Minutes of Sacred Harp Singings

Find in all years, or only checked years:



Or, view 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 or all years.

Song use statistics are also available.


Camp FaSoLa Europe

Wichrowe, Wzgorze, Chmielno, Kazuby, Poland

September 17-20, 2012

Monday, September 17

Registration for the first Camp FaSoLa Europe began at 4:00 p.m. Campers were issued T-shirts, procedures lists, schedules of classes, and identification buttons.

Introductory Lesson

5:00 p.m. David Ivey began the class by introducing himself and welcoming campers. He referred to the Rudiments section of the Sacred Harp, and talked about the importance of a singing school. He drew parallels between the terminology of singing schools and regular schools, and then proceeded with a brief overview of pitch, harmony, notation, and scales. The class practiced singing the scale, and David stressed the importance of practicing singing scales.

There was an open discussion with David about what campers hoped to learn during the week of lessons. Comments included leading with more confidence, overcoming shyness, and depending less on the front bench. Others were interested in learning to sight-read the music, or improve sight-reading skills. Still other comments focused on drawing in new members and how to explain shape-note singing without becoming too repetitive or driving beginners away. Several campers were interested in improving teaching skills, including traditions, etiquette, and composing.

David dismissed the class for dinner.

Class Singing

7:30 p.m. The following officers were elected or appointed to serve: Chairman—Lauren Bock; Secretary—Jo Pendleton; Arranging Committee—Michael Morrisroe and Steve Helwig.

Lauren Bock brought the class to order by leading 82t. Blazej Matusiak offered the opening prayer. Leaders: Jo Pendleton 59; Steve Helwig 297; Michael Morrisroe 134; Sadhbh O’Flynn 34t; Kathy Williams 345t; Colleen Jones 344; Michael Walker 377; Louise Holland 47t; Sarah West 76b; Aaron Kahn 183; Mary Wright 71; Justyna Orlikowska 27; Tim Eriksen 222; Daire O’Sullivan 556; Pat Temple 373; Eva Striebeck 203; Bryan Seale 148; Judy Whiting 212; Franzi Schmidt 122; Gosia Perycz 133; Colin Higgins 313b; Richard Schmeidler 474; Blazej Matusiak 31t; Eamonn O’Neill 500; Fynn Titford-Mock 566; Jesse P. Karlsberg 131b; Kate Kirwan 328.

Lauren Bock led 323t as the closing song. A devotional was held, and then the class was dismissed.

Tuesday, September 18

Lesson: Rudiments I / Basics

9:00 a.m. David Ivey began the class by introducing the building blocks of singing Sacred Harp—tune, time, and accent. Today’s class focused mainly on tune. David explained the tonic note, how to determine the key in which a song is written, and the class practiced matching the tone sounded by the keyer. He referred to the Rudiments, pg. 20, which specifies the quality of singing as firm, pure, full, and certain. He noted that loud is not mentioned. He talked about music as a language in shapes, time value, rests, and repeats. He talked about the musical forms found in the Sacred Harp (odes, anthems, set pieces, fuging tunes, and hymns). Andreas Manz led 77t, and the class was dismissed.

Lesson: Rudiments I / Advanced

9:00 a.m. Dan Brittain introduced himself and welcomed the class. Dan began by describing how he became a singer of Sacred Harp music. He described himself as a relative newcomer, happening upon the music in college. Some years later, he fortuitously found an advertisement for the Chattahoochee Convention in Georgia. When he was posted to a position in Atlanta, Georgia, he could sing with experienced singers every weekend.

Dan continued by revisiting the shapes. He talked about Cuido d’Arezzo, who taught children to sing by syllables. He recommended reading “Sing to Me of Heaven”, by Dorothy Horn, University of Tennessee Press. Referring back to 4 shapes, Dan said that repeating the fa so la was the only way to sing all 8 tones of the scale and end on the same syllable. Four shape notes started being used in the early 1800’s and made the music visual.

Dan discussed the issue of the raised 6th in the minor scale. He noted regional differences, and said some singers will ignore all accidentals, and raise all 6ths, while other will sing the notes as written. Many songs were discussed in terms of some singers raising notes while others do not. He quoted Judy Hauff as describing these ambiguous notes as creating a pleasant buzz. The best strategy is to listen to as many other singers as possible and choose to do what one likes best. Dan mentioned that “Cobb” was not written with the raised 6th in mind, but after hearing it sung that way, he now prefers it.

Dan acknowledged that he speaks as a singer who learned to sing in West Georgia. He spoke about uniqueness of various groups and respecting local traditions when one travels to other areas. Songs discussed and sang during the class were 425, 312b, 378t, 371, 299, 45t, 287, and 481.

Elective: Arranging Committee

10:45 a.m. Jesse P. Karlsberg began the class by explaining his interest in the process of arranging. He produced a copy of an article published in the Huntsville Sacred Harp Newsletter in 1994, which he was given when he first began to arrange. Jesse stated that arranging is as important as keying in determining the success and flow of a singing. The purpose of arranging is to organize the day to ensure that all those who wish to lead are able to do so. However, it should also be the goal to keep the singing as strong as possible for as long as possible so that people leave feeling that it was a good experience.

The process begins by getting the names of leaders. This can be done by recognition, by providing pen and paper for registration, or by providing simple index cards or printed registration cards for sign-up. When calling names of leaders, it is important to enunciate and speak with volume so that people have the best chance to hear. It is advisable to get help with difficult or new pronunciations, especially when a wide variety of nationalities are present. It is important to call the next leader and the one to follow to keep the singing moving. Traditionally, at smaller singings, a two-song lesson is led and each leader is called only once in the day. One-song lessons are recommended at large conventions. The Arranging Committee may ask the class for their cooperation to help get around the class. Points to request would be to reduce verses, arrive in the square promptly with song selection ready, or lead with a friend.

Jesse described a good contour of the day as building in quality from the beginning, leveling off at the top, and then gradually reducing at the end. Each session should mirror this image in miniature. It is important to find a balance between strong and weak leaders. Variety by location, gender, and family is also very important. Disperse singers by leading proficiency and the type of song they normally lead according to the contour of the day. The Arranging Committee should be invisible to the majority of the class. An important part of this is to know the leaders... what type of songs they prefer to lead, how dynamic they are in the square, and the response they get from the class. To help ensure a good balance across the day, disperse the energy levels and leader quality rather than have an amazing one hour at the expense of the rest of the day. There should also be a balance between advance planning and modification on the fly as a session develops. Actively respond to unexpected changes to the energy level rather than allowing a slump to go on or for all the high energy songs to be used in a clump.

It is important for the Officers and Arranging Committee to concur about break times, especially at large singings. These may be set in advance, indicated by the chairperson directly, or left up to the Arranging Committee to determine. The time of the ending of the singing is also important to check. Encourage officers to give discretion to the Arranging Committee.

Elective: Learning Songs

10:45 a.m. Judy Caudle introduced herself as a fourth generation Sacred Harp singer. She welcomed the class and led 155. She passed out an exercise sheet with scales, intervals, and groups of note phrases and the class practiced singing these exercises. The class moved on to lead specific songs.

Leaders and selections: Aaron Kahn 434; Zilpha Cornett 568; John O’Flynn 300; Eva Striebeck and Judy Caudle 71; Ulrike Tietjen and Judy Caudle 142; Franzi Schmidt 99; Kate Kirwan 442; Andreas Manz 320.

Some of the tips arising during the leading session were as follows: use smooth leading motions (avoid pumping the elbow, or swinging the arm, or flipping the wrist); once time keeping has begun, keep the arm moving in time (to avoid confusion that might cause the class to stop singing); beat the rest at the beginning of a song while the chord is still sounding, and begin singing with an upward motion; if, after singing the shapes, it is necessary to change the pitch of a song, return to the original tonic sound and slide up or down.

Lesson: Panel Discussion on Sacred Harp Etiquette and Tradition

2:15 p.m. A panel of experienced Sacred Harp singers including Dan Brittain, David Ivey, Tim Eriksen, and Judy Caudle assembled with campers to discuss Sacred Harp practices and perspectives on what to do—and what not to do—to be effective and appreciated in singing, leading, and arranging.

A general discussion was held on the responsibilities of the front row. Comments were made on the subject of foot stomping. It’s not unusual to hear the beat, but a light tapping is much preferred. Another discussion developed in answer to a question about a leader who wishes to sing a song with “no loss of time”. The song on page 29t was used as an example. This discussion led to further comments about what times of day would be best for certain songs, such as anthems. The panel also addressed questions about how to stimulate new growth in a community.

Lesson: How to Beat the 7 Modes of Time

3:30 p.m. The class practiced the mechanics of beating time with helpful comments from David Ivey. Songs used for this practice were 70t, 155, 38b, 84, 31t, 457, 75, and 64.

Lesson: Leading and Bringing in Parts

3:30 p.m. Judy Caudle began by telling the class that bringing in parts while leading is a means of communication. It is not a required activity, but can be very rewarding. There are many effective leaders that do not bring in parts. This class is for leaders who wish to communicate in this manner and learn to do so with grace, poise, and decorum.

Leaders: Zilpha Cornett 385b; Ulrike Tietjen 107; Sarah West 419; Bryan Seale 344; Mike Morrisroe 196; Chris Brown 466; Fynn Titford-Mock 327; Gosia Percyz 181; Lauren Bock 542 (by request of Harold Grundner); Colleen Jones 168; Sadhbh O’Flynn 198; Judy Caudle 316 (by request).

Elective: A Brief History of Sacred Harp

4:15 p.m. Jesse P. Karlsberg began the class by pointing out the two main topics to be discussed: 1. What makes a song a “Sacred Harp” song; 2. The book, the people involved in putting it together, and the many revisions.

The class sang 49t, the oldest music in the book. This song exemplifies a lot of concord and some passing discords. Parallel octaves and fifths were avoided. Sacred Harp is not a music that strictly obeys rules as is sometimes said, but rather it follows different rules at different times. “Old Hundred”, “Mear”, “Wells”, “Aylesbury”, and “St. Thomas” tunes came from England. Beginning in the late 18th and early 19th century, a plethora of compositions were churned out from America. Lots of fuging tunes and anthems were composed at this time. There was a feeling that each of the four parts should be interesting to sing in their own right. The class looked at page 479, “Chester”. Billings made interesting and melodically independent treble, tenor, and bass parts, but sacrificed the interesting nature of the alto. Some composers would choose melodic independence of all parts over staying within the constraints of the rules of harmony at the time. The class sang 203, a song where each part is interesting, but goes against John Playford’s rules. Jesse referenced Warren Steel’s book “The Makers of the Sacred Harp” as an indispensable book for research.

The tradition of word painting comes from the New England school of Composers. The class looked at 352 “Swanton” as an example of word painting (leaps and flies). This music does not lend itself well to different texts. Composers began to look again at European composition style and write more scientifically. “Pleyel’s Hymn”, page 143, is a song written in SATB format. “Ortonville” page 68b was also written in SATB format, and then was rewritten by B.F. White. The treble part is uncharacteristic of Thomas Hastings and was clearly added in the spirit of melodic independence.

Folk songs draw on a pre-existing melody. Composers would write a melody and then write harmony to the melody. Pages 72t and 75 were compared, having different time signatures and key signatures, and essentially the same melody. The class sang 72t, 75, 121, and 437. Dan Brittain pointed out that 177 is cut from the same cloth melodically, but is a fuging tune. “Alabama” and “Praise God” were mentioned as folk tunes (or plain tunes) that have been rewritten as fuging tunes. Many folk hymns have an AABA format. Another characteristic of these tunes is a gapped pentatonic or hexatonic scale. Many minor songs fall into this same category. The Sacred Harp has many two-note chords rather than three-note chords. This gives the songs an open or sparse sound.

Sacred Harp history goes before the publication of the book. The turn from engraved printing to typesetting changed the way music was published. In 1844, the first edition was printed. Jesse talked about the architecture of the Sacred Harp book. Initially, page 27 “Bethel” was the first piece of music in the book, and Part I consisted of mostly plain tunes used by church congregations. Part II, beginning with page 163 (t? b?), consisted of songs used in singing schools and societies. Part III, beginning with page 225 (t? b?), included odes and anthems. In 1850, the revision brought a radical new class of book. Instead of being revised by the compiler, it was revised by a team of contributors, headed by B.F. White, and tied to the Southern Music Convention. It brought the commitment of an extended community and ensured their interest in the book. The 1859 revision exhibited a shift toward more four part songs and a continuing shift toward more complicated songs. The first edition in which songs were removed at the reviser’s discretion was the 1870 edition. This started to break down the original organization of the songs. Songs such as “Fillmore”, “Sardis”, and “Save, Lord, or We Perish” set the model for a new way of composing.

In the early 1900’s, chatter began to emerge at conventions regarding the revision of the book. The Douglasville Convention appointed a new committee, including J.P. Reese’s son and Joe S. James. Concurrent to this, the Cooper Revision was released in 1902. James founded the United Musical Convention and called for another revision of the Sacred Harp, with the help of J.L. White. In 1909, White published the 5th edition. In 1911, The Original Sacred Harp was published, restoring many of the songs which had been taken out. The book was completely re-typeset, with descriptions of each composer and including a Bible verse underneath the title of each song. James and White campaigned avidly all over the South attempting to promote their own books. In 1933, the Denson family formed the Sacred Harp Publishing Company, and purchased the rights for the Original Sacred Harp from James’s descendants. In 1936, a revision was published, and became known as the Denson book. Later revisions include a 1960 edition, 1966 edition, 1971 edition, and the 1991 edition that is in use today.

Elective: Scales and Intervals (Melodics)

4:15 p.m. Tim Eriksen introduced himself and called the class to order. The class practiced singing scales, and then practiced singing the exercises on pg. 24 (t? b?) of the Rudiments. Tim shared some games using improvised melodies. Two friends create an original piece (singing shapes or just “wa di da”), keeping the rhythm solid and passing a fresh tune back and forth. It’s not call and response, but true improvisation. In the second game, call and response was improvised and it became clear that rhythm is key. In game 3, Tim used a pointer and the class sang scales in unison. There was discussion about the differences in the major and minor scales. Tim stated that melodies need to move or else they’re not melody. The class sang 159, and was dismissed.

Class Singing

7:30 p.m. The class was brought to order by Sarah West leading 34b. The opening prayer was offered by Chris Brown.

Leaders: Corinna Frische 142; David Ivey 83t; Kate Kirwan 38t; Ewan Paterson 277; Franzi Schmidt 276; Zilpha Cornett 358; Dan Brittain 417; Lisa O’Grady 497; Chris Brown 56b; Magdalena Gryszko 163t; Aaron Khan 335; Gosia Perycz 204; Daire O’ Sullivan 37b; Judy Caudle 405; Magdalena Osthaus 114; John O’Flynn 47t; Eva Striebeck 70b; Blazej Matusiak 376; Louise Holland 440; Colleen Jones 479; Karen Ivey 422; Mary Wright 145b; Fynn Titford-Mock 144; Kathy Williams 222; Justyna Orlikowska 542.

Sarah West led 101t as the closing song. The devotional was conducted by Frank Cornett. He referred to Colossians 3:12-17 and Philippians 4:5 and spoke. Frank offered the closing prayer, and the class was dismissed.

Chairman—Sarah West; Secretary—Margaret Bradshaw

Wednesday, September 19

Early rising campers could choose Nordic walking or swimming as recreation before breakfast at 8:00 a.m.

Lesson: Rudiments II / Basics

9:00 a.m. David Ivey began this class by talking about Rhythmics, referring to pg. 14 of the Rudiments. He continued by talking about the relative lengths of notes and rests and time signatures. He explained the differences in slurs, ties, and joined flags, as illustrated on pg. 17 of the Rudiments. David and the class discussed triplets, grace notes, first and second endings, and repeat marks. Then the class practiced singing scales in major and minor keys.

Lesson: Rudiments II / Advanced

9:00 a.m. Dan Brittain greeted the class and began by discussing the modes of time. Dan stated that older books gave exact speeds in seconds for each mode of time, but these are not followed much today. Tempo is relative and local traditions vary. Dan picked out several songs in the book to demonstrate different meter designations, using pages 360, 34t, 73t, 288, 482, 57, 98, and 209. He advised campers, when leading, to start your hand moving into the correct position as the chord is sounding. Continue keeping time consistently, and when coming to the end, beat all the time of the notes as printed, rather than just holding up your hand for the duration of the last note. Dan says that it is not necessarily traditional, but he finds that a good rule is to deal with time changes by keeping the pulse the same. The class practiced time changes by singing 234 and 329.

Elective: Sacred Harp Harmony and Style

10:45 a.m. Dan Brittain shared his thoughts and opinions of what makes Sacred Harp harmony and style unique. Harmony and style in shape-note music does not necessarily follow traditional rules. Each part has its own melody, parallel harmony is not forbidden, strong accent and breathing points are not necessarily where one would expect, and regional variations in the tradition exist. Dan notes that it is important to teach others what we learn. Sacred Harp singers do not perform; this is a participatory music, and there is no appointed conductor or director.

Dan continued by talking about his composing style and some of the general rules he uses for writing. He noted some of the composers who influenced his style, including Breedlove, Dumas, King, and the Reese brothers. Dan mentioned that one of the best ways to learn to write is to examine existing pieces and try to copy the style. He pointed out some examples of this by using songs in the book, including 34t, 77t, 278b, 375, and 145t. There was discussion about one-chord songs and how they have been included in the book since 1844. Dan hypothesized that some one-chord songs came from the Lloyd’s Hymnal and other similar words-only books, where singers improvise harmonies. It was a practical application. These harmonies were then annotated as best as possible. Dan stated that in 3-part tunes, altos should double the bass part in order to preserve the sound of 6-part harmony.

Elective: More Rudiments and Practice

10:45 a.m. Tim Eriksen referred to pages 24 (t? b?) and 25 of the Rudiments section, and the class practiced singing the exercises. The class practiced singing the major and minor scales at various tempos as Tim pointed to different notes. Some members of the class led songs 546, 184, 86, 112, and 304. Tim stressed the importance of keeping time consistently, and reminded the class to accent properly.

Elective: Best of the Ungreatest Hits

1:00 p.m. David Ivey welcomed the class and said that there are 42 songs in the Sacred Harp that were led less in2011 than the most used song. The class sang some of these songs. Leaders: Michael Walker 93; Richard Schmeidler 169; Dan Brittain 449; Sadhbh O’Flynn 115; Sarah West 483; Finn Titford-Mock 118; Eimear O’Donovan 359; Steve Helwig 88b; Jesse P. Karlsberg 69b; Bogna Rozyczka 308; Lauren Bock 407; Tim Eriksen 562; Colleen Jones 429; Jesse P. Karlsberg and Lauren Bock 541; Corinna Frische 423; David Ivey 462; Mary Wright 152; Gosia Percyz 266; Shelby Sampson 92; Kathy Williams 412; Lisa O’Grady 409; Michael Morrisroe 502.

Lesson: Songs of P. Dan Brittain

2:15 p.m. Dan Brittain shared stories about the music he has written, including some do’s and don’ts about composing. Dan has songs published in the Sacred Harp, the Missouri Harmony, and other books. Leaders: Dan Brittain 353, 481; Karen Ivey 472; Bryan Seale 313b; Dan Brittain “Chmeilno”, “Hauff”; Jesse P. Karlsberg “Beard”; Lauren Bock “Iowa”; Eimear O’Donovan “Cowling”; Michael Walker “Garden State”; Dan Brittain “Pohick”, “Maquoketa”, “Desparr”, “Blessed Hope”, “Redding”, and “Steel”.

Lesson: Leading Workshop / Basics

3:30 p.m. Jesse P. Karlsberg welcomed the class. Judy Caudle began the lesson by reading the Rudiments on page 16, items 12 and 15. She explained that the goal of this class was to provide guidelines for developing individual leading styles. First, Jesse said to have several songs ready to lead and be familiar with the layout of these songs (rests, repeats, holds, and number of verses). Then, Judy said, decide on a tempo before coming to the square, and always begin and end a song with your leading hand in up position. Jesse led 32t and demonstrated a few of the less desirable leading styles, including a good start, with the class singing together, and a not so good start, with the class confused about what to do. He told the class that when singing more than one verse of a song, to stop briefly between verses.

Jo Pendleton led 59, and the class discussed first and second endings. Eimear O’Donovan led 485, demonstrating the difficulty of bringing in parts. Ewan Paterson led 457, and practiced how to begin this song. Zilpha Cornett led 378b, and was given instruction on how to beat the time without swinging the arm below the waist. During this time, a question was raised about how to keep time consistently, without speeding up or slowing down. Some of the suggestions were keeping the arm motions within the area of about chin to waist, observing someone who keeps time well, and practice, practice, practice. Chris Brown led 28t, and the class discussed how to keep the tempo following the rests. Andreas Manz led 49t, and asked about tempo. Jesse said that tempo varies from place to place, so there are no hard and fast rules on what is traditional. Mike Morrisroe led 196, and the class was dismissed.

Lesson: Rudiments-Accent / Basics

3:30 p.m. Tim Eriksen began this class by talking about rhythm and the kind of questions people have about accent. He referred to page 16, section 14, of the Rudiments. The class practiced rhythm and accent by singing the following songs: 49t (2/2 time); 274t (2/4 time); 155 (4/4 time); 179 (6/4 time); 215 (4/4 time).

Elective: Keying Music

4:45 p.m. David Ivey welcomed the class. He began by saying that keying music is a learning process that must be done on an individual basis. People usually begin to key music out of necessity. David provided some tips on how to key as follows: know the scales; listen carefully to others who key and to recordings; know your voice; determine the tonic note; pitch a song so that all parts can sing comfortably. David told the class that keying is very important to a singing. If keying is all over the place, the singing will struggle. It’s best to try to key within a consistent range. Try to give all the parts their opening note, including alto. It takes time to develop a sense for keying, so always be self-evaluating and practice often.

The class discussed the keys of specific songs including 331, 403, 414, 312t, 399b, 57, 37b, 212, 144, 274t, and 39t. David said it is a beautiful thing, at singings, when the first chord is sounded and the class repeats the sounds.

Elective: English Origins of Texts in the Sacred Harp

4:45 p.m. Chris Brown welcomed the class. He began by saying that good hymns require good words and good music, and without both they die. Judy Whiting led 330b.

After about 1760, music began to flow both ways across the Atlantic Ocean. By 1900, it was said that one could not pass an English chapel without hearing American music. But the words we sing today is rooted in English psalmody. Some of the words come from the Tyndale bible of 1524 (320 and 553). Judy Whiting led 291. The text of this song is from the Old Version of Sternhold and Hopkins (1547-1562). The New Version of the Psalms by Tate and Brady (1696) produced hymns with more varied meters and better poetry. Judy Whiting led 186, and Chris told the class that there are over 400 tunes containing this text. Isaac Watts (1674-1748) abandoned strict translations for freer forms of verse with references to Christianity, places, and contemporary events (page 211). He created a very modern style of English hymnody, making it personal with the frequent use of I, me, and my soul. Judy Whiting led 447. The Sacred Harp contains 149 songs that have his texts. From 1760 to 1810, there were many more English hymn writers, but after the American Revolution, Americans made great efforts to “take King George out of King David’s psalms”. They also modernized the language and the poetry in general. Judy Whiting led 222 and 277.

The text in “Amazing Grace” disappeared from Britain after 1820 for the lack of a good tune, and was re-imported by recordings, such as one by Judy Collins, in the 1960s. After 1840, there were less British texts in the Sacred Harp. Judy Whiting led 47t, an example of a great text that came back to life because of great music. Judy Whiting led 45t, and the class was dismissed.

Class Singing

7:30 p.m. The following officers were elected or appointed to serve: Chairman—Colleen Jones; Arranging Committee—Bryan Seale and Eamonn O’Neill; Secretary—Bryan Seale.

The class was brought to order by Colleen Jones leading 31t. The opening prayer was offered by Mary Wright. Leaders: Eva Striebeck 430; Eimear O’Donovan 107; Colin Higgins 504; Andreas Manz 274t; Jacek Borkowicz 198; Ulrike Tietjen 271t; Judy Whiting 441; Terry Barber 506; Bryan Seale 39t; Dan Brittain (with Kate Mossman, BBC, recording) 313b; Sadhbh O’Flynn (with Kate Mossman) 86; Jesse P. Karlsberg (with Kate Mossman) 155; Michael Walker 447; Shelby Sampson 551; Magdalena Gryszko and Tim Eriksen 318; Jo Pendleton 68b; Michael Morrisroe and Judy Caudle 269; Magdalena Osthaus 106; Pat Temple 34b; Steve Helwig and Dominika Jedrzejczak 501; Lisa O’Grady 496; Richard Schmeidler (with Kate Mossman) 143; Ewan Paterson (with Kate Mossman) 476; Karen Ivey 384. Colleen Jones led 178 as the closing song. The closing prayer was offered by Lisa O’Grady. Richard Schmeidler conducted the devotional, reading Psalms 100 and speaking. The class was dismissed.

Thursday, September 20

Lesson: Rudiments III / Basics

9:00 a.m. David Ivey welcomed the class and asked if anyone had discovered something in the Rudiments that they didn’t know before camp. Some of the answers were hearing more than four part harmony due to singing in different octaves, some dynamics are not written and some that are written are not observed. One camper was interested in the mark above each staff as in the song on page 450. David explained that it is an emphasis mark, but not as pronounced as primary accent.

David instructed the class to turn to page 105. The class discussed the elements found on the page as follows: song title, name of poetry writer on the left, name of tune writer on the right, meter, key, and time signature. The topic of meters was discussed, and David related that historically, some congregations sang from books containing poetry only. Knowing the meter of a tune was essential in that any words with a certain meter of poetry could be sung with a tune of the same meter. David led 105. He discussed accent, stating that primary accent is full and secondary accent is about half full. He led 105 again, with the class concentrating on accent and keeping time. He told the class that good writers will place accent on the important words of the poetry. He said that time and melodics are necessary for singing and that accent enables the class to better stay together. David led 49t, 45t, 56t, 39b, and 131b.

David referred to page 23 of the Rudiments, and the class discussed the different types of songs found in the Sacred Harp book. He then thanked the campers for participating, and dismissed the class.

Lesson: Rudiments III / Advanced

9:00 a.m. Dan Brittain led 49t to bring the class to order. This class focused on modes of time, then patterns in melodic lines, with the goal that recognition of repeated patterns in different songs facilitates singing and makes sight reading easier. Dan used the songs in the book to illustrate his points. He led 70t (2/2 time), and the class discussed the difference in pattern between using half notes and quarter notes. He led 32t (4/4 time), to illustrate two-beat method, and discussed how the eighth note in the tenor part is sung. Dan led 37b, with the class singing the treble part to illustrate the placement of the eighth note after a dotted quarter note. He led 170 to illustrate pattern of eighth-note rhythm, and parts of 236 to illustrate pattern of repeated eighth notes traditionally not sung evenly. Moving on to triple time, Dan stated that tempo can vary, with some songs needing a slower tempo and some needing a faster tempo. He led 163b (3/2 time) to illustrate triplets, and 393 (3/4 time) demonstrating the long, short, short pattern repeated throughout the song.

Dan illustrated melodic patterns by leading 302, calling attention to the eighth-note pattern repeats from bass to tenor to treble to alto. This discussion continued for the remainder of the class. Some of the songs used during this time are as follows: 283-pattern in bass line repeats from bass to alto; 269-melodic patterns of eighth notes repeated in each part; 118-from the seldom sung list, an example of Scottish-snap rhythm; 513-old melody, good example of compound time; 460-strong pulse makes it full of energy which probably contributed to its popularity, good play between tenor and treble parts; and 465-repeated patterns throughout with an unusual ending. The class was dismissed.

Elective: Panel Discussion / Questions Not Yet Answered

10:45 a.m. David Ivey welcomed the class, and said how glad he was that campers were enjoying themselves. The floor was opened for discussion, and a question was raised about where to turn to bring in parts in a fuging tune, and whether or not it is necessary. The question was answered that bringing in the parts is not essential for good leading, and it is not necessary to bring in every part, although it is helpful to turn to the leading fugue entry part. The real key to good leading is communication with the class.

Another question was should written accidentals be observed. There were two lines of thought about this question. Dan Brittain said they should be ignored, as that is how he hears most people sing. David Ivey and Judy Caudle said they were taught in singing school to observe accidentals. David related that it’s not a really important issue since the clash between the sounds is very infrequent. The next question concerned how one can determine which part to sing. The answer was to find the part that is most comfortable to sing for an extended period of time. Tenor is a good part for beginners, but it is a simple matter to try singing other parts. Some unwritten traditions in the Sacred Harp were discussed, such as unwritten dynamics as are found in the songs on pages 143, 376, and 408. Tim Eriksen talked about ornamentation, and said it is better to follow the music as written in the book, and that any fancy ornamentation should be directly related to accent.

The last question discussed related to differences in singing and leading styles that may be developing between European singers and U.S. singers. David Ivey answered that he didn’t see much difference because the mix of people at camps tended to foster a kind of flexibility in fitting in the different styles. One camper expressed concern that one can upset people by not observing certain traditions due to ignorance of those traditions. The panel admitted that such worries about differences, whether minor points or huge divergences, can lead to tension and conflict. One must remember how dull it would be if everyone sung this music the same way. Respect is crucial. Listening and observing are important, and the goal is to sing together. That should always come first.

Many campers participated in a hayride following lunch. The excursion included a visit to Chmielno and the surrounding countryside. The farmland, lake area, and local sights were beautiful. The group enjoyed the trip immensely and sang a few songs during the haycart ride.

Elective: Odes and Anthems

1:30 p.m. David Ivey referred to the Rudiments, pg. 23, to establish the distinctions of an anthem and an ode. He said there were 21 anthems and odes in the book, 15 in major keys and 6 in minor keys.

Leaders: Justyna Orlikowska 110; Michael Walker 227; Fynn Titford-Mock 232; Eimear O’Donovan 240; Shelby Sampson 268; Sadhbh O’Flynn 245; Judy Caudle 355; Lisa O’Grady 507; Sarah West 512; Kathy Williams 518; Jesse P. Karlsberg 572.

Lesson: The Memorial Lesson

2:30 p.m. Judy Caudle welcomed the class. She began by saying that in the Sacred Harp tradition, there are several types of lessons. The Rudiments refer to the leading of a song or songs as “teaching a lesson”. Supposedly, this reference comes from singing school masters, who taught by example when leading songs with the students of the class. Today, many times, a person will dedicate their “lesson” to someone who is unable to attend a singing or to the memory of someone who has passed away.

Another type of lesson frequently used in the Sacred Harp tradition is the “introductory lesson”. Many conventions observe this lesson by asking a member of the class to lead several songs on the beginning day of the convention. This lesson may be a certain length of time, say 10-20 minutes, or may be a number of song selections led to open the singing. These song selections may be of importance to members of the convention, or may be traditional songs led at the beginning of the convention, or may be chosen randomly by the officers of the convention.

Recently, a “celebrations lesson” has come into frequent use. This lesson is dedicated to positive events that have occurred, such as the birth of a child, a job promotion, a successful journey, and so on. The leader of the celebrations lesson will choose a song of thankfulness for many blessings.

In the midst of the raucous sound of a Sacred Harp singing comes the tranquility of the “memorial lesson”... a time of quiet reflection, a time for somber thoughts of the mortality of others and of our own mortality, a time for memories of past singings, memories of laughter, memories of fellowship, and memories of worship with those who can no longer be with us for whatever reason.

There are records of Sacred Harp singing conventions in the U.S. that date back more than 100 years, and in these records, memorial lessons are included, so we know this tradition is long standing. A memorial lesson is special lesson usually conducted at a certain time during a convention or one day singing. The time may vary from place to place, but is most commonly held just before lunch or just after dinner. There is no set length of time for a memorial lesson, but usually 10-20 minutes will be set aside during the singing for the memorial lesson.

Volunteers to conduct this service are unlikely, so the officers of the convention or singing will usually appoint a member or members of the class. This person (or persons) is usually someone with some experience with previous memorial lessons, or a public speaker, such as a minister or elder of a church congregation, but not necessarily. It is often a person from the community that is hosting the convention or singing. It may be a visitor who is attending the convention. Anyone may conduct a memorial lesson, but it is someone who is willing to serve in that capacity when asked to do so. It is always good to give advance notice when possible.

What does one do when asked to conduct the memorial lesson? Some bring a book of devotionals and it’s a simple matter to pick something from that book to read that is appropriate for the memorial lesson. Another method, especially on short notice, is to read the poetry from one of the songs in our song book. Other examples of subject matter would be a Bible verse or verses, a poem, or words spoken from the heart. At times, the memorial committee will simply read the list of names, and then lead a song or songs in honor or in memory of the persons listed.

It seems that no matter what the subject matter of the memorial lesson, one message always comes through, and that message is that we are bound together by this music. We come from all walks of life, all races, creeds, and pursuits, and yet, we gather around the hollow square to sing together. We develop relationships with one another that cannot be found anywhere else on this earth. When one of our numbers hurts, we weep, we mourn, and we move slowly on, and in doing so, we find comfort and peace.

Aaron Kahn spoke on behalf of the deceased, drawing his comments from Complicite Mnemonic. He passed leaves to everyone in the class, and asked that they imagine each vein in the leaf as a line of ancestry. He related that, mathematically, the logic will eventually do more that remind us that we are all connected, but eventually prove that we are all related. As we think about our ancestry, the question that comes to mind is not if, but when, will we, or those near and dear to us, pass beyond the vale. He quoted Leonard Cohen, a poet, “And so, my friends, be not afraid. We are so lightly here. It is in love that we are made, in love we disappear.”

Shelby Sampson read the following list of names of the deceased: Lillian Mann, Glynn Brooks, Gordon Corrick, Joe Reynolds, Brenda Grimshaw, Harold Newell, Malcolm Robertson—England; William Seale, Mark Ferguson, Ita Clenaghan, Cathal Clenaghan, Paraic Casey, Mark O’Connell—Ireland; Jay Booker—Canada; Dominik Setcerbrole, Hanna Malinowska, Michal Pisarenko, Ludwik Wioslawski—Poland; Peter Schoonjans—Sweden; Peter McGregor—Scotland; Harrison Creel, Travis Keeton, Marie Ivey, Bill Tanner, Talley Kitchens, Sue Kitchens—Alabama; Florence Packman, Greg Barber—California; Seymour Kanzer, Helen Gillis—Connecticut; Lonnie Rogers, George Holland—Georgia; Alice Fahrbach—Michigan; Anne Ohu McLucas—Oregon; Julietta Haynes—Tennessee; Judy Mauermann—Texas; Frank Evans—Virginia. She led 30b in their memory.

Judy Whiting said that this is the time when we remember the sick and homebound, including singers, friends, family, care givers, and all those who are unable to be with us for whatever reason. The Sacred Harp community is not only those who are present at singings, but the wider community which affects us all. They need to know that they are still part of the community. Write a letter, send a postcard, make a telephone call, send an email or text, but do keep in touch.

Blazej Matusiak read the following list of names of the sick and homebound: Cath Tyler, Catherine Seale, Tony Parkinson, Curtis Owen, Bea Gilmore, Chris Sugden, George Wheeler, Alan Jackson, Lois H. Kahn-Fever; Mark Hall Amitin; Jill Accetta, Oliver Accetta, Victor Griffin, Gordon McMillan, Niall Henderson, Philomena Henderson, Don Walker, Charlotte Walker, Dora Berhard, and Peter Schmidt. Judy Whiting led 531, a particular request from Cath Tyler. Blazej Matusiak offered prayer to close the memorial service.

Lesson: Leading Workshop / Basics

3:45 p.m. Jesse P. Karlsberg welcomed the class. He referred to the Rudiments, pg. 16, reminding the class of the leading instructions given there, and reviewed the key points of yesterday’s class.

Judy Caudle read section 15 on page 16 of the Rudiments, and elaborated on the meaning of the word discretion. She told the class that discretion does mean choice, but there are many other meanings such as prudence, foresight, and circumspection. It implies an ability to decide responsibly. She further talked about how this relates to leading.

Jesse referred the class to page 91, and told of his first experience in leading. He said that the goal of this class was to try to take some of the panic out of the experience for the new leader. Campers were invited to lead a song of their choice.

Leaders: Shelby Sampson 551; Ulrike Tietjen 39t; Michael Walker 213t; Franzi Schmidt 168; Andreas Manz 107; Aaron Kahn 457; Daire O’Sullivan 448t; Magdalena Gryszko 34b.

Lesson: Accent / Basics

3:45 p.m. Dan Brittain began this class by telling them that accent should be noticeable, but not overdone. He referred to the Rudiments, pg. 16, and section 14. He directed the class to pages 313t, 203, and 333, songs that have a natural stress or accent. Dan then turned to 32t, and said that the word pattern accent in this song is against the musical accent. He said it would sound wrong and lose its musical forward drive or motion if accented to the text, but equally, should not be overdone on the musical accent either. The class tried singing some songs without accent, and were encouraged to take note of the difference in the sound when no accent, or little accent, is done. Accent or pulse can be somewhat difficult to do in some songs, but without it, the music loses much of its interesting sound. Dan pointed out that in the case of a longer song that takes more energy, such as 342, both pitch and accent tend to suffer. He then referred to 56t and 101t, both songs that have natural drive, and the class accented well without a large effort. In the song on page 348t, Dan noted that accent is often lost, because the primary accent falls on a slur in many of the measures, making it more difficult to properly accent. The remainder of the class was spent practicing accent, and then was dismissed.

Elective: Dinner on the Grounds

  1. 45 p.m. Karen Ivey began by describing the origin of dinner on the ground, saying that food used to be laid out on blankets or quilts on the ground. Later, long tables were made available for spreading dinner, and today, many singing venues have fellowship halls for mealtime.

Karen explained that is was her mother-in-law, Marie Ivey, who taught her about dinner on the ground and the etiquette that goes along with it. She discussed how everyone seems to have their own place on the table, and placement is important. She also noted that people become associated with the food they make. Presentation, therefore, is very important and care has to go into the dishes brought to a singing. In the case of a two-day singing, most cooks will not bring leftovers back the next day, but will prepare fresh dishes. Karen said that it is important not to put pressure on people to eat your food.

Karen related that cooks should make lists well ahead of time and decide how much to cook. This can depend on how many people are expected and who usually cooks for the event. When the food is ready, there are a number of ways to keep dishes hot or cold. Karen said to keep warm dishes warm, wrap them in towels, and place in a basket or insulated cooler. Peg boards, cutting boards, or wire racks may be used for dividers. Put all warm dishes together. For cool foods, use an insulated cooler with zip-lock baggies full of ice placed around the food dishes. Bring an assortment of utensils, with extras, if possible. Wrap them in a dish towel, and put them in the basket with the food dishes. There is no wrong thing to make. Karen said to make something familiar, and lots of it.

Karen told the class that certain cooks get a good reputation for making a popular dish, and swapping recipes has also become a tradition at Sacred Harp singings. She brought copies of favorite recipes, and the class members could take them home. The class made Punch Bowl Cake for dessert after supper. Yum!!! Yum!!!!!!

Class Singing

7:30 p.m. Sadhbh O’Flynn led 31b to bring the class to order. Harold Grundner offered the opening words.

Leaders: Jacek Borkowicz 228; Harold Grundner 51; Niamh O’Sullivan and Daire O’Sullivan 65; Zilpha Cornett 480; Alma Moledys 445; John O’Flynn 108t; Terry Barber 536; Michael Walker 354t; Shelby Sampson 474; Lauren Bock and Michael Morrisroe 234; Jo Pendleton 72b; David Ivey and Karen Ivey 470; Dan Brittain 424; Louise Holland 63; Judy Caudle and Jesse P. Karlsberg 187; Eamonn O’Neill 442; Tim Eriksen 562; Chris Brown 319; Richard Schmeidler 254; Corinna Frische 29t; Mary Wright 457; Kathy Williams 186; Bryan Seale 300; Gosia Percyz and Justyna Orlikowska 440; Harold Grundner, Corinna Frische, Eva Striebeck, Ulrike Tietjen, and Magdalena Osthaus 201; Sarah West 125; Eimear O’Donovan 380; Fynn Titford-Mock 545; Pat Temple 33t; Aaron Kahn 268; Colleen Jones 535.

Sadhbh O’Flynn led 134 as the closing song. Mary Wright conducted the devotional, and offered the closing prayer.

Friday, September 21

Camp Fasola Europe was dismissed on Friday morning following breakfast.

SHMHA President—Jeff Sheppard; Camp Director—David Ivey