Regular Local Singings in Michigan

East Lansing Singing
(1st & 3rd Mondays, 7-9 pm)
Kalamazoo Singing
(3rd Sunday, 4-6 pm)
Ann Arbor Singing
(2nd Sunday, 2-5 pm)
Detroit Singing
(4th Sundays, excepting Thanksgiving, 2-5 PM)
Grand Rapids Singing
(1st Saturdays, 9:30-11:00 or 11:30 AM)

If you wish to sign up
for email notices for either:
a) reminders of Lansing local singings,
or b) for Michigan-area events, send an email to "singing@fasolamichigan.org" and make a request, you will then receive an email invite after I get to it.

Michigan area Special Event Singings

2014 Mid-Michigan All Day-Singing
May 10, 2014
2014 Michiana All-Day Singing
July 19, 2014
2014 Kalamazoo All-Day Singing
July 20, 2014
(Click here for Youtube videos of the 2013 Kalamazoo All-Day Singing.)


January 1 - New Year's Day Singing from The Harmonia Sacra, 1 to 5pm, followed by a potluck supper at the Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Chapel of the Word inside Waltner Hall, 3003 Benham Avenue,
Elkhart, Indiana. Books available for loan or purchase. Contact: Samuel
Sommers, scmws@yahoo.com

Brief history of the Mid-Michigan singing.

Check out http://fasola.org for much more information about Shape Note singing.

Other Links

Watch an entire singing on youtube!
2013 Kalamazoo singing
2014 Michiana singing

Video about Sacred Harp singing.

Mid-Michigan All Day Singing Photos

Wikipedia on shape note singing

Listen to Shape Note Singing recordings

Martha Beverly's photos of singings

Mason's Sacred Harp (or Eclectic Harmony) Download a pdf of the 1935 edition (A different book from The Sacred Harp).

American Church Harp Download a pdf of a shaped note songbook from 1856, in PDF format (15.8 MB).

1860 Sacred Harp Download a pdf of the 1860 Sacred Harp book (90.8 MB.)

Movie Trailer for Awake My Soul: The Story of the Sacred Harp, documentary broadcast on PBS about Sacrd Harp Singing.

Return to site home

No singing on Labor Day, September 1st, 2014.

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Anne Leading a song

Perhaps you saw us singing at the Great Lakes Folk Festival? If so, welcome!

Shape Note singing is a method of sight-reading music, without having to understand the intricacies of musical notation. The relation of pitches to each other is found by using the scale fa sol la fa sol la mi (shapes are shown above in the page header) which is similar to the one we are all familiar with from the film, The Sound of Music, do re me fa sol la ti, except that the first three notes, "do re me" are replaced with "fa sol la" and the ti with mi. Although there are some secular songs written in the shape note style, mostly all the songs are hymns, but a singer does not need to adhere to any religion to sing these hymns, though it can be more moving for a singer if the words have meaning for them.

Shape Note singing in East Lansing
1st and 3rd Monday of the month from 7 PM until 9 PM
E
dgewood United Church, 469 N. Hagadorn, East Lansing,
just a few blocks North of Grand River.

We meet down the main hall, sometimes the lights aren't on, but keep going, we are there, usually everyone arrives promptly at 7, so if you show up early, we won't be there to greet you.

Map to regular singings in East Lansing at Edgewood United Church

We sing out of the book called The Sacred Harp, which has been published continuously since the 1840s. The poetry is wonderful; the harmonies glorious, at least when we sing them properly. That is the key to this—we are all singing for fun, not for performance, so we don't always get it "right," but we often do, and it is those moments that make it worth it.

The method by which we sing is to go around the square (we sit in a square with Trebles (sopranos), Tenors, Bass, and Altos each claiming a side), each singer picking a song in turn, calling out the page number. Those people gifted with being able to figure out the pitch of the song sing us know the starting notes (no pitch pipes or pianos)! It is traditional for everyone to sing their part once through, using the shapes, and then we launch into the song—but we don't do it that way. In the South, all singers start in the Tenor section and so they know this part, which is the melody. Since most of us started singing later in life and didn't get to do this, we sing through the Tenor part (singing shapes) first, so everyone has a chance at learning the melody.

Then we sing our individual parts, using the shapes (fa so la fa so la mi fa). After that, the leader, who called the page to sing, identifies the verses that are to be sung, (since the songs often have many verses, we don't often sing them all, so that we can sing more songs) and then beats time (or has someone else do it for them) so that we sing together.We keep chat to a minimum, so we can sing more. If you want to see which songs we sing during an evening, we keep minutes of our local singings and you can view them here:

For more info, call 517-381-1321 (Bob) or email singing@fasolamichigan.org.

A 14 minute 53 second video of a portion of the Mid-Michigan All Day singing, 2010 June 4:

A shape note song from the American Church Harp (1856):

A Home in Heaven

 

 

This website maintained by Bob Borcherding, if you have any questions or notice any errors, please email at singing@fasolamichigan.org.