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….
San Diego. Complete rewrite of a tune I wrote years ago.
With in-person singing pretty much shut down due to the latest surge, what else is there to do but write music.
Another new tune: Seattle.
Another new tune: Berkeley.
We decided to hold just the Marian Bush half day singing this year. We did not hold the Palo Alto All Day. Minutes are below. The church’s rules for singing require outdoors and socially distanced (3 feet). I finally decided to wear a mask most of the time. I work with kids, and there’s no reason to increase my chances of exposure even more.
I liked the fact that Paul Kostka made this singing accessible to people who could only join us online. I don’t think this will be a regular feature of Sacred Harp singings, but it does make it more accessible. It also reminded me of the last time Marian Bush sang with us in Palo Alto. She could no longer get out of the house, so we called her up and sang to her over a cell phone. “Did you hear me singing?” she said when we got done. Of course we had to reply that no, we were singing too loud — as usual with Sacred Harp.
I miss hearing Marian’s alto voice at singings, never loud, but always perfectly in tune and in perfect rhythm. I’m glad we got to do this singing in her memory.
We sang at Palo Alto World Music Day again, for the first time since COVID hit. Actually, it’s not World Music Day this year, it’s World Music Month, with performances spread out over three or four weekends.
Our venue was on California Ave. on the street — not our usual venue under an overhang. I was a little apprehensive about singing in the open, since the sound can get lost, but it turned out fine.
In fact, it was one of the best singings I’ve been to ever Maybe it just feels that way because it’s only the second time I’ve sung in person since lockdown. But there were some fabulous voices who showed up, some really excellent singers. And the number of singers was good, too — about 16 I think — so there was good coverage on every part, but it was small enough that the singing was pretty tight.
For the first time since lockdown, we sang together in person in Palo Alto today.
We were outdoors, for COVID safety, under the solar panels over the parking lot. The sound wasn’t great but it was pretty good.
And it felt amazing to sing with other people in person.
Esther Morgan-Ellis mentions Palo Alto Sacred Harp in her article for Frontiers of Psychology, published online on March 19, doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.627038.
She wrote: “I also attended two annual Sacred Harp events that were reimagined as zingings: the Palo Alto Virtual “All-Day” Mid-Day Zinging (August 22 ) and the Minnesota Convention (September 26).”
Beyond that, she doesn’t really mention the Palo Alto singers. From what I remember of that singing, it was pretty much of an insider event, so it probably didn’t mean much to someone who didn’t already know us.
The article is still worth reading, describing as it does the ways Sacred Harp singers have adapted to the pandemic. Available free online.