All California Convention 2018 photos

A few photos from the 2018 All California Sacred Harp Convention….

There were about 150 singers registered each day of the convention, and some people didn’t register so my guess is there were something like 200 people present over the course of each day. At any given time, there were likely to be 125 to 160 singers in the room actually singing. When the photo below was taken, I estimated 125 singers, i.e., we had not reached peak attendance:

And this is a close-up of what it’s like standing in the hollow square and leading a song:

Here’s Judy, a fourth-generation singer from Alabama, encouraging the basses to sing joyfully:

It’s calmer in the back benches, as this photo of the trebles attests — but no matter where you were in the room today, the singing was powerful:

All California Convention 2018

A very strong class kept the singing strong all day long on both days, starting strong with the first song and continuing without losing any energy through the very last note.

Alas, my camera battery died after only a couple of videos and photos. Here’s a short video of Shelley leading 126 Babel’s Streams:

And here’s my favorite photo of the day — Ayla, Gwendolyn, Jeremy, and Nadia leading 188 together:

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?


Market Street

The second of two compositions I presented at the “composium” held after the first day of singing at the All-California Convention. This wound up sounding a little bit different than I had expected — the class tended to swing the tune just a little, so instead of being on the stately end of the spectrum (where I’d expected it to fall), it rocked.

Market Street.

After the composium, Karen Willard came up to me and suggested a couple of changes. After I thought about it for a bit, I decided she is absolutely right, and I’ve incorporated both her suggestions into the sheet music above.

One final comment about the composium: I am so grateful to Julian for organizing this event, and even more grateful to the many singers who showed up to sing these new compositions after a full day of singing. It’s very rare to get to hear one’s tunes sung by a large group — and they definitely do sound different when sung by, say, 50 or more people rather than ten or a dozen people; I learned a lot by listening to today’s class sing my tunes. An event like this is an important way to keep the Sacred Harp tradition alive beyond just singing the tunes we already know and love.

Update: Revised again, based on comments by Will and Jeremy:

Market Street, revised

San Carlos

Julian Damashek organized a “composium,” a short singing featuring new compositions right after today’s session of the All-California Convention. He received 14 compositions from 11 different composers. A good strong class of about 50 people stayed to sing, and we sang through all 14 compositions. All the compositions but one were led by the composer; and all of them sounded very good. Of the tunes that I hadn’t sung before, three stood out for me: “Mechanicville” by D. M. Montogomery with its lovely matching of tune and text; “Wiley” by R. L. Vaughan with its exciting rhythms (led by Karen Willard), and “Ruth” by Shelley Phillips with its repeating 2-bar motifs in the middle of the fuguing section (mm. 14-19). (Ruth gets extra point in my book for using one of my favorite books of the Bible.)

I presented two new tunes, both completed a week ago. The first was “San Carlos,” a tune I’ve been working on for some time that finally came together just in time for the composium. The class gave it an excellent reading, though I think I could have led it a little bit faster.

San Carlos.