All-day singings & conventions

Golden Gate All Day

It was very good to sing in person at the Golden Gate All Day singing, after two years of lockdown. Here’s Susan leading:

After the singing, several people were kind enough to stick around and sing “Berkeley,” a tune I wrote in memory of David Fetcho. The class sounded great singing the tune. The tune itself wasn’t up to the high level of David’s own compositions, but I think it was at least reasonably competent, and would not have embarrassed David. I only wish I could have heard his lovely tenor voice singing it.

New compositions

Two newish tunes

The first draft of Jacob’s Star was written in 2019, but a test singing did not go well; it’s been completely rewritten. The first draft of Heavenly Phrases was from 2014; again, test singing didn’t go well, now completely rewritten.

New compositions

Rays of Comfort

I wrote the first version of this in May, 2020, during lockdown. The original version was meant for singing on Zoom. I wrote a 4-part plain tune, then broke it up into solos spread out over four verses. That way, each voice eventually got to sing every part. Here’s the second page of the original version:

I posted this to the Sacred Harp Friends Facebook page. As far as I know, no one ever sang it. But it made me feel better to be able to do something musical during lockdown.

I’ve now revised this as a plain tune.

New compositions

Four new tunes

Four new tunes: HealdsburgPortlandI Will Go on My Way (first draft 2019, complete rewrite) — Hopedale.

New compositions Reflections on singing

Yet another new tune

New tune: Purisima Creek.

God knows why I’m writing so many shape note tunes these days. I think it’s because I have fewer outlets for music because of the pandemic.

Pre-pandemic, I was singing three and four times a week: in a traditional chorus, Sacred Harp, folk music jam session, and a quartet; and voice lessons on top of that. The pandemic stopped all that. But for the first year of the pandemic I didn’t notice that I was no longer doing much music, because I was working seven days a week.

Now we’re pretty much out of the pandemic, but it still doesn’t feel entirely safe to sing. Now I’m lucky to be able to sing a couple of times a month — outdoors, maybe distanced, maybe with a mask, depending. I’ve pretty much stopped singing online, as I just don’t find it as satisfying as in person singing.

What I really want to do is sing with other people. In the absence of actual choral singing, at least I can write music….