Old Fields Singers
The people who moved down the valley from Virginia and across the mountains from North Carolina in the early 18th century, discovered the Old Fields along the Watauga River. They assumed that the Cherokee had cleared the land for cultivation. Cherokee lore indicates that the land was already cleared when they arrived.
As the Watauga region was settled, the Old Fields were planted with corn; forts were built and treaties were signed with the Indians.
The settlement of this region was the beginning of the expansion of our nation from the original thirteen colonies. It is a fascinating history.
The Overmountain Men mustered here in 1780 and Reverend Samuel Doak preached a sermon to the men who were preparing to march to King's Mountain to fight the British.
Today the Sycamore Shoals State Historic
Area stands on a part the Old Fields. We sang here for several years.In June 2014, we shall move our regular location to
St John's Episcopal Church
500 North Roan Street
Johnson City, TN 37601
We sing on the second Monday at 7:00 p.m. and the third Sunday at 2:00 p.m.
I send out e-mails regarding this and other shape note information. Use the "send an email from the menu list (toward the bottom) to request this.
Most people around here know of shape note singing. Some recall singing in the past. Many know of family members who sang. Note the past tense. Because this tradition cannot be found on television. It's not played on the radio. There are no shape note concert tours.
In fact, for most of us, we seldom sing at all. Maybe, a hymn or two at church, if it is one even possible for our voice. Or, the "Star Spangled Banner" (except for those really high notes.)
Many of us think we "can't sing a lick". Or we have been told we should sing "solo" (so low that no one can hear us.) We will have no more of this!
One day we came to our first shape note singing. We were drawn by curiosity of what this old time thing might be like. We were warmly welcomed and invited to sing with the singers. But, we sat in the back and listened. And we decided that we wanted more of this.
We came back. We found our place in the square and over time, began to learn to sing this music. It took some time and some practice and a good deal of travel, because there was not so much singing nearby.
We sing this music because it satisfies our soul to join in sweet harmony with friends. And now we want to share it.
Come sit a spell. Let's sing.
Another monthly singing opportunity - Roan Mountain
Since Spring of 2011, there is a monthly singing school in Roan Mountain on the first Sunday of each month. Rhodyjane Meadows leads the class in learning the Rudiments and working on the parts.
Location is Roan Mountain Methodist Church on Main Street. Main Street is the very next right turn past the road to the park, if you are coming from Elizabethton. It's a little hidden, but there is a BP station there. School commences at two o'clock for about a two hour session.