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All are welcome.
No admission charge.
(Contributions to defray expenses are
welcome on a strictly voluntary basis.)
No experience required! Come, let us learn to sing -- together!
Singers of all ages (both adults and children) are welcome.
Listeners are welcome, too!
Tunebooks are available for loan or purchase.
Garden State Sacred Harp Singers
Choir of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Montclair
Chancel Choir of Church of the Immaculate Conception, Montclair
with music old and new.
Hosted by the music ministry of the Unitarian Universalist Congretation at Montclair
Singers arrive: 1:30 pm - Public concert 4:00 pm
September 22, 2013
October 27, 2013
November 24, 2013
December 22, 2013
No Singing in January 2013 (see you at the Pennsylvania Convention!)
February 23, 2014
March 23, 2014
April 27, 2014
May 25, 2014
June 22, 2014
Note: Summer hiatus as usual: no singings have been scheduled in July, or August 2013
Located 14 miles due west of midtown Manhattan, the Montclair Friends Meeting House is just a hop, skip, and jump from the Garden State Parkway; a mere 30 minutes from NYC's Port Authority Terminal by bus; convenient to local public transportation. Its lath-and-plaster interior with vaulted ceiling provides excellent acoustics for singing.
We sing from the 1991 revsion of The Sacred Harp, copies of which are available for loan or for purchase (at cost).
Sacred Harp music is sung a cappella--that
is, by voices alone in harmony without instrumental support or
accompaniment. We sing in the traditional way, facing each other in a
hollow square, taking turns leading the singing from our tunebook, which
has been in continuous publication with periodic revisions since 1844.
All are welcome. No particular religious, ethnic, or musical background is supposed, and current Sacred Harpers are a proudly diverse lot with respect to all of these.
The music consists of hymns, fuging tunes,
anthems, and other songs of a Christian devotional or (far less often)
an American patriotic nature. Composers and poets represented include
European and American men and women from the 16th to the 20th
The music is powerful, the sound
distinctive: modal and gapped scales, open chords, and original and
unusual harmonies feature in many of our songs. Two of the four parts
(the melody or "tenor" and the main harmony part or "treble") are
customarily doubled in octaves by both men's and women's voices, making in effect six parts out of the four printed on the page.
The "shape notes" in our tunebook supplement standard musical notation with a system of noteheads in four different shapes that indicate the notes and intervals of the musical scale using the 1000-year-old note names of FA SOL LA and MI, which (once one has got the hang of it) makes it much easier to learn to read the music and to sing four-part music without reference to any musical instrument.
About that funny word, "singings":
Folk-music revivalists hold "sings", while Sacred-Harp singers hold
"singings" (which is a funny-sounding way of using the word, we know,
though it doesn't sound funny to us anymore). Southern Gospel artists,
barbershoppers, and bluegrassers (among others) all call their melody
part "lead," while we call ours "tenor." But folksingers, Gospel
singers, barbershoppers, and bluegrassers are all welcome among us, as
are classical choral singers, church choir singers, jazz singers, blues
singers, garage-band singers, instrumentalists and non-singers who want
to learn to sing in harmony, and anyone else who cares to experience
the wonderful heritage of music old and new found between the covers of
our book. We've had folks sing with us who have sung major roles at the
Metropolitan Opera (no kidding!), and folks who have never sung before
at all (no kidding about that, either). Also old-time fiddlers, Celtic
fiddlers, Bluegrass fiddlers, and classical violinists (all of whom
checked their instruments at that door). You'll fit in. Come.
Montclair Friends Meeting House is easily reached from all points! For travel directions (by car and by public transportation), please see our directions page.
Please get in touch if you would like to know more about the Garden State Sacred Harp singings or to be added to our mailing list. Call 973 779-8290 or send e-mail to email@example.com On the day of any singing (but not otherwise, please!), call the meetinghouse at 973 744-8320.
Also in New Jersey, the now-flourishing Princeton, New
Jersey, area singing meets on second Sundays in Lawrenceville and
welcomes new singers. They hosted their first all-day singing in 2013.
The web site of our friends at New York City Sacred Harp
lists the schedules of the FOUR regular singings in New York City: the
Manhattan Singing (third Sundays), the Lower East Side Sing
(first Sundays), and the Joe
Beasley Sacred Harp Singing (Brooklyn, second Sundays), and the Midweek Singing (Wednesdays in Greenwich Village or Chelsea).
New Jersey singers can usually be found represented at nearby conventions and all-day singings in New York City, Pennsylvania, NewYork State, and New England and the Pioneer Valley.
For other singings in the region and
elsewhere, the Sacred Harp Heritage Warren Steel provides several pages of contact information both for annual singings
nationwide from The Sacred Harp and other American books of
psalmody, and for (more frequent, usually smaller) regular singings. Links to web sites for local (mostly regular) singings are hosted courtesy of the Sacred Harp Musical Heritage Association.
For more information about Sacred Harp
singing in general and pointers to the abundant Sacred Harp resources
on the Internet and singings throughout the USA and abroad, we
recommend starting with the aforementioned Prof. Steel's Sacred
at the University of
The indispensible fasola.org
page includes (among many other things) links to recent press and media
coverage and a number of radio features that you can listen to
online, and the portal to the "Fasola Singings" and "Fasola
Discussions" e-mail lists.
The meta-resource of all meta-resources in
this area is Steven Sabols's Sacred Harp
Resource Guide, while the Sacred
Harp Publishing Company offers both a current online newsletter
and a growing archive of the former National
Sacred Harp Newsletter
that documented and promoted the Sacred Harp expansion ("Covering the
Country like Kudzu") and revival during its run from 1985 to 1993.
We also maintain an online archive of information on previous Garden State Sacred Harp conventions and other past events.
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