Appalachian Association of Sacred Harp Singers
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Who are we?

The Appalachian Association of Sacred Harp Singers is an informal group that meets to sing from the Sacred Harp shape-note tradition. We also sing from Southern Harmony. The group was formed around 1980. Our mailing list contains over 40 singers. Our monthly sings generally draw about 12 singers. Our yearly convention is attended by about 40 singers from surrounding states.

All singers, whether trained or not, whether you can read shapes or not, are always welcome. We always have extra books (which you can buy if you want) at our sings. Everyone who wants gets a chance to pick and lead songs; we provide free "on the job" training.

We have a fairly informal structure. The organizing committee currently includes the following. (Note: remove the underscore from all mail addresses.) Mary Brinkman (secretary), Charles Coulston (song leader, treasurer), Zachary Davis, Raphael Finkel, Keith MacAdam, James Thobaben, and Ron Pen. Every singing, someone is appointed by the song leader to be the convener; the convener makes sure everyone who wants has a chance to lead.

December, 2008. August, 2013.
Mt. Zion Ft. Harrod

When and where do we meet?

We meet 3p to 5p, usually on the second Sunday of every month except June, July, and August, usually at the John Jacob Niles Gallery (here is a map) of King Library North, at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Our schedule for 2013-14:
Sun, Sept 8UK Niles Gallery, Lexington3-5pm
Sun, Oct 13UK Niles Gallery, Lexington3-5pm
Sun, Nov 10UK Niles Gallery, Lexington3-5pm
Sun, Nov 17Lexington Federated Music Club: UK Niles Gallery, Lexington3-4pm
Sun, Dec 15Mount Zion Church, Mercer County, KY photo 3-supper
Sun, Jan 12UK Niles Gallery, Lexington3-5pm
Sun, Feb 9UK Niles Gallery, Lexington3-5pm
Sun, Mar 9UK Niles Gallery, Lexington3-5pm
Sun, Apr 13UK Niles Gallery, Lexington3-5pm
Sun, May 11UK Niles Gallery, Lexington3-5pm
Sat, May 17KY Singing Convention, Pisgah presbyterian Church, Versailles, KY9am-3pm

Our annual singing (the Kentucky Sacred Harp Singing Convention) is the Saturday before the third Sunday in May. We have held the convention in the Pisgah Presbyterian Church a few miles West of Lexington since 1995.

Pisgah Presbyterian Church

We also present occasional concerts at local churches and art venues.

What is shape note?

Shape note is an early American form of notation for untrained church choirs. Each note is written not only on ordinary staff lines (for those who can read them) but also with a shape that indicates its position in the scale. There are 7-shape schemes. The books we sing from use a 4-shape scheme, with the notes in a major scale as follows:
fa so la fa so la mi fa

Can I see some?

You might look at Lansdowne, set to shape note by Raphael Finkel, a member of our group.

What are our favorite songs?

Follow this link to see what we sang at the 1998 Kentucky State Sacred Harp Convention. Here is a snippet of Jordan (page 66), recorded from the 1995 convention. Here is a PDF file of our favorite tunes.

What does it cost?

We have no dues or other fees. We raise stamp money by an occasional paid engagement. We pass the hat at the yearly convention to cover the cost of publishing our minutes.

Upcoming events

None currently scheduled.

Regularly scheduled singings near us

Berea, KY: For information about singing in Berea, contact David Taylor. (Remove underscore from mail address.)

Columbus, OH: Second Sundays, 4p-6p. Current information is here.

Cincinnati, OH: Second Sundays, 4:30p-7:30p, Community Friends Meeting, 3960 Winding Way, Cincinnati, OH 45229. Current information is here.

Dayton, OH: Fourth Sundays, 3:00p-6:00p, Lutheran Church of Our Savior (LCOS), Oakwood, Ohio. Current information is here.

Louisville, KY (Ohio Valley Shape Note Singers): Third Sundays, 2:30p-4:30p, Vine Street Baptist Church. Contact Michele Cull (502) 533-7510. (Remove underscore from mail address.) Current information is: here. For information about irregular singings, contact Tim Morton. (Remove underscore from mail address.)

How can I learn more?

If you are interested in shape note, you should certainly visit the fasola home page and a compilation of shape-note resources .

Various songbooks are available from various sources, generally at cost. We sell both the Sacred Harp and Southern Harmony at cost. You can get the newly revised 1994 edition of Christian Harmony from the Alabama Christian Harmony Singing Association, PO Box 535, Centreville, AL 35042. Feel free to send mail to any of our organizing committee (listed above).