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, 1-4 pm)
Lake Orion Singing
(4th Sundays, excepting Thanksgiving, 2-5 PM)
Grand Rapids Singing
(1st Saturdays, 9:30-11:15 AM)
Detroit Singing
(1st Wednesdays, 7-9 pm)

Sacred Harp Singing videos on youtube

2016 Michiana Singing
2016 Missouri Convention
2015 Midwest Convention selections
2015 Mid-Michigan Singing
2014 Michiana Singing
2013 Kalamazoo Singing
Video about Sacred Harp singing

Email notice sign-up for Lansing local singings and/or Michigan-area events.

One page introduction to shape note singing, suitable for printing
and handing out at singings.

Regional 2016 all-day Singings:

2016 Chicago Anniversary
January 9-10, 2016
University of Michigan
April 2, 2016
2016 Mid-Michigan
May 7, 2016
2016 Midwest Convention
May 28-29, 2016
2016 Michiana
July 16, 2016
2016 Kalamazoo
July 17, 2016
Central Ontario
August 27, 2016
Fox Valley Folk Festival (Batavia, IL)
Sept 4, 2016
Hyde Park (Chicago) Anniversary Singing
November 5, 2016

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

Brief history of the Mid-Michigan singing.

Other Links

Shape Note singing resources:


Wikipedia about shape note singing

Online Shape Note Singing recordings

Martha Beverly's photos of singings

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

Download a pdf of the American Church Harp from 1856 (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
PBS documentary about Sacrd Harp Singing.

Return to site home

Welcome to the Michigan regional shape note singing site.

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 shown above in the page header)
which are similar to the solfege heard in The Sound of Music,

fa sol la fa sol la mi —four shape system we use
do re me fa sol la ti —seven shape system in the Sound of Music

For us, the first three notes, "do re me" are replaced with "fa sol la" and the ti with mi. This simplifies the relations between notes.

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 songs.

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. We are all singing for fun, not performance, so we don't always get it done "right," but we often do, and even those songs that aren't sung perfectly are still rewarding!

The method by which we sing is to go around the square (we sit in a square with Trebles (sopranos and men who ), 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, as we pitch it a little lower than concert pitch)!

It is traditional for everyone to sing their part through once together, singing the shapes (that is, the names of the notes), and then we launch into the song.

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.

Mid-Michigan Shape Note singings.

Join Mid-Michigan singers on Facebook!

Shape Note singing in East Lansing
1st and 3rd Monday of the month from 7 PM until 9 PM at

dgewood United Church, 469 N. Hagadorn, East Lansing,
just a few blocks North of Grand River.

We meet in the chapel across from the Sanctuary. Sometimes the lights aren't on, but keep going, we are, or will be, 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

For more info, call 517-381-1321 (Bob) or email

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

A Home in Heaven



This website maintained by Bob Borcherding, for questions or notice any errors, please email admin -(at)-