Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Shiloh Singers June Newsletter and a few audio and video links...

The second half of May and the first part of June have been hectic with teachers and students both ready for the end of the school year. I've been retired for almost 20 years and I'm still ready for summer vacation each June. However, I hope you won't take a "summer vacation" from Sacred Harp singing. The Shiloh Singers will host its regular monthly singing on June 12, 2016 in the General Store at the Shiloh Museum. I may bring an extra fan to circulate the cool air a little better and we'll have the usual bottled water on the welcome table. The extra curricular activities - lunch at Springdale's AQ Chicken House and desserts at Denny's close to I-49 will both be optional activities if you can come early around noon or stay a little later. We never have enough time to visit with only a short break in the middle of our 1:30 to 4:00 P.M. singings. And somehow, singers always have plenty of news from family and friends to share. I hope you can make the trip and sing with us this month.

Part of the good news is that Syd Caldwell isn't going to Disneyland this summer, Syd's going to Poland!! ...where he'll attend the singing school and make new friends in Europe. We sometimes think of Syd being the Shiloh Singer's goodwill ambassador to the several states on both sides of the Mississippi River but he'll have some stamps in his passport that not everyone gets to see. Syd, we're proud of you and know you're excited about the trip. Bon Voyage.

We need to get caught up on several audio and video items:
First, we have an audio segment spotted and forwarded by Frank Christel while recording at the Missouri Convention. Singers always talk about how we enjoy having children and young people at our singings and conventions. Jim Herr put things in perspective about youngsters getting starting singing at an early age. The .m4a file is a little larger to make audio as clear as possible. It sounded pretty clear when I wore my hearing aids, but it was recorded in front of a large audience of singers. Link to audio file at: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9FtPHGfBKgyS0FlYUk4d0VJR3M/view?usp=sharing

Next, we have three short videos recorded at the All-Day Singing in the Washington United Methodist Church in Washington, AR on May 14th and the "Old Folks Singing" at Ebenezer UMC on May 15th. The Washington singing is an effort to expand and grow an annual singing in South Central Arkansas. Thanks to Robert Vaughn, who brought books and a number of singers from East Texas to help with all four sides of the square and Keenan Williams and his congregation who provided the "historic wooden church" with wood floors and high ceilings that make a wonderful place to sing traditional sacred music. The NWA visitors were glad we made the trip and hope to return next year. See: https://youtu.be/aa0tVTYe3is

The second video was recorded at Ebenezer UMC's "131st Old Folks Singing" which is the church's reunion day, dinner on the ground, and a time for remembering family and friends who made Tull, AR a viable rural community in the 1800's and keep it viable in the 21st century. I wish every church in our country had such a community celebration each year. I told a friend I hope I could do justice to the Ebenezer singing in only 3 minutes and 45 seconds. Thanks to the Tull community for the hospitality that we received as visitors and we hope we can visit again. See: https://youtu.be/_-Nyb719Mxc

When the several Sacred Harp singers were asked to lead a song, Dan Brittain never misses the opportunity to demonstrate how churches sang before pianos and organs could be freighted across miles of poor roads. Traditional songs are pitched and then the singers first sang their notes instead of the words to help them learn the tune. Then the words were added to complete the song. We hope the video helps explain why singing the notes and then the words helped early singers learn to read music and the confidence to sing with such enthusiasm. See: https://youtu.be/x871979GVTQ

We're running a little long on text and short on time, so I hope you get at idea or two from the audio and video files and that traditional shape note singing is available in Arkansas and surrounding states if you want to learn more. Hope to see you in the Country Store on Sunday.