Fasola/Shaped-Note/Sacred Harp Singing in Chicagoland
- 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
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:
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.
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)