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Fasola/Shaped-Note/Sacred Harp Singing in Chicagoland

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  • schlesmail
    One thing that enhances my enjoyment of a cappella singing is the wealth of musical styles it encompasses. I ve been a Barbershopper for 25 years, but one
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 15, 2002
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      One thing that enhances my enjoyment of a cappella singing is the
      wealth of musical styles it encompasses. I've been a Barbershopper
      for 25 years, but one style that caught my attention quite by
      accident several years ago is Sacred Harp (also known as Fasola and
      Shaped-Note singing).

      It's a style of mixed four-part unaccompanied harmony with a rich
      history that dates back to America's colonial days. I recently tried
      to find a Chicago Sacred Harp Web site--I dimly recalled that there
      was one--but couldn't remember the correct URL or even come close.

      Then I checked my favorite catch-all resource: the CASA Web site--&
      there it was. So I'm sharing this info with all you a-cappella-heads
      who want to expand your knowledge & appreciation of vocal harmony.

      The national Sacred Harp Web site is located at
      http://www.fasola.org -- it contains links to a multitude of regional
      sites, including one for the Chicago area:

      http://shape-note.uchicago.edu

      According to this site, there are Sacred Harp sings every month,
      usually on the third Sunday from 4-6 p.m., at different locations in
      the metro area. The public is always invited; admission is free (&
      guests can borrow or buy a copy of the basic songbook, the current
      edition of "The Sacred Harp," first published in 1844), but these
      gatherings usually include a potluck dinner, so participants are
      urged to bring a covered dish to share.

      There's also a Midwest Convention--quite a memorable assemblage of
      singers--every spring; usually there's one big meeting on the South
      side (generally, on the University of Chicago campus) & one big
      meeting on the North side. In past years the convention has been
      held around Memorial Day, but this year it was June 29-30. I'm
      peeved that I missed it--oh well, 2003 is another year!

      If you've never heard Sacred Harp singing, there are sound clips
      located on the Web--the style is best experienced live (the more the
      better); it can be a deeply emotional & moving experience for
      participants. One of its endearing traits is the unpolished quality
      of the singing--this is truly music designed for the enjoyment of
      average, plain folk everywhere (democracy at its finest!).

      For more info, call the Chicago-area "Harp Line" at 773/276-HARP, Ted
      Mercer at 773/862-6477, or Connie Karduck at 773/463-3637.

      --Joseph Schlesinger
      zinger99@... (backup: schlesmail@...)
      member Shoreliner Chorus (http://www.nsn.org/evkhome/bflat)
      member New Tradition Chorus (http://www.newtradition.org)
      founder Barbershop Harmony Chicagoland (http://www.bbs.singer.as)
      847/328-0921
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