Monday, December 14, 2015

Next Singing: Saturday, December 19, 2015

Come join us!  Get festive!

117 Main Street
Berlin, NH


Here are some Ontario singers belting out a Christmas tune.  Woot!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Three Videos to Get You Excited for Singing this Saturday

1)  Rockport (page 372 in the Sacred Harp), as sung by the 5th Annual Ireland Convention.

2) Here in the Vineyard, performed by Anna Roberts-Gevalt & Elizabeth LaPrelle
(it shares the tune with The Church's Desolation, page 89 in the Sacred Harp)

3) The Church's Desolation (page 89 in the Sacred Harp)
as sung by some folks at the 2014 Young People's Convention in Austin, TX

I've always preferred 89 at a bit of a clip, but after hearing Anna & Elizabeth sing the melody so slowly and beautifully, I'm kinda digging it slow, Sacred Harp-style, too.

We'll see you on Saturday, October 17th for singing!

117 Main Street
Berlin, NH

Bring your voice, a friend, and a snack to share.


Tuesday, September 15, 2015


Hey!  Our next singing is this coming Saturday, September 19th at the WREN Makers' Space in Berlin!  Since Seth first mentioned it a while back, I've been meaning to look up Ocean, a song from the Northern Harmony tune book that he'd expressed interest in.

Behold!  I finally remembered!
Now let's just see if I remember to make copies and bring them to the singing...

I'm generally not a huge fan of super "chorus-y" renditions of shapenote songs (though, I have to admit, that's how I was originally introduced to the music, so if that's what hooks you, why not?)... anyway... just to put a bug in your ear...

Follow this link to hear one iteration of Northern Harmony performing Ocean on the 1992 recording, Endless Stream.
Maybe we'll give it a whirl on Saturday.

Join us!

Saturday, September 19, 2015
WREN Makers' Space
117 Main Street
Berlin, NH

Bring a snack to share!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Sing with us Saturday, July 18th in Berlin, NH AND the Maine All-Day is coming up the weekend following!

Did you all know North Country Sing is on SoundCloud?  So far we only have two recordings uploaded (and they're a little Carly- & Chris-heavy), but hey, it's a start!

Take a listen and let the sound inspire you to join us this Saturday,  July 18th.  We need you!

We meet from 6-9pm on the 3rd Saturday of each month to sing from the Sacred Harp.  Tune books are available for loan or for sale.  We take a short break about halfway through for potluck snacks (bring something to share if you are able).

We sing from The Sacred Harp, 1991 Edition, and occasionally from other sources, without instruments or audience.  The music is participatory, sung for each other and ourselves.

Beginners are welcome!

Don't forget to join our Facebook group-- North Country Shape Note Singing.

Join us at the new WREN Makers Space - 117 Main Street - Berlin, New HampshireSaturday, July 18, 20156-9pm

Don't forget the Maine All-Day Singing (which is actually a whole weekend full of singing opportunities) in and around lovely Union, ME!

The "Maine Event" (ha.  see what I did there?) is Saturday, July 26th from the Sacred Harp, but you'll also have the opportunity to sing from another great collection of songs, The American Vocalist, on Sunday... including a chance to sing around the grave of DH Mansfield, the compiler of said collection.  

(Oh, and there's also Cooper Book singing, Christian Harmony singing, and singing from The Shenandoah Harmony, too...  Check out the link above for all the details!)

Other Regular Singings Nearby:

  • Portland, Maine Weekly - Every Tuesday
  • Portland, Maine Monthly - Fourth Sunday
  • Downeast (Trescott), Maine Monthly - First Saturday
  • Bangor, Maine - Second & Fourth Thursdays
  • Waterville, Maine - Second Sunday
  • Damariscotta, Maine - Fourth Sunday
  • Nelson, New Hampshire - First & Third Thursdays, Second Sundays
  • Hanover, NH/Norwich, VT - Second Thursdays

Friday, June 19, 2015

Singing tomorrow!!

North Country

Shape Note Singing

Saturday, June 20, 6-9pm

WREN Makers' Space
117 Main Street in Berlin

Come sing with us.  All are welcome!
Hi, folks!  We sing tomorrow!!  AND, our space is officially open for business now.  We haven't been by since before the grand opening, unfortunately, but we hear that there is beautiful art on the walls and other exciting changes to behold.  We hope you'll join us for our singing (and maybe take a minute to wander around and see what else is going on at WREN)!

We meet from 6-9pm on the 3rd Saturday of each month, with a short break for potluck snacks.  Books are available for loan or sale.

We sing from The Sacred Harp, 1991 Edition, and occasionally from other sources, without instruments or audience.  The music is participatory, sung for each other and ourselves.  Beginners are welcome!

For more information, singing videos, and the latest updates, see our website at or join our Facebook group-- North Country Shape Note Singing.

Join us at the new WREN Makers Space - 117 Main Street - Berlin, New Hampshire
Saturday, June 20, 2015

Other Nearby Singings
  • Portland, Maine Weekly - Every Tuesday
  • Portland, Maine Monthly - Fourth Sunday
  • Downeast (Trescott), Maine Monthly - First Saturday
  • Bangor, Maine - Second & Fourth Thursdays
  • Waterville, Maine - Second Sunday
  • Damariscotta, Maine - Fourth Sunday
  • Nelson, New Hampshire - First & Third Thursdays, Second Sundays
  • Hanover, NH/Norwich, VT - Second Thursdays
And in other news... if you'd like to travel a little to experience a larger singing, there are a couple of great ones coming up.
The first weekend of July is the Pioneer Valley All Day in lovely Western Massachusetts.  You can really make a long weekend of this one, as there is singing all day on Saturday in Sunderland, then the monthly afternoon singing in Amherst on Sunday, then there's a Harp of Ages singing on Monday, followed by the regular weekly singing in Northampton on Tuesday!  So much singing!!

And then, looking forward to the end of July, you should mark your calendars for the Maine All Day singing and the American Vocalist singing in Union, ME.
Looking forward to singing with you all tomorrow, and hopefully in July too!

Carly & Chris

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Making time for making music

This has been a particularly songful couple of weeks for us--though not all Sacred Harp, specifically. It's great to get a little jolt every once in awhile to remind us why we're alive.  Coming from Baltimore where I sang with a strong group of wonderful people virtually every Thursday for nearly ten years, it has been kind of a slap in the face to sing so infrequently up here in New Hampshire.  Hey, it's the way life worked out for us.  We've gained a lot in the move, but we also lost a lot.

A weekly singing can seem like a lot to undertake, but in the long run, I think it's actually a much better way to sing.  A whole month between singing?  How do you grab new singers and keep them? How do you maintain the motivation to make time to sing on your own?  Even those singers who are dedicated and really want to come only get twelve opportunities in a year.  People are busy!  What if you miss a couple in a row?

It's harder work to sing only once a month than it is to do it every week.  So... stay tuned for that.  We will start a more frequent singing soon... though it'll most likely be in the Conway/Bartlett area to reach more people (and make life easier for us).

Have no fear!  We'll still have our monthly third Saturday singings in Berlin, too!Next one is Saturday, June 20th
WREN Makers Space
117 Main Street - Berlin, NH

Anyway... back to the songfulness of late:

Last week we went to a great workshop led by our singing pal, Tim Eriksen in Tamworth. There were a lot of enthusiastic singers there--many of whom were at least familiar with Sacred Harp music and had sung it in some form or another before.  I didn't get the impression that these folks were very familiar with the actual tradition of singing in the hollow square, but it was cool to know that there are people around who have sung some of the music in a different context.

Thankfully, we remembered to bring fliers and we hope to snag some of these folks for our monthly singing (even though it is a long haul from Tamworth) and certainly for our new weekly sing once that begins.

I've been to about a million singing schools that Tim has taught and I have NEVER left one without learning something new.  And keep in mind, I've been singing this music consistently and passionately for 18 years of my damn life.  There's just SO much to learn.  And Tim is really a wealth of knowledge--about the history, the books, and the practice--and so much fun to sing with.

So we sang some Sacred Harp songs and we did some lining-out songs and a couple of ballads.  It was great.

The next night we hauled ass back to Tamworth again for Tim's concert with the Trio de Pumpkintown.  So fun.  This was the first time I'd seen Zoe Darrow perform with Tim and Peter, and that was a real treat.  That chick is a talented fiddler.  Really talented.  And a great singer, too.

So, through attending these two events we found that there really are a lot of folks who love our kind of music and who love to sing and who don't live that far away (at least not now that we moved south of the Notch anyway)...  We were invited to join a group of them who have a weekly "potluck singing."  I went last night and we sang a lot of music I am familiar with from my Village Harmony days, including some shape-note music, Georgian and South African songs, and some rounds.  It was funny--I felt like I was going through the greatest hits of Village Harmony.  It's kind of a cross between singing for fun and a rehearsal, I guess, though this was my first time, so it's hard to tell.  We just jumped right into many of the songs.  For others, we went over the parts a time or two.  It wasn't what I'm used to, but the singers are fun and enthusiastic, warm, welcoming, and tuneful, so what else can you ask for?

At Sacred Harp singings, there's a particular structure.  You call your song number.  Everybody sings through on the shapes and then on the words and then you move on to the next song.  In our case in our Berlin monthly singing, we like to stop and go over parts here and there because the music is new to a lot of folks.  We are happy to do that because we're trying to grow and build our singing.  BUT, the goal--and what will happen at a more established singing--is what I just described.  You sing the shapes, always.  They help you to learn and they help you to catch up.  Then you sing the words and then you move on.  There's no conductor, though there is a leader keeping time and setting the tone.

We've been singing and playing a little bit in our house, too--in large part just to figure out which rooms sound the best!  You'd think it would have been the first thing we did... to run around and sing a few measures in each of the rooms.  We did that a little when the house was still empty, but now that it's filling up with our tools and our actual things, the sound is changing so we have to revisit it all.

Making music together is pretty much the best thing ever.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Singing Saturday, February 21!!

Are you all hearts-and-flowered out?
Join us this Saturday and we'll sing about tim'rous worms and sinking to the tomb and fiery pillars and whatnot.

(I stole this photo from Leyland's FB page.  I think Bridget Camden took it.)

That's the spirit!!

North Country Monthly Sacred Harp Singing
Every Third Saturday

117 Main Street
Berlin, New Hampshire

THIS month we will likely by joined by our friends Leyland and Ben who just moved to cold, scary Maine, from warm, friendly Virginia.

Help us welcome them to New England!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

THIS SATURDAY, January 17th!!

Come sing with us!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

WREN Makers Space :: 117 Main Street
Berlin, New Hampshire

Beginners are always welcome.
Tune books are available for loan or for sale (and as our friend, Tim, says... buy this book for 20 bucks now and you've bought yourself a lifetime of free meals).

If we have a bunch of new folks, we'll take time to teach.
If we have a bunch of regulars, we'll just sing.

Either way, we hope to sing with you!