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Introductory Sacred Harp Workshop and Preparation for Midwest Convention

Hello Everyone,

A Sacred Harp singing workshop for new and newer Sacred Harp singers will be held on Saturday, May 18th, from 2:00pm to 4:30pm. Although this workshop will be focused on newer Sacred Harp singers, singers of all levels would benefit from attending and are encouraged to attend. An RSVP is not necessary to attend. However, if you are thinking about attending, a courtesy RSVP will help the organizers plan for the size of the event. Feel free to email Jeff (Assistant Organizer of Chicagland Sacred Harp Singing for New Singers) with any questions about the workshop.  You can find out more about Sacred Harp singing and this workshop at:

This singing workshop will focus on providing a step by step introduction to the fundamentals of Sacred Harp singing. For anyone who has already attended a Sacred Harp workshop, this particular workshop will move at a much slower pace than other workshops you may have attended. In addition, there will be multiple opportunities throughout the event for singers to meet other singers and get to know one another. After attending this workshop, participants should feel greater confidence when walking into a regular Sacred Harp singing event. In addition, they should feel greater social connections to other newer singers and experienced singers who attend future events.

This workshop is timed to prepare newer singers to participate in their first Sacred Harp singing convention the following weekend. The 28th Annual Midwest Sacred Harp singing convention will be held on Saturday May, 25th and Sunday May, 26th. Participants at this workshop are especially encouraged to attend part or all of the convention. More information about the convention can be found at the following links:


1. To provide step by step instruction in Sacred Harp singing to new and newer Sacred Harp singers.

2. To provide multiple opportunities for newer Sacred Harp singers to meet and get to know each other.

3. To prepare newer Sacred Harp singers for attending the 28th Annual Midwest Convention on the following weekend of Saturday May 25th and Sunday May 26th.


The workshop will be held at Berry United Methodist Church at 4754 N. Leavitt, in the Lincoln Square/Ravenswood neighborhood of Chicago. Free street parking is available around the neighborhood, including on Wilson Avenue. Metered street parking is available on Lawrence Avenue. For CTA riders, the church is located a couple of blocks away from the Brown Line Western stop. The church is located located just off of Lawrence Ave, so there are also many bus opportunities.

Participants are encouraged to arrive approximately 10 minutes early for early socializing. Also, there is a lot of material to cover in this workshop, so please try to arrive a little before 2:00 pm. Be sure to allow some extra time for parking if you are driving. This workshop will build on itself incrementally. If you want to attend but cannot attend the whole workshop, please feel free to attend what you can. Although you are welcome to arrive as it fits into your schedule, you would probably benefit most from arriving at the beginning of the workshop.
There will be a couple of breaks for refreshments and snacks. Hot and cold drinks will be provided. But, please bring snacks to share. Healthy snacks and non-healthy snacks are both welcomed. Homemade goodies and store-bought snacks are both OK. By bringing food to share at an event, you'll be participating in one of the great Sacred Harp traditions of community sharing.

The cost to attend the workshop is free. Although the cost to attend is free, there are costs associated with putting on this workshop. These costs will be covered solely by freewill donations by participants. You are encouraged to attend whether or not you have the financial means to provide a donation. Your presence at the event is the most important.

1. Major and minor scales and chords and practice pitching a song by singing the chord.

2. Introduction to Sacred Harp harmony.

3. The interrelationships of sounds, melodies, syllables, shapes, and words.

4. Strategies for using melodies, syllables, shapes, and words for singing a new song with others.

5. Rhythmic notation, such as the durations of notes and rests.

6. Modes of time and practice leading those modes of time.

7. Learning the lead lines (tenor part) of approximately 10-20 of the more popular songs.

8. An introduction to reading shape note music based on knowing and hearing intervals of the scales.

9. Singing in parts for a few songs.

10. Introduction to Sacred Harp Singing conventions and strategies for attending your first convention.


I hope to see as many as you there as possible. This workshop will be a safe opportunity to learn Sacred Harp singing fundamentals and also to have lots of practice. In addition, It is a great way to get connected in with other newer singers and more experienced singers.


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