Mt Union Sacred Harp Singers

by Duane Howard

Newsletter for April, 2007

The voice is the flower of beauty.    Zeno (B.C. 335?-264)

The Present Song List....
Practice these.....
Endless Day - Ingalls - #8
Holy Manna - Sacred Harp #59
Love Divine - Sacred Harp #30
Mear - Sacred Harp - #49B
Northfield - Sacred Harp - #155
Old Hundred - Sacred Harp - #49T
Primrose - Sacred Harp -#47T
Prodigal Son - Sacred Harp #113
Russia - Sacred Harp - #107
Star In The East -Walkers Ch. Harm.
The Converted Thief - See Ingalls #50
Wedding Hymn - Ingalls - #50
Wondrous Love - Sacred Harp - #159
Meeting Times & Places 2007
 Thursday night practice sessions start at 7:00 P.M.
(Others times may be added.)
April 29 - Shape Notes 101 - Movie -Linda's House
May10 2nd Thurs. - Mt. Union - Practice
May 17 Thurs. The Ascension of Our Lord - 7:00 PM
June14 2nd Thurs. - Mt. Union - Practice
July 12 2nd Thurs. - Mt. Union - Practice
August 9 2nd Thurs. - Mt. Union - Practice
Sept 13 2nd Thurs.  - Mt. Union - Practice
September 23 Sun. 2:00 PM Hymn Sing Mt. Union
Oct 11 Mt. Union - Practice
Nov 13 Mt. Union -Practice
Dec 2 Sun - 2:00 A  Civil War Christmas  2:00 PM
Dec 11 2nd Thurs. - Location TBA - Practice
January 6, 2008 The Epiphany of Our Lord -  Sunday, at 2:00 PM Mt. Union    

Each month we will try to meet on a one week-end,  as well as a the 2nd  Thursday night.

Some may find Mt. Union by using GPS:
              39°54'9.50"N     79°13'54.08


During  February, 2006, a small group of singers started learning a song written in shape notes to prepare for the Civil War weddings to be held at the Mt. Union Church on July 9th .   Just before the wedding, Linda Marker attended a week at Camp FASOLA in Anniston, AL, where she was introduced ,in a grand way, to Shape Note Singing.   At the end of July, it was decided to keep the group going and open it to new members.  An invitation was sent out to all who might be interested in seeing the movie "Awake My Soul." .  Attendance was good and enthusiasm still runs high. The group has been invited  to sing for several special events in the area.  As we continue
to meet for singings our group continues to grow. We invite, and welcome, all who would like to sing with us.

Shape Note Singers Sing In England - This notice was received via e-mail

14-Day Sacred Harp Tour - England and Wales  June 4-17, 2007

"A Sacred Harp Heritage Tour of England and Wales is planned for June 4-17, 2007. The tour hosts are Harry Eskew, Hugh McGraw, and David Ivey.

We will be visiting places where hymn writers have contributed words sung from "The Sacred Harp." We will sing in every village, town, and city we visit, including a British-American Sacred Harp Singing arranged by Ted and Helen Brown of Derby, England." (They are scheduled to make 11 stops.)
Be sure Linda has your e-mail address......

REMEMBER: It is the quality of our music that will attract new singers to Shape Note singing.

Linda has spent a lot of time on this project and the result is one we can all be proud of.  If you are not familiar with "websites" ask a family member or friend to visit the site and show you what this is all about.
Why is our style of singing called "Sacred Harp"?

Technically, our style of singing is "shape note singing" because the musical notation uses note heads in 4 distinct shapes to aid in sight-reading, but it is often called "Sacred Harp" singing because the
books that most singers use today are called "The Sacred Harp," with the most prominent of these being the 1991 Denson edition. The term "sacred  harp" refers to the human voice — that is, the musical instrument you were given at birth.

In 1844, The Sacred Harp was just one of more than 100 oblong hymn books published in the U.S. It has been continuously updated ever since. Along with other hymn books from the era, a handful of which are also still published and used, its repertoire of over 500 4-part a capella hymns, odes, and anthems is part of the foundation of our vibrant oral tradition.

There are dozens of living composers still actively writing new tunes within the traditional styles and shape note format. Other shape note books still in use today include Christian Harmony (using a 7-shape notation), New Harp of Columbia, plus several others, including some entirely new collections such as Northern Harmony.

For a discussion on the use of METER try this great site.

When thunder comes it relieves the tension and promotes positive action.  Music can do the same by making people enthusiastic and united together.  When used to promote good it brings them closer to heaven.  -     I Ching (B.C. 1150?)

Words ENDING with "M" and "N"

To clearly enunciate words ending with "m" or "n", it is necessary to hum the word ending.

 Practice using the words NOON and ROOM.   

To develop the habit of humming these consonants, practice the three studies by humming the "m" or "n" for one half the value of the note.  1. Whole note     2. Half note    and 3. Quarter note


A good singer is a good actor, for he lets his face mirror the thoughts of the words he is singing. When a word expresses an emotion, let your face express the emotion of each word as it is sung.  You may FEEL silly if you do this; but you will LOOK silly if you don't . (Imagine yourself singing the word "joyful" and looking as if you had lost your best friend.)  Try these words: TENDERLY, WEARY, PROUDLY, LOVING, MERRILY, TERRIBLE, SHAMEFUL, SOOTHING, SCORNFUL.  (Go ahead... emote!)
I would like to introduce you to a slightly different method of singing a scale. If, like me, you were probably taught to sing up and down the scale using, Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Ti Do..... Do Ti La Sol Fa Mi Re Do.  Go ahead - sing it that way a couple of times.    Now... replace the Do Re Mi, etc.. with numbers from 1 to 8.  Sing up the scale 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8.... then down the scale 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1.  (Notice that 1 and 8 are really the same tone.. just ONE OCTAVE apart.  So... you could actually sing   1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 - Because the last 1 is the really 1 of the next scale above.) Is that difficult?  Shouldn't be.  Will you practice singing those numbers until we meet again?  Good!  There is a reason... and it will soon make sense to you.

Newsletter ideas or articles should be given to Duane

Phone/FAX 814-926-3709

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