Sunday, September 27, 2020

An update on Progress at the Shiloh Museum and emphasis on keeping our singers safe during a pandemic.

Syd Caldwell, NWA's Ambassador to Sacred Harp Singing, called a few days ago to report that he had discussions with Allyn Lord at the the museum about the Fall Convention. The museum is opening slowly and still has some "restricted areas" and areas of concern where space or other safety factors are worrisome. My contribution to the conversation is only that I've been reading the CDC statements that were posted and taken back down and how airborne diseases are spread via droplets or with aerosols. Most of the research on droplets seems to go back to TB studies in 1934, where the disease was and still is shared by droplets. COVID-19 virus is small enough to be spread within an aerosol, which has a longer range, further than the normal "social distance" of only 6 feet. Activities where aerosols and the virus may be spread include indoor groups, particularly large indoor groups, without masks, such as choirs, basketball games, political rallies, and such.

While the Shiloh Meeting Hall where we sing has hard surfaces and still new air conditioning, a traditional Sacred Harp square where singers are at full volume facing each other doesn't sound like a reasonable position to take even this October. Arkansas has a "case fatality rate" (CFR) much lower than experienced in much of the U.S. But the available hospital space in ICU's has been a factor as more people test positive.

The Shiloh Museum is "safely reopening."
In any case, Syd asked that I informally poll other singers as he was running out of time on his schedule, and the results were consistent that the Shiloh Singers follow the museum's schedule. Any of the singers who would like to know more about the Shiloh Museum's efforts to refurbish facilities, improve displays and safeguard irreplaceable resources can sign up for the museum's newsletter. With all the hard work by museum staff and the improvements, Springdale will have an even better museum to preserve Springdale's history and prominence in the history of the Ozarks.

The museum is also carefully reopening in an effort to keep everyone safe while letting people visit and enjoy the museum's exhibits and the shade trees and get on with as many normal activities as possible or that can be modified to keep everyone safe. 

If you'd like to get on museum's mailing list, send an email to the museum at: and ask to be added to their "News and Events" email list.  In the meantime, the museum will be open Monday through Fridays and closed Saturdays. Every Thursday, 10:00 a.m. to noon, is reserved for high-risk visitors only.

+  If you have any fever, chills or shortness of breath, please stay home until you feel better.

+  The museum is limiting the number of visitors at one time, based on social distancing.

+  Please be patient until room is available. Please use the front entry door and use the side door for exits to maintain safe distancing. Visitors in wheelchairs may ring the bell on the east door and someone will open the door and assist your entry.

+  Visitors must wear a face mask unless they are under 2 years of age or have trouble breathing or other incapacitation. Please practice social distancing while visiting and keep children nearby.

+  Purses are OK but please leave strollers or other personal belongings in your car.

+  Due to the small space, the museum store is closed until the "all clear" is given.

+  If you are a researcher, please call, email or regular mail any research questions or photo requests as space is limited.

All that being said, I have been impressed with the work already done and the photos posted in the museum's "News and Events" newsletter. If you have any questions call the museum at 479-750-8165 or use the email address:

Virtual Singings during the Pandemic

For those not on Facebook,
"Some people have been frustrated by the fact that virtual singing announcements are
scattered around various groups and hard to find. Clarissa Fetrow set up a calendar where people can find and add virtual singings all in one place:"

Be on the lookout for the emailed October edition of the Shiloh Singers Newsletter that will have more information about how to access some of the virtual Covid Singings. 

The Shiloh Museum is not just about the past

Katy Black and "Mr. T" in safer days.
The Shiloh Museum is a place to learn about the people and events that formed our present. The museum's newsletter generally closes with a note about "Mr.T," the museum's resident supervising cat. "Thomas" to his friends has even visited our singings when we sang in the General Store building. He usually has the last word in the "News and Events" newsletter.

The picture shows Thomas giving my wife a big hug a couple of year's ago when social distancing was not required. These days he might be more likely put a paw on your cheek to remind you to wear your mask or pat you hand to remind you to wash your paws if you get too close.

A museum that has a friendly cat, also has friendly people. So watch for changes in the news from the museum and see all the improvements at your community's Shiloh Museum of Ozark History. 

We'll publish any changes we hear about on this website or a special edition of the Shiloh Singer's newsletter that is published once a month when we're not in recess for pandemics and the safety of our singers. We don't want to take any chances with our friends and neighbors.

Take care out there. Wear your mask, keep your distance, avoid large crowds and wash your paws!  Mr. T even has me saying that!!


Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Staying Home, Staying Safe, Missing Singing with all of you!

BREAKING NEWS: The 2020 "Shape Note Gathering has been cancelled due to pandemic.
FROM: Charley Sandage

We must regretfully announce that the Covid-19 situation compels us to cancel the 2020 Shapenote Gathering set for July 9,10, and 11at the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View, Arkansas.  Please circle your 2021 calendar for July 8,9, and 10 and join us then.  We will be adding sessions for beginning shapenote singers and offering documentation for continuing education credit for in-service teachers.  For the non-singers in your family, the crafts village and  old-time music at the Ozark Folk Center, nearby Blanchard Spring Caverns, fishing and boating on the White River, and the legendary music on the town square can more than fill their time while you join Gaylon Powell, Dan Brittain, and the rest of us for learning and singing in the "hollow square."

Charley added, "Please circle your 2021 calendar for July 8,9, and 10 and join us then. We will be adding sessions for beginning shape note singers and offering documentation for continuing education credit for in-service teachers.  For the non-singers in your family, the crafts village and old-time music at the Ozark Folk Center, nearby Blanchard Spring Caverns, fishing and boating on the White River, and the legendary music on the town square can more than fill their time while you join Gaylon Powell, Dan Brittain, and the rest of us for learning and singing in the "hollow square."

I'm sure all the Shiloh Singers would add our appreciation to Charley and the planning committee, the Arkansas Folk Center Staff, and everyone in Mountain View who worked to get all the moving parts necessary to hold a successful singing in place. That's also true of other singings on the Spring and Summer Arkansas Sacred Harp singing schedule. But while disappointed by the spread of a pandemic, we need to keep all our singers and keep our larger family of singers safe. I'm sure that we would all agree that our singers are more important than any individual singing.

...and we'll all sing on!

More "Breaking News" and updates when we get them. Hope to sing with you soon!

Saturday, March 14, 2020


Electron Micrograph
Consistent with other organizations in the area and efforts to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus by governments and health agencies at all levels, the Shiloh Singers will be "In Recess" until further determination by the appropriate agencies that the public health risk of spreading the virus to other individuals is reduced to safer levels. Thus the suspension applies to both the regular 2nd Sunday Singings at the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History Meeting Hall and the 4th Sunday informal singing and school at the West Fork Library Meeting Hall.

Any resumption of singing at either location will be posted on this website and announced in the monthly newsletter.

We hope that health concerns and the decline of COVID-19 infections will allow us to all sing together again soon.

Friday, February 7, 2020

We'll be singing on February 9th in the Shiloh Meeting Hall...

Hello Everyone... 

I hope all of the Shiloh Singers enjoyed the singings in January. February singing will start with our usual 2nd Sunday singing on February 9th in the Shiloh Meeting Hall from 1:30 to 4:00 P.M. The usual group will gather at AQ Chicken House in Springdale around noon for lunch and catching up on news from all present. All singers or potential singers are invited. Just ask the reception desk for "the singers" and you'll be pointed in the right direction. 

We're already a week into February and only three weeks remain to make reservations and travel arrangements for the 35th Annual Missouri State Sacred Harp Convention in St. John's United Church of Christ on Highway 94, 11.5 miles west of Marthasville MO. Our group normally stays in Washington MO. Thanks to Darryl for sending out copies of the Missouri Convention Flyer with his monthly 2nd Sunday reminder. If you didn't get a reminder, click on the underlined flyer link above to download a full-sized, two page PDF copy that you can save, print or share. The flyer also contains information about convenient motels and phone numbers. Another consideration is travel. Car pooling is encouraged to save gas, reduce costs and generally have more fun. As usual, the Shiloh Singers will be in recess for the March 8th Sunday Singing to attend the Missouri Convention.

The Missouri State Convention attracts singers from the South-
East to the Mid-West; small towns and major cities. Come and
join in the good singing and fellowship that's open to all.

Don't forget the 4th Sunday Singing Class in West Fork!

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Late January Post to get the latest Weather Forecast...

Hello Everyone...

Just a few quick notes to confirm that we do plan to have a 2nd Sunday Sacred Harp Singing in Springdale at the Shiloh Meeting Hall on Jan. 12th from 1:30 until 4:00 P.M. Those who think chicken and dumplings make a good lunch on a cool day are invited to gather at AQ's Chicken House around noon for food and fellowship. Everyone is invited, old singers or new.

With the Friday night and Saturday weather so undecided , I waited until the very last minute to work on the January update. Saturday's weather is showing a mix of sleet and snow along the western Arkansas border region. After that passes over us, the weather looks clear all the way west to Ogden, Utah! The Sunday forecast for Springdale is for "Sunny" and highs in the high 40's or low 50's.

Please check Arkansas' I-Drive traffic and weather monitoring system at for the latest winter weather information. It's quick, simple easy to understand and works with any current Android or Apple smart phone, laptop or desktop that I know about. I use it all year but most of all during the winter.

If you're snowed in or iced in, or driving conditions are not favorable in your area, please stay safe and remember we also now have a 4th Sunday Singing in West Fork at their Library Meeting Hall behind the city library. It's a good place to sing, bring some snacks or cookies for the break and I think you'll have a good time and plenty of opportunity to learn new songs. That singing will be on January 26th at 1:30 until 3:30 P.M. Bring a friend too.

Syd leads the MO Convention
Long Range Planning
Join folks from all over the central and southern states for the 35th Missouri State Sacred Harp Singing Convention, Saturday and Sunday, March 7 and 8, St. John's United Church of Christ on Highway 94, 11.5 miles west of Marthasville MO (GPS: 38.668206, -91.237433), 9:30 to 3PM both days. Loaner books available.

I'll post a copy of the printed flyers when available, but circle the dates. It's a good way to finish off a winter season and get ready for Spring.

Special Thanks
Thanks to Darryl, for getting out the earlier email about the singing.

Thanks to Walt who will have the Meeting Hall open and warm in time for our Sunday Singing.

Thanks to all of you who come and sing, share your knowledge of Sacred Harp, and share in the fellowship that comes from being part of a group of people who enjoy singing old songs as they were sung so many decades ago and preserving a tradition that we can pass on to another generation of singers.

Just stay safe while you're getting here.