Saturday, December 12, 2015

We'll be singing at the General Store on Sunday, December 13th

This may be the shortest reminder I've posted this year, but it seems that the Christmas season has arrived and everything needs to be done at the same time! One of the things I hope you've put on your to-do list is joining the rest of the Shiloh Singers at the Shiloh Museum's General Store on Sunday afternoon, December 13th, from 1:30 until 4:00 P.M. There are songs to sing and good friends to join to celebrate the last monthly singing of 2015. 

It's been a great year for the singers. Thanks to all of the Shiloh Singers, the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History and staff, guest instructors at our annual singing school and all our visitors and other guests to helped make it such a great year. Best wishes to the singers in Oklahoma and South Central Arkansas for the New Year. We hope to see you again in 2016.

Those who attend on Sunday are also invited to bring a few extra Christmas cookies, fruitcake, or other special desserts for the break. And for those who still need to shop for that special someone, the large shopping malls to the north, south and near Springdale will still be open after the singing.

As always, the any early arrivals are still welcome to join us at AQ Chicken House in Springdale around noon on Sunday before the singing. Just ask for the singers at the front desk. Visitors and friends are always welcome to join us at our Sunday singings and sing some of the Christmas songs at this special time of the year. Hope to see you there.

"God made time so that we don't have to do it all in one day."
Strato Telvely, 1988

Friday, November 6, 2015

November singing, Fall Singing Convention was "large in sound and spirit"...

As too often seems to be the case, each time I want to write a newsletter, other projects and events suddenly appear to soak up time on my calendar. I wrote a friend earlier this week that I used to maintain a paper calendar with pencil entries so I could make frequent updates and changes. Now I use a computer-based calendar program and I still can't adjust plans and schedule changes fast enough to keep up. In any case, I hope your busy schedule allows you to plan to attend the Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015 monthly singing in the Shiloh Museum General Store. As usual, the singing will start at 1:30 P.M. Singing will continue until 4:00 P.M. and visitors are always welcome. Loaner books are usually available. Children, who are considered "potential new singers," are welcome too.

Photo - Robert Vaughn leads the NWA Fall Singing School at the Shiloh Museum on Friday evening, October 23rd.

The NWA Fall Sacred Harp Singing Convention on Oct. 23rd and 24th was declared a "great success." Thanks to Robert Vaughn, from Mt. Enterprise, Texas, who led the Friday night singing school with 25 participants in the museum's General Store and Stanley Smith, from Ozark, Alabama who with Robert shared their experience with the singing school and convention participants on Saturday in the First Security Bank's Community Room across the street from the museum, we had two enthusiastic singing sessions. Both Texas and Alabama have many traditional Sacred Harp groups and communities where there is a strong tradition of shape note singings. Stanley noted that Syd Caldwell had done "a great job as chairman" making sure  all the singers and visitors had a great time. Besides complimenting Robert for planting more seeds in the minds of interested new singers, Stanley wrote that the Saturday convention "was large in sound and spirit.  

Photo - Normally photographers are behind the camera, but Stanley Smith invited NWA Democrat-Gazette photographer Flip Putthoff to experience the sound from the center of the square.

Reporter Laurinda Joeks and photographer Flip Putthoff of the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette had an excellent feature article in the paper's Saturday October 31, 2015 Religion section. The article and pictures contain more details that capture the spirit and enthusiasm from the school and singing. The article can be found at: 

Thanks to the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History and their staff for helping with so many details including directional signs and their General Store on Friday evening. Thanks also to the First Security Bank in Springdale for the use of their Community Room which had enough space for the singing and enough extra space for dining tables to hold all the singers and the food that appeared for the pot-luck lunch at noon. Our thanks to all the cooks who prepared a marvelous variety of dishes and plenty of desserts for the event.

Photo - There was plenty of food, including desserts, at the Fall Convention. Thanks to all who prepared their best dishes for the event. 

Thanks also to all the participants who joined us from Oklahoma, Missouri, and all over Arkansas. We hope you enjoyed the singing and will come back and sing with us again. 

Lost and Found: At the end of the Saturday singing, a red spiral notebook was found that had Gail Cowart's name and address on the inside cover. During the cleanup and exodus, the notebook found its way to Gail's car with signs, banners and songbooks. He returned the notebook commenting that the handwriting was "much too neat" to be his writing. If you attended the convention and are now missing a red spiral notebook, we'll have it at the Sunday afternoon singing, Nov. 8th, or send me your address via email so we can mail you your notebook. 

One more thing: If you can get there in time, there's usually a table for Shiloh Singers at the Springdale location of the AQ Chicken House around noon on each Sunday before the singing begins in the General Store each month. It's totally informal. There's time to "fuel up" for the singing plus time to catch up on news with friends or ask questions about Sacred Harp singing. Just ask the reception desk for directions to the table.

Hope you have time to sing with the Shiloh Singers on Sunday afternoon.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Shape Note Oklahoma hosts a singing and singing school. NWA Sacred Harp Convention and School on October 23 and 24... And we were singing on Sunday!

Updated: 10/20/15 - NWA Fall Singing Convention and Singing School is this Friday and Saturday!  

For those of you too young to remember Will Rogers, from our neighboring state of Oklahoma, he once spoke about organizations. He said. "I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat."

Without going any further into any political swamp, I always get the same feeling about not quite being organized a few days before the Shiloh Singers big Fall Singing Convention and Singing School. Is there anything that we missed. Who's working on signs? Who's bringing food for the pot luck dinner? More important, who's bring desserts or cookies or donuts for breaks? But the sun rises on the appointed day. Rain or shine, the parking lot fills with cars, old and new singers file into the meeting room and as if by some grand design, all the pieces fall into place and we have one of the best singings of the year. So at this late date all I can do is hope and pray all those expressions of "It's gonna be great!" come true as the loose pieces fall into place.

Just in case some of our out-of-town guests have never been to the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History, I spent a few minutes with Google Maps to give people an idea of where we're meeting and where people can park on Friday and Saturday.

We'll also try to remember to print up a few extra copies of the map for those who go to the main door of the museum or general store on Saturday morning. We don't want anyone to miss a minute of the singing and fellowship that is shared at the NWA Fall Sacred Harp Singing Convention. It's a fine tradition and "It's gonna be great!"

October 11th Singing at the Museum - The Shiloh Singers enjoyed the company of 25 singers at the Sunday afternoon singing in the General Store. We were also visited by "Mr. T" the neighborhood cat, who doesn't sing but occasionally poses for pictures with children and visitors.

Well done Shape Note Oklahoma singers for hosting a wonderful singing school and afternoon of singing on September 26th. Katy and I were on our way to Yellowstone, but Syd Caldwell sent us a sample of the singing via cell phone, later sent several pictures from the event, and a glowing report on the school and singing. Sounds like everyone had a good time.

Dan Brittain leads the singers at the First Lutheran Church in Tulsa, OK on Sept. 26, 2015 singing school.

Singers at the Tulsa event enjoy lunch and fellowship during the noon break.
For more information and pictures from the Tulsa event, check out the Oklahoma group's Facebook page at:

The Shiloh Sacred Harp Singers of Northwest Arkansas will host their regular October singing on Oct. 11th in the General Store on the grounds of the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History in Springdale. The singing will start at 1:30 P.M. and conclude at 4:00 P.M. This will also be our last chance to review plans for the NWA Fall Shape Note Singing School and Convention in Springdale on October 23 and 24. The 10/23 Singing School will be held from 6:30 until 8:30 P.M. in the General Store, where we usually sing. The Saturday all-day singing will be held in the 1st Security Bank Community Room, just south of the drive inbank across the street from the Shiloh Museum. The singing will start at 9:30 A.M. and conclude at 3:30 P.M. with a pot luck noon meal.
Note: Click on the thumbnail for a full-sized PDF copy of the flyer with details about the NWA Fall singing School and Convention.

Thanks to the Sacred Harp Publishing Co. for sharing their New Online Exhibit: The United Sacred Harp Musical Association. Since its first session in Atlanta in 1905, the United Sacred Harp Musical Association, commonly known as the United Convention, has stood out as more than just an ordinary Sacred Harp singing, affecting the form of The Sacred Harp and public consciousness of our traditions. The story of the United Convention—told here through recordings, photos, and more—offers a fascinating perspective on the history of Sacred Harp singing in the twentieth century and beyond. 

One more thing about Sunday's singing: Any singers or visitors who wish to join the singer's table at AQ's Chicken House in Springdale for chicken and dumplings or other chicken dishes are welcome to arrive around noon this Sunday. Just ask the reception desk for directions to the singers and they'll point you in the right direction. It's a good time for old friends to visit and for new singers to ask questions about Sacred Harp singing.

Hope to see you all at the October singing on Sunday.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Singing on 9/13 and Other Events in September and October

September 13th Singing at the Shiloh Museum: It's time for the monthly reminder that the Shiloh Sacred Harp Singers of NW Arkansas will be singing in the General Store of the Shiloh Museum on Sunday afternoon, September 13, 2015 from 1:30 until 4:00 P.M. Visitors are always welcome, so come watch, tap your feet, look at the music in a loaner book while we're singing and join in the the singing.

Photo: Bill Caldwell leads the Shiloh Singers at the August 9th singing in the Shiloh Museum General Store.

Children, or "next generation singers," are also welcome to join in too. The fact is that our singing sessions are somewhat informal and you'll be surrounded by others who just enjoy singing the old songs as they were sung by our ancestors before small rural congregations could afford pianos and organs. Your participation is encouraged. 

Updated: 9/14/15 After the Singing Report - Had 25 adults and children at the singing plus the local cat who helped entertain the children. Just as the singing ended, a kitten of a similar color showed up at the open door but was afraid to come in. The children instinctively made a bee-line for the kitten who instinctively ran for the barn at full speed and was not seen again.  It is wonderful to have children to attend and sing. 

We also had about several college students who were taking a music class and Andrew Albers and Bill Caldwell gave them some history and info on sacred harp and our type of singing. Hope they all make an A+ on their assignment. We were also joined by several singers from the Tulsa group planning their singing school and singing in Oct. 26th. 

Syd Caldwell forwarded an email Monday morning from Stanley Smith, one of the Sacred Harp composers who plans to be with us at the October NWA Singing Convention. Syd used a cell phone yesterday to share a couple of Sacred Harp songs with Stanley. One of the better uses of cellular technology: 
Thanks for calling and letting me hear “Not Made with Hands” and “Haw Ridge”. Ya’ll did a great job on both. Relay to all that I appreciate it very much. I sure did my heart good hear your singing and that you did my song. Ya’ll did so good, you can do it again sometime. Looking forward to being out there soon. - Stanley
September 26th Singing School and Sacred Harp Singing in Tulsa: But the monthly second Sunday singings are only just the start for the next two months. We're even more excited by the news that Sacred Harp singers in the Tulsa area have organized as Tulsa Friends of Sacred Harp Singing and they have planned a one-day Tulsa Shape Note School and Singing on Saturday, September 26, 2015 from 9:30 A.M. until 3:30 P.M. at the First Lutheran Church, 1244 S. Utica Ave. Dan Brittain will be leading the singing school. Thanks to Frank Christel for sharing the Facebook page link for more information about the Tulsa event at: and to Elaine King who is hosting the Tulsa group's new Facebook pages.

Updated: 9/11/15 - We just got a note from Frank that the Tulsa group has posted their web page at: with info, slides and a YouTube video. Check it out.

October 23rd and 24th NWA Fall Sacred Harp Singing School and Convention: We've already talked about the NW Arkansas Fall Sacred Harp Singing School on Friday evening, Oct. 23rd and the All-Day Singing Convention and Dinner on the Grounds on October 24th in Springdale. The singing school will be in the General Store, where we usually sing each month, from 6:30 to 8:30 P.M. The Saturday convention will be across the street from the Shiloh Museum entrance in the 1st Security Bank Community Room, just south of the drive in bank. The singing will start at 9:30 A.M. and conclude at 3:30 P.M. with a pot luck noon meal. Rather than repeat all of the details again in the newsletter, you can catch up with the details on last month's newsletter posting. Thanks again to Elaine King's creative efforts on her computer, click on this link: NWA Singing School and Convention flyer for a PDF copy that you can easily view or download to print and share with others.

Other Official and Unofficial activities: Updated: 9/11/15 - Thanks to Syd Caldwell for his note that Susan Young, Outreach Coordinator at the Shiloh Museum, will present a program on Sacred Harp at the Harrison Public Library on September 22, 2015 at 5:30 P.M.

As usual, any singers or visitors who wish to join the singer's table at AQ's Chicken House in Springdale for AQ's usual assortment of chicken dishes are welcome to arrive around noon this Sunday. Just ask the reception desk for directions to the singers and they'll point you in the right direction. It's a good time to visit and ask questions about Sacred Harp singing.

...And one more thing: We're still having headaches (program updates? regressions? driver error?) with our email and mailing list software. The September email newsletter was delayed while the mailing list was pieced back together yet again. While I hope the lists (two of them now) will stay fixed this time, we had to eliminate several damaged entries. IF you DID NOT get a copy of the September newsletter this month, and would like to get back on the list, please send an email to: so that we can make sure you are on the list. Of course if you got a copy and wish to just follow the news on this web site, directions for getting off the list are at the bottom of each newsletter.

As always we'll look forward to singing with you on Sunday afternoon.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Sunday Singing at the Shiloh Museum on August 9th

This has been one of those weeks when neither my schedule, the Greek financial bailout, nor the famous Italian trains would have run "on time." The best thing I can say about this week is that the Shiloh Singers will be meeting and singing in the General Store on the grounds of the Shiloh Museum in Springdale on Sunday afternoon, Aug. 9th, at 1:30 and we'll all get to sing in the company of friends. That's always a good way to end a busy week.

We also need to discuss and start planning for the October NW Arkansas Sacred Harp Fall Singing Convention and Singing School on October 23rd and 24th. Thanks to Syd Caldwell and the always helpful staff at the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History, Much of the planning framework has already been sketched out.

Syd has arranged for Robert Vaughn, a 5th generation Sacred Harp singer, author, composer and ordained Baptist minister from Mount Enterprise, TX to conduct the convention's annual singing school on Oct. 23rd, the evening before the all day singing on Saturday. In fact, this weekend, Robert will be leading and singing at the 148th East Texas Convention in Henderson, TX.

Photo: Robert Vaughn leading the singers at Historic Washington (AR) United Methodist Church on March 22, 2015.

What we think we know about the schedule and enough to start marking your calendar if it's not already added to your October page:
Friday, Oct. 23, 2015 - 6:30 P.M. until 8:30 P.M. - NWA Fall Sacred Harp Convention Singing School
Location: Shiloh Museum General Store, 118 W. Johnson Avenue, Springdale, AR 72764
Instructor: Robert L. Vaughn, Mount Enterprise, TX
Beginner class for those new to sacred harp singing or who want to learn more about the fundamentals of 4-note shape note singing.

Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015 - 9:30 A.M. until 3:30 P.M. - NWA Fall Sacred Harp Convention
Location: 1st Security Bank Community Room, 110 North Main Street (south of drive-in bank), Springdale, AR 72764.
All day singing with pot luck lunch at noon. Singing will be from The Sacred Harp (Denson Book), Missouri Harmony, and B. F. White Sacred Harp (Cooper Book, 2006 Ed.). Loaner books are available. Visitors, new singers and their children welcome.
For those of you who instantly recognized that on Saturday, Oct. 24th, the University of Arkansas Razorbacks will play the Auburn Tigers in Fayetteville. Unless there is a late October hurricane or an early winter snow storm, there's an excellent chance that most hotels and motels will approach their capacity on Friday and Saturday nights. While there are at least 20 hotels and motels listed by Google in the Springdale area, if you plan to stay overnight in the Fayetteville/Springdale area on a Razorback football weekend, please consider making your room reservations earlier than normal this year. To help that process, Syd has reserved two small blocks of rooms in Springdale in his name with premium or budget rates for the event, but the convention rates are only good for a limited time: the HOTEL RESERVATION DEADLINE IS AUGUST 21, 2015. After that, the block of rooms will be released and regular room rates will be in effect based on the market and availability.
Comfort Suites, 1099 Rieff St. Springdale, Phone: 479-725-1777 - 4 stars - $149.00/night
Heritage Inn Springdale, 1394 W. Sunset Ave. Springdale Phone: 479-751-3100 - 2 stars - $69.00/night

Singers who earn points with a favorite hotel or motel chain or use their favorite hotel booking agent like Expedia or Trivago can use their own system to search for competitive rates on their own, but please start early!

As we get closer to the actual singing convention dates, I'm sure there will be additional information and I'll post the usual maps and a flyer you can download, print and share on the Shiloh Singers website. And if the schedule works better next week, I may actually get a chance to post some of the other items I had planned for this month's edition of the newsletter. Watch this space.

Photo: Dan Brittain teaching the next generation of shape note singers at the July 11th Ozark Folk Center Shape Note Gathering.

One more thing: For those who plan to attend the Aug. 9th singing and can get to the AQ Chicken House in Springdale around noon or a little later, there's an open table of Shiloh Singers usually in the back enjoying one of AQ's many fine dishes before the singing and catching up with friends and fellow singers. There's also coffee and ice cream at Denny's after the singing. Both events are open to all singers and we can usually add chairs or bump more tables together if we need more space. You are invited.

Hope to see you in Springdale on Sunday...

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

July Sacred Harp Events make a busy schedule...

July is shape note singing month in the Ozarks. Everyone has the opportunity to get involved in the shape note singing tradition with the Ozark Folk Center hosting their annual Shape Note Gathering on July 9-11, 2015 in Mountain View. According to the latest schedule I've seen, minor adjustments were made to the schedule and maps added for the Thursday through Saturday events:

July 9, Thursday
A short introductory singing and discussion at 6:00 until 6:45 P.M. to introduce the event in the small White Oak Auditorium located in the Administration Building.  Folks can go to the main show in the theater and buses will be available afterwards to take attendees directly to the main auditorium for the evening program.

July 10, Friday - On the stage of the Folk Center Auditorium, a presentation of all the oblong shape note books in use today. We will have samples from each to sing from.
9:00 A.M. - 11:30 A.M. - Morning session
11:00 A.M. - 1:00 P.M. - Lunch
1:00 P.M. – 4:00 P.M. - Afternoon session
4:00 P.M. - 7:00 P.M. - Dinner
7:00 P.M. - The singers will sing as part of the regular Friday evening show.

July 11, Saturday- An exciting new event for the Folk Center as part of the weekend gathering. There will be an All-Day singing at the Stone County Historical Society in the Old High School Building at 204 School Ave., just off of Main Street in Mountain View.
10:00 A.M. - 11:35 A.M.
- Morning session
11:35 A.M. - 1:00 P.M. - Lunch (Click the map thumbnail for nearby restaurants.)
1:00 P.M. - 3:30 P.M. - Afternoon session      
Just a reminder to plan on a Dutch treat for lunch. We called it "foraging" on your own when I was in the Army. Of course, we will try to update the Shiloh website if updates become available. The original Ozark Folk Center Announcement is at:

Then on Sunday, July 12th, knowing that not everyone can get to Mountain View on Saturday, we still plan on having our regular monthly singing in Springdale in the General Store from 1:30 until 4:00 P.M. following the normal Sunday schedule. The normal lunch group will be at AQ's Chicken House around noon for lunch and we'll see who might be available for post-singing pie and coffee at Denny's near the Interstate afterwards. This really sounds like a good four days of singing and I certainly hope you can sing at one or more of the events. We'll also bring an extra fan or two to keep things as cool as we can.

Photo: Cory Winters leading the Shiloh Singers on June 14th in Springdale at the Shiloh Museum's General Store. 

In Other News - The Shiloh Singers get-together on Sunday, June 14th, enjoyed a good turnout with 20 singers. The fans kept things fairly cool. Thanks to all who attended.

Shut-ins - Holly Childs, one of our faithful tenors, has spent several days in the hospital after surgery and her daughter, Lisa, has reported positive results and a good prognosis for getting back home in the next few days. Prayers for her speedy full recovery will be appreciated, I'm sure. Holly, we'll miss you this Sunday, but hope you'll feel better by our August singing. Please let us know if there are others that need to be added to the prayer list for the Sunday singing.

That's about all the news I know to print. We hope we'll see you in Mountain View or Springdale this long singing weekend.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Next singing this Sunday, June 14... Plans for July Ozark Folk Center Gathering

It has been a long time since we've joined together to sing. May 2nd in Harrison for the NWA Sacred Harp Singing Convention was almost six weeks ago, and after all the rainfall last month, I hope that all of the Shiloh Singers have a chance to enjoy a wonderful drive through the Ozarks' thick green forests on Sunday, June 14, 2015. The destination is the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History's General Store to sing from The Sacred Harp and the Missouri Harmony from 1:30 to 4:00 P.M. The temperature is expected to be in the 80's with an occasional shower to cool things down. For those who can get to Springdale around noon, the ad hoc lunch group will gather at AQ Chicken House on Hwy Bus. 71 for lunch and catching up with news of family and friends. All are welcome, bring a friend and enjoy the afternoon with singing.

First of all, our thanks to all who participated in the Harrison event, the cooks who brought their best dishes and desserts, to Dan Brittain who has been the guiding light behind this annual event and the congregation of St. John's Episcopal Church who generously opened their doors to provide such a wonderful place to sing. I'm sorry if you were unable to attend. We had a good time but you were missed.

The month of July is not far away and we have several events to talk about. First, the annual Ozarks Folk Center State Park Shape Note Gathering, scheduled for July 9-11 in Mountain View, AR. The instructors for the school and singing will be Gaylon Powell and Dan Brittain, both well known in the nationwide Sacred Harp and Shape Note world. Holly Ruth Gale and Charley Sandage will assist. 
July 9, Thursday evening - A short introductory singing and discussion at 6:00 until 6:45 P.M. to introduce the event in the small White Oak Auditorium located in the Administration Building.  Folks can go to the main show in the theater and buses will be available afterwards to take attendees directly to the main auditorium for the evening program.
July 10, Friday - On the stage of the Folk Center Auditorium, a presentation of all the oblong shape note books in use today. We will have samples from each to sing. Teachers can also earn in-service credit for participation on Friday.
    9:00- 11:30 A.M. - Morning session
    1:00 – 4:00 P.M. - Afternoon session
    7:00 P.M. - The singers take part in the Friday show.

July 11, Saturday- An exciting new event for the Folk Center as part of the weekend gathering. There will be an All-Day singing at the Old High School Auditorium. One half of the day will be devoted to the 1991 Denson Book, the other half to the Christian Harmony. Location: Old Mountain View High School Auditorium (Stone County Historical Society), 204 School Avenue, just off of Main Street in Mountain View.
    10:00 - 11:35 A.M. - Morning session
    1:15 - 3:30 A.M. - Afternoon session
Plan on a Dutch treat for lunch. I think we called that "foraging" on your own when I was in the Army. Of course, we will add more details as they become available, or check out the Ozark Folk Center Announcement at:
Then on Sunday, July 12th, knowing that not everyone can get to Mountain View on Saturday, we still plan on having our regular monthly singing in Springdale in the General Store from 1:30 until 4:00 P.M. following the normal Sunday schedule.

One more thing: Thanks to Allyn Lord, Director at the Shiloh Museum who forwarded the announcement of the reprinting of the Original Sacred Harp tune book originally published in 1911. The singers at Harrison in May actually had a chance to see a copy of the reprint. It's a piece of history some of you may want to keep in your personal library.

Original Sacred Harp: Centennial Edition

"We've just published this commemorative reprint of a much-loved 1911 historical edition of The Sacred Harp, with a new introduction on the book’s legacy and context. Edited by Jesse P. Karlsberg, this Centennial Edition of Joseph Stephen James's Original Sacred Harp" makes newly accessible a trove of engaging music and James’s fascinating historical notes on each of the book's 609 songs."

Learn more historical information about the book: "Old Strings on a New Harp" by Jesse P. Karlsberg.

To order a copy of the book, visit The Sacred Harp Publishing Co: "Original Sacred Harp: Centennial Edition" publisher's page.

To view or download a PDF copy of the May, 2015, "Sacred Harp Publishing Company's  Newsletter" that you can print and share, visit:

Photo and text from the Sacred Harp Publishing Company, May 13, 2015.

And a personal note: Several of the regular singers already know that the Shiloh Singers mailing list has grown in size to the point we had to split the database into two smaller mailing lists to keep from apparently exceeding Google's limits on  non-commercial mailings. Later, we found that some of the email names and addresses were corrupted at some point before, during or after the conversion process. I'll spare you the details. However if you know of a singer who no longer gets the Shiloh newsletter and should, or a new singer who registered and never got a newsletter, please let me know or encourage them to resubscribe. I've been working with computers since the days when dinosaurs like the big IBM's roamed the earth and sometimes their smaller cousins - Windows, Macs and Linux - still win.

We hope to see all of you who can get to Springdale on Sunday. We'll make a joyful noise and have a good time.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Singing at the NWA Sacred Harp Singing Convention on May 2nd...

2015 NWA Convention Flyer. Click on image for printable full-sized PDF version.

Our newsletter is published earlier than the usual monthly reminder to give all of the NW Arkansas Sacred Harp Singing Convention on May 2, 2015 in the Parish Hall of St. John's Episcopal Church in Harrison AR. The church is located at 707 W. Central Avenue and directions are found in the attached flyer. This special spring event starts at 9:30 A.M. and continues until 3:00 P.M. with a break at noon for a pot luck lunch. Singing will be from The Sacred Harp (Denson book) and The Missouri Harmony. Loaner books will be available. The Harrison singing traditionally has been well attended by singers from Missouri, Oklahoma, sometimes from Texas and from all over Arkansas. As usual, visitors, children and new singers are always welcome.

The pot luck lunch is always a special treat and St. John's Parish Hall has a well equipped kitchen with refrigerators, microwaves, etc. to help keep things cold or warm dishes to serving temperature if needed. Singers are invited to bring their favorite meat dishes, casseroles, salads and desserts. Others may wish to bring a cooler and soft drinks. At the moment, we're well supplied with cups, dishes, plastic ware, napkins, thanks to Gail Cowart. Our host, Dan Brittain, usually has the coffee pot perking by arrival time. Donuts to go with the coffee or fruit plates for the morning arrivals or breaks usually travel well in a cooler.

As to motels and hotels, I never did find one website that had all the information about accommodations in one spot. Things like name, location, map, phone number, rates and ratings that were the staple of paper AAA travel guides apparently don't always translate easily into web pages. Harrison's Convention and Visitors Bureau has the most comprehensive descriptions I found on the web (but no maps or rates). The best map of where the motels are actually located is found on  I ended up checking Trivago for distance to the downtown area, rates and ratings. If you have a favorite booking agent, Priceline, Expedia and others are also linked from the Trivago site. If you collect Wyndham, Choice Hotel, or other travel points, do your own thing. With thanks to Dan, who supplied the new picture (in color) for this year's flyer so you can easily identify St. John's Episcopal Church, is our final word on directions, motels and phones. Drop an email to Dan at if you have questions or need more help.

At the April 12th singing at the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History, several singers brought up the point that our usual May 2nd Sunday singing date would arrive on Mother's Day. Mother's rule! Those present quickly concurred that the May 10, 2015 singing at the museum was canceled and we should still spend time with our mothers, family and friends on Mother's Day. The next regular singing will be on June 14th.

Map: Downtown Harrison. Click on image for larger version.

The information we included in the April newsletter regarding the annual Ozarks Folk Center State Park Shape Note School and Singing scheduled for July 9-11 in Mountain View, AR has been posted on the Shiloh Singers calendar. I'm sure we'll talk about the Thursday evening through Saturday event, but I'm hearing some favorable discussions about the Saturday, July 11th, singing in the Old High School Auditorium. See the webpage for the known details.

One More Thing: If you know of a singer who might be interested in attending the NW Arkansas Sacred Harp Singing Convention, share a copy of the flyer with them, or post a copy on the church or choir bulletin board, or even better, bring them with you. We've always had a good singing at Harrison, no matter what the weather, good people getting together to enjoy singing has always turned out well. Hope you'll join us in Harrison on May 2nd.
Shiloh Singers a little more lead time to make plans for the

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Take a break and sing with the Shiloh Singers of NWA on Sunday, April 12th...

It's that time of the year when those among us who have done their taxes can rejoice that the task is completed. Those of us who are using a new tax software application are still trying to figure out new features and directions. I hope that everyone is either finished or close enough to being finished that we can all take a Sunday afternoon break on April 12th and come to the regular April singing in the general store at the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History. The singing will start at 1:30 and will continue until 4:00 P.M. The usual before singing and post singing get togethers starting around noon at Springdale's AQ Chicken House, and dessert somewhere after the singing. All singers and visitors are welcome to sing along or just watch and listen.

Photo - The singers at the 2015 Missouri State Sacred Harp Singing Convention at St. John's United Church of Christ in Pinckney Township near the Missouri River. 

During the past month, members of the Shiloh Singers participated in singings near Washington, MO and Old Washington, AR. The Missouri State Convention gathered participants from all over middle America. The bad weather along the eastern side of the Mississippi River kept some of the regular attendees from making the trip from Georgia and Alabama, but we hope to see many of our old friends next year. The St. Louis singers do a marvelous job with both the singing and the Saturday and Sunday meals and have earned the appreciation of all who attended the 2015 edition of their event.  

The afternoon singing in Washington, AR was only the second year of a special event held in conjunction with the annual Jonquil Festival hosted by the Historic Washington State Park. Saturday, March 21st, was bright and sunny with the Jonquils all looking their best and great attendance. Sunday had intermittent rain and cooler weather but the warm welcome from the singers and the curious on-lookers in the Historic Washington Methodist Church made up for the weather outside.

Photo: Robert Vaughn explains the basics of shape note singing at the 2015 special singing in the Old Historic Methodist Church at the Jonquil Festival at Historic Washington State Park on March 22nd.

Thanks to all the singers from Arkansas and Texas who attended. Discussion after the singing trended toward maybe having a similar event next year with an all day format and lunch at the state park. The Historic Washington State Park and surrounding community is a special place in Arkansas history and a special place to visit any time during the year.

Prior planning must be done in advance Department:

Update 4/11/15:  I got a note from Bob and Gina Cauley who now live in Divide, CO but sang with the Shiloh Singers when they lived in Arkansas. If any of the singers on the newsletter list happen to be headed out to Colorado during late April, the Colorado Springs singers have planned an all-day singing and pot luck lunch for Saturday, April 25th, (9am-3pm) at Chapel of Our Saviour, (in Broadmoor) 84th Street, Colorado Springs, CO 80906. The contact for the event is Mary Margaret Alvarado  You can "google" the address for a map. Please let me know if you can attend and I'll pass along additional info.

OK folks, mark your calendars now so there is no confusion! Dan sent me a note that Mountain View Shape Note Gathering is scheduled for 9-11 July at the Ozarks Folk Center State Park.
Thursday evening - a short singing at c. 5:30 to introduce the event -  the small White Oak Theater (over by 6:45 so folks can go to the main show in the theater).
Friday - on the stage of the Folk Center Auditorium - a presentation of all the oblong shape note books in use today. We will have samples from each to sing. The singers will sing as part of the regular Friday evening show. Teachers can get in-service credit for Friday.
Saturday- a NEW EVENT for the Folk Center as part of the gathering. All-Day singing at the Old High School Auditorium. Great venue. 1/2 day 1991 book, 1/2 day Christian Harmony. Dutch treat for lunch.
More details will follow as they become available. The Mountain View event is an opportunity to gain a wider appreciation for the different variations of shape note singing. It's something to put on your "bucket list" if you haven't been there and the Saturday singing adds more icing on special Folk Center event.

Any further updates and additional pictures will be posted on the Shiloh Singers webpages in a few days (after April 15th?). Park your pencils, file your forms in a folder and get away from your computer screen while sharing the tradition of Sacred Harp singing this Sunday. You'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Shiloh Sacred Harp Singers March Newsletter... Opportunities abound!

Syd and friends lead at Texas Convention
First, a quick reminder that the Shiloh Sacred Harp Singers will be recessed to allow singers to attend the Missouri State Sacred Harp Convention this Saturday and Sunday, March 7th and 8th. We're keeping a careful eye on the weather forecast for the Washington, Missouri area which should clear on Friday with sunny weather with highs in the mid-50's and lows about 29 degrees. While the Interstates toward the St. Louis area are expected to be clear, the secondary roads may require more care. If you're headed that way, please be sure to check the forecast. For more information the Missouri State Convention, see the February newsletter posted on our web page.

The Shiloh Singers will reconvene on Sunday, April 12th, at 1:30 to 4:00 P.M. in the General Store on the grounds of the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History in Springdale.

Perhaps the most important news is that Robert Vaughn of Mount Enterprise, TX has sent out a note to gauge the interest of Arkansas singers to participate in a Sunday afternoon, March 22nd singing at the conclusion of the Jonquil Festival at Historic Washington State Park in Washington, AR. The Historic Washington Methodist Church would host the event again this year from 3:30 to 5:30 P.M. The festival is a three day event. According to the festival announcement in the park calendar:
Thousands of jonquils welcome craftspeople, entertainers and visitors to the town of Historic Washington. Unique crafts and delicious foods are just part of the attractions from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, then again from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sunday. Tours of the park, historic homes, and museums are available at regular price.  Call the park at (870) 983-2684 for details.
I have to admit that I wished we could have spent more time at the festival booths and community attractions when several of the Shiloh Singers participated last year. For more information about the state park and local community attractions, check out the Washington State Park website for pictures, maps, etc. If you're interested in singing at the event, it makes sense to carpool. Please let me know if you're interested and we'll see what we can put together a list plus let Robert know how many from the Shiloh Group expect to attend by sending a quick email to

We also hope to have more details about the NWA Arkansas Spring Sacred Harp Convention after discussion in Missouri. In the meantime, stay warm and stay safe. Hope to see you at one of the singing opportunities in the next month.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Singing at Shiloh Museum on February 8th

With the January 11th ice storm, the Shiloh Sacred Harp Singers of NW Arkansas will host their first singing of the year on Sunday, February 8, 2015 from 1:30 until 4:00 P.M. in the General Store on the grounds of the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History in Springdale. I hope you're looking forward to getting together, catching up on the latest news and making plans for the Missouri State Singing Convention and other events this spring.

If you arrive early enough, those singers who like chicken for Sunday dinner can gather at Springdale's AQ Chicken House around noon. Just ask for the Shiloh Singers at the cashier's desk.

Missouri State Convention Flyer
Those of you who are on the Saint Louis Shape Note Singers mailing list should have already received the Missouri State Sacred Harp Singing Convention flyer with dates, directions and motel information. The singing will span Saturday and Sunday, March 7 and 8, 2015 starting at 9:30 A.M. both days. Singing concludes at 3:00 P.M. each day. A pot-luck dinner on the grounds is served each day for lunch. There's also a Saturday evening social event event and supper. Details and directions will be provided at the singing. If you would like more information, PDF copies of the flyer are available at:

The Shiloh Singers who attend the Missouri convention tend to stay in Washington, MO and a Friday evening supper and Sunday morning breakfast are becoming a tradition. Car pooling and room sharing are encouraged and we can work on those details on Sunday or as the convention dates get closer.

As a result of the exodus to Missouri for their convention, the Shiloh Singers will be in recess on March 8, 2015 and our next regular 2nd Sunday singing will be on April 12, 2015. The Northwest Arkansas Convention is scheduled for Saturday, May 2nd in Harrison, AR at St. John's Episcopal Church. It looks like a busy schedule as we head for spring and summer. Please mark your calendar and check back for any updates.


One sad announcement: Norma Dickerson's mother, Mrs. Hazel "Suzie" Dickerson passed away on Saturday, January 30th at the age of 91. A memorial service has been scheduled at Moore's Chapel in Fayetteville on Tuesday morning, February 3rd at 10:00 A.M. Mrs. Dickerson shared a love for her church and Sacred Harp singing with her daughter, Norma, who has remained steadfast in her help and support for the Shiloh Singers. Norma has helped set up before and clean up after many local events and she's supported the singers in so many different ways. We share a sacred harp connection with Norma's loss.

Memorial contributions may be made to Faith in Action, 1101 North Woolsey Ave. Fayetteville, AR 72703 or Willard Walker Hospice Home, 325 East Longview St. Fayetteville, AR 72703.


In which case, we hope to see each of you at the Sunday singing even more. Take care and drive safely.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

January Shiloh Singing in Springdale Canceled

NWS forecast as of 10:30, 1/10/15
As an official sponsor of "singing in the rain" and other lost causes, I've checked the National Weather Service Forecasts for Sunday, January 11th for most major communities in and near NW Arkansas. Springdale has one of the better forecasts. Things look worse or much worse to the west, north and east of Springdale and only slightly better south toward the tunnel and Alma. In the south the freezing rain should be over by 7-9 A.M. In other locations, the wizards are calling for rain or freezing rain until noon or even later.

KFSM Channel 5 earlier predictions have become more serious with each new forecast. in the interest of safety, and checking with others, I've recommended that we notify the singers by email of the canceled 1/11/15 Sunday afternoon monthly singing ession at the Shiloh Museum. Others I checked with agreed. It's just not worth taiking a chance of someone cresting a hill and finding a patch of ice that survived longer than expected in the shade across the road.

I've asked the museum staff to post a note on the door of the general store in case someone doesn't get the word and shows up.

The second graphic from Ch. 5 and the NWS Tulsa shows the favored locations for light ice accumulations. It is likely a "Winter Weather Advisory will be issued.

Otherwise, we'll twice as many good reasons to hope for better weather for our February monthly singing on 2/8/15 in the Shiloh Museum General Store at 1:30 P.M. Until then, stay warm and stay safe...

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Shiloh Singers January Newsletter (updated)

Singing Christmas tunes 12/14/14. Photo by Patricia
Hello Everyone...

January 11th Singing ~ I hope everyone had a good Christmas and New Year's celebration. The first week of 2015 has seemed very short for some reason. As we get older I think we move and think a little slower and it takes more time to do the same things we used to do quickly. We may also take a little more time to remember to do things. In any case, I don't want any of you to forget the Shiloh Singers will be gathering at the General Store on Sunday, January 11, 2015 at 1:30 for a short afternoon of celebrating the new year with Sacred Harp songs and fellowship. The usual before-singing lunch at AQ's Chicken House at noon will continue for those who arrive early. Any left-over New Year's cookies or snacks are always welcomed at January singings. New singers are also welcomed, so start the year off by bringing a friend who enjoys singing. We can share the experience as easily as we share cookies and singing is better for good health any day.

Questions and Answers ~ I've already had a couple of questions this month about singing at the Missouri State Convention in March and where to find more information about finding Sacred Harp singings if traveling. We can share the answers to those questions too.

I've been pencilling in 2015 events. Do you know the date for the Missouri State Convention?

The Missouri State Sacred Harp Convention is scheduled for the "Second Sunday and Saturday before" in March of each year. That works out to Saturday, March 7th and Sunday, March 8th starting each day at 9:30.  That's also our normal singing date in Springdale, so we usually declare a recess in March and hope as many as can will join other Shiloh Singers who plan to sing in Missouri. The St. Louis Singers sponsor the event and you can check their web site for updates at:  and I'll also post more info in our newsletters and web page when available. We try to encourage people to share rides and expenses to keep costs reasonable. The Missouri State Convention is more like a international event with singers from Canada to Alabama. It's an event you'll remember and want to repeat again.
I am making out my calender for 2015. Would you mind sending me an email with the list of singings with dinner on the ground? I wanted to plan to attend some this year.
The mother lode of Sacred Harp information is
The Singings tab on the website also has links to directories of current singings from all over the country. See:  Look for Warren Steele's list of annual singings
*  If you're interested in Denson book singings check out:
*  If you're in Texas or other places looking for Cooper Book singings visit:
But it's a good idea to check out both lists. Most of the all day singings have lunch or a list of places to eat close at hand, and will usually indicate the arrangements on their website or in their announcement flyer. Example: Missouri usually has a map with directions to the church and nearby motels.
Finally, we have several extra 2014 Minutes Books in the general store where we sing. We receive the 2015 Minutes books during the spring of the year. Be sure to get tje mew copy when it arrives. Minutes books are only updated once a year, but a subscription to the Fasola mailing lists are available at:  It's not a bad idea to check the phone numbers posted in the announcements to confirm the date and locations if you need more directions. I've been on some nice country drives before, but the dates or locations are seldom changed. In those cases, the journey is the reward.

One more thing ~ I love to drive in winter. You can see through the bare trees and see houses, barns and churches that are hidden again in the warmer months of the year. I used to love to participate in European winter rally events and have been sideways in an icy turn with the steering wheel at full lock, the throttle floored and the biggest grin on my face. That was almost 50 years ago and my weather prediction skills aren't any better now than they were back then when the weather maps were printed in German. However, there's a new tool available for Arkansas drivers called "I Drive Arkansas." In case the weather takes a bad turn, I hope you'll join me by checking out the road conditions at:

Just use the "Winter Weather tab with the snow icon on the right margin of the IDrive home page to pull up two maps. One covers the road department's official opinion of road conditions and the second map covers "What's on the Road." which may be more useful information for old European rally drivers than the usual navigator's notes. The National Weather Service had a long-range forecast of a chance of rain on Sunday. Garrett Lewis and the local weather gang on KFSM Ch. 5 weather on Wednesday night didn't expect any problems as the temperatures along I-49 are expected to be above freezing. I expect I'll check both IDrive maps before leaving home on Sunday morning. I hope you'll do the same, drive safely and hope to see you in Springdale on Sunday!

Update: 1/10/15
Well, that didn't last long. NWS and most weather forecasts are worried about freezing rain. We've canceled the January 1/11/15 singing to be on the safe side but I still thing I'll check out the website before I go very far on Sunday morning.