Thursday, December 11, 2014

Shiloh Singers December Reminder: It's a wonderful time of the year!!

Hello Everyone...

December is really a wonderful time with busy schedules, shopping for the kids and grand kids, good food, enjoying the company of good friends and miracles past and present. I stand in awe of what so many Shiloh Singers and their many friends and helpers have accomplished this year. Singings from Washington, Missouri to Washington, Arkansas, two NWA Annual Sacred Harp Singing Conventions in Harrison and Springdale and one Singing School in connection with the fall convention lead by Rene Greene from Alabama. Members singing in Little Rock at a UALR art show reception and opening honoring Johnny Cash, who sang shape note songs as a boy. That's not the whole list, but you get the idea. Many of you sang at the eleven monthly singings since last December.

Hopefully the whole group is just as proud of all of your accomplishments during 2014 and can join the Shiloh Singers in Springdale in the General Store this Sunday, December 14, 2014 to celebrate at the things you've done and ring out the year with celebration and singing. Singing should start at 1:30 and continue until 4:00 P.M. We'll have coffee, and cold drinks. Singers are invited to bring Christmas cookies, fruit cake, or any of the usual "goodies" you would like to share. There's also the option of joining the usual crew of singers who will hold down a table at the Springdale AQ's Chicken House around noon on singing Sunday to be sure all present at lunch are fortified for a full afternoon of singing.

I know all of you are busy. I still haven't figured out how Dan scheduled four Christmas season concerts in one day but I admire Dan Brittain's stamina and the leadership he adds to any singing throughout the year. He and his baritone horn bring a new definition to wind power. Syd Caldwell has indicated we may expect some visitors. As always, visitors are welcome and invited to watch, pat their feet, and sing along and by singing learn a little bit about how people learned to sing 200 years ago. But I do hope all who can will join our early celebration of Christmas - the true meaning of Christmas - and share our Sacred Harp singing with each other on Sunday afternoon.

And for those younger singers, as the jolly old man in the red suit exclaimed as his sleigh and the reindeer rose out of sight...

Friday, November 7, 2014

Next singing on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 9

The weather forecast for Springdale looks like nice weather to drive though your part of the Ozarks to the November Singing on Sunday, Nov. 9th. After the NWA Fall Sacred Harp Singing Convention and Singing School, it will be nice to welcome everyone back to the General Store and enjoy the store's unique sound generated by a hardwood floor and high metal ceiling. We'll start singing at 1:30 P.M. and sing until about 4:00 P.M. The General Store is located next to the old barn on the grounds of the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History at 118 W. Johnson Ave. in Springdale. As usual, anyone who arrives early is welcome to join some of the singers at Springdale's AQ's Chicken House to stock up on a few calories to burn up during the singing.

Thanks to the Springdale First United Methodist Church for hosting the event and to their support staff for making sure we had everything needed for a successful singing. Thanks to the Shiloh Museum for helping with the Fall Singing Convention news releases to the local media this year. Susan Young's advance PR campaign seems to have worked. We had people who reported they had read about the singing in the papers. Syd reported that the NW Arkansas edition had an article about the singing with quotes from Dan and Bill on the first page of the Sunday local section. See:
Photo: Rene Greene leads the singing school on Friday evening.

It takes more than a few new singers and a single instructor to make a worthwhile
singing school. It's hard to thank Rene Greene and the other strong Alabama singers enough as they arrived on Friday for the singing school and convention. Rene is a remarkable instructor and all the local singers who turned out in support were appreciated as well. All of us certainly hope all of the visitors felt welcome and encouraged to come back and sing with us in the General Store on Sunday.

In summary, we had a final total of 33 participants for the Friday night school, Saturday singing or both. We enjoyed having you at the school and singing and hope to sing with you again. And as usual, the cooks in the group again managed to reach a record high for lunch with crock pots and bun warmers as well as all manner of seriously good food and desserts. I loved the desserts.  

Other high notes: We were particularly glad that Darryl and Lea Criss were able to join us for the Saturday morning session. Darryl has made remarkable progress and it was wonderful to see him sitting again the bass section. Mary Ellen Wilkerson and Anita Buswell were back in their usual bass and treble sections. Once again the list is too long to include everyone, but all of you - old singers or new - contributed to an enjoyable evening and all-day singing in Springdale. Thanks for all your efforts to get there and helping us have a wonderful singing.

Photo: Singers paused for a group picture after lunch.

Earlier this week, the mail lady drove up the driveway to deliver a large box. Picked up, the bulky box weighed about as much as a good heavy quilt which sounded like a Katy project. But there was another smaller box within big box. I thought, "Maybe it's a box of song books Dan ordered to replace the ones we sold at the convention." No books. The small box contained a collection of Sacred Harp CD's still shrink wrapped in their jewel boxes. "What in the world!"

We owe one more note of thanks to Bruce Rye for his unrestricted donation of the CDs to our group. How best to use them to promote Sacred Harp singing is something we need to talk about on Sunday. Thanks Bruce, for thinking about the singers and favoring us with one more tool and such an opportunity to extend traditional Sacred Harp shape note singing in the Ozarks.

Hope to see everyone on Sunday in Springdale. Enjoy your Sunday afternoon drive...

Thursday, October 9, 2014

October Schedule Update: 10/09/14

There's a lot going on in the month of October with many moving parts. I'll try to be as brief as I can and point people in the direction of the latest information I have at the moment.

Of course the singing at the opening of the Johnny Cash: Arkansas Icon
Arkansas Studies Institute
at the Butler Center Underground Gallery in Little Rock is tomorrow, Friday, October 10th. The latest info from Dan Brittain is repeated below:

--Area of performance is in the Butler Center Galleries located in the Arkansas Studies Institute (ASI) at 401 President Clinton Avenue Little Rock, Arkansas 72201
--Start 5:00 and finish at 7:30 and take a couple of breaks
--Parking is available in the Main Library parking lot directly behind ASI
--Probably be good to meet at 4:30 or so.
--Tunes: 49T, 36B, 63, 34T, 81T, 87, 45T, 168, 203, 354B (maybe with the Tull addition), 472. That's probably enough, but if you want, you can request some that evening.
It really looks like a fun event for those Sacred Harp Singers who can attend.

The regular 2nd Sunday of the month Sacred Harp singing in the General Store at the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History in Springdale is scheduled for October 12 from 1:30 until 4:00 P.M. In addition to the singing, this will be the last chance to reviewing the plans for the NWA Fall Sacred Harp Singing Convention and Singing School on October 24th and 25th. So the session is important on both counts. We'll have a table at the Springdale AQ's Chicken House about noon for those who wish to arrive early before the singing.

The details of the NWA Fall Sacred Harp Singing Convention remain as printed in the post just below this update. Please check the printable flyer and map for more information. Feel free to print an extra copy for your church bulletin board or share a copy with a friend. Rene Greene, from Glencoe, AL has signed on as the primary instructor and we're very glad to welcome her back with us for this year's singing school and convention.

And one more thing: With the best news we've heard lately, Syd Caldwell reported this week that Darryl Criss, one of our bass singers from Fayetteville, has returned home from the hospital and hopes to attend the Fall Singing Convention. Syd added that Darryl has made remarkable progress and we're all looking forward to singing with him again.

We'll post another update in the week before the Friday singing school and all-day Saturday singing convention with any last minute updates. Hope to sing with you in Springdale in October.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Planning for a busy October...

"I'm not an alto."
We had a good singing on September 14th with all the parts covered with the 10 singers and 1 cat present. Thanks to everyone who joined us and helped make it such a pleasant Sunday afternoon.

Photo: Joey, the visiting cat, decides which section to join while Katy and Cody continue singing on 9/14.

We also discussed planning for the NWA Fall Singing Convention and plans for the singing school on the evening of October 24th and the all-day singing on Saturday October 25th. Dan Brittain also gave us an update on the October 10th singing event in Little Rock. Thanks to Dan for taking a leadership role in gathering singers from all over Arkansas. Email: Dan Brittain directly if you can sing at the October 10th event.

What we know so far:

October 10, 2014:
The area for the singing will be in the Butler Center Galleries located in the Arkansas Studies Institute (ASI) at 401 President Clinton Avenue Little Rock, Arkansas 72201. The singing will start at 5:00 and finish at 7:30 with a couple of breaks during the event. Parking is available in the Main Library parking lot directly behind ASI. Dan added that there are several events happening in the area along with ours, so please try to arrive a few minutes early so that we can get properly organized before the event.
Update I  Glynn Garrett made the following suggestions on parking:
  • Parking in downtown Little Rock is challenging at best. Anticipate paying for parking at library, on street, in parking garage -- wherever you end up.
  • Suggest attendees have $5 for parking, and some quarters if they find an open meter. I think after 5 or 6 it's free at the meters, but not before.
  • Also, this time of day will
    have lots of traffic leaving downtown, and it may take a bit to navigate to the library.
Glynn also passed along a link to the UALR's Center for Arkansas History and Culture with more information about "Johnny Cash: Arkansas Icon," and opening night. See:

October 12, 2014:
Regular Shiloh Singing at the General Store at the Springdale Museum. Last chance to gather everyone's ideas for the Singing School and Fall Convention. BR is working on flyers and Gail Cowart has planned some new signs for the event. Space in the First United Methodist Church in Springdale across the street from the Shiloh Museum has been reserved. We also need to talk about the lunch plans for October 25th.

October 24, 2014:
Shape Note Singing School from 6:30 to 8:30 P.M. Bring a friend as no prior experience is necessary and even experienced singers will always learn something new about Sacred Harp singing. We always need experienced singers to help the new singers.

October 25, 2014:
Northwest Arkansas Sacred Harp Fall Singing Convention from 9:30 to 3:00 P.M. Books will be available for loan or purchase, and lunch will be a "pot luck" lunch. For the map readers and GPS users, the official address is 206 W Johnson Ave., Springdale, AR 72764. However, we suggest using the parking lot on north side of building and annex entrance for easy access to where we'll be singing again.
Printable Flyer for the 2014NWA Sacred Harp Fall Singing Convention (PDF)
Printable Map for the 2014 NWA Sacred Harp Fall Singing Convention (PDF)

Further updates will be posted on:  as they become available.

October 25th is also a "Football Weekend" in Fayetteville. If you plan to spend Friday evening in Springdale or parts north and sing on Saturday, you may want to quickly make reservations on the north side of town at some distance from the stadium in case some of those wild hogs get loose in the hotel hallways and escape capture in the morning darkness. I love the Arkansas Razorbacks and their fans, but I always like to think ahead as much as possible...\B)

Thanks to Syd Caldwell for being our group's "ambassador." Syd has called and visited with Darryl and Lea Criss several times and reported that Darryl has made sufficient progress that he has been moved to Health South, near the Washington Medical Center, in Fayetteville. At least that's a step or two closer to home for both Darryl and Lea. Please keep both of them in your prayers.

Looks like October is going to be a busy month but a good one for Sacred Harp singing in Arkansas.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Shiloh Singers Reminder for August 10th

Late August Update - I got a note from Willi Goehring, one of our Shiloh Singers, who has been working with the Fayetteville Public Library and the Fayetteville Roots Festival. The library is hosting a celebration of the life of Mary Celestia Parler, one of Arkansas most important and most overlooked folklorists with a free, hugely interactive exhibit in the Fayetteville Public Library from September 28th to the 31st.

If you're within driving range on Thursday, the 28th, from 6-8, there will be an Ozark Music Listening Party, where about a dozen traditional musicians will play selections from archived recordings and generate discussion on why preservation of folk practices is so vital!

Also on the schedule, KUAR is doing a live broadcast from the Walker Community Room on Friday, Aug. 29th, and some of the singers who live further away might want to listen to the live broadcast from 12 noon until 2 P.M.

While not exactly Sacred Harp singing, many of our singers can relate to folk music and the traditional forms of singing. For more information about the library's schedule for the Fayetteville Roots Festival, visit:


Another quick singing reminder. The Shiloh Sacred Harp Singers of NW Arkansas will be singing in the General Store on the grounds of the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History on Sunday afternoon, August 10th at 1:30 to 4:00 P.M. We'll bring an extra fan and a cooler for the water. Visitors and first-time singers are always welcome. Hope to have some updates on singings and plans for the October 24th and 25th Singing School and NWA Fall Singing Convention.

At noon, we'll have a table at AQ's Chicken House in Springdale before the singing and plan to adjourn for coffee and ice cream after the singing. All are invited to these optional activities for visiting and catching up with friends and singers we only get to see once a month.

Photo - Syd Caldwell will be singing in Henderson, Texas this weekend and spreading the news about our annual NWA Fall Singing Convention in Springdale. Last month in Alabama, this month in East Texas, Syd is our goodwill ambassador wherever he travels.

The East Texas Sacred Harp Singing Convention was organized in 1855 and records show a continuous history since 1868. If you live in the southern half of Arkansas, within driving distance and have an open Saturday or Sunday, the singing is held in the Henderson Civic Center at 1005 Hwy 64 W. Singing starts at 9:30 A.M. on both Aug 9th and 10th using the Cooper Book. Texans always have a spirited singing.

That's about all the news at the moment.
Hope to see everyone in Springdale on Sunday.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

July Reminders for Sacred Harp Singers...

A summer singing in the General Store
It's time for a couple of quick reminders for singers!

2nd Sunday Singing:

On Sunday, July 13th, at 1:30 P.M., the Shiloh Singers of Northwest Arkansas will host their usual 2nd Sunday Singing in the General Store on the grounds of the Shiloh Museum. Extra books are available for new singers and visitors to use for the afternoon and visitors are always welcome to drop by and listen, tap their feet, or join in with the regular singers as we sing to preserve an old-time singing tradition dating back to an era when early American churches lacked musical instruments The singing usually lasts until about 4:00 P.M. 
Those who like chicken and dumplings or other gospel bird delights are invited to have lunch before the singing are welcome to join the "Shiloh Singers" table at AQ's Chicken House in Springdale around 12:00. There's usually room to add a few chairs or you can email me if you want us to save you a seat. After singing, those who want a snack or cup of coffee before driving home are welcome join us at the Springdale Denny's next to the Interstate.

Ozark Folk Center Shape-Note Singing:
I hope that those who have time and who are in driving range will consider attending the
Shape-Note Singing and Singing School to be held at the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View on Friday and Saturday, July 11th and 12th from 9am to 12 Noon and from 1pm to 4pm on each day and enjoy all the singing. There's also a special Friday evening musical performance in the auditorium. Don't forget, if you plan to come to the Ozark Folk Center on those days for singing only, you can come in at no cost at the front entrance of the auditorium. Those who plan to visit other areas of the park may enter from the rear of the auditorium and join the singing too.

And two more quick reminders:
Dan Brittain, one of the working leaders of the Ozark Folk Center event, sent his regrets about Sunday.  He did send along a note with more information on the invitation to sing a number of selections at a University of Arkansas - Little Rock event opening a Johnny Cash exhibit on Friday evening, October 10th during an event from 5:00 until 8:00 P.M. If you live in the greater Little Rock area and are interested in singing at the UA-LR event, but cannot attended the 7/13 singing in Springdale, please send me a quick email and I'll be sure to take notes and share any of the details from Sunday's discussion with you next week. We need to get an answer back to the organizers at UA-LR.

Thanks to Syd Caldwell who always seems to have links to the singings he attends in Alabama and other locations. Syd attended the Henagar - Union Convention at the Liberty Church in DeKalb County, Alabama on Saturday and Sunday, July 5th and 6th. I checked the site before posting and at least on my browser, it is a very easy to use website. You can select the first tune and all the songs in the program play in sequence. You can also select individual songs by song number. Other southeast singings are also available on the same page and there's also a link where you can order CD's. See:

Hope you can join us in the Shiloh Museum General Store on Sunday afternoon...

Thursday, June 5, 2014

June News and Singing Reminder...

The regular June 8, 2014 singing this Sunday in the General Store at the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History is our next event. As usual, the singing will start at 1:30 and conclude around 4:00 P.M. Those who wish to have lunch are welcome to join the "Shiloh Singers" table at AQ's Chicken House in Springdale around 12:00. There's usually room to add a few chairs or email me if you want us to save you a seat. After singing, dessert will be served at Denny's and all are welcome.

Thanks to everyone who attended the May 3rd Northwest Arkansas Singing Convention in Harrison and a big thank you to Dan Brittain for the arrangements and St. Johns Episcopal Church for the use of their parish hall and kitchen for the event.

Updated: Holly Childs sent me a note that she counted 30 singers present including several visitors. There were only 16 names on the sign-in sheet, but it's easy to miss the sign-in sheet if you arrive late. Those who included their email addresses on the Harrison sign-in sheet also received a copy of our latest newsletter. As is always the case, we hope they'll come back and sing with us again.

Photo: I never had a chance to post a photo from the special Culpepper Assisted Living Center visit which took place on April 13th. The picture shows Cory Winters leading the Shiloh Singers during the event. Several of the residents can be seen in the background.

One more thing: 
We regret that several foreign and domestic travel schedules and other issues interfered with our participating in the idea of singing in a September program in Little Rock. The idea certainly raised the level of discussion and several singers liked the overall concept as a way to support shape note singing in the central and southern part of the state. Dan asked me to develop a quick, simple email survey to determine how many singers on our mailing list would support such a singing if all the pieces related to setting up such a singing would fit together.

The June newsletter contained a short survey that asked the membership if they would agree to moving one of our singing dates to Little Rock on a one-time basis to support the development of a Sacred Harp singing group in the central and southern part of the state. Like many local sacred harp singing organizations, we're not a very large group. But I was pleasantly surprised by some of the enthusiasm I heard in several discussions about singing in the Little Rock area. It will take the good ideas and suggestions of all of the present singers and people who would like to attend and become singers. It will take enough participation by singers and volunteers to work with the planning, logistics and a committee structure that such an event would require.

It's difficult to do something like this using only telephone and email. We'll need "boots on the ground." At least that's one old infantry soldier's opinion. If you have any ideas or suggestions but aren't on the Shiloh Singers mailing list you can make a comments in the section below. (The comments are screened with a word completion exercise to reduce automated spam and then checked for content by a volunteer so they are not posted instantly.) We'll try to put potentially workable ideas into the discussions early in the process. 

Hope to see you at the singing on Sunday.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Ozark Folk Center schedules Shape-Note Singing and Singing School July 11 and 12

Ozarks Folk Center
Thanks to Dan Brittain for passing along the following announcement from Gaylon Powell in Jarrell, Texas on the Shape-Note Singing and Singing School to be held at the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View in July:
Shape-note singers will convene on the stage of the large auditorium at the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View, Arkansas, on Friday, July 11 and Saturday, July 12.  A continuous singing/singing school will be led by Gaylon Powell and Dan Brittain, both well known in the nationwide (and beyond) Sacred Harp and shape-note world.   Holly Ruth Gale and Charley Sandage will assist. These sessions will run each morning and afternoon on both days from 9am to 12 Noon and from 1pm to 4pm on each day. Participating singers will be invited to join in the evening musical performance in the auditorium on Friday night.

If you plan to come to the Ozark Folk Center on those days for singing only, you can come in at no cost at the front entrance of the auditorium.  If you're visiting the craft area and want to drop in and sing or just to listen and learn, you can enter directly from the grounds through the back entrance of the auditorium.  Someone will be on hand to welcome you in traditional "all day singing" fashion.
 Additional details will be added as they become available.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Another chance to sing on Sunday, May 11th at Shiloh's General Store...

First of all, the reason for this extra edition of the newsletter is to remind everyone that couldn't get to Harrison that there's a second opportunity to sing in May at the regular 2nd Sunday singing in the General Store at the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History in Springdale on May 11th. We start singing at 1:30 P.M. and usually sing until about 4:00 P.M. For any first time singers or visitors, the street address is 118 W. Johnson Avenue, Springdale, AR 72764. Anyone is welcome to visit, listen, tap their feet or grab a book and sing along with us. Extra books are usually available for visitors to use and if not, we'll share.

Syd reported that 18 singers were present at the May 3rd NW Arkansas Sacred Harp Singing Convention in Harrison and several guests. Syd and I are still working on pictures from the event and we'll try to get several posted to the web page as soon as we can get pictures from his iPad to my HP desktop via the Internet. Our thanks to all who attended, all who helped with the pot-luck lunch, and especially to Dan Brittain, our Chairman, who has coordinated and organized the May event at St. Johns Episcopal Church for several years. 

Having just returned from a big Tillis Family Reunion in Florida, I plan to catch up with some Arkansas style chicken and dumplings at AQ's Chicken House in Springdale about noon. We can always add a chair or two around the table and any singer is welcome to join us. Just ask the receptionist for the singing group. We'll also do the after singing milk shake or coffee at Denny's to help soothe any sore throats or add a little caffeine for those with a long drive home.

I'm looking forward to hearing all about the Harrison singing from those who were there and hope you can attend and enjoy a pleasant Sunday afternoon singing in Springdale.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Northwest Arkansas Sacred Harp Singing Convention, May 3rd...

Just a really quick reminder that it's time for the Northwest Arkansas Sacred Harp Singing Convention. The event will be held this Saturday, Saturday May 3, 2014 from 9:30 – 3:00 in the Parish Hall of St Johns Episcopal Church at 707 W. Central Ave., in Harrison, Arkansas. Thanks to all the singers and good cooks, a pot-luck lunch will be served during the noon break. Directions to the church are on the convention flyer.

Photo: One of the Arkansas dogwoods in full bloom in time for the Harrison singing.

One of the topics for further discussion is the possible opportunity to sing in the Old State Capitol in the Fall. Dan will have the latest updates having been in contact with Michael Ekbladh in Little Rock regarding one possible singing date. Everybody's input and suggestions are needed on this topic.

I sincerely hope all of you have been kept safe during the recent storms and can join the rest of the Shiloh Singers of NW Arkansas in Harrison on Saturday. Singing in Harrison each May has truly been one of the highlights of our singing calendar each year. Hope you can be there.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Time to sing again in Springdale, April 13th...

The buds on the dogwood right outside my office window are just starting to peek out of their winter shell and white clouds of dogwoods with soon follow the yellow daffodils or jonquils, whichever you prefer. That means it's time to sing again in the General Store on the grounds of the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History in Springdale at 118 W. Johnson Ave on Sunday, April 13th. The singing starts at 1:30 P.M. There are several very important reasons I hope we have a good turn out on Sunday afternoon:

1.  This Sunday is also the day that the Shiloh Singers of NW Arkansas were invited to sing at Culpepper Assisted Living Center in Springdale. Just as we did last year, we'll start at the General Store, warm up the vocal cords and then gather up the boxes of songbooks and caravan out to the Culpepper Center. The center is only a short distance away, easy to find (I'll have a few maps.) and even easier if you follow someone who was there last year. When we've finished singing, the group can adjourn to a nearby Denny's to rest our vocal cords with coffee or hot chocolate and whatever your doctor allows you to eat for desserts. It's also a very nice break in the routine for those who reside in the center!

2.  We also need to talk about the plans for the Northwest Arkansas Sacred Harp Singing Convention scheduled for Saturday, May 3rd, from 9:30 A.M. until 3:00 P.M. in the Parish Hall of the St. Johns Episcopal Church, 707 W. Central Ave., in Harrison, Arkansas. The "dinner on the grounds" will be a pot luck covered dish lunch served in the Parish Hall at noon. Dan Brittain, who lives in Harrison is coordinating the event and we need to get an idea of what people want to bring for lunch. I always vote for plenty of desserts but we need to have a good variety of veggies and other food groups. I can also vouch for the quality of the cooking in NWA. This is a full day of singing and a good time to learn more about Sacred Harp singing. Also keep in mind that this is more of a regional event with singers from MO, OK, and other parts of Arkansas who have attended in the past. With any luck at all and good weather, we hope to have a good turn out for our annual spring convention. Obtain Convention Flyer.

3.  Several days ago, I received an email from a group who have been talking about organizing and sponsoring a shape note/Sacred Harp singing in the Little Rock area. I forwarded the email to Dan and several others in the Shiloh group as well as singers in central and southern Arkansas or from surrounding states who have much more experience than I do in these types of things. I'm sure there may be opportunities to work together that would increase the visibility of Sacred Harp singing in the state and help all of the small groups who wish to promote Sacred Harp in their own communities as an enjoyable way to support a traditional way of singing. It's something that deserves some talking time on the April schedule. Representatives of the group have also been invited to the singing convention in Harrison to observe, sing or just meet some of the people who might be able to assist their effort.

4. Bob and Gina Cauley sent a note that their family attended a Sacred Harp singing in Colorado Springs during March and that Colorado Springs will host an all day singing on April 26, 2014 if you are traveling in the area. Katy and I certainly enjoyed singing with the Colorado Springs group several years ago. Bob also mentioned he had found a source for "I [heart] Sacred Harp" button if we want to make those available to NWA singers. We'll find time to talk about the pins somewhere in the schedule too.

5. For singers who might be interested in attending an adult or youth FaSoLa Camp in Alabama or the European Sacred Harp Tour with both the UK and Poland Conventions and Camp FaSoLa Europe, this is the 2014 schedule:
Adult Camp FaSoLa:
        Sun, Jun 8 /4pm - Thu, Jun 12 /8am  Camp McDowell—
        Double Springs, AL 
Youth Camp FaSoLa:
        Mon, Jun 30 /3pm - Fri, Jul 4 /9am  Camp Lee—Anniston, AL
Camp FaSoLa Europe:
        Mon, Sep 22 /3pm - Fri, Sep 26 /9am  Wichrowe Wzgórze—
        Chmielno, Poland
Obtain Camp FaSoLa Application

Sacred Harp UK Convention, Camp FaSoLa Europe and Poland Convention 
        Sep 18 - Sep 30, 2014
Obtain Tour Brochure and separate Tour Enrollment Form

Pictures: Singing in Two States During March

Click on any picture for a larger version.
St. John's United Church of Christ in Pinckney Township, north of Washington, Missouri, site of the 29th Annual Missouri State Sacred Harp Convention on March 8th and 9th.

The tall wooden church, with its soaring steeple was built in the 1870's and sits together with working farms near the banks of the Missouri River.

The new gavel-covered parking lot was quickly filled and later parking spaces stretched down a small grass covered road toward the church cemetery which is located on a small mound west of the church.

A good turnout was enjoyed both days with some sitting in the balcony. All the parts, treble, alto, tenor and bass were very well represented. Singers in the alto section were sitting on the organ bench and additional chairs were needed.
All age groups were represented at the Missouri State Sacred Harp Convention:

Young and old...

Experienced and new song leaders...

And all the singers in between...

Thanks to the St. Louis Shaped Note Singers for hosting such a well-organized event and a special thanks to all the cooks who made Saturday's lunch and evening social as well as Sunday's lunch such a treat!

Arkansas' Historic Washington State Park hosted the 46th annual Jonquil Festival, which ran from Friday through Sunday.March 7th through 9th.

The Festival fills the park grounds with displays, food and activities for all ages. Booth space was available in the old school gym for a variety of crafts and informational displays.
The Sunday afternoon singing was conducted in the historic Washington United Methodist Church. Photo Credit: Historic Washington State Park

Singers from the church and the surrounding Washington area were joined by a number of singers from the East Texas Convention, led by Robert Vaughn. The Shiloh Sacred Harp Singers from NW Arkansas had four singers in attendance.
Rev. Keenan Williams, pastor of Washington UMC, leading the group with the assistance on one of his young parishioners. Sacred Harp singing is for people who love to sing no matter what their age. Thanks for all the hospitality at the festival and singing and best wishes for your efforts to expand Sacred Harp singing in Central and Southern Arkansas.

And one more thing... The table several of us use at AQ Chicken House in Springdale always seems to have room for an extra chair for anyone who wishes to join us around noon for chicken and dumplings or one of the other fine chicken dishes on the menu. We've already mentioned Denny's post singing. Ya'll come to Springdale on Sunday afternoon and we can all enjoy singing together. Hope to see you there.

Monday, March 10, 2014

March Singing Opportunity - Historic Washington State Park

Old Washington Methodist
March Singing Update: Another opportunity to sing in Arkansas in the month of March, particularly for those singers in Central and Southern Arkansas. .

Dan Brittain received the an email Friday afternoon, March 7th, from Robert Vaughn in Mount Enterprise, TX with the final details of a demonstration singing that will be conducted in the historic Washington Methodist Church on the grounds of Washington State Park in Washington, AR on Sunday afternoon, March 16th, the last day of the park's annual Jonquil Festival. Washington and the state park are about 30 miles from Texarkana and 10 miles off and north of Interstate 30. For those in central and southern part of the state, this provides a wonderful opportunity to meet and sing with singers from Texas and others interested in shape note singing. The details were:
We will sing at the Washington Methodist Church in the historic Washington State Park in Washington, Arkansas. Singing will begin at 3:30 p.m. and go until 5:30 p.m. The park superintendent expects about 20 people who are not familiar with Sacred Harp. Any help from Sacred Harp singers will be appreciated. Because of this number of people, I will be making copies to hand out at the singing. Songs will be from both the red (Denson) and blue (Cooper) books -- so bring
Information on the park and church can be found here:
  Park Website:
  Phone: (870) 983-2684
  Church Website:

Several of the above links can provide information about the park and church including maps. This will be during the 46th annual Jonquil Festival, which runs Friday through Sunday. More information at:

If you couldn't make it to the Missouri State Sacred Harp Singing Convention, this would be a good way to loosen up the vocal cords for our next regular singing in Springdale on the 13th of April. Hope to see you in Washington or singing with the Shiloh Singers in Springdale next month.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A couple of quick updates for March...

First, don't forget that our local March 9th singing in Springdale is recessed to allow as many as can to attend the Missouri State Sacred Harp Singing Convention near Washington, MO on Saturday and Sunday, March 8th and 9th. The Missouri Convention draws singers from Minnesota to Georgia and is a good way to get over any symptoms of "cabin fever" accumulated over the past few months. Links to convention details, maps, motel lists, etc. are available in the sidebar's Calendar section.

The next regular singing with the Shiloh Singers will be from 1:30 to 4:00 P.M. on April 13, 2014 in the General Store at the Shiloh Museum, 118 W. Johnson Avenue, Springdale, AR.

Second, regarding the Missouri weather, Syd received a note from Paul Figura, one of the Convention planners. Paul wrote:

... I am happy to give you an "all clear" for both here in the St. Louis area and some 60 miles West of us, at the Convention location
Yes, we did have some sleet yesterday morning, topped by a thin layer of snow.  But the good news is that the highways and roads are clear now and the ground is already showing through, both here and at Pinckney.  What white stuff is on the ground should be long gone before this weekend.  The highs are forecast to be above freezing starting tomorrow, with clear skies.  The highs for Friday, Saturday and Sunday should be around 50º F.
So - come on down, up, or over.  We will be honored to have you with us.
I have no doubt that Paul knows much more about Missouri weather than anyone else I know, but I wrote another member of the Arkansas contingent that I still plan to arrive at the church early on Saturday and Sunday and seek the high ground in the parking lot. It's an old Infantry habit from a long time ago and half a world away.

Hope to see all the Arkansas singers who can attend the convention on Saturday and Sunday and looking forward to April's flowers decorating the grounds of the Shiloh Museum on April 13th when we can all get together and sing together again.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

February Singing and Remembering Groundhod Day...

First of all, the regular Sunday, February 9, 2014, singing is still scheduled for 1:30 until 4:00 P.M. in the General Store on the grounds of the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History. Visitors are always welcome and we'll even loan them a book and they can sing along or just tap their foot and enjoy the music.

Photo: January 12th Singing in the Shiloh Museum General Store.

We had a great turnout of singers and visitors in January and Dan Brittain once again covered some of the basics of shape note singing for the visitors. Several of the visitors went home with new songbooks and I think it's safe to say that we all enjoyed a pleasant afternoon of singing the old hymns. I sincerely hope that everyone had a good time. So it's time to send out a reminder about the February event.

This is also a good time to remind everyone that the Shiloh Singers will be in recess in March to allow (encourage?) as many singers as possible to attend the Missouri State Sacred Harp Singing Convention at St. John's United Church of Christ near Washington, Missouri on March 8th and 9th. The two-day event, sponsored by the St. Louis Shape Note Singers, draws singers from Alabama to Wisconsin and is certainly a premier event. We'll talk more about sharing a ride on Sunday. The Saint Louis group recommends making room reservations as early as possible. Click on the links below for more detailed information in the St. Louis flyer, motel info and map.
Missouri State Singing Convention Flyer
Google map & Motel Information

Two boxes of the new 2013 & 2014 edition of Sacred Harp Singings have arrived. Each annual edition contains the previous year's minutes and the current year's directory of where to find local and regional singings  The books will be available at the February singing.

I'm also reminded of "Groundhog Day," the 1993 movie, where Bill Murray, the TV weatherman, finds himself living the same day over and over again? Writing a monthly newsletter is a little like the time warp depicted in the movie. And much like the weatherman, once again we're confronted with conflicting weather forecasts. This year, Pennsylvania's Punxsutawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter.

Groundhog family (Credit: Bob Hines, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

I also read that somewhere in Arkansas, a groundhog emerged while still blinking his eyes and trying to go back to sleep. He or she didn't actually see their shadow. Thus the groundhog joined the ever optimistic local Chamber of Commerce members in hoping for an early spring.

I hope all the Arkansas groundhogs stay warm toward the end of this week. Accuweather is predicting partly sunny conditions on Friday, possible snow on Saturday, and sunshine on Sunday with the temperatures in the 30's. The local forecasters on KFSM believe it will snow on Friday, clearing with a 30% possibility of snow on Saturday, and turn partly sunny on Sunday with highs in the mid to low 30's. Our best advice is for everyone to watch their favorite news and weather program on Saturday. If the roads get so bad that it's difficult to pick up the key to the general store, we'll post a 2nd weather update so please check this website for the latest information.

One more thing:  The usual invitations for chicken and dumplings at AQ's Chicken House in Springdale around noon and hot chocolate at the Springdale Denny's after the singing are extended. Both sessions are intended to allow more time to visit and talk about singing and sometimes each others grandchildren.

So we'll pray for good weather and hope the to see you and everyone at the February 9th singing.

"A researcher with a thermometer knows what the temperature is; a researcher with two thermometers is confused." - Old Science Teacher
BR NOTE - The same applies to groundhogs and weather reports.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Missouri State Sacred Harp Convention, March 8th & 9th...

St. John's UCC
Syd Caldwell forwarded information about the 29th Annual Missouri State Sacred Harp Convention. The note contains links to the convention flyer and a Google map with motels and phone numbers. The former Sleep Inn in Washington, MO, is now a Best Western and please note that some of the motels have early cut-off dates for reduced rates.
Subject: [fasola-singings] Missouri State Convention, March 8th and 9th
It is time to make plans to come to the 29th Annual Missouri State Sacred Harp Convention, Saturday and Sunday, March 8th and 9th.  The Convention is held in a beautiful 1870 wooden country church in Pinckney, MO, about 90 miles West of St. Louis, close to the Missouri River, The KATY Trail, and Missouri Wine Country.  Our visiting singers tell us how much they love the acoustics in this church - and we agree.  We will sing from Sacred Harp, 1991, and Missouri Harmony, 2005, and will have copies of both books available for use there or for purchase.  There will be the traditional dinners on the grounds at noon and a Saturday evening social in nearby Washington, MO.
The map showing our Convention church and the locations of nearby motels is at and the flyer is at   You are encouraged to make your room reservations early since some of the Inns have early cut-off dates for our reduced rates.
We love coming to your wonderful conventions.  Come and let us return the favor.
Paul Figura
One of the things we can do to help reduce expenses is to share rides and rooms. We'll talk more about that at the February 2nd Sunday singing on February 9th. Please let me know if you have an empty seat or two for the trip to Missouri or if you'd like to ride with someone. Call or email if you want to get on the share list or if you have any questions.

Hope to see you at the February singing in Springdale...

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Singing in the Shiloh Museum General Store on Sunday, Jan. 12th

#480 in The Sacred Harp, 1991 Ed.
I hope all of you have recovered from the Christmas and New Year's festivities and any winter colds and sniffles that may have developed during the cold weather. I also hope that one of your New Year's resolutions will be to sing with us at our 2nd Sunday singings each month. On January 12th, the Shiloh Sacred Harp Singers on NWA will host their first singing of the new year in the General Store at the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History in Springdale. If you received a new GPS for Christmas you can enter "118 W. Johnson Avenue, Springdale, AR." Otherwise, follow the signs pointing to the museum along Hwy 71B. Singing starts about 1:30 P.M. and we try to end by 4:00 P.M.

Don't forget to remind your friends that we always welcome new singers or visitors who just want to listen, observe and learn more about shape note singing. Our recent book order arrived and we should have plenty of loaner books for visitors and new singers.

Our favorite home town weatherman has given his assurance that the cold weather will have passed by Sunday and he's predicting partly sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-50's for Sunday. I'll settle for that kind of forecast after the past few weeks of "below average" winter weather. As usual we'll have extra water, a few soft drinks and coffee for the break. You're welcome to bring any left over fruit cake or holiday cookies.
If your schedule permits, Katy, Gail and I will be looking for a chicken dinner at AQ's Chicken House (located a couple of long blocks north of the museum signs on Hwy 71B) in Springdale around noon before the singing. Just ask the cashier at the front desk for the Shiloh Singers and they usually know where we're sitting if you can join us. We'll also find a cup of ice cream to cool off the vocal cords after the singing at the Springdale Denny's after the singing. Both pre and post-singing events are entirely optional but allow friends to catch up on news. Any and all are welcome if they wish to enjoy the fellowship.

One last "hope." Drive safely and we'll all hope to see you at the singing on Sunday!