Minutes of Sacred Harp Singings

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Würzburg Singing School

Evangelischen Studentengemeinde, Würzburg, Germany

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The first Sacred Harp singing school in Würzburg, Germany, was organized by Keith Macdonald, Jutta Pflugmacher, and Michael Walker, and was led by Aldo Ceresa.

Michael Walker welcomed the singers and gave an introduction in German, then introduced Aldo Ceresa. Aldo called together Michael Walker, Dave Richardson, Ted Brown, Helen Brown, Cath Tyler, Jacqui Selby-Macleod, Ian West, Judy Whiting, Fynn Titford-Mock, and Alison Mitchell Zunklei and led a demonstration singing for the new singers from Germany, singing the following songs: 45t, 274t, 47b, 155, 430, 503, 65, 182, 417, 31t, 306, 49b, 134, 384, 448t, 532, 236, and 282.


The class was called to order by Aldo Ceresa leading 145t. Aldo made some opening remarks and gave an introduction to the history, music, and practice of Sacred Harp singing. He then introduced the notes and rests on p. 15 (Rudiments) and pointed out the importance of the three “departments” of music in Sacred Harp: time, tune, and accent.

Aldo continued by introducing the four shape notes and the major and minor scales, and the class practiced singing the scales and the various intervals. Aldo encouraged the class to practice the major and minor scales. He then discussed the importance of dispersed harmony in Sacred Harp, and the class practiced singing harmony in thirds. He then introduced the four voice parts and explained their placement of in the hollow square. Michael Walker assisted by translating some of the lesson into German. The class sang 49b in separate parts. Aldo encouraged the class to sing in full voice, without shouting. The class then sang 49b (together, in four parts).


The afternoon session was called to order by Aldo Ceresa leading 106. Aldo introduced and explained the modes of time, emphasizing the importance of accent, and encouraging singers to beat time while singing. He continued by leading songs in each of the seven modes of time, singing 49t, 274t, 159, 354t, 278t, 62, and 134. Aldo also explained the rules for observing repeat marks, and explained the origins of the tune names and the meanings of the text meter indications.


The class was called back to order by Aldo Ceresa leading 128. Aldo gave further instruction in singing, keeping time, and leading as the singers took turns choosing and leading songs.

Leaders: Bernd Brüggemann and Aldo Ceresa 86; Dave Richardson 87; Harald Grundner 48b; Keith Macdonald 178; Cath Tyler 47t; Eva Striebeck 504; Judy Whiting 150; Dianna Fry and Dave Richardson 105; Irene Brockert and Cath Tyler 335; Ulrike Tietjen and Aldo Ceresa 300; Fynn Titford-Mock and Christian Ammonn 385t; Alison Mitchell Zunklei 270; Silke Prangemeier 181; Michael Walker and Margreet Meiningen 230 (for Isabella and Laura Eisen); Helen Brown 267 (for Kerstin True-Biletski); Aldo Ceresa 163t (for Margreet Meiningen).

Aldo made some closing remarks, and Keith Macdonald thanked the class. Aldo Ceresa led 62 as the closing song, and the class was dismissed.