Chelsea and I were at a shape-note singing school hosted by the Summit School in Montpelier today.
Joan White had a question for the teacher, Tim Eriksen, for pointers on singing as amazingly as he does.
In response, Tim had us try out singing overtone singing.
I think the idea was that with our trying overtone singing we would take some more time to listen to how we sing, giving us more information to work with as we create the sounds we want to sing with as we enjoy singing from The Sacred Harp.
I’ve had a long and exhausting week, and when Chelsea and I were enjoying our efforts in overtone singing on our ride home we started to laugh. It is so good to laugh.
Thank you Chelsea, and thank you Tim Eriksen.
Thank you also to Mary Collins who made these events with Tim Eriksen happen this weekend.
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 http://www.vtshapenotesingers.com for more info about the sing, or email Troad at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
During this brief learning session Chelsea and Ian will go over the basics of melodics and rythmics for shape-note singing with those gathered for the singing. Everyone will have an opportunity to practice what they have learned in the encouraging and supportive atmosphere of the singing. Each person planning to participate in the singing and the lessons is encouraged to have a couple of songs from The Sacred Harp in mind so that they will be prepared excercise the lessons they have learned.
Ian Smiley took another video Pete Sutherland giving a school at St Mike’s in Colchester, VT. Here they sing the shapes for Africa.
A video that Ian Smiley took during a shape-note singing school offered by Pete Sutherland in Bill Ellis’ class at St Mike’s College in Colchester, VT.
Pete Sutherland led this workshop a couple of weeks ago.
Popular shape-note singing school teacher and musician extraordinaire Pete Sutherland is teaching a singing school at Saint Michael’s College tomorrow.
The class commences at 9:45 AM at 303 Edmunds Hall on the main campus.
Parking is available for visitors in the main lot near Durick Library and the McCarthy Arts
Center. Will Ellis, who is the host of this singing school, has an arrangement with St Mike’s security so that anyone visiting to participate in the singing school does not have to worry about parking tickets.
Pete Sutherland plans to use a packet of songs from The Sacred Harp which includes the following
- Wondrous Love
- Christian’s Farewell
- Old Hundred
Troad adapted a document from Dan Hertzler and created this flyer for the VT all day sacred harp singing which the Derby Line local singing will host in Irasburg, VT this year, on March 23rd.
The singers who gather in Derby Line, VT are hosting the 2013 VT all day sacred harp sing. Derby Line singing organizer Julia Richmond [known as Troad] secured this town hall located on common in Irasburg for us to sing in this year.
As Easter Sunday is in March this year, the all day singing will convene on March 23rd this year.