Monday, February 8, 2016

Shape Note Singing Events for February, March and April...

There are so many things to talk about, we'll have to be brief in the newsletter and hope you'll check out the webpage for more information and pictures about what's on the schedule for the next month. We're even working on a schedule page for the website!

First up, thanks to Frank Christel in Tulsa. There is a Sacred Harp concert to be held this Thursday evening on the University of Tulsa campus at 7:30 P.M. The program, Concerts with Commentary: The Sacred Harp will be conducted in Lorton Performance Center, Gussman Concert Hall 550 South Gary Place Tulsa, Oklahoma. See for more information.

Thanks to Public
Radio Tulsa
Classical 88.7

UPDATED: 2/24/16 Thanks are again due Frank Christel and the Tulsa singers for sharing the Public Radio Tulsa Classical 88.7 website with photos and recordings of individual tunes and commentaries from a recent concert at the University of Tulsa dedicated to Sacred Harp music. The February 11th concert in the Lorton Performance Center was interspersed with commentaries about old time singing traditions and how the tunes were written and sung.

I have often suspected that many of our Sacred Harp tunes are only one musical arrangement away from concert halls or church choirs as well as movies. The songs sung and played during this concert presentation are an example of that close relationship with traditional singing. It's refreshing to hear our Sacred Harp tunes sung with such care and the emotion that they deserve. 

As I listened to the tunes in the set of audio recordings available on the site, I was convinced the University of Tulsa Music Department, Dr. John S. Powell and Prof. Dana Maher and all the participants deserve our appreciation for taking our traditional music to a new audience. I only wish I could have been there.

If you missed it the performance, the next best thing is to visit the concert's website at:

Singing in General Store on Feb 14.
Second on the calendar: We've had over 30 singers and visitors at both the December and January monthly singings. I hope everyone can attend our February Singing in the General Store on the grounds of the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History this Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016. We'll be singing from 1:30 until 4:00 P.M. and you're invited to bring a friend (also known as a new singer) with you. There are two events we also need to discuss briefly during the meeting.

St. John's UCC
Saturday, March 12, and Sunday, March 13, 2016, the Saint Louis Shape Note Singers will sponsor the 31st Missouri State Sacred Harp Convention in the historic St. John's United Church of Christ, located near Marthasville, MO. The church was constructed in the 1870's in the rich farm land on the banks of the Missouri River. Besides singing in a marvelous old church setting, a relatively new singer has the opportunity to absorb enough Sacred Harp singing to make the trip worthwhile. Even a more experienced singer will learn new songs, and how other groups sing your old favorites. In the past, sufficient Shiloh Singers have attended that we've declared a recess to our own March singings in Springdale. If you want more information, visit the St. Louis Shape Note Singers website at:  The official 2016 Missouri Convention Flyer with specifics, directions and suggested accommodations in Washington, MO:

George M. Murrell Home Historic Site
In the long range planning department, there's also an invitation to conduct a Sunday afternoon singing on the grounds of the George M. Murrell Home Historic Site in Park Hill, OK on October 9th in conjunction with their Antique Agriculture Festival. We could sing in our traditional square starting after lunch and sing until 3:00 P.M. which allows singers and visitors an early start back home. This event would be a cooperative event with the Oklahoma City Sacred Harp Singers, Shapenote Oklahoma in Tulsa, and the Shiloh Singers of NWA and provide a wonderful opportunity for outreach and promote Sacred Harp singings in Eastern Oklahoma and NW Arkansas as well as help promote the historic Murrell Home. Since we operate by consensus and are all volunteers, we need to talk about it and make sure we have a full crew on board before we set sail.

Finally, please circle April 30th on your calendar for the annual Northwest Arkansas Convention on Saturday, April 30, 2016, 10:00 A.M. until 3:00 P.M. at St. John's Episcopal Church in Harrison, AR. There's also a pot luck lunch during the noon break. We'll be singing from The Sacred Harp and Missouri Harmony.

If that sounds like we're going to be busy, it's also an opportunity to enjoy some great singing that will fit a variety of calendars and schedules. We'll try to post the regional calendar (subject to further suggestions and changes) on the website next week after the February singing.

One more thing: For those who can get to Springdale's AQ Chicken House on Sunday, Feb. 14th about noon, there's usually a table (or two) with singers from the Shiloh group. It's a good place to catch up on news, events, ask questions and enjoy each others company. Singers, friends and visitors are welcome.  We might even find a place for dessert after the singing!