's General Store in Springdale. That's still on the schedule and this is the usual December reminder.

Like many of you, I've also been digesting local and regional weather reports instead of chocolate cookies for the past several days and have already consulted the group's leadership before I sent out the December newsletter and updated the website. In summary, the consensus is to send out the usual reminder BUT with a concern that if the NWA weather forecast and travel conditions continue to look poor for Sunday, 12/8, we'll send out another e-bulletin on Saturday and cancel the Sunday singing if necessary. As Bill Caldwell responded, "We don't want anyone to make a risky trip."

One of the things I've learned about weather over the years is that short range forecasts are usually a more accurate than long range forecasts, but in spite of radar and computer models, weather is still unpredictable. So again, the game plan is that several long distance singers have already been asked to look at their local Sunday forecasts on Saturday morning and phone or email their best guess of what Sunday travel will look like from their area. Other member input always welcome. If the weather observers think slick roads and limited visibility will prevail, I'll send out a 2nd notice to sing or cancel via email and then post a similar notice on the web. We can always celebrate a happier New Year if all of our singers can be present on January 12th.

In other news... Syd Caldwell received sad news that Rene Greene's mother, Mrs. Shelbie Sheppard, passed away this past week in Alabama. Many of the Shiloh Singers will remember that Rene conducted the Singing School on Friday evening before the October NWA Sacred Harp Singing Convention. Syd is sending flowers on behalf of our group.

The Shiloh Singers had so many new singers at the October Singing Convention and at the November singing that we've ordered another box of The Sacred Harp song books. Given the usual Christmas mail rush, we should have them in time for our January singing.

One more thing... Just in case that one or two of us lose electrical power or our new-fangled computer connection, warmly wishing everyone all the best for a

Merry Christmas 
and a
Happy New Year!

Keep an eye on the weather and be careful out there!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

November 10th Singing and Report on the Fall NWA Convention...

November Singing:  The main purpose of each newsletter is to remind everyone that the Shiloh Singers of NW Arkansas will continue their regular series of 2nd Sunday singings on Sunday, November 10, 2013 at 1:30 P.M. in the General Store on the grounds of the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History in Springdale. If you enjoy chicken on Sunday, some of us will informally gather at AQ's Chicken House around noon, and likely find a little post singing refreshment after the singing at 4:00 P.M. The before and after fellowship is optional but you're invited if you'd like to attend.

If you missed the singing school and NWA Fall Singing Convention with Rene Greene, which was a special treat, beginners are always welcome and we have special handouts and loaner songbooks to help you learn more about Sacred Harp singing. You'll be singing in no time.

Photo: Rene Greene, from Alabama, was the instructor at the 10/25/13 NWA singing school.

NW Arkansas Fall Sacred Harp Singing Convention and Singing School:  Officially, the Friday night singing school enjoyed a mix of 13 new and experienced singers - small enough for individual attention and big enough to get a good variety of questions answered. Rene Greene's father was a song writer and a leader among Alabama's Sacred Harp groups and Rene attended her first singing when she was only two weeks old. Rene, like her father and so many others, is carrying on a tradition that's important to our past and a legacy for our future. The Shiloh Singers appreciated Rene's time and effort to help our group.

Photo: The group photo taken at the conclusion of the 2013 NWA Fall Sacred Harp Singing Convention at the Springdale First United Methodist Church on 10/26/13.

Saturday's regional singing convention enjoyed the participation of 26 singers, many from the previous evening, but with more singers filling each section. It's a long list to thank everyone who worked to pull the event together but a few of the highlights include: Bill Caldwell, Fall Convention Chairman; Dan Brittain, Director of Music, Syd Caldwell, Arrangements; Holly Childs, Springdale First United Methodist Church and their staff for the site arrangements; Alexis Walker, Table Decorations; Gail Cowart, Special Signs for the event; Katy Black, Secretary; and all who helped at the registration table and brought their best pot luck recipes, desserts and drinks for lunch and the breaks. Rene Greene and Jimmy Moore, also from Alabama, stayed for the convention. Rene and Dan continued to provide short instructional segments for the new singers and special visitors.

Special visitors? Oh yes. We even enjoyed a special Saturday afternoon visit from 23 members of the Oklahoma Methodist Manor in Tulsa who came to visit the singing and visit the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History. Thanks to Irene Brown, Life Enrichment Coordinator, who brought the group as part of a "double-header" with the museum. Several of the Oklahoma group were singing along and Irene even led one of the tunes. You can see a shot of the Oklahoma group, as well as the table decorations in the video below.

And finally. a big thanks to all the singers who traveled from Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas and all the way from Alabama to help us fill the hall with song and the fellowship that makes each of our spring and fall conventions so special.

And one more thing! - The above YouTube video is from the October 26th Fall Singing Convention. Once the YouTube screen appears click on the small box in the lower right hand corner of the control panel below the video for a larger version of the video. You can also click on either photo for a larger version.

I hope you enjoy the sample and can sing with the Shiloh Singers on Sunday, November 10th at the Shiloh Museum.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

October is a busy month for the Shiloh Singers...

Finally, the cool mornings and mild afternoons have arrived in the Arkansas mountains. Fall colors will soon follow. October is also an active month for Sacred Harp singing in Northwest Arkansas. The Shiloh Sacred Harp Singer's monthly 2nd Sunday singing is scheduled for October 13th from 1:30 until 4:00 P.M. in the General Store on the grounds of the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History located at Springdale, AR.

Rene Greene
Then on Friday evening, October 25th, from 6:30 P.M. until 8:30 P.M. the Shiloh Singers will sponsor a singing school for new singers, or those who want to learn more about shape note singing. We are very fortunate to have a guest instructor, Rene Greene, a veteran singer from Alabama, who will be with us on Friday evening and for the all-day singing that follows on Saturday, October 26th, from 9:30 until 3:00.

Both the school and the NWA Fall Singing Convention will be conducted in the Springdale First United Methodist Church Annex located on the north side of the church complex. The church is also conveniently located just across the street from the Shiloh Museum and is very easy to find. There will also be a pot luck lunch for the singers on Saturday at noon and the usual water and soft drinks will be available during breaks and lunch.

Photo: The front entrance of the First United Methodist Church of Springdale faces south on Johnson Ave. The Friday school and Saturday singing convention will use the north entrance and parking lot along W. Price Ave.

During the 10/13 Sunday singing we'll also take a few minutes of planning time before the break to discuss any remaining loose ends for the Fall singing convention and school. Please keep in mind that everyone - new or old - is also invited to attend the singing school to help the new singers and then hopefully help reinforce what the new singers have learned during the regular Fall Singing Convention the next day. We'll also need to at least start a list of "who can bring what" for the pot luck lunch on Saturday. If you cannot attend the 2nd Sunday singing but plan to attend the Saturday all day singing on 10/26, please call 479-369-0003 or send an email to so we can add your name and the dish you plan to bring. We need to make sure all the major food groups - like desserts - are covered.

Recent updates and reminders: The singing school closing time has been adjusted to 8:30 to comply with a request that we start packing up at that time so that everyone exit the building and the church staff can make sure everything is secure by 9:00 P.M. Also keep in mind that the kitchen was not available when the room was booked and cool storage is limited. We'll have the usual ice chests used for drinks, but please plan to insulate or cool your own pot luck items planned for lunch. We'll also plan to send another short reminder after the regular October 13th singing with any further updates.

You can click on the blue text as links to PDF copies of the event flyer and event map that you can print for a friend or a church bulletin board. We hope you will. to share the school and convention information with others. You can also share the links via email.

And one more thing... Don't forget everyone is also invited to the optional before Sunday gatherings at AQ's Chicken House "around noon" (just ask for the singers) and Denny's at I-540 after the singing for those who wish to get a cup of coffee before the drive home. Hope to see you on Sunday.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The "early" September Singing Report

The September's 2nd Sunday singing at the Shiloh Museum was as early in the month as a 2nd Sunday can ever get! The Shiloh Singers of NW Arkansas enjoyed a good turnout on a fine Sunday afternoon on September 8th in the General Store at the Shiloh Museum in Springdale.

The singers also made a joyful noise at the August 11th singing. We had 19 singers and visitors who sang or listened during the August session. You'll also notice in the photo that the boxes used to store our loaner books were just about empty. We opened the doors, turned up the fans, (electric and hand-powered) and really had a good time singing. I hope you can join us and bring a friend or two this Sunday.

Photo: Even with 19 singers and visitors, we still had room for more singers and more visitors. All the parts were well covered. We are in the process of ordering more books for the October 25th Friday evening Singing School and the NWA Fall Singing Convention on Saturday, October 26. We'll try to update everyone on the details on Sunday, but go ahead and mark the events on your October calendar. We'll also post more details on the web page as they become available.

One more thing... We'll also had the usual optional gatherings:  Those who enjoy chicken on Sunday are invited to join us at AQ's Chicken House in Springdale "around noon." Ask the staff at the cashier's desk for the singers and they'll point you in the right direction. The singers who prefer their Sunday dessert after the singing are also invited to join us at the Denny's in Springdale for pie and coffee or ice cream to soothe the throat after a full afternoon of old fashioned singing. Both are opportunities to enjoy the fellowship of other singers, share ideas and catch up on what other singers have been doing. We all enjoy the singing but it's the singers that make our Sunday afternoon singings so very special. All singers and visitors are always invited and we hope your Sunday schedule will allow you to attend one or all of the events

Hope to see you at our next 2nd Sunday singing.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Story in @Urban Magazine - Sacred Harp Singing on Aug 11th

It's good to be back from vacation but it takes a little longer each time to recover from trips "further west" and then get my biological clock running on Arkansas time again. This trip was no different and my schedule for the past week looked like it had been shredded and reassembled by hand. While it's not quite time for a reminder about the August 11th Sunday singing at the Shiloh Museum, there was certainly enough good news to justify an early newsletter this month.

I got a note from Marla Cantrell, Managing Editor of @Urban magazine that the story she had started a couple of months ago had been posted on the Internet and published in the August issue now on the newsstands. Marla took the time to distill what she saw and heard into an article that I think captured what Sacred Harp Singing and the Shiloh Singers are about and how a cross section of our singers feel about it. The final result in print was well worth the wait.

Thanks to Marla, Mark Mundorff, who took the pictures, and @Urban for telling our story and putting the Shiloh Singers into the printed record and online. Preserving our history is important and the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History also deserves recognition for their efforts to preserve our traditional form of singing. The museum has been a tremendous help to the singers over the years.

Photo: If you live in the area, look for a rooster on the August cover of @Urban. If you live out of their distribution area, you can just click on the link below and read the article at:

Gail Cowart noted that Syd Caldwell discussed some of the plans for the Fall NWA Singing Convention and he also recorded the attendance at the July singing as, "Ten people singing today, 4 bass, 2 alto, 1 treble and 3 tenors.  Totally beautiful day and beautiful singing."

I missed my chicken and dumplings last month so we'll plan on being at AQ's Chicken House around noon on August 11th. If you let us know you plan to join us, we'll save you a seat or we'll find a chair if you just walk in. We'll start singing at the Shiloh Museum's general store at 1:30 P.M. and adjourn for dessert after the singing. As you can see from the July head count, we always appreciate new singers, we have openings for additional singers in all sections, and welcome your participation.

I've also made a note to bring fans for additional cooling. Hope to see you August 11th.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Traditional Shape-Note Singing/School at Ozark Folk Center State Park on July 12 and13

Ozark Folk Ctr.
The Ozark Folk Center State Park at Mountain View will host their traditional shape-note school and singing on Friday, July 12 and Saturday, July 13. Participating singers will be part of the Friday evening program in the Ozark Folk Center State Park Auditorium. Admission to the classes is free. Call the front desk to register. Parking is available at in the main parking lot and shuttles will be running to the auditorium. Regular park fees apply for admission to the park's Craft Village. More detailed information is available at:

Friday, June 7, 2013

Singing at the General Store on June 9th...

Reminder: The Shiloh Singers of NWA will be singing this Sunday afternoon, June 9, 2013, starting at 1:30 P.M. at the General Store on the grounds of the Shiloh Museum. We had a well-attended singing in May, celebrated Mother's Day and enjoyed the pie and coffee at Denny's after the singing. Hope you'll join in the singing and fellowship this Sunday.

Thanks to Gail Cowart for making the easy-to-read sign and a special mounting bracket to allow us to mount the new sign to the porch railing during our monthly singings without hooks or nails.

Thanks to Marla Cantrell, editor of @Urban magazine for visiting our May singing. Marla interviewed several individual singers and the group during a break in the singing. She's working on an article for a future edition of the monthly magazine.

Photo; Thanks to Bill Caldwell for bringing a several bundles of roses to our May singing so that each mother could have a red rose for her special day of the year.

Thanks to Syd Caldwell, Holly Childs, Dan Brittain and most of all, Annie Grieshop, who has been working to update the list of Arkansas singings on the University of Mississippi Sacred Harp web pages. We've been updated and our web page is now on the list. Maintaining an accurate nationwide list of singing groups must be like herding cats! Thank you Annie! See:

One More Thing...
Syd wrote me a note and said he had a special announcement to make at this Sunday's singing. We're thankful that he no longer has to wear the special arm brace, but I think he's been doing some long range planning (again). He's one of our "sparkplugs" who helps keep our Sacred Harp engine running smoothly. We'll have more details after Sunday and in our next newsletter.

Hope you're looking forward to singing on Sunday too!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Unpredictable! Singing at Harrison and Singing on May 12th

Singing at Harrison on 5/4/13 - Unpredictable is the operative word as in the first May snowfall recorded in Arkansas since early settlers started keeping records in the early 1800's. Who would have expected to drive through snow between Huntsville and Alpena on our way to Harrison on Friday afternoon in May? White roof tops, snow in fields and ditches along the way but the snow quickly melted on the wet roads, and traffic was not a problem.

Photo: Due to the weather, the traditional group picture was taken inside the St. John's Episcopal Church Parish Hall after lunch. Only showing 13 singers, I missed a couple of folks and as usual the photographer gets to hide behind the camera. I think Penny and Lou Kujawinski from Colombia, MO earned the "furthest distance" recognition and a thank you from all the Shiloh Singers. [Click on photos for larger image.]

Dan Brittain was elected Chairman again, Andrew Albers elected as Vice-Chair, and Katy Black juggled songbooks and notepad as Secretary for another year. Thanks should also be extended to all the cooks, Dan and Myrna Brittain for helping with all the arrangements and the congregation of St. John's Episcopal Church who allowed us to use their facilities for the spring convention. Thanks to all who attended and helped, we had a good time and sang some new songs and some different songs from all three of our usual songbooks.

Mother's Day Singing on May 12th - Do they make red and white cookies for refreshments? I'm not sure how long Carnations will last over the weekend. Maybe we'll use red Cokes and white diet 7-Ups this weekend, but we'll try to think of some way to honor mothers at our usual 2nd Sunday singing in the Country Store at the Shiloh Museum this weekend. The singing will start at 1:30 P.M.

Photo: Syd Caldwell leads during the NWA Sacred Harp Convention in Harrison.

As usual, the Crawford County Gang will try to get to AQ's Chicken House in Springdale slightly before noon to reserve a table for any singers who would like to join us for chicken and dumplings or whatever else is on the menu. Ask the receptionist if she's seen any of the Shiloh Singers and they can usually point you in the right direction. The post-singing gathering at Denny's for coffee and fellowship will also be scheduled for those who wish to attend.

Other updates and a personal thank you note - Things that I normally do on the computer have been running behind schedule as I recovered from cataract surgery over the last couple of weeks. I appreciated all the encouragements and hints from so many people - many of them singers - who are already enjoying improved vision and the real Arkansas colors we're starting to see again during this unpredictable springtime. I didn't know what I was missing!

Work on the Discovery Box has been stalled until both of my eyes can again align on the same object on the computer screen for video editing. In the meantime, Gail Cowart has been working on other materials for new singers and a sign to put on the Country Store's porch railing on the Sundays when we sing.

In any case, the unpredictable last couple of weeks have given new meaning to the phrase, "Hope to see you on Sunday!! 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Shiloh Singers sing a "double header" at Springdale

Thanks to all 18 young folks, old folks, singers and visitors who spent some of their time with the Shiloh Singers on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, April 14th. We enjoyed meeting all the first-time singers and visitors and hope you'll sing with us again.

Dan Brittain gave a brief report on his recent visit to Ireland to attend a singing school and the 3rd Annual Ireland Sacred Harp Convention. Several asked if any video from the singing was available. You can get a small taste of the singing and surroundings at Cork's St Fin Barre's Cathedral at:

Photo: Alexis Walker leads the Shiloh Singers during the brief program at the Culpepper Assisted Living Center in Springdale on 4/14/2013. 

A little before three o'clock, the singers drove over to the Culpepper Assisted Living's Springdale facility, a short distance from the museum, for a brief program for their residents and guests. Bill Caldwell gave a short introduction about Sacred Harp Singing and several tunes were sung. All the seniors present seemed to enjoy the singing. The Culpepper presentation was followed with pie, coffee and fellowship at Denny's before the drive home.

NEXT SINGING EVENT - Don't forget  the Northwest Arkansas Sacred Harp Singing Convention on May 4th in Harrison at St. John's Episcopal Church. Details and flyers are available on our website at: We'll enjoy a good singing with friends from around the region and a pot-luck lunch so please bring your favorite dish or dessert. A kitchen is available if you need to keep your dish cool or warm something in the oven.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

April and May events scheduled and March singings reports

March, April and May are always a busy time of the year

The first item on the list of reminders is our regular 2nd Sunday Singing on April 14th Singing in the Country Store at the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History in Springdale at 1:30 P.M. If you're on our email list, Syd Caldwell sent out a note about an invitation from the Culpepper Assisted Living Center to sing at their facility on Jones Ave. in Springdale.
The basic plan is to conduct our regular singing at the museum country store from 1:30 P.M.  until  3:00 P.M. Then those that wish to participate can drive over to the Culpepper Assisted Living facility at 672 Jones Road in Springdale.  I'll have a few maps for any out-of-towners like myself but center is only about 10 -12 minutes away and very easy to find. The idea is to sing a few songs there for the seniors. Then as many as wish to join us can adjourn to the northern Denny's next to I-540 on Hwy 412/W. Sunset which we'll pass on the way to Culpepper for pie and coffee before driving back home.

We had so much fun and fellowship at Denny's after the Wiggins event, I thought I'd add the Denny's option for anyone who wished to take part. Sometimes we're so busy singing that we don't have enough time to enjoy each others company.

Northwest Arkansas Sacred Harp Singing Convention in Harrison, May 4th

While we're together at the museum on Sunday, we'll need to take a few minutes for Dan to discuss the regional singing in Harrison at St. Johns Episcopal Church from 9:30 A.M. until 3:30 P.M. with a pot-luck "dinner on the grounds" at noon. Dan has already prepared a flyer that can be viewed or downloaded here

Photo: Singers at the NW Arkansas Sacred Harp Singing Convention in Harrison on May 5, 2012
The Harrison Convention always includes a splendid collection of casseroles and other dishes plus delicious desserts. We can talk more about who can bring what on Sunday too.

Wiggins Memorial  UMC Concert helped raise funds

Eleven singers from our Shiloh group were just one of the local individuals and groups that participated in the Palm Sunday afternoon concert at Wiggins Memorial United Methodist Church on March 24th. Our thanks also include those who wanted to join us but were frustrated by weather conditions or events already scheduled but who helped with ideas, moral support and I suspect a few prayers as well. As I opened the morning's emails the next morning, I found one of several thank-you notes had already been written:
good morning !! i just wanted to thank-you all again for singing for us yesterday . it was wonderful and we raised over $500 for our church !! what a blessing !! we will see you all again for singing at shiloh . we look forward to that. thank-you again and i hope you all have a happy easter !!  lea criss   wiggins church
Those singers who didn't have to hurry back home for a church program or to get back before the weather closed in, gathered at Denny's next to I-540 on the south side of Fayetteville for coffee and pie. We had such a good time, that was the catalyst for getting together after the short Culpepper Singing this month.

St. Louis Shaped Note Singers hosted another wonderful Missouri State Singing Convention March 9th and 10th

Photo: Bill Caldwell and Mary Ellen Wilkinson sing from the Missouri Harmony during the Missouri State Sacred Harp Convention.
The weather was a little colder and wetter that I expected but those who made the trip enjoyed the good singing, the good cooking, the fellowship of good friends at the Missouri State Sacred Harp Singing Convention this year. Dan, Bill, Syd and his family, Mary Ellen and her daughter Mary Alice, Katy and I made the trip. If you couldn't make the trip this year, you can mark next year's event on your calendar and reserve the dates: the 2nd Sunday in March and the Saturday before works out to be March 8-9, 2014. Those who can attend always have a good time - rain or shine.

Now that tax season and several other projects are winding down, I still have some video of the Missouri Convention I hope to edit and post on the site. It's just been a busy time of the year!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Singing Opportunities in March

Singers from as far away as Minnesota, Alabama and Georgia gather at historic St. Johns United Church of Christ near Marthasville, MO on 3/10/12.Regular Singing in Recess - While I hope that many of the Shiloh Singers have made plans to be at the Missouri State Singing Convention on March 9th and 10th, I also need to remind those who cannot be with our group in Missouri that our regular monthly singing at the Shiloh Museum will be in recess in March. Our next regular monthly singing in the museum's Country Store will be on April 14, 2013 at 1:30 P.M.

Photo: Singers from as far away as Minnesota, Alabama and Georgia gather at historic St. Johns United Church of Christ near Marthasville, MO on 3/10/12.

An Invitation - However, there will still be an opportunity for singing and outreach into the NWA community on March 24th at 3:00 P.M. at the Wiggins Memorial United Methodist Church in Fayetteville. Our group has been invited to sing at a special Palm Sunday afternoon program at Wiggins Memorial. Several of us were initially concerned about singing in our own church or attending services when we first heard the date. After Lea and Darryl Criss explained the details of the invitation, the planned program sounded like something the Shiloh Singers could do, that would help the church and maybe recruit a few additional singers for our group. The 12 singers present at the February singing discussed the invitation and agreed that the Shiloh Singers would try to participate in the Wiggins Memorial program.

The Plan - There will be several groups on the program. Since the Shiloh Singers normally sit in a hollow square, we have been selected to sing first. If the singers arrived a little early, say between 2:30 and 2:45, we can go ahead and take our places and be ready to start promptly at 3:00 P.M. We've been asked to open with "Amazing Grace" and continue with two more songs. Joking with Syd, Dan and Bill that we wanted songs that Methodists might recognize, are easy to sing and sound "harmonious" for the event, I'm confident we'll have time to get together during the Missouri convention and make selections.  (Nominations welcomed.)

Darryl thought that the audience might also like to participate and sing along with us. The plan is to print some extra copies of the music along with our group's "where to find more information" handout.  I'm not sure how long the remainder of the program would last, but there is a Denny's just down the road if any of the singers wish to gather for coffee and/or ice cream before the drive home.

Follow-Up - Since there were only 12 singers present in February, and others who were absent will be able to join us, several thought it would be a good idea to ask for an RSVP from ALL the singers who think they can attend so sufficient chairs can be arranged, We understand that last minute events may require a change in your plans, but it would also help us know which parts are covered.

Discovery Box - Gail Cowart reported that the Discovery Box had produced the first "draft" video of Dan Brittain's Singing School for the Children's Choir at First UMC, Fort Smith and that segments of the individual follow-up lessons have been edited. Discussions are underway to make the Discovery Box printed materials and AV segments also available online. Our thanks to all the committee members and committed partner organizations who have carried the Discovery Box project forward, including those at UAFS, 1st UMC Fort Smith and the Shiloh Museum. More work on the Discovery Box is scheduled for March and April.

...One More Thing
- Thanks again to Bill Caldwell and all the singers and visitors who made the February singing such a success. We'll try to have pictures and maybe a little video from the Missouri State Singing Convention in time for our next newsletter. We hope you'll join all of us singing somewhere in March and April. ..."And we'll sing on!"

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Singers defy cold weather for January 13th singing

The roads dried and the sky cleared over Springdale around noon on Sunday, Ten singers braved the weather to sing on January 13th and six were first time visitors. Thanks to everyone who joined us in spite of the cold and winter conditions. I certainly hope everyone enjoyed the singing.

Actually, we started seeing blue sky along the western edge of Arkansas before noon. The temperature was 27 when we left Mountainburg and 27 when we got home late in the afternoon, but in between, it actually turned sunny and warmer in Springdale. The small electric floor heater that I use to warm up the garage or garden shed in winter supplemented the country store's heating and we were warm and comfortable for the singing. One of things I'm learning about Arkansas weather is that no matter what the prediction, stay around for a while and it will change.

There's a new "Contact" section beneath the calendar. You can use that email address for more information about events or to subscribe (or unsubscribe) to the newsletter.  

For those who wanted to know more about the Missouri State Sacred Harp Singing Convention on March 9tn and 10th. the St. Louis Shape Note Singers' homepage already has direct links to information about this event.
    Saint Louis Shape Note Singers homepage
    Map and Directions to St. John's United Church of Christ
    Google Map to Area Motels (w/ addresses and phone numbers)
Bring a friend, share a room and share a ride to the Missouri State Convention.

We can talk more about that in February when we'll look forward better weather. Hope to see you next month.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Update: Winter storm may hamper travel for January singing.

Updated: 1/12/13 7:30 P.M. - The Shiloh Singers of NW Arkansas will be singing in the Country Store on the ground of the Shiloh Museum this Sunday, January 13th, at 1:30 P.M. weather permitting. As of early Saturday evening, the much closer look at the weather headed out of Canada has been less optimistic. The 6:00 P.M. weather reports are calling for a "Winter Weather Advisory" with freezing rain Saturday evening with sleet or freezing drizzle after midnight. A low of around 25 degrees and north winds of 10 to 15 mph are expected in Fayetteville and Springdale. Total nighttime ice accumulations of 0.1 to 0.3 of an inch are possible. Decreasing clouds "should" start to clear off during the morning turning sunny before mid-day with a high of 33 degrees. Even so, there's still a possibility of ice on roads and bridges that are not frequently salted and some spots could be slick.

Earlier this week, the long-range wild-guess for Sunday's weather in the Fayetteville - Springdale area was for partly cloudy and colder temperatures but no severe weather (like snow or ice) was expected. The expected highs are in the upper 30's. We planned to fire up a second coffee pot to also have plenty of hot water for tea or hot chocolate. 

No excuses needed with weather alerts and I think caution is warranted particularly if you're using less traveled roads. Katy and I will test the roads on the way to early church in Alma. Then I'm going to load up and then make the final decision about 10:45 Sunday morning. I-540 is usually salted if any snow or ice is found. I just hate not to be there to welcome anyone who shows up... but we'll be careful.
As usual, we'll head for AQ's Chicken House in Springdale for lunch if the weather has improved. (Hot chicken and dumplings really go well with a cool day!)

One of the important topics we wanted to discuss was planning for the annual Missouri State Sacred Harp Singing Convention that's held in St. John's United Church of Christ in Pinckney, MO northwest of Washington, MO. The event, hosted each year by the St. Louis Shape Note Singers, is held on the 2nd Sunday in March and the Saturday before, which will be March 9 and 10, 2013, Last year, nine Shiloh Singers were able to join an estimated 140 singers from as far away as Wisconsin, Ohio, Alabama and Georgia.

Photo: 2012 Missouri Convention - "It's always fun to sing with a church full of good singers!"

There's no better way to learn to sing Sacred Harp songs than to sing with the supporting voices of over a hundred dedicated singers from all over the region. Or you can follow my example by sitting next to an experienced singer and trying to follow their lead as closely as you can. They'll figure out that you're trying to learn. After two days of singing, you'll return home a little hoarse but a much more experienced Sacred Harp singer. Hopefully, we'll have some extra car space to share for those who are new singers or who don't want to drive that distance. I'll send out more detailed information on the schedule and accommodations as soon as it's received.

Syd Caldwell asked that I remind everyone that Texas will host two Sacred Harp Conventions in January and February.
29th Annual William J Reynolds Singing
Saturday, January 26, 2013
Cowden Hall, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1809 West Broadus, Fort Worth, Texas.
Contact: Dan Brittain for more details or email: Timothy Studstill, or the School of Church Music, (817) 923-1921, ext. 3100. (1991 Revision/Dutch Treat)

The Texas Sacred Harp Convention
Saturday and Sunday, February 23 and 24, 2013
Coker United Methodist Church, San Antonio, TX
231 E. North Loop Road, off Highway 281, north of the airport.

If you're in the Springdale area on Saturday, January 12, 2013, from 10 A.M. until 2 P.M. the Shiloh Museum is sponsoring their annual Cabin Fever Reliever. The event features "Collectors Edition" displays by local NW Arkansas collectors. While you're there, check out the "Single Pens, Saddlebags and Dogtrots" exhibit featuring photos of log buildings in the Arkansas Ozarks.

Photo: Learning about collecting bird carvings at the 2012 Cabin Fever Reliever.

We certainly hope you'll be singing with us this year and hope to see you Sunday afternoon if the weather clears. We'll warm up the Country Store with good songs and good fellowship.