Where we go - reports - 2009

St. Paul, Virginia

Singing slows down in the winter. But, Alexander decided to change that by organizing a group in southwest Virginia. Sunday afternoon gatherings began in November and have been well attended. Check the calendar and upcoming events page for more activity up north.

Pics from singing in St Paul

February 28, 2009 - We sang in Madison County

Natural Tunnel, Duffield, Virginia

We returned to Natural Tunnel State Park on Sunday afternoon, March 1. Around twenty five attended, most of whom were first timers. Three states were represented, Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee. After all, it's not that far to the Cumberland Gap.


For the break, Jean Brown and others (whose names I do not have) provided snacks and hot cider on a cold and blustery day. Minutes are posted


This will be a first Sunday event, beginning at two o'clock.

Saturday, March 7, 2009 - Jonesborough

When it got to be about 9:45 and there were about four of us present, I had the sinking feeling. Sure, a lot of people had said they were coming; but, it was such a fair day, that perhaps minds had changed.


At ten o'clock we began with "Holy Manna" and folks were coming in. We sang "New Britain" by the parts and when we put it all together and sang verse one we had a full class with four strong parts and the singing was ON.


We sang 64 songs. I do not know if that is a record, but the minutes that I recorded are the longest I have ever done.


This one will endure in my memory and in my heart for a long, long time. I am a blessed man.

Sunday, April 26, 2009 - Milligan College, Tennessee

We were invited to bring the shape note singing for the church's 175th anniversary observance. A goodly number of Old Fields singers attended and we were joined by several from the church, including the pastor, Tim Ross. A bountiful dinner was provided after morning worship.


The square was unique in my experience. We had room for three sides up on the altar area, leaving the altos below, on the floor. Minutes are posted both on this site and www.christianharmony.org.

hopwood pt 1.mp3
MP3 Audio File 23.7 MB
hopwood pt 2.mp3
MP3 Audio File 49.9 MB

Recording by Craig Augenstein. Yours truly did editing, only clipping out some of the chatter. Thank you, Craig. I was motivated to buy my own recorder and I am loving it.


If you enjoy these sound files, please let me hear from you. I'm thinking about maybe a better way to organize them on the site.

Etowah, NC - Saturday May 2, 2009

No pictures for this one. I did take my camera, but left the camera battery in the battery charger. I did take my new digital audio recorder and the clip of "Sessions" is my first. 


I love the "feel" of this. First, the skill of the leader lifts the class (which, frankly and in my opinion, struggled a bit all day).


Secondly, the leader chooses to take a quite slow tempo. When I was a beginner, I always wanted to go faster on everything. I am (slowly) coming to an understanding that my preferences can change.


To enlage on my "struggled" comment - perhaps that is just me and my perception. We were few in number; but I have sung in even smaller numbers. I'm going to venture a guess in hindsight - that a smaller sized square could have made a difference. That is someting I am going to try to be aware of in the future.


Leaving that aside, the pleasure of sharing a part of the day with friends is not diminished by little difficulties. We shared the songs, shared a meal and remembered the extended community who were not physically present, but very much present in our hearts.


Thanks to Scott for presiding over the day and to Chris for the hospitality.

MP3 Audio File 4.3 MB

Big Stone Gap, Virginia - Saturday, May 23, 2009

Third Annual "Gathering in the Gap." It was a lovely day to be out and at a singing. While singing in a tent is not the preferred venue, the class mustered enough collective voice to make a good sound. We had around seventeen singers at peak, with some newcomers.


Alexander led a brief instruction time and then we sang. After the official time alloted had passed, a few "hard core" continued with some spirited singing.

New Bethel CP Church - Greene County

See Minutes page.


The Midnight Cry.mp3
MP3 Audio File 3.7 MB

When the midnight cry began, oh what lamentation!

Thousands sleeping in their sins, neglecting their salvation.

Lo, the Bridegroom is at hand, who will kindly treat Him?

Surely all that waiting band will now go forth to greet Him.


Some indeed did wait a while and shone without a rival;

But they spent their seeming oil, long since the last revival.

Many souls who thought they’d light, Oh, when the scene was closed,

Now against the Bridegroom fight, and so they stand opposed.


While the wise are passing by, with all their lamps prepared,

Give us of your oil they say, if any can be spared.

Others trimm’d their former snuff, oh, is it not amazing!

Those conclude they’ve light enough, and think their lamps are blazing.


Foolish virgins do you think our Bridegroom’s a deceiver?

Then may you pass your lives away and think to sleep forever.

But we by faith do see his face on whom we have believed:

If there’s deception in the case, ‘tis you that are deceived.


And now the door is open wide and Christians are invited,

And virgins wise compass the bride, march to the place appointed.

Who do you think is now a guest” Yea, listen carnal lovers.

‘Tis those in wedding garments dress’d, they cease from sin forever.

Paradise 2 New Bethel 09.mp3
MP3 Audio File 2.5 MB
New Durham.mp3
MP3 Audio File 2.6 MB

This is page 59 from the restored section of the New Harp. There are seven singers. Two basses, one treble, one tenor and three altos. The State of Franklin group's creed includes trying out new and unfamiliar songs.

Third Swannanoa Gathering - Saturday, July 25, 2009

The All Day Singing and Dinner on the Ground is in conjunction with a week long series of classes and workshops conducted at Warren Wilson College. We sang at the Morris Pavilion. It was an interesting venue. Wooden floor and ceiling, but no walls. The sound was better than I expected. I have yet to listen to a recording I made. Check back later. I may post some files.


We sang from three books - Carolina Christian Harmony, Sacred Harp and Southern Harmony. For many of us, this is our lone oppoetunity to sing from the latter.


We were blessed with moderate weather and a cooling breeze stirred the air. Dinner was excellent, highlighted by Jane Spencer's delicious peach dessert that was, well, just peachy.

Sound files - from The Christian Harmony - Carolina edition

58 - Primrose

381-D - Holy Manna

198 - Creation

215 - In That Morning

69 - Nazareth

88 - Pisgah

136 - Sherburne

217 - Jerusalem

36 - Albion

71 - Edwards

59 - Mear

322 - Little Worth

55 - Idumea

248 - Union

Swannanoa CH singing.mp3
MP3 Audio File 37.5 MB

Sound files fom The Sacred Harp - 1991 edition

33 - Abbeville

146 - Hallelujah

316 - New Hope

133 - The Podigal Son

402 - Protection

129 - Heavenly Armor - for John P.

209 - Evening Shade

499 - At Rest

38 - Windham

39 - Detroit

312 - Restoration

35 Saints Bound For Heaven

501 O'Leary

84 - Amsterdam

373 - Homeward Bound

455 - Soar Away

Swannanoa ScH singing.mp3
MP3 Audio File 38.2 MB

Second session from Sacred Harp


45 -  New Britain

176 - Blooming Youth

351 - Pittsford

278 - Love Shall Never Die

353   McGraw

350 - Nativity

268 - David's Lamentetion

106 - Ecsatsy

42 -  Clamanda

569 - Sacred Throne

269 - Bear Creek

40 -  Lenox

347 - Christian's Farewell

200 - Edom


Swannanoa ScH2 singing.mp3
MP3 Audio File 32.2 MB

Sound files from Southern Harmony

I have page numbers only for now, as I do not have a book. I missed one  or two songs at the beginning. I have left some of the between song chatter and banter. I hope no one objects.




















Swannanoa SoH singing.mp3
MP3 Audio File 45.9 MB

Camp DoReMi - 2009

I believe this will be talked about for a long time to come. Certainly, we who were fortunate enough to be there will be talking about it when we have a chance. I was very pleased to see a good representation of singers (seven) who call the Old Fields home.


Pictures can be found here.


I recorded the evening singings and here is "Easter Anthem" from the Friday night Christian Harmony (Carolina) singing.


CD's of the complete singing, as well as singings from the other books we sang from will be available. Proceeds from the sales will be used to fund scholarships for future camps. Details on how to obtain this will be forthcoming. Please keep checking back.


UPDATE: I am told that CD's sold out immediately . More will be available and I'll have them at singigs I attend.

A word about sound files

First, all on my site are free for the taking, especially if you will share them with others and also come sing with me sometime.


I am grateful for the technology that allows us to have this resource. However, even the very best recordings are a pale and thin representation of the real thing. I believe this goes beyond the loss of quality inherent in an analog to digital conversion.


I heard it well expressed in a prayer that was offered at camp which gave thanks "for the people who come to share themselves with us." There is a spiritual element present when people lay aside earthly cares and unite their voices. That is why a very small singing can be as satisfying as the biggest ones, especially if people come with that attitude of sharing.


So, enjoy these recordings. But, please,  take every opportunity to find a singing and come, sit a spell. Let's sing.



Easter Anthem.mp3
MP3 Audio File 5.7 MB
Lloyd Hymnal Friday 2.mp3
MP3 Audio File 49.1 MB
Lloyd Hymnal Saturday.mp3
MP3 Audio File 44.3 MB
This is "yours truly" leading after calling the wrong page number.
Watchman ALCH.mp3
MP3 Audio File 4.0 MB

102nd Etowah singing - Saturday, August 30, 2009

Although the location has moved several times since we have been attending, the good spirit we experience does not change.


We had a fine late summer's day for around 30 singers, several of whom travelled some distance. We sang from three books. Minutes. as always, can be found at www.christianharmony.org.

Old Folks Day at Morningstar

The 119th this year. Thanks to June Smathers Jolley for keeping this going. It's a connection to our past.

Headrick Chapel 2009

The number of singers was smaller than is some past years; but the singing was fabulous. Weather was perfect; definite taste of fall in the air. Thanks to Bruce Wheeler for moderating and to all who worked hard for yet another memorable day.


After the singing, several of us sang at Larry's grave - 47 and 74.


Photos courtesy of Caleb Dillehay from Carthage who kindly shared them. I had the dead battery misery.

Sound files

The morning session began at 1000 with

107 Holy Manna - Andrew Whaley
prayer - David Sarten
115 Northfield - Bruce Wheeler
 20B Hebron - Bruce Wheeler
117 Coronation - Kathleen Mavournin
 30 Sion's Security - Bob Richmond
163 New Topia - Jonathon Smith
 84 The Midnight Cry - Caleb Dillehay
 47 The Promised Land - Ann Strange
 93 Deep Spring - Jeff Farr
131T Marston - Janet Whaley
206 Western Mount Pleasant - Julianne Wiley
 53B Dundee - Leslie Booher
 14 Mear - Robin Goddard
 94 Devizes - Tina Becker
143 Wondrous Love - David Sarten
 67B New Year - Jeremy Shipp
 97AB Athens- Tim Reynolds
133T To-Day - Don Wiley
 77 The Trumpet - Eddie Mash
 20A Fairfield - Claudia Dean
 51 Mount Olivet - Andrew Whaley
 75T Anticipation - Paul Clabo
 56B Warrenton - Sharee Green
 57 Protection - Christine White
 16 Greenfields - Dan McCarter
 15 Prospect - Joe Sarten
 28B Maysville - Chris Wilhelm
125A Cumberland - Mary Baumeister
 68T Paradise - Virginia Douglas
144 Rowley - Steve Stone
145 Oliphant - Judy Mincey
blessing before dinner on the grounds - Paul Clabo
107 Holy Manna - Bruce Wheeler
prayer - Bruce Wheeler
 98 Liberty - Sharee Green
 89 Morality - Paul Clabo
159B Ocean - Andrew Whaley
 62A Florida - Claudia Dean
 81B Golden Hill - Joe Sarten
112 Humility - Nan Taylor
 66 Clinton - Jonathon Smith
161 Ballstown - Caleb Dillehay
185 Christian Song - Eddie Mash
100 Portugal - Mary Baumeister
 51 Mount Olivet - Kathleen Mavournin
 64T Zerah - Nancy Olsen
 52A Evening Shade - Jarus Sarten
 56T Heavenly Armour - Sarah Melton
169 Amsterdam - Tim Reynolds
 80B Shawmut - Reba Blalock
114T Zion - Martha Graham
128B Ortonville - Martha Graham
 44 Idumea - Hal Wilson
 23B Duke Street - Tom Taylor
124 The Saint's Adieu - Ann Strange
 63B Azmon - David Sarten
180 Whitestown - Janet Whaley
 24 Salvation - Jeremy Shipp
 99 Morning Trumpet - Jeff Farr
162A David's Lamentation - Tina Becker
 35 Ninety-Fifth - Robin Goddard
 68T Paradise - Judy Mincey
134 Indian's Farewell - Paul Clabo, Andrew Whaley
 95 Parting Hand - Nan Taylor, Steve Stone, Don and Julianne Wiley
115 Northfield - Bruce Wheeler
 11 Old Hundred - Nancy Olsen, Hal Wilson, David Sarten
Prayer - David Sarten

Headrick Chapel 09 morning pt 1.mp3
MP3 Audio File 37.5 MB
Headrick Chapel 09 morning pt 2.mp3
MP3 Audio File 40.7 MB
HC 09 afternoon pt 1.mp3
MP3 Audio File 44.6 MB
HC 09 afternoon pt 2.mp3
MP3 Audio File 40.3 MB

Old St John's -Rutherdfordton, NC - October 10, 2009

A fine group of energetic singers gathered on a fine autumn day. Though we missed several of our "regulars" we had the four parts well covered. There are continuing improvements to the room - this time I noticed that recessed lighting had been installed in the ceiling. I believe the acoustics are better than ever, if that is possible.


It was good to meet a new bass singer - Dave Richardson from London - and to see Michael Walker who brought his mother as well.


Thanks to Jane Spencer for hosting and for her permission to post the sound files. I regret that I missed capturing a portion of the final afternoon selections. I'm still learning!

St John's 10-9 pt 1.mp3
MP3 Audio File 44.5 MB
St John's 10-9 pt 2.mp3
MP3 Audio File 34.7 MB
St John's 09 pt 3.mp3
MP3 Audio File 45.6 MB
One by One.wmv
Windows Media video format 8.4 MB

Morristown - October 24, 2009

Jeff F was asked to "present" singing at the folk festival. He agreed to do so if we could have a place to sing more afterwards. So, twelve of us (including six from the Old Fields group) made our presentation to virtually no audience. The weather (cool and blustery) plus the Alabama game put a damper on attendance.


Then we removed to the Centenary Methodist Church for more. We had a couple of newcomers give it a try.

Old Fields All Day Singing - October 31, 2009

The more I do of this singing, the more I realize how much I have to learn. Besides the usual "to do" for a singing (getting a bite of food to take, packing my gear and finding the way) I wanted to get pictures, a video ot two and a recording. Also, as the so-called leader of the group, I wanted to be in charge and see that things ran smoothly. I was also worrying about who was not there.


Well, I don't think the pictures are very good and I made no video. I'll see about the recording. I do know that I forgot to start the darn thing after one of the breaks. But, the little I listened to sounds pretty good.


But, I do know enough to know it's not all about me. And, I do believe that the folks who came enjoyed themselves; at least that's what several told me. And, THAT is what it's all about, my friends. To you who did come: Thank you!


To those who were not able: You were very much missed and come sing with us when you can.



Night old fields 09.mp3
MP3 Audio File 1.9 MB

Christmas tree and singing - Sunday, November 29, 2009

We placed our ornaments on the Sycamore Shoals tree and then sang in the lobby. Seven singers. Then we drove down to Greeneville to sing Old Harp. It was a pleasure to see Guy Bankes from Philadelphia there and with Dan, that made three in the bass section. Heaven on Earth!

St John's Singing - December 12, 2009

St Johns 12-09 opening song.mp3
MP3 Audio File 2.4 MB
St Johns 12 09 pt 2.mp3
MP3 Audio File 51.3 MB
St Johns 12 09 pt 1.mp3
MP3 Audio File 41.7 MB
St Johns 12 09 pt 1.mp3
MP3 Audio File 41.7 MB
St Johns 12 09 pt 2.mp3
MP3 Audio File 51.3 MB
St Johns 12 09 pt 3.mp3
MP3 Audio File 51.9 MB
St Johns 12 09 pt 4.mp3
MP3 Audio File 41.3 MB