profile of Ines

I have been in choirs all my life, starting in a children’s choir back in Germany. In German choirs, at least the ones I was in, each section practices separately, and after everyone has memorized their part, the sections are put together.  Therefore, sight singing is never necessary, and I had never heard of it before I came to the US. My inability to sight sing got me into trouble from then on, but I loved choir singing too much to just give it up. Thru the years I’ve been in various church choirs, but always had to make sure I stood next to someone who knew how to sight sing really well, so I could copy their notes.

A lot of times, I had to enter the alto part into a music program at home in order to learn it, which was very time consuming.

Luckily, a member of the last church choir I was in introduced me to sacred harp. The shapes were the solution to my problem.

They really do work!! Just give it some time, and you will be able to sing  any song in shape note notation.

Being a part of the sacred harp community also makes moving less traumatic: Wherever you go, you can look up local singings and make new friends. And the songs they sing will be the same, no matter where you go, so there is one thing in life that doesn’t change, and that is very comforting.



Montpelier March 2nd

Hello all:

sign in front of the Tulsi Tea Room

sign in front of the Tulsi Tea Room

We will sing together March 2nd at 630pm at the Tulsi Tea Room.
If you want to drink tea and chat come around six. I‘ll be there, and if you have any more in depth questions to ask about shape-note singing, I’ll be happy to talk about that, or anything else.
I’ll bring loaner books to share.
We’re friendly and relaxed practice singing where you can just ask if you want to go over something.
We’ll have fun singing all together.

sincerely, IanImage00009

202 Howard Ave Apt 2
Waterbury Center, VT 05677

eight zero two eight eight two eight two seven four

from Chelsea

I came across Shape Note singing in college when I was trying a lot of new things. I was drawn to the music because of the kindness of the people who were singing it.

I sang in the alto section because that’s where I’ve always sung, unable to hit the high notes with any volume or control. I remember my understanding of music was turned on its head when our fearless leader bent down from the center, looked me in the eye and said “You have a very pretty voice Chelsea – now sing LOUD.” Gone were the ideas of blending with the group and my cultivation of a low falsetto. I remember the first time my chest voice was strong enough to reach a higher note in “Hallelujah” and then, occasionally, in “Africa.” It was transcendent and powerful and empowering and impossible to sing softly without straining the voice. I haven’t really seriously looked back.
Shape note singing has been a journey for me. Each year I realize I have learned more. I have gone from being terrified of all of the new songs at a convention and just trying to catch a note here or there as it flew by to knowing songs well enough to start HEARING and FEELING the poetry and understanding more deeply the other parts. I love shape note music for the community and because, unlike in other choruses, we bring the energy every time, not just at the performance.
The more I sing the words, the more grounded I become in prayer about eternity, love and forgiveness. I do not believe in every idea we sing, but I do appreciate meditating on the poetry and thinking about the ideas the songs bring up and the community members who are always ready to bring it into context. I am not religious, but I do pray and now prayer feels most full and profound when I can pray with my voice.
It is no wonder to me that I have married the tenor man who I met as I cast my voice into the hallowed square and met his eyes week after week.

press release all day singing

What: Annual Vermont All-Day Sacred Harp (Shape Note) Singing

When: Saturday, March 23, 2013, 10 am-4 pm

Where: Irasburg Town Hall, Irasburg, VT

Cost: Free! Donations will be accepted to cover hall rental

Fiery church music sung with gusto, Sacred Harp (also called Shape Note) music dates back to the 1770s, when singing teachers traveled around New England towns conducting singing schools. To help the musically uneducated person to learn the tunes and read the music, the note heads were not just circles as we know them today–there were triangles, rectangles and diamonds, and each shape was assigned its own name-so, fa, la, mi.

In Shape Note singing, there is no musical accompaniment—the human voice is the sacred harp. There is no conductor and no audience. Singers take turns being the leader of the “class”, standing in the “hollow square”, with the four harmony parts (bass, tenor, alto and soprano) seated on each of the sides of the square facing the center. The leader chooses a song, a pitch is given, and the song is sung, first time through using the shape names, and then with words. The singing is enthusiastic and full-voiced. Before the day is over, over 100 tunes will ring through the hall.

No experience is needed; Sacred Harp loaner tunebooks will be available at the sing. Many of the songs date back to the early days, but new sacred harp music is being written all the time. The music has been described as passionate, haunting, raw, powerful, and stark. Unless you grew up in the South, where Shape note music never went out of style as it did in New England, this church music will not sound like church hymns you are used to hearing. Newcomers are invited to stand in the center with the leader to experience the full power of the music.

In true sacred harp sing tradition, there will be a pot luck meal in the middle of the day. Please come for any or all of the day! The sing is being hosted by the Northeast Kingdom Shape Note Singers who meet once a month in Derby Line. Visit for more info about the sing, or email Troad at

Feb 16th Montpelier local singing

Hello dear singers
Chelsea and I may host a singing next Saturday at the Tulsi Tea Room from 630 to 8pm.
For Chelsea and I home is in Waterbury Center so please RSVP whether or not you will come to the singing.
Please remember, we are a singing that is able to take time to go over voice parts so don’t hesitate to come if you are a less confident sight reader and singer. Bring a friend!
Check out this video I took our last singing when we sang our last song, 288 “White.”

travel to WMSHC

The Western Massachusetts Sacred Harp Convention is one of the biggest events for singing from The Sacred Harp in the world and it gathers just a couple hours drive from much of VT. Travel gets more and more challenging for us to fit into our budget so as much we can we will want to coordinate our travel plans to try and save on the cost of fuel.

If you would like to coordinate with other VT or Quebec singers fill out this form and I will try and connect you. There is no money collected for travel scholarships yet but if you use this form please indicate whether you are interested in receiving a travel scholarship. When I respond I will indicate whether travel funds are available[contactme]

If you would like to contribute to the travel scholarship of SNSCOVI please use this option for making a donation

Simply specify that you would like the donation to the travel scholarship fund. Thank you.