Minutes of Sacred Harp Singings

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Finsterwalde Singing School

Die Arche, Evangelische Kirchengemeinde Finsterwalde,
Brandenburg, Germany

Saturday, August 25, 2018

On the occasion of the Finsterwalde Singers Festival, a singing school and half-day singing took place at The Ark on the grounds of the Protestant church congregation in Finsterwalde. Marco Wessnigk called the class to order leading 37b. He introduced the history and origins of shape note singing, then discussed early psalmody and lining out. Graham DeZarn led 49t. The historical overview continued with discussion of New England singing schools and fuging tunes. Caro Stamm-Reusch led 107. It was explained that several Sacred Harp tunes have their origins in secular and popular ballads. Christopher Schuller led 159. After recounting the way in which these tunes were pushed aside in favor of a more conventional style of harmony under Lowell Mason, Marco Wessnigk led 147b. He explained that today, shape note singing is a living tradition, and led 56b. Evelyn Saylor led the “Finsterwalde Sängerlied”, the city hymn of Finsterwalde, in an arrangement by her and Marco Wessnigk. Cheri Neilson conducted a singing school, explaining the basic mechanics of shape-note singing and leading 45t and 39t.


The class then moved to a regular singing session. Leaders: Marco Wessnigk 30b; Ellen Kennedy 42; Emma Rock 29t; Cheri Neilson 207; Ulrike Tietjen 36t; Harald Grundner 201; David Marnuse 87; Marco Wessnigk 101b; Graham DeZarn 76b; Caro Stamm-Reusch 276; Hans Gnendinger 497; Franziska Opp 106; Laura Eisen 65; Melanie Tönnies 457; Christopher Schuller 73t; Evelyn Saylor 114.


Caro Stamm-Reusch called the class back to order leading 335. Leaders: Bianca Geburek 210; Ellen Kennedy 123t; Emma Rock 216; Ulrike Tietjen 282; Cheri Neilson 203; Harald Grundner 70b; Marco Wessnigk 189; David Marnuse 163b; Laura Eisen 480; Hans Gnendinger 162; Graham DeZarn 67 (in honor of the delRe family and their new grandson, Theo); Franziska Opp 38b; Caro Stamm-Reusch 397; Christopher Schuller 506 (in honor of the Evangelische Kirchengemeinde Finsterwalde); Evelyn Saylor 505; Bianca Geburek 47b. Marco Wessnigk led 347 as the closing song, and the class was dismissed.

Chairman—Marco Wessnigk; Secretary—Christopher Schuller