About snscovi



stands for “Shape-Note Singing Communities of Vermont Incorporated”

A story of snscovi

Perhaps you ask, what’s with the funny name? How do you say “snscovi”? Ian came up with the mouthful of a name in conversation with his fiance, Chelsea. Chelsea enjoys the sound of Russians in conversation and she pronounces the acronym as “snuhscovi”, with an emphasis on the syllable “snuhs.” You can say the acronym as you like to, but the ‘Russian’ pronunciation does sound mighty fine.

With that question out of the way, the story can begin.
Ian Smiley started considering the benefits of a non-profit for non-profit for shape-note singing many years ago but first took decisive action to make it happen during the winter of 2011. Before the Annual VT All-Day Sing Ian sent a proposal to organizers of shape-note singing communities in Vermont.

The snscovi proposal letter

I propose that we, VT shape-note singers, collaborate to create a non-profit with the purpose of fostering the vitality and quality of shape-note singing from books including The Sacred Harp , which we enjoy in our communities around this state. We could call this organization Shape Note Singing Communities of Vermont (SNSCOV), or some more lilting appellation of our choice. I see SNSCOV coming together through the conversation of persons who are already leading our singing communities, and hopefully some people who are newly inspired as well. Some examples of what SNSCOV could accomplish are:

  • Inviting shape note singing masters to Vermont to teach
  • Purchasing loaner books and helping rent spaces for budding sings across the state
  • Supporting parties of singers who want to travel to out of state singing events
  • Publicizing shape note singing to the greater VT community

Since getting off the ground as a nascent not for profit on its own could be challenging, SNSCOV could ask a sister organization, like the Western Massachusetts Sacred Harp Community, to consider taking SNSCOV under its wing, until SNSCOV is ready to apply for not for profit status in its own name.

I have enjoyed singing in many of the gatherings for shape note song in VT and I truly value what we all have now. I believe that if we combine our strength using a tool like SNSCOV we can enjoy even greater vitality of singing and fellowship in our communities. That is why I ask that you consider my proposal and decide to empower the creation of Shape Note Singing Communities of Vermont.

Thank you for your thoughtful consideration. I welcome any responses that you would like to share with me.

Sincerely, Ian

The Business session of the all-day singing supported the non-profit proposal

Ian brought the same proposal to the 2011 Annual Vermont All-Day Sacred Harp Singing and asked the sing for support during its business session. A resolution of support was offerred by Mathhew Wojcik of Brattleboro, VT and passed by the entire sing.

Application to the state of Vermont for non-profit status

Ian was then authorized to proceed with next steps to make the non-profit a reality, like making an application with the state of Vermont for non-profit status. That application is still in the process of composition.

Vermont recognizes SNSCOVI as a non-profit

Ian completed the paperwork for non-profit status of Shape-note singing communities of Vermont Incorporated towards the end of October, 2011. With that step complete Ian contacted singers who agreed to serve on the SNSCOVI board of directors to arrange a first meeting for planning purposes. Now SNSCOVI will have a collectively realized direction.

Contact Information

Shape Note Singing Communities of Vermont Incorporated c/o Ian Smiley 1 Liberty St Montpelier, VT 05602 and vtshapenotesingers-at-gmail-dot-com Send Ian an email

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