All-day singings & conventions

All-Cal, day two

My second day watching the livestream of the All-California Sacred Harp Convention. I managed to watch about half an hour before I had to deal with some work commitments — then I watched another half hour — then, to be honest, I fell asleep for two hours. I didn’t mean to fall asleep, but I’m still pretty tired from COVID. And then I had to go outdoors to move my car, because it’s snowing here and I had to get the car off the street and into my parking spot. This post is turning into my excuses for why I didn’t watch the livestream, but that’s just the way my day went.

I got the car parked in time to catch about the last 45 minutes of the convention. There was some fabulous singing and excellent leading in that last 45 minutes. I particularly enjoyed whoever it was that led 45b Villulia in memory of David Fetcho. It was the high point of the livestream for me. Of course, just at the emotional peak of the tune, the Zoom feed got choppy and I missed some of the best bits. A livestream can never be as good as an in-person singing.

Screen grab of the livestream showing two people standing in the middle of about one hundred people leading a tune.
Co-chairs Mark and Leigh opening day two of the convention.

I did not sing along to the livestream. I’m just getting over laryngitis (a nasty little side effect of my does of COVID), and my voice is still too fragile. So I spent my time looking at the video to see who I could recognize. Today the camera was aimed so that it included all four sections equally (thank you, Paul) and I saw quite a few people I knew. During the breaks a few people waved at us online viewers as they walked by, and one person even stuck their tongue out at us, which was hilarious.

This will probably be as close as I get to a Sacred Harp singing for several months. So I’m glad I could listen in.

All-day singings & conventions

All-Cal livestream

I finished work this afternoon just in time to watch the last two hours of the livestream of the All California Sacred Harp Convention livestream.

The organizers told us: “The All-Cal will be live streamed on Zoom through a 24 bit stereo audio interface, using two large diaphragm cardioid condenser mic’s in the NOS configuration.”

This led me to expect good sound, and I got it. When I listened through my Sony MDR-7506 dynamic stereo headphones, the clarity was astonishing. Excellent stereo separation, solid bass response, pleasing midrange and treble. With this kind of audio quality and a singing of the calibre of the All-Cal, this livestream was definitely worth listening to.

Sadly, I had chores to do, and could not stay tethered to the headphones for two hours. I plugged in a single small external speaker, which sounded just fine.

I hope to listen to more of the livestream tomorrow. Tomorrow is my last day of isolation for COVID. I feel pretty good now, and I’m bored out of my mind from being trapped at home. The livestream will be a welcome diversion.

Screen grab of a Zoom videoconference call, showing somewhat fuzzy images of Sacred harp singers sitting in a hollow square.
Screen grab from today’s livestream. Can’t see any of the basses, but I can recognize one or two altos, some of the trebles, and a couple of tenors.
All-day singings & conventions

220 Mt. Zion

Here’s a video of Stephanie leading 220 Mt. Zion at the All California Sacred Harp Convention, Jan. 20-12, 2018, in Alameda, California:

An exuberant class!

All-day singings & conventions

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-day singings & conventions

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:

All-day singings & conventions

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?


All-day singings & conventions

2015 All-California Convention no. 228

Esteban leading 228 Marlborough on day one of the 2015 All-California Convention.

All-day singings & conventions

2015 Call-California Convention day two photos


Above: Altos.



Above: Trebles.



Above: Basses.



Above: The hollow square.

All-day singings & conventions

2015 All-California Convention day one photos


Above: Looking across the hollow square to the trebles.



Above: Bringing in the bass section.



Above: Back bench of the basses, with tenors beyond.



Above: Some of the best altos sit on the back bench.

All-day singings & conventions

2015 All-California Convention 448t

Beverly Coates leading a class of about 150 singers in 448t Consecration.

(The lighting in this room proved a bigger challenge than my crappy little consumer camcorder could handle — so yes, everything looks a little green.)