Category Archives: All-day singings & conventions

Seattle convention, day two

3orangesFeb1515a

Above: An inaccurate sign on the door into the Ballard Homestead, where this year’s Seattle convention was held.

3orangesFeb1515b

Above: Looking across the altos towards the tenors.

3orangesFeb1515c

Above: Singers from Vancover, B.C., leading.

3orangesFeb1515d

Above: You know who really knows how to bring in the bass section? Bass singers.

3orangesFeb1515e

Above: There were a lot of people singing in the first session after lunch today. And the singing was incredibly good: spirited, rhythmic, tuneful, and you could tell the sections were listening to one another. Part of this, I think, is due to the Seattle singers — quite a talented bunch.

2015 All-Cal trivia photo

The day after the All-Cal. The creeping crud has turned into bronchitis, and I can’t sing. All those Sacred Harp tunes going through my head from the last two days? — I’m reduced to playing them on the guitar. Blah.

So I’m amusing myself with trivia. In the photo below from day one of the 2015 All-California Sacred Harp Convention, which singer has been singing shape note music since the 1960s?

AllCal2015more

2015 Ziegler Memorial photos

Two photos from the 2015 Dominic Ciavonne Ziegler Memorial Singing on New Year’s Day, 2015.

ZieglerMem2015a

Above: The old Felta Schoolhouse in Healdsburg, Calif. The setting of the Felta Schoolhouse reminds me a little of the setting of some of the traditional Southern singings, like Big Creek Primitive Baptist Church in Alpharetta, Georgia. One of the best singing rooms in northern California.

 

ZieglerMem2015b

Above: Marianne leading during the singing.

 

After the singing, a dozen of us went to Phil and Larry’s new house in Sebastopol for a little more singing. Their new house has an excellent singing room — you could hear every other voice clearly and distinctly. We sang ten or a dozen tunes before we gave out, but it was some of the best singing of the day. Mind you, nothing can replace the big sound of an all-day singing. But, as Susan pointed out, it can be very nice to sing when every singer is really listening to every other singer. We need both kinds of singings.

2014 Palo Alto All-day Singing

Once again this year, the third annual Palo Alto All-day Singing was a pleasant low-key friendly singing. Sure, I like the excitement of big singings and conventions. But I also like the singings with forty or so people, because in the course of the day you can actually get to talk with everyone. And the Palo Alto church lends itself well to socializing.

We had about 42 adults and 8 kids. We think of this mostly as a regional singing, and we had people from the following local singings: Fresno, Davis, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Berkeley, and Palo Alto. Even though this singing is aimed at those of us in Northern California who have a hard time traveling to other all-day singings, we always welcome a few out-of-town singers, and we were pleased to welcome southern California singers, a New Yorker and a Pennsylvanian. We also had a Polish singer, a musicologist who is spending a year at Stanford, and I felt pleased that I could introduce him to an anthropologist who has done some study of Sacred Harp, and a folklorist/performer.

We sang something like 93 songs, with two song lessons in the morning, and one song lessons in the afternoon. (This is another benefit of a small singing — you get to lead more tunes!) We had a couple of new singers, and at least one singer who’s been singing since the 1960s (though I think she started with the Christian Harmony).

Here are some photos of the day:

PAAD2014a

Above: Jeff leading in the morning. We had a really good bass section today, and you can see many of them in this photo.

PAAD2014b

Above: Linda, one of my favorite leaders, as seen from the bass section.

PAAD2014d

Above: Dinner-on-the-grounds outdoors on the patio, in perfect Northern California summer weather. Just out of the frame to the left is little Cecil, who, though not quite three years old, is already learning how to beat time while saying “Fa, fa, fa, fa, fa….”

PAAD2014c

Above: Chris Thorman, our chaplain, leading a tune. One of the highlights of the day for me were Chris’s prayers: very much in the Sacred harp tradition, they warmed my soul.