Celtic Junction Arts Center

Weaving the traditions of Dance, Music, Art & Language

836 Prior Avenue
St. Paul, MN, 55104

Sacred Harp Winter Singing, February 8

Registration at 9:00am. Singing starts at 9:30am till 3pm. There is no charge, but donations are gladly accepted to help defray expenses.

Fifteenth Annual Minnesota State Sacred Harp Winter Singing from the 2012 Cooper edition (“blue book”)of The Sacred Harp

Everyone is welcome, no experience necessary! 

  • TUNEBOOKS will be available on loan, or you may purchase a book at the singing
  • POTLUCK DINNER ON THE GROUNDS provided by local host singers
  • CHILD CARE will be available

THE SACRED HARP continues a 200-year-old American tradition of singing non-denominational hymns and gospel songs, written with shaped note heads.

Singers sit in a hollow square facing the center and sing four parts, a cappella, with uninhibited vigor.

The music has a distinctive open and modal sound, and the singing is exuberant, rhythmic, and full of feeling. Visitors are encouraged to join in the singing, or they are welcome to just listen.

Our singing community has existed for over 25 years. Experienced as well as novice singers attend local singing gatherings. At local gatherings we sing out of either the Denson or Cooper version of The Sacred Harp, which was first published in 1844 and has been continuously in print ever since.

“Shape-note” refers to a musical notation system designed to make reading music easy. Notes with note-heads of different shapes represent the four corresponding syllables: fa, sol, la, and mi. We sing each tune first by reading through the “shapes” and then on the words. As part of this 200 year old tradition of singing, singers sit in a hollow square facing each other, taking turns leading songs. Each section of the square represents one of 4 vocal parts: treble (like soprano), tenor, alto, and bass. Anyone can sing any part in whatever octave suits their voice. The singing is democratic in nature and the songs are all sung in 3 or 4 parts (5-6 parts when males sing treble and females sing tenor in octaves) without instruments.

The music has a distinctive modal sound, where each voice part is interesting and melodic. 

All are welcome to participate regardless of previous musical experience or religious background. We have no political, institutional or religious affiliation. Though Sacred Harp Singing is not affiliated with any denomination, it is a deeply spiritual experience for all involved, and functions as a religious observance for many singers.

More information available at mnfasola.org