At Montclair, New-Jersey, this 16th day of March, anno 2011, we at long last make bold to present our Newly Revised, Corrected, & Updated Web-Page, for the Benefit and licit Edification of such Lovers of the Science of Vocal Music as may wish to perfect Themselves therein, praying that our kind Readers will overlook its several and manifest Faults and, notwithstanding These, see fit, at their earliest Convenience, to join us in gratefully singing the Songs of Zion.

[Line drawing of Montclair Friends Meetinghouse]

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Garden State Sacred Harp

All events (except as noted) take place at
Montclair Friends Meeting House
289 Park Street at Gordonhurst Ave.
Montclair, New Jersey

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.

Special event Saturday, October 26
A DEMONSTRATION OF SINGING
for the 2013 Montclair Interfaith Choir Festival

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

Monthly Singings

Fourth Sunday of each month from 2:00 to 5:30 pm, except as noted below

Dates in 2013-2014

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

Garden State Sacred Harp Singing Convention

Held annually since 1993 on
Friday (evening) and Saturday (all day)
before the third Sunday of May
at the same location
Friday, May 16, 2014 7:00 pm-9:30 pm: Special event TBA
Saturday May 17, 2014 10:00 am-3:30 pm
Dinner on the Grounds and Social in the evening!


Details 

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 centuries. 

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.


Directions to Montclair Friends Meetinghouse

Montclair Friends Meeting House is easily reached from all points! For travel directions (by car and by public transportation), please see our directions page.


Call or write us!

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 gssh.singings@gmail.com  On the day of any singing (but not otherwise, please!), call the meetinghouse at 973 744-8320.


Links to more information and other singings

Whether you have sung before or not, you will always be made welcome at any Sacred Harp singing. It's generally a good idea to call or e-mail to confirm date, time, and location--you can't believe everything you read on the Web.

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 singingsLinks 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 Harp page at the University of Mississippi.

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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Garden State Sacred Harp:
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