Monday, December 16, 2013

Chris and I were in Baltimore for a long weekend and were smart enough to plan our trip so we would arrive in time for the regular Thursday night singing.  I founded this singing about ten years ago (which is an awesome reminder of how old I am, and also how dedicated these singers are).  It was such a joy to be back in our city and singing with our favorite people on our home turf.  Meeting some of the new singers that are keeping this thing going was a real joy, too!

Kevin made this little video of us singing Millbrook from the Shenandoah Harmony.  This is a tune Neely Bruce composed in around 1989 (so, fairly recently by our standards).  The tune is also published in the Northern Harmony and I think a couple other collections.

Maybe we'll make some copies so we can sing this song on Saturday!

Join us for the Third Saturday North Country Shape Note Singing

Saturday, December 21st

6pm - 9pm


921 Main Street
Berlin, NH

Monday, December 9, 2013

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Or maybe it's just the craziest.  Either way, everybody is busy with holiday happenings and shopping and eating and preparations for whatever you favored December traditions include.  Amidst all the hubbub of the holidays, don't forget to

Come SING!

We'll be singing on the Third Saturday of December (and every month, in fact) and you better join us!

Saturday, December 21, 2013
921 Main Street
Berlin, NH

In the meantime, enjoy this rendition of Sherburne (page 186 in the Sacred Harp) from the Holly Springs Convention in June 1982.  I love 1982 because it's the year I was born. 
Look at all those fabulous styles of eye wear!

Sherburne is one of the Christmas-y tunes in the book. 
Enjoy! Tis the season!

Friday, August 9, 2013

We're sangin' tomorrow!!

Come on up the hill to Randolph for the third in our series of shape note singing schools!

We'll meet tomorrow, Saturday August 10th, at our house in Randolph, NH.
Send me a message if you need directions!

3 - 6pm
We'll go over the basics of shape note singing, including practicing the shapes and singing our little hearts out!
Bring a snack to share if you're able.
Come sing your face off, no matter what!!

Enjoy this awesomesauce video my friend Kev made of our buddy Ted leading at the Keystone Convention a couple years back.  Good folks sing this music, guys.  Really good folks.  

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Help Me To Sing, P.M.

We spent this past weekend singing at the 11th Annual Maine All Day Singing and the D.H. Mansfield's American Vocalist Singing, both in Union, Maine.
We drove about three hours to get there and sang in a near-perfect, 40 foot square space. 

D.H. Mansfield's grave is nearby, and on Sunday morning a smaller group of us gathered around it to sing, and to learn a little more about him.

We also splurged and stayed at a super sweet bed & breakfast in town.  One of our hosts, Laura, even came by the singing on Sunday and tried it out!

Here's a short video of Bill Holt (of Massachusetts) leading the shapes on page 376, Help Me To Sing.

Don't forget, the next in our series of Shape Note Singing Schools is Saturday, August 10th from 3 - 6pm at our home in Randolph, NH.  Message us for details!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Upcoming Singing Opportunities!

We have just a few notes to share with you all about upcoming singing opportunities!

We had mentioned squeezing in a house singing before the next scheduled singing school... We've decided on Thursday, July 25th from 6:30 - 9 or so.  We'll be glad to offer instruction, depending on what folks are up for, but this will not be a formal singing school.

**Please let us know if you can make it because if we only have a couple people, we'll probably just hold off until the next singing school.**

The Maine All Day Singing and American Vocalist Singing will be held a week from today, on Saturday and Sunday, July 27th and 28th in lovely Union, Maine. This is an EXCELLENT opportunity to get some real solid singing in with a whole group of folks who know what they're doing!  This singing usually gets around 80 - 100 people. Chris and I will be there.  For more information, head to


Due to a scheduling conflict at WREN921, we will hold the third in the Singing the Shapes series of singing schools at our home in Randolph.
Please send us a message for directions.
This singing school will be held on Saturday, August 10th from 3 - 6pm at our home.  Please bring a snack to share.  And your voice!
Please stay tuned to for news, updates, and wacky anecdotes from your favorite singing school teachers.

If you have any questions (and to rsvp for next week's singing), email us at carlygoss -at- gmail -dot- com.
Fa La SOL!!!

Friday, July 12, 2013

THIS is your Sacred Harp Singing!

The second in our series of formal singing schools was Wednesday night, and we had a lovely time once again (despite the stinking rain)!  Sure, we sing inside, but that barometric pressure... man, oh man.  I felt it weighing on my soul.

We had nine singers--one of them brand new.  Again, we employed the Shape Note Machine (TM) to go over scales, practicing the shapes and practicing intervals.  This time, I used a wooden sword as a pointer. 

Don't cross the singing school teacher!

Here's my book, incidentally.  It's well loved.
We talked a lot about the book itself--why it's a good idea to have one, what the numbers and letters after the titles are. We talked a little more about why we wave our arms around, and about what to expect at  a regular singing. 

When one of our singers cried out, "But how can we GO to a regular singing?!  There aren't any near here..."  What was our answer?

Oh yes there are!  THIS is a regular singing in the making.  And we can't wait for it to really take off.

You have to start somewhere, and we're basically starting from scratch here.  Exciting things are happening.

But there ARE exciting, established singings all over New England (and the country.  and the world), and once you get hooked, I guarantee you will travel far and wide to get to them.

I wanted to share with you a very sweet radio piece that our friend, Aaron Henkin (in Baltimore) did about our group there a few years back.  This, I think, will give you all a sense of what on earth we're doing, and why.  Plus, you get to hear my nervous radio voice!

Keep an eye on this space, and on the Facebook event page for updates on the next singing! We MAY change the location, due to a conflict at WREN921 in August, so pay attention!!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Golden Harp

The first in our series of singing school workshops was a great success!  Fourteen singers showed up--all women except for Chris and a brave, brave soul (Bill) who sang bass with me.  Ha!  I'm a treble.  And I was kinda sick.  Poor guy...

We had a lovely visit from an old singing friend who now lives in Portland, Maine.  Yay!  Thanks, Alexa!  I think the alto section was really glad to have you!  Sadly we did NOT have a visit from another expected Maine singer because she got lost in the New Hampshire wilderness.  I blame her lack of a sense of direction, and not the North Country roads.  Better luck next time, Emily!  We missed you!

Have no fear... it's much easier to get to our singing location than it is to get to oh, say, the Chattahoochee Convention in Georgia.  And people have been going there for more than 150 years.

We took things slow and we went over scales using my Shapenote Machine (TM).  Our resident quality assurance associate, Nuala, is pictured inspecting the Shapenote Machine (TM) below.

We went over all four parts to several songs including Old Hundred, Russia, New Jerusalem and Loving-Kindness.  We practiced shapes.   We sang our faces off.

The class seemed particularly smitten with 274t, The Golden Harp.  And that's good because that's the one song we got a recording of!  Not bad for a bunch of beginners!  Aw, yeah!

Chris and I tried to embed the sound right into the blog post, but we were having *ahem* technical difficulties, so you'll have to just click on this link, which will bring you to my Google site, where you can then download the mp3 (by clicking on the blue arrow next to The Golden Harp). 

Don't worry.  Once we have our fancy new website up and running we'll have an easier way to embed sound files, and we won't have to send you on a wild goose chase just to listen to some dang music!

We're really looking forward to the next in the series.  We'll go over all the basics again and introduce a few new concepts, such as leading (!).
Hope you can join us!  And bring a friend!

Singing the Shapes, v. 2.0

Wednesday, July 10, 2013
921 Main Street
Berlin, NH

Monday, June 3, 2013

Old Hundred

About a week ago we held the second North Country Sacred Harp singing.  This time, we sang at WREN 921, the space in Berlin where we will hold our upcoming singing school series.  We had seven singers, all of them women, but one.  Most of these gals had only sung shapenote music a couple of times, or not at all, so I think this is a pretty killer start!

I made this recording with my iPhone and I have NO IDEA what I'm doing, so it's basically just a black screen that I uploaded to YouTube, but hey...  you get the picture.  Maybe next time there will be actual moving images!

I'm really looking forward to teaching the first singing school in the series this coming Saturday evening! We'll meet at WREN 921 and sing our faces off from 6 until 9pm. Quick break for snacks around 7:30. Bring something to share!

Singing the Shapes: A Singing School in Four Parts
Saturday, June 8th 2013
6pm - 9pm
921 Main Street
Berlin, NH

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Singing the Shapes!

Singing the Shapes:
A Singing School in Four Parts

Saturday, June 8th
Wednesday, July 10th
*Saturday, August 10th
Wednesday, September 11th

6pm - 9pm

*except for August 10th… 3 – 6pm that day, folks…

Learn to sing this uniquely American music, a capella and in 4-part harmony.
All are welcome.  No experience required.
Carly & Kev lead page 196 at the 2013 Western Mass Convention.
Fabulous photo by Kelly B. Taylor.

921 Main Street
Berlin, NH
…at the former Congregational Church

For more info, visit,
or email

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Here we go!!

Announcing the inaugural North Country Sacred Harp Singing!!

It's tonight!

 photo by Kevin Griffin Moreno

Wednesday, May 1 2013

6:45pm until about 9 or 9:30pm
Randolph, NH

It's unlikely that these singings will always take place on Wednesday nights, but we have to start somewhere, right?

Contact me at carlygoss-at-gmail-dot-com if you want to come and need directions!

I am very much looking forward to singing with a regular group up here.  Tonight we'll start slow.  We will have a small group of folks (unless you come!  prove me wrong and make it a big group!). We'll take our time and go over the shapes and the different voice parts.  Don't worry.  We'll go easy on you.

Some people will come to sing because they've sung Sacred Harp before, and they love it.  Others will come because they sing other types of music and are curious about what this is all about.  Others will come because I hounded and hounded until they finally agreed it would just be easier to come sing their faces off than to fend me off any longer...

And of course, some will come for the food.

We'll see you soon!
In the meantime, enjoy this short series of videos of me and a bunch of my friends singing over the past few years.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Singing loud in Northern New Hampshire

Hello, Northern New Hampshire!

Sacred Harp Singing is a participatory musical tradition, born and bred of hardworking, passionate Americans like you and me.  It is a music meant for singing, and is typically done so loudly, and with all your heart.  There are no instruments and there are no auditions.

When you arrive at a singing--whether large or small--you will sit in a hollow square, facing inward.  Tenors sit facing the altos.  To the right of the altos sit the basses, who face the trebles.
Hopefully someone has handed you a tune book.
Hopefully you've come prepared to sing.

Everyone in that square is there to sing with you, and with each other.

In 2000, I moved from Western Massachusetts to Baltimore, Maryland to attend college.  Prior to moving, I had the opportunity to sing Sacred Harp music every Tuesday night with a dynamic group of people in Northampton, MA.  I was young, and still very new to singing, but I knew it was something that would be a part of my life for a long time.  And I had a sense, even then, that I would grow to be the singer I am now.  In Baltimore, there was a monthly singing that rotated around the homes of various local singers.  It was okay, and it was good to be singing, but it was not enough for me.

So in August of 2004, after I had graduated from college and was laying the foundation for what my life would look like outside of art school, I began the Baltimore Weekly Sing.  For the next eight years, the singing went on virtually every week barring major holidays or illness (and even then, we usually sang!).  Sometimes we had a core group of 4-6 people show up.  Sometimes I would have singers--mostly strangers--bellowing in my living room until 10pm and beyond, with not enough chairs to seat them.  The singing ebbed and flowed in participation, quality, and the general feeling of it, but it was a constant in my life for a long, long time.  It was usually incredible.  Some of my best friends, I met through singing.

And now here I am, living in New Hampshire's North Country--where much of this music was born, in fact--and I don't have a singing to go to.  There are loads of singings in Vermont, Maine and Massachusetts.  And there's even singing in southern New Hampshire, but it is all just a little too far away for me to attend regularly.

And so, stay tuned for North Country Sacred Harp.  For the time being, it'll be a monthly singing.  There just isn't the population to support a weekly singing in this area, without employing the vocal talents of our pets, I don't think. 
Prove me wrong.  ;)

 Photo credit: Carly Goss

We're leaning toward holding the singing on the third Saturday evening of every month, but nothing is set in stone yet.  Watch this space to keep up-to-date as we plow ahead and prepare to sing our faces off in 2013!

See the list of links on the sidebar for some great background info and links to other singings, videos, photos, etc.  Drop me a line if you have any questions at all!
Looking forward to singing with you soon.