Bay area singings

I have gathered much of the following information about northern California singings through visits and direct contact with singers and organizers, but times and dates of singings change frequently so you should always check with the organizers, and/or check the the weekly Bay Area Sacred Harp email list (note that Web sites, like this one, are not as reliable as email lists or Facebook). You can check various Facebook pages, too. If you’re coming from out of town, you should always get in touch with the contact person before making travel plans, via email or phone. Info about West Coast singings outside the Bay Area is based on the 2016 Minutes Book. See the Minutes Book for contact information (email and phone numbers). Updated: May, 2018.

Northern California All-day Singings and Conventions
Bay Area Local or Practice Singings
   Mondays in Berkeley
   First Sundays in Healdsburg
   Second Sundays in Palo Alto
   Third Sundays in San Francisco
   Fourth Sundays, South Bay and Peninsula
   Fifth Sundays, varies
Other Northern California Local Singings


NORTHERN CALIFORNIA ALL-DAY SINGINGS AND CONVENTIONS, with dates of other West Coast singings:

January: New Year’s Day: DOMINIC CIAVONNE ZIEGLER MEMORIAL ALL-DAY SINGING. Old Felta Schoolhouse, Healdsburg, California. Time may vary, approx. 11:00-3:00.

Comments: Began in 2013. 50+ singers, mostly from northern California, a few out-of-towners. Friendly all-day singing in honor of a singer who died suddenly at age 23; family, friends, good food, good singing. The Felta Schoolhouse (where Dominic attended school as a child) has wood floors, walls, and ceilings; one singer said “it’s like singing inside a guitar.”

January: Third Sunday and the Saturday before: ALL-CALIFORNIA SACRED HARP SINGING CONVENTION. Rotates annually between San Diego area, Los Angeles area, and the Bay area. It will return to the Bay area in 2021.

Comments: Attracts up to 200 singers over two days, including many out-of-town and out-of-state singers, and the occasional international singer. Friendly, fast, energetic, and very loud. In 2018, held at Harrison Recreation Center in Alameda; this was an acoustically bright room with lots of glass, which emphasized the higher notes.

 

February: Third Sunday and the Saturday before: In Seattle, the Pacific Northwest Sacred Harp Singing Convention, Washington Session. 150+ singers.

Comments: My favorite West Coast singing outside the Bay Area. The people are friendly, the food is excellent, and with up to 200 singers, the singing is wonderful.

 

March:

 

April: Saturday before the fourth Sunday: GOLDEN GATE ALL-DAY SINGING. San Francisco Bay area, California, location varies. In 2013, singing was in the Potrero Hill Neighborhood House; from 2014 on, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Alameda.

Comments: Attracts 90 singers, including out-of-town and out-of-state (mostly West Coast) singers. This singing tends to be friendly, fast, energetic, and loud. Trinity Lutheran Church is very pleasant for both singing and dinner-on-the-grounds. There’s usually a half day of singing on Sunday in Healdsburg, sometimes called the Caroline Bonnet Memorial Singing.

Information: Email Lindy Groening or visit: https://bayareafasola.wordpress.com/all-day-singings/

 

May: First Sunday and the Saturday before: Double all-day singing in Portland, Oregon. Saturday: the Portland All-day Singing. Sunday: the Portland Christian Harmony All-day Singing.

May: Saturday before the second Sunday (probably): In San Pedro, California, the Los Angeles Regional All-day Singing.

May: Memorial Day weekend: In Seattle, “mini-convention” at the Pacific Northwest Folklife Festival.

 

June: Saturday before the first Sunday: In Olympia, Washington: Olympia All-day Singing.

 

July: Saturday before the fourth Sunday: In the San Diego area. Jolly/Lundsford Memorial All-day Singing.

Comments: The one time I was able to attend, a smaller (50 or so) very friendly singing. Sometimes the sing on Sunday in the old Adobe Chapel in San Diego; if so, make sure you go as the sound is extraordinary.

 

August: Saturday before the first Sunday: In Eugene, Oregon. Eugene All-day Singing.

August: Third Sunday and the Saturday before: In Buckley, Washington. Saturday: Mount Rainier Cooper Book Singing. Sunday: Willard Birthday Cooper Book Singing.

August: PALO ALTO ALL-DAY SINGING. Saturday before the fourth Sunday: Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto. 9:30-3:30.

Comments: Attracts 50 singers, mostly from northern California. Friendly, relaxed, often two-song lessons. Excellent food, beautiful grounds. The Fireside Room at the Unitarian Universalist Church is a good singing room with lots of wood and a mellow sound.

Information: Email Dan Harper.

 

September: Saturday before the second Sunday: Cape Meares, Oregon, singing.

September: Saturday before the third Sunday: SANTA CRUZ ALL-DAY SINGING. Santa Cruz. 10-4.

Comments: 30 singers; the church where the singing used to meet got sold, so no guarantees on location in 2018. The morning session is from the Shenandoah Harmony and the Denson book, afternoon is Denson only. The social afterwards is on the beach.

Information: Email Ed Rice.

 

October: Saturday before the first Sunday: In Vancouver, British Columbia.

October: Third Sunday and the Saturday before: In Portland, Oregon. Pacific Northwest Convention — Portland.

October: Friday and Saturday before the fourth Sunday: Various locations in Alaska. Alaska Sacred Harp Convention.

Comments: The one time I was able to attend (2017), I was very impressed by the hospitality of the Alaskan singers. This is a smaller singing (40 or so), including new singers and experienced singers. Friendly, relaxed, lots of fun.

 

November: Saturday before 2nd Sunday: SALLY COGHLAN MEMORIAL SINGING Sacramento area — Davis, 9:30-3:30

Comments: Attracted 90 singers in 2017 (the first time it was held in November), incl. many traveling singers from the West Coast. Held in International House in Davis in 2017. A fun, powerful singing!

Information: Email Pat Coghlan.

 

December:

 


BAY AREA LOCAL/PRACTICE SINGINGS: Denson book

Mondays in Berkeley:

Every Monday, including holidays, 7:30-9:30 p.m., at All Saints Chapel at Church Divinity School of the Pacific, 2451 Ridge Rd., Berkeley, Calif. On street parking. Walk up the steps to All Saints Chapel till you get to the covered walkway, turn left, and go in the door.

Information: Email Lindy Groening. This singing is announced on the weekly Bay Area Sacred Harp email.

Comments: Attendance ranges from 10 to 20 singers. The singing tends to be pitched relatively high by Sacred Harp standards. They like to get through lots of songs each week. Singers take turns leading from the hollow square; it’s OK for inexperienced singers to pass, though singers will often be urged to lead. The singing room is a little big and sounds best with 20 singers.

Berkeley other book singing: First Mondays of the month, 7:00-8:00 p.m., the singing is from other tune books.

Berkeley learner’s group: Third Mondays, 7:00-7:30 p.m. Usually open discussions to answer questions from new singers; sometimes there’s a more formal presentation. Watch the email list for announcements.

Public transit: Take BART to Downtown Berkeley station. Walk north on Shattuck Ave. 4 blocks, turn right onto Heart St. Walk about 4 blocks east on Hearst to intersection with Arch St. and LeConte Ave.; bear left on LeConte and walk up steep hill to five-way intersection. Head right on Ridge St. and All Saints Chapel will be on your left. It’s a 20 minute walk up, but you can find someone to give you a ride back down at the end of the singing. If you’re biking, the last couple of blocks up are steep, but plenty of people do it (and it’s all downhill going home afterwards).

 

First Thursdays in San Francisco:

First Thursdays, 7:30-9:30 p.m., at varying locations (email Leigh Cooper).

Information: Email Leigh Cooper. This singing is announced on the weekly Bay Area Sacred Harp email.

Comments: Attendance ranges from 8 to 12 singers. A wide range of skill levels, from life-long singers to brand-new singers, means this is a good place for newcomers. Friendly and supportive, one of my favorite local singings.

 

First Sundays in Healdsburg:

First Sundays, mid-day, Old Felta School, 1201 Felta Rd, Healdsburg, Calif. Park in front of the schoolhouse.

Information: Email Maryanne Ciavonne or Jack Ziegler for info or to get on the email list. This singing is announced on the weekly Bay Area Sacred Harp email.

Comments: Typically 12 or more singers, often including a few Bay area singers up for the afternoon. A relaxed singing, they will go over parts if a section requests it. Beautiful singing room with wood walls and ceilings.

 

Second Sundays in Palo Alto:

Second Sundays, 2-4 p.m., Room 1 of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto, 505 E. Charleston Rd., Palo Alto, Calif. Park in the lot behind the church, and walk across the campus to Room 1.

Email Terry Moore or call him at (650) 736-4089. The host of the second Sunday singing is Dan Harper, email him. This singing is announced on the weekly Bay Area Sacred Harp email.

Comments: Attendance ranges from 6 to 14 singers. A relaxed singing that spends time learning tunes. They will go over parts if a section requests it, they often sing every verse of a tune, they often do repeats on every verse. Singers take turns leading, and if you want to choose a tune but not lead it someone else will lead it for you. Singing room is small, sounds good, wood walls and ceilings and hard floors. Playground next to the singing room, OK to bring your kids; some older kids participate in the singing. This local singing has been going since the early 1970s.

Public transit: Take Caltrain to the San Antonio station. Walk, or better yet bike, north along the northbound platform to the lights at San Antonio Ave. Head right on San Antonio Ave. and take the second left on Mackay Dr. Follow Mackay Dr.; after a couple of blocks it turns into Shasta Dr. at a sharp right, then into Nelson Dr. at a sharp left. Stay on Nelson Dr. until it ends at a set of traffic lights at Charleston Rd. The church is across Charleston and to the left. 20-25 minutes if you walk and someone will give you a ride back from the singing. This is a bike-friendly route.

 

Third Sundays in San Francisco:

Third Sundays, in singers’ homes, San Francisco, Calif. Check the email list for address and exact time.

Information: Email Carolyn Deacy or Leigh Cooper. This singing is announced on the weekly Bay Area Sacred Harp email.

Public transit: Ask about transit options when you email for info.

Comments: Attendance is reported in the range of 8-10 singers. I have not been able to attend since the singing was moved to singers’ homes, but this singing has been less formal and more relaxed.

 

Fourth Sundays, Palo Alto:

Fourth Sundays, 2-4 p.m., Room 1 of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto, 505 E. Charleston Rd., Palo Alto, Calif. Park in the lot behind the church, and walk across the campus to Room 1.

Information: Email Terry Moore or call him at (650) 736-4089. The host of the second Sunday singing is Dan Harper, email him. This singing is announced on the weekly Bay Area Sacred Harp email.

Comments: Attendance ranges from 6 to 14 singers. A relaxed singing that spends time learning tunes. They will go over parts if a section requests it, they often sing every verse of a tune, they often do repeats on every verse. Singers take turns leading, and if you want to choose a tune but not lead it someone else will lead it for you. Singing room is small, sounds good, wood walls and ceilings and hard floors. Playground next to the singing room, OK to bring your kids; some older kids participate in the singing. This local singing has been going since the early 1970s.

Public transit: Take Caltrain to the San Antonio station. Walk, or better yet bike, north along the northbound platform to the lights at San Antonio Ave. Head right on San Antonio Ave. and take the second left on Mackay Dr. Follow Mackay Dr.; after a couple of blocks it turns into Shasta Dr. at a sharp right, then into Nelson Dr. at a sharp left. Stay on Nelson Dr. until it ends at a set of traffic lights at Charleston Rd. The church is across Charleston and to the left. 20-25 minutes if you walk and someone will give you a ride back from the singing. This is a bike-friendly route.

 

Fifth Sundays, various locations, check the weekly Bay Area Sacred Harp email.

Comments: Likely to be singing from other books such as Shenendoah Harmony, Southern Harmony, etc.

Information: Email Lindy Groening.

 

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OTHER NORTHERN LOCAL CALIFORNIA SINGINGS: Denson and other books

 

Davis 2nd and 4th Fridays at the David Friends Meeting House, 354 L St., Davis. Always email or call ahead.

Comments: Attendance ranged from 8-12 when I’ve sung with them. This is a relaxed singing, and the Friends Meeting House is a small, pleasant venue. Break for snacks halfway through the singing. Everyone is friendly and supportive, and there’s a good mix of brand-new singers and experienced singers.

Information: Email Pat Coghlan for info, or to get on the email list.

 

Fresno: Sadly, this singing is inactive.

 

Monterey: Third Saturdays, at the home of Jack and Kathy Herbig. Be sure to contact Jack before making the trip.

Information: Email Jack Herbig or Michael Armstrong (see the latest Minutes Book for contact info).

 

Oakland/East Bay: Sadly, this singing is inactive as of winter, 2012. For latest information, contact Betty Marvin.

 

Sacramento: With the departure of the Donaldsons, not clear who will take this over (May, 2018).

 

Santa Cruz: Irregular, be sure to email before making the trip.

Comments: Attendance has ranged from 8-14 when I’ve sung with them. Usually meets at the Community Music School. Singers take turns leading from their seats (or letting someone else lead for them). Because space can be tight, parts may not sit where you expect them to. Very supportive and informal singing, with a good mix of experienced singers and brand-new singers. Includes singing from the Shenendoah Harmony. This local singing has been going since c. 1970. In the words of my partner Carol, this is a “sweet little singing.”

Information: Email Ed Rice, Janet Herman, or Shelley Phillips for info about upcoming singings, or to get on the email list.

 

 

One thought on “Bay area singings”

  1. The Fresno group has disbanded; the Booths have moved to Alabama. I sure would have liked to learn, and in a metropolitan area of a million people there ought to be enough interest to support a group, but it seems that there isn’t. Damn shame.

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