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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
84 - Amsterdam
373 - Homeward Bound
455 - Soar Away
Second session from Sacred Harp
45 - New Britain
176 - Blooming Youth
351 - Pittsford
278 - Love Shall Never Die
350 - Nativity
268 - David's Lamentetion
106 - Ecsatsy
42 - Clamanda
569 - Sacred Throne
269 - Bear Creek
40 - Lenox
347 - Christian's Farewell
200 - Edom
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
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!