Singing with seminarians - Friday, January 11, 2013
This is the second year we have introduced the singing to a group of seminarians who are finishing a week of retreat near Burnsville. We set up the square in the choir room of the Mars Hill Baptist Church. Was expecing 15 - got closer to 20 plus 7 Tennessee singers and one NC singer.
These folks catch on fast and participate with energy. One hopes a few of them might carry on with it when they are back to their homes.
It was unseasonably mild - in the 60's, though top of Sam's Gap felt like the 40's.
At the Jonesborough Yarn Exchange - Monday, February 25, 2013
Sometimes we shape note singers are wary (and grow weary) of "demonstration singings". We do not consider ourselves performers, neither is our singing intended for the entertainment of others. However, some opportunities are just too good to pass up.
Leon Overbay contacted me in December to see if we would be interested in singing with the Jonesborough Yarn Exvhange. My first question was, "What's that?" They ARE a performance group, a group of story tellers and others who create an old time radio show, based on local lore and legend. Last year, their shows were saved as podcasts. This year, they shall be broadcast over an actual radio station, WETS-FM.
I sent out word to my list in December and got enough response to accept the invitation. On Saturday and Sunday, a few singers participated in rehearsal - here is where the magic began. I had been very clear with Leon, that I could not guarantee how many could show up on a Monday night. He told me not to worry, that the cast wanted me to teach THEM to sing the shapes. Any singers who showed up to support would be icing on the cake.
The first rehearsal proved that Leon was NOT spinning a yarn. I chose "Happy Land" and we worked the parts in unison at first. Those folks wanted to do it!! There's a feeling that a leader gets when the class is getting it and I had that feeling.
Still, I had concerns on how it would come off on Monday under performance pressure. I had five or six singers indicate they would come to support, but things can happen to foil good intentions.
But, they came. They came from Jonesborough, from Johnson City, from Chuckey, from Erwin, from Elizabethton, from Buck Mountain, from Kingsport, from Possum Creek, Virginia. Ended up with a dozen Old Fields Singers, 15 or 20 cast members and 50 or 60 in the audience who had been given a copy of the song with my teaching aid. After "Happy Land" I told them, "You are ALL now Old Fields Singers!"
Will we gain any new singers as a result? I really do not concern myself so much with that any more. I hope so. That's one reason to do such. But, my joy is that dozen singers who gave of their time and treasure; gave of themselves to share this wonderful thing. If we get some new ones, well, that's icing on the cake.
But, with the singing singing school in Jonesborough on March 9, I can't help but feel very good about getting some regular singing established in Jonesborough.
Seventh Grapevine Singing - Madiscon County, NC - Saturday, March 2, 2013
Scheduling a singing early in March is risky business for our area. And, sure enough, early Saturday morning I got a call from Scott in Henderson County - three inches of snow and still coming down. I called Madison County and learned there was just a dusting, so I made to decision to go on with it.
Well, attendance was down compared to 2012; yet we had several newcomers - some brand new to shape note and some new to Christian Harmony. The upstairs room we use helps the singers. Not all rooms will do that. About a dozen made a quite satisfying sound and we sang a varied selection and as many verses as we wanted.
For dinner, we could all sit at one table and converse. At big singings, one can go all day and not be able to visit folks for the numbers and limited time. That's OK but, I see also that small can be good as well. Maybe that's what they mean, "It's all good."
And, there are more pictures of the scenery than the singing.
Elizabethton Star - Sunday, March 3, 2013
Two separate documents. I don't know how to combine them. But, it's a very good piece of work.
Singing school in Jonesborough - Saturday, March 9, 2013
Pictures are on the Old Fields Singers facebook page. We had around twenty in attendance. There was interesting and useful instruction and a good deal of singing. Most positive of the day, for me, was the presence of some young folks.
We'll do it again, I think.
Second Annual Roan Mountain Singing - Saturday, April 20, 2013
Even though Spring had not quite fully sprung, the snow was gone and the sun was shining brightly. Had around sixteen singers. We also had several who made their first foray into the center of the square to lead. If it's been a while since you sang, be good to yourself and come join us soon.