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The Sacred Harp: Early American Singing

Saturday, February 17, 2024 | 3PM

Emmanuel Episcopal Church

16 Washington Street, Cumberland, MD


Multi-instrumentalist KEITH COLLINS, a past leader in the Smithsonian’s Connor Prairie living history park, will return to Cumberland to lead a hands-on and voices-on workshop to learn the uniquely American phenomenon of shape-note singing. Attendees will find out how unmeasured, un-notated hymns still sung in English, Mvskoki (Creek), and Scottish Gaelic reflect the original musical impetus for “singing by note” made wildly popular in early 19th century New England by the invention of shape notes. They will learn about the origins of the style with historical recordings and images, then will divide up into treble, counter, tenor, and bass. Sitting in the traditional “hollow square,” participants learn to “sing the notes” on the syllables fa, so, la, and mi before progressing to the words. Interest in singing is the prerequisite, no training required! All materials provided! There is no charge for the event, though a free-will offering will be received. All are welcome!

COVID 19 Guidelines

Note: We encourage patrons to be up to date with vaccinations for the protection of all.

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