Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Singing on December 9th (with snacks!)

Bill Caldwell leading in the Shiloh Meeting Hall
Our last singing of 2018 will be this Sunday, December 9th from 1:30 P.M. to 4 P.M. at the Shiloh Meeting Hall in Springdale, AR; visitors warmly welcome.  As usual, anyone interested is invited to convene at AQ Chicken in Springdale at noon for lunch. We usually try to bring holiday cookies and snacks to be enjoyed during the break, so feel free to bring something to share, and come ready to snack!

For those interested, work is beginning on another revision of the "red book." Here"s an update from the Sacred Harp Publishing Company's Facebook page:

Inputs to the Music-Revision Committee that is revising The Sacred Harp, including recommendations of music to consider, may be sent to:
Music Committee
P.O. Box 4243
Huntsville, AL 35815
also from the Facebook Page:
The Board of Directors of the Sacred Harp Publishing Company unanimously approved a revision of The Sacred Harp, 1991 Edition. David Ivey has agreed to serve as the chair of the Music Committee. This decision builds on discussions with members of the singing community and among the board over the last several years. We anticipate that the revision process will take 4–5 years. The board is grateful to David for agreeing to take on this role and looks forward to sharing information with the community throughout the revision process.
and another update from the Original Sacred Harp Website:
The Board of Directors of the Sacred Harp Publishing Company unanimously approved a revision of The Sacred Harp, 1991 Edition. David Ivey has agreed to serve as the chair of the Music Committee. This decision builds on discussions with members of the singing community and among the board over the last several years. We anticipate that the revision process will take 4–5 years. The board is grateful to David for agreeing to take on this role and looks forward to sharing information with the community throughout the revision process.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Regular November Singing

Sacred Harp Friends,

Apologies for a late update!

Our regular singing will be this Sunday, November 11th from 1:30 P.M. to 4 P.M. at the Shiloh Meeting Hall in Springdale, AR; visitors warmly welcome.  As usual, anyone interested is invited to convene at AQ Chicken in Springdale at noon for lunch. 

Matt Bell leads the Friday night Singing School.
We had an enjoyable Singing School and Convention a few weekends ago and appreciated having Matthew Bell help us learn more about singing Sacred Harp, including timing and accent. We also spent some time learning Bear Creek and Rainbow more thoroughly (perhaps we'll get adventurous and try them out at a future singings) We had several visitors for both the singing school and the convention.  Thank you to our regulars and our visitors for joining us! 

On a different note, I've been thinking that it might be nice to list a few of our favorite numbers on our website. Not only would it be a good reminder for us about what we like to sing, but would give beginning singers a chance to familiarize themselves, if they wished, with some of the tunes they're most likely to encounter at a regular Shiloh singing.  How does that sound? Toward that end, if you have suggested numbers, please send them to Margaux or Darryl, and we'll work toward putting something together if the group agrees.

Syd was able to travel to the 43rd New England Sacred Harp Convention earlier this fall and had the opportunity to lead the class there.  For those interested, here's a taste! 

Look forward to singing with you soon!

Sunday, October 7, 2018

October Singings in Springdale

Hello Sacred Harp Friends!

It’s officially fall, and our October singing will soon be upon us.  The next meeting will be Sunday, October 14th from 1:30 P.M. to 4 P.M. at the Shiloh Meeting Hall in Springdale, AR; visitors warmly welcome.  As usual, anyone interested is invited to convene at AQ Chicken in Springdale at noon for lunch.  

We also have fall singing school and all day singing scheduled for the end of this month at the Shiloh Meeting Hall. The Fall Singing School will be October 26thfrom 6:30 P.M. to 8 P.M followed by an All Day Singing from 9:30 A.M. to 3:30 P.M. on October 27th, with a pot-luck lunch around noon. Our teacher for the singing school this year will be Matt Bell from Memphis, TN. We’re grateful to have him!

Sunday, September 2, 2018

September Newsletter

Our next regular second Sunday singing will be September 9th from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the newly refurbished Shiloh Meeting Hall.  As per usual, a group will meet for lunch at AQ Chicken in Springdale, AR at noon. All are welcome!

For those who might be interested, I hear that there will be an all-day singing on Saturday October 13th (the Saturday before our regular 2nd Sunday Singing in October) in Columbia MO.  More information can be found in the minutes book, and on the Columbia, MO FaSoLa website:

Some of our group are interested in starting a 5th Sunday Singing in Harrison, AR, but they need a few more singers to get it started.  If you're interested, please contact Andrew Albers or Syd Caldwell, both are in the minutes book.

We have heard from the Murrell Home in Oklahoma (now re-named Hunter's Home), and they will be having their Antique Agricultural Festival, and have invited us to sing on Sunday, October 7th.  They've been working on improvements and renovations throughout the year, and it has delayed some of the prior planing that usually accompanies the Festival. They'd love to have us if we're able to get a group together, and perhaps we can resume the tradition next year, if both schedules allow.  If you are willing and able to go, please e-mail B.R. at, and we'll talk more about this at our September 9th singing. Reports are that the improvements and renovations are quite exciting; more information at

Both the Fall Singing School and All Day Singing are right around the corner. The Fall Singing School will be on October 26th from 6:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. followed by our All Day Singing on October 27th from 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. with a potluck at noon. Both will be held at the Shiloh Meeting Hall.

The Shiloh Singers of NW Arkansas at the August 12th singing in the refurbished Shiloh Meeting Hall sponsored by the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History with the help of many area donations. The high ceiling and the wooden floors made the building a good place for preaching and singing when it was built as a church in 1871.

Visitors and children are potential singers and are always welcome. Loaner books are available so you can just listen, tap your feet, follow along and even sing along.

Friday, August 3, 2018

August Singing and October Singing School

Our next regular second Sunday singing will be August 12th from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the newly refurbished Shiloh Meeting Hall.

We usually meet at A.Q. Chicken at noon prior to our singings, but it's been suggested that this month we try Western Sizzlin.  Unless I hear otherwise, let's plan on meeting there at noon.  The address listed online is 4900, 3492 W Sunset Ave, Springdale, AR 72762. It's just down the street from the Denny's where some of us meet after singings.

If you received the Newsletter Extra this month, you know that a local nursing home has offered us an opportunity to come sing with their residents.  Here's B.R.'s note about it from the newsletter extra:
"My request is that all of you bring your smart phone calendars and equally smart thinking caps to next Sunday's singing and see if there are two or three possible dates that would work for a "Sacred Harp Singing as a Community Service" visit to the Springdale Health and Rehab Center. On previous occasions we've held our regular 2nd Sunday singing at the Museum and then left a little early to drive over the a local retirement center for about an hour of singing. We have not committed to singing in Oklahoma this September, so that date might be convenient. In any case, please let me know"
So, let's see if we can work something out for September or October, and if we can't find something that works this fall, perhaps we can look at dates later in the year.

Looking a couple of months into the future, after our regular singings on September 9th and October, 14th, we'll have Fall Singing School on October 26th  from 6:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. followed by our Singing Convention on October 27th from 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. with a potluck at noon. Both will be held at the Shiloh Meeting Hall. More details to follow in the coming months.

Hope to sing with you all soon!

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

July Singings

I don't know how it was for all of you, but June seemed to fly right by.  Our July singings are upon us! July 5-7, will be the Annual Shape Note Singing in Mountain View, AR. Here are Mountain View Maps to the Ozark Folk Center Gathering and Saturday, and the July 7th Schedule.

Sunday, June 8th (this Sunday!) is our regular 2nd Sunday singing at the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History.  We'll meet in the historic Shiloh Meeting Hall that opened last weekend.  As per usual, we'll meet at AQ Chicken at noon for lunch.

We had a good group and a wonderful time singing at the Shiloh Meeting Hall Grand Opening, both before and after the presentation. We have reports that many of the attendees enjoyed their exposure to Sacred Harp and inquired about it, and many of those who had encountered it before let us know how much they enjoyed a re-introduction.  Several people told us about their memories of singing Sacred Harp with family or in Primitive Baptist Churches as children.

Hope to sing with you soon!

                                         Photo Credit: Darryl Criss

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

More News on Saturday's Singing...

UPDATE: Wednesday, June 27, 2018

We received a note from Syd Caldwell that brings up a good point. Both Bill Caldwell and Andrew Albers were willing to come sing but understandably wanted to sing more than just a 30 minute segment before the dedication. Syd has arranged for the General Store to be open. (We'll need a box of Sacred Harp books and a box of Missouri books anyway.) Thus the revised Shiloh Singers schedule for Saturday, June 30th, looks like:
    2:00 P.M. - Shiloh Singers form a square and sing inside the Shiloh Meeting Hall before the dedication
    2:30 P.M. - Ringing of the Meeting Hall Bell, Dedication and remarks by distinguished guests and visitors.
    3:00 P.M. - Reception and Open House continues with additional entertainment. Shiloh Singers will adjourn to the General Store to continue singing.

After the singing in the General Store, Syd and several others suggested the singers go to supper together at the Market Place in Springdale before returning home.

After moving the historic building to W. Huntsville Ave. in 2005, then developing a plan for working on preservation and renovations since 2007 at a cost of over $1.1 million, it's quite an honor to be the first group invited to use the renovated building and to open such a festive ceremony with songs that might have been sung in 1871 when the building first opened.

Late addition: Syd heard from Mary Ellen Wilkinson that she wants to come. If that's the case we would have singers from Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Looking forward to singing with as many as can come on Saturday. I think the reopening and dedication will be a meaningful experience that all who participate will remember.

"While it is possible to change without improving, it is impossible to improve without changing." - Joseph M. Carroll

Monday, June 18, 2018

Quick Update—Singing Opportunity June 30th

Photo Credit Syd Caldwell 6/10/18The time and date of the Grand Opening of the Shiloh Meeting Hall (formerly the Odd Fellow's Hall) has been confirmed: July 30th at 2 P.M. Sacred Harp singing will be at 2 inside in the A/C, and there will be a presentation for the grand opening and other musical groups following. We appreciate being invited to use the Shiloh Meeting Hall for our future singings.

For those of you who use Facebook (those that don't may still be able to access the presentation; I'm not sure), some of our group were involved in a presentation about Shape Note Singing at the Fayetteville Public Library earlier this summer (it also includes a little information about the Shiloh Meeting Hall). The above link should lead to a recording of the presentation.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Early Summer Singings

Our next 2nd Sunday singing will be June 10th from 1:30 to 4 at the Shiloh Museum. As per usual, those interested can meet at AQ Chicken at noon for lunch.

The Shiloh Museum is quickly finishing construction on the Odd Fellow's Hall, and plan a dedication on Saturday June 30th , likely at 10am, but the time is not set in stone. Allyn Lord, the museum's director, has suggested that we might sing at the dedication, so we'll take a head count of those who think they can attend at our meeting on June 10th, and firm up any details.

Soon after, July 5-7, will be the Annual Shape Note Singing in Mountain View, AR. This will be a weekend full of shape note singing, including singing and teaching sessions with Dan Brittain and Gaylon Powell, and singing from both four-shape and seven-shape books. Follow the links above and below for more information. Mountain View Maps to the Ozark Folk Center Gathering and Saturday, July 7th Schedule.

We had a wonderful time at our NWA Shiloh Singing Convention on May 5th at St. John's Episcopal Church. Over the course of the day, we had around 25 singers total in attendance. Donations were raised to cover the cost of the minutes books and the use of the St. Johns's Kitchen; we agreed the remainder would go to St. John's efforts toward reconstructing their daycare into a landing place for women and families facing domestic abuse.

Our regular singing on May 12th, Mother's day, was also quite lively. Thank you all for your kindness to my grandmother when she visited; she really enjoyed hearing our music and meeting some of the folks I sing with. It was a wonderful Mother's Day for us!

At both meetings, we announced the transition from B.R. managing the website and newsletter to Darryl and Margaux covering the jobs between them; Darryl will send out the newsletter and Margaux will manage the website.  I think we'll all miss B.R.'s warm style, but he's ready for a rest, and so he's passed the torch to Darryl and I.  Thank you, B.R., for your work all these years, and for your training these last months. And we thank all of you in advance for your patience.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Update: Three Singings in May

First Singing: Our yearly Northwest Arkansas Sacred Harp Singing Convention will be Saturday, May 5, 2018 from 9:30 am to 3:00 pm in the St. John's Episcopal Church Parish Hall, 707 W. Central Ave., Harrison AR. We'll be having a pot-luck lunch, so bring your favorite prize-winning hot dish, cold dish, snack, or dessert to share.  I'm told refrigeration and microwave heating will be available.  For more information, please see the map and flyer below.  There's a rumor about an informal jam following the singing, so those interested in playing or listening might want to bring an instrument, a pair of spoons, or just plan to hang around for a bit after 3.

NWA Sacred Harp Singing Convention 2018 Flyer

Second Singing: As we discussed at our last meeting, we will have our regular 2nd Sunday singing at the Shiloh Museum on May 13th 2018 from 1:30-4:00. As usual, those interested can also join a group of singers at AQ Chicken in Springdale at noon for lunch before the singing.

Third Singing: B.R. has been in touch with folks from the singing in Washington, AR, and has confirmed that they will be having a singing on May 19th 2018 from 10:00 am-3:00 pm at the Washington United Methodist Church in Washington, AR. Here is a link to more information and an interactive map: Washington AR Singing

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Upcoming singing April 8

Hello Sacred Harp Friends,

next regular singing will be Sunday, April 8th from 1:30-4:00 in the General Store at the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History in Springdale.  As usual, you're welcome to join in the festivities, bring your children or a guest or two, and enjoy helping continue a traditional form of singing that came west with families loaded in wagons with our ancestors. Loaner books are available so guests can follow along and hopefully sing along if moved to do so. As usual, anyone who arrives around noon at Springdale's AQ Chicken House is welcome to join our table for good food and conversation. Just ask for the singer's table at the reception desk.

One of the tasks for the April Sunday singing is working on any final plans for the Northwest Arkansas Sacred Harp Singing Convention in Harrison, AR on May 6, 2018, from 9:30 until 3:00 with a potluck lunch. More detail will be published with the May updates.

 2018 Missouri State Sacred Harp Convention - On Saturday morning, the only "snow drops" were little white flowers found under the trees.

Sacred Harp singers from all points of the compass filled St. Johns United Church of Christ.

The alto section was well represented.

I'm very pleased to report that we had 11 Shiloh Singers at the Missouri State Sacred Harp Convention on March 10th and 11th. As usual the Saint Louis Shape Note Singers rolled out their welcome mat and conducted another wonderful singing. Missouri also includes a number of very fine cooks who prepared and organized two noon meals and food for a Saturday evening "gathering" at a local church in Washington, MO. There was plenty of time to renew friendships and catch up with family news. After a few years you recognize how much taller the children have grown and share a note of sadness when you notice an occasional empty seat. My hat's off to everyone who made this year's Missouri State Convention a memorable event.

Alexis Walker, Cory Winters and Margaux Burleson leading during the convention. Credit: Martha Beverly
David Ivey and Syd Caldwell lead the Convention. Credit: Martha Beverly

We also enjoyed a small show shower with big fat snow flakes instead of just "snow drops" under the trees on Sunday morning. Even a thin layer of snow is always appreciated by "native Floridians" such as myself who normally only got to see snow if they drove up to north Georgia!  Credit: Julia McElrath

Bill Caldwell cleans a windshield before heading back home on Sunday afternoon. Credit: Julia McElrath
 An additional well deserved photo credit: A special thank you to Martha Beverly for taking photos at Sacred Harp singing events and posting 14,416 of her photos on her website with 3.1 million views since 2006. 
You can visit her website at:'s "Albums" are neatly organized by event and date showing photos of song leaders.

While we're thinking about pictures of friends, Martha was in Ann Arbor for a recent singing. Syd Caldwell noticed that Martha had taken a snapshot of Michele Raine (L) and Marian Mitchell leading during the March 24, 2018 singing on the University of Michigan campus. Michele formerly sang alto with the Shiloh Singers of NWA in Springdale and is fondly remembered by her many Arkansas friends.

One More Thing:  You may have noticed some minor differences in the introduction used for the webpage update for today's edition. I'm sure you'll see more improvements and a fresh ideas in the near future. I ran out of different ways to say, "We'll be singing on Sunday at the Shiloh Museum" several years ago.  I've been doing this newsletter since 2012 and I'm very pleased to announce that Margaux Burleson (alto section) and Darryl Criss (bass section) have agreed to work together on the webpage and newsletter respectively. You can help them by sending news of nearby events while I rest my typing fingers and like other old soldiers, quietly fade away. It's been fun and I've really enjoyed singing with you and plan to continue for many more singings in Springdale, in Missouri and elsewhere for as long as Katy will let me out of the house. Take care of yourselves out there.


Sunday, March 4, 2018

We'll be singing in Missouri on March 10 and 11...

It looks as if the Shiloh Singers will be well represented at the Missouri State Sacred Harp Convention next weekend. I just wanted to post a reminder for anyone who might have planned to show up at the General Store next Sunday. I wish everyone could be there with us to enjoy one of the best early singings of each year.  

Our next local singing at the General Store at the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History will be April 8, 2018 at 1:30 PM. We'll also need to do the final planning for the Spring NWA Sacred Harp Singing in Harrison, AR on Saturday, May 6th. 

Keep on singing...

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Singing on Sunday, February 11th and Missouri in March...

Just a couple of quick items. The Shiloh Singers of NWA will be singing on Sunday, February 11, 2018 from 1:30 until 4:00 P.M. in the General Store at the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History in Springdale. As always, children, visitors and guests are welcome. Bring someone with you. We'll also have a table at the Springdale AQ Chicken House "around noon" if you want a warm lunch before singing. 

Click on image for full .PDF
One of the items will be a short discussion on the Missouri State Sacred Harp Singing Convention on March 10 & 11, 2018. The important details are included in the .PDF copy of Missouri Convention flyer. Click on the image for a full size copy. The Shiloh Singers usually stay in Washington, MO and two motels are listed on page 2 of the flyer with discounted rates and phone numbers. Don't wait until the last minute. Besides the Missouri Convention schedule, we also need to talk about ride sharing and trying to make sure that everyone who wants to sing in Missouri can get there. If you plan to attend the Missouri Convention but can't get to February's Springdale singing, please send me an email so we help coordinate a "share-a-ride." 

One more thing: Get a pencil or your smart phone and mark your calendar. The Saturday before the first Sunday in May, which is Saturday, May 6th, the NWA Sacred Harp Singing Convention will be held in Harrison. More details will be published in March and April.

We'll send out another reminder about being "in recess" during March before leaving for Missouri. Hope to see you in Springdale this Sunday and at the Missouri State Singing Convention in March. ...And we'll all sing on!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Oops! January Singing on Sunday Canceled...

UPDATED: Saturday, 1/13/18

A little October snow and ice in
Yellowstone National Park, not
a prediction for Arkansas...yet.
After waiting until the last minute to send out the January singing reminders on Friday, I checked the Saturday noon weather forecast and found that the Saturday night and Sunday forecast had flipped-flopped overnight. Out of "an abundance of caution" and after several phone calls, we've canceled the Sunday, January 14th, singing in the General Store due to inclement weather. Syd has called the museum and asked for a note to be put on their Facebook page and the front door of the General Store while I work on this 2nd edition of the January newsletter. The official forecast for tonight and Sunday:

NWS Forecast for: Springdale Municipal AR
Issued by: National Weather Service Tulsa, OK
Last Update: 12:55 pm CST Jan 13, 2018
Tonight: A 20 percent chance of snow after midnight. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 15. North wind around 5 mph becoming calm in the evening.
Sunday: A 30 percent chance of snow, mainly before noon. Partly sunny, with a high near 35. Wind chill values between 5 and 15. South wind 5 to 15 mph.

That usually means we might see anything from a few flurries to a slight accumulation in spots or no snow at all. We just don't know where any of those conditions may or may not happen. What I worry about are the places where a slight accumulation has turned into ice in a shady spot just beyond the crest of a hill. There's no need to take any chances. So we'll miss the usual chicken and dumplings at AQ's, visiting and singing with everyone and just make plans to try to get together again in February.

We've also had two additional updates that we had planned to mention at the singing and in a 2nd newsletter update next week:
From Bill Caldwell in Joplin...

I have a general update that can be shared with our singers.  I was able to
take the collar off on Thursday, the 11th.  I'm still going to physical therapy
to get the range of motion back for my neck.  I can move it but it's stiff and I
don't have fast enough reaction time looking left or right yet to drive. 
That'll take a couple more weeks or so.  But I'm back to work part time and have
been able to do a good portion of my regular duties in a half day.  I'm hopeful
to be able to be at February's singing barring weather excitement. Thanks to
everyone for their care and prayers!

Syd Caldwell and Bill both mentioned the sad passing of Darrel Swarens, one of
the singers we used to see each ear in Missouri. 

His smiling face was always a welcome sight at Missouri and any other
singing he attended. He put his whole heart into his singing.  We'll miss him.

Be safe out there. We'll try again on February 11th. Hope to see you then.



Bring a sweater...

Singing on Sunday ~ The Shiloh Singers will conduct their regular January singing on January 14, 2018 in the General Store on the grounds of the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History from 1:30 until 4:00 P.M. One of the reasons I've waited to send out the newsletter has been to keep an eye of the weather. I was once told that three days was about as far as our Army weather forecasters could see ahead with their M-1 crystal ball. The forecast for Sunday is for "Partly Sunny" with sweater weather and not very highs in the upper-thirty degree range. It certainly looks like roads around Springdale will be dry. The store's heat pump has always produced enough heat to stay warm. We also know that spirited singing will add a few more degrees of warmth to the gathering. As usual, the "early arrivals" are invited to share a table at Springdale's famous AQ Chicken House around noon. 

If you have any concerns about the weather, we all now have a tool that even our Army didn't have during those long winter maneuvers in Germany's snow 50 years ago. You can check the driving conditions before you leave home visiting the "I Drive Arkansas" website at  then click on the blue snow flake to check out the current winter road conditions. I've recently used similar road condition websites in several other western states, and in my opinion the Arkansas' site is one of the best for being easy to use and understand.

Long Range Planning ~ People have already asked about the dates for the Missouri State Sacred Harp Singing Convention and the NWA Singing Convention in Harrison. 

The Missouri State Sacred Harp Singing Convention is scheduled for Saturday, March 10 and Sunday, March 11, 2018. I expect the St. Louis Shape Note Singers will likely put their flyer on their website in late January or early February. I usually post a link or copy on the website and in the newsletter.
The NW Arkansas Sacred Harp Singing Convention is scheduled for May 5th this year. We'll try to include more info in the newsletter or on the website as we get closer to that date.
The Fayetteville Public Library's Summer Reading Club has requested our help with a program during June or July. We need to discuss how we could assist and possible dates at this month's singing. 
Sacred Harp Publishing Company Newsletter ~ The December 1917 issue of the publishing company's newsletter is available online. Covering a wide range of topics from the history of Sacred Harp singing, building a community of singers, lessons learned from other singers and even a detailed article about how to repair songbooks or any book for that matter. You can check out the current edition at:  and if you enjoy learning more about Sacred Harp singing you may sign up on their "infrequent newsletter mailing list."

That's all for a quick update. Hope to see you in Springdale on Sunday afternoon.