Yesterday afternoon, on the last day of Camp Fasola, half a dozen of us were sitting on a porch at Camp McDowell; I was the only non-Southerner in the group. We were idly talking over what we had done at camp, and one of the others brought up the fact that sometimes Camp Fasola various people would sit in a lesson showing that they knew more than the others, or even more than whomever was teaching the lesson. He said, “It’s like a — like — ” and then he stopped, unable to find a suitable way of putting it. I said drily, “Up in New England, we call it a pissing match.” Everyone laughed, but we went on to refine the idea further: a sense of competition often emerges among Sacred Harp singers.
Why is this so? Why do we Sacred Harp singers get competitive at times?