Fondation des États-Unis | Saturday, April 15: Sacred Harp Workshop
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Saturday, April 15: Sacred Harp Workshop

We are pleased to announce the 2nd annual Paris All-Day Singing organized by Sacred Paris Harp, which will take place on April 15 from 10am to 4pm at the Fondation des Etats-Unis.

Sacred Harp is the longest continuously practiced choral tradition of North America, transmitted orally and through the songbook The Sacred Harp, since 1844. While the tradition and tunes represent the history of the United States, the practice of singing is not a historical reenactment, but a gathering of enthusiasts. Over the last ten years, Sacred Harp has gained popularity in Europe with singing groups establishing themselves in many countries. The spirit of Sacred Harp is primarily that of communion in song, and while it has religious and local origins, today the Sacred Harp is international and open to all. In the cultural porosity of our times, Sacred Harp has paved its way to become a universal and inclusive singing practice. All voices and ages can sing the Sacred Harp.

*The religiosity of Sacred Harp, as in gospel singing, is an integral part of the origins of the tradition and gives vibrancy through customs that remain true to the original practice (the day opens with a blessing, the texts are from a liturgical repertoire etc.). However, the practice considers itself secular; atheists and members of all faiths are welcome and celebrated, as are people of all ages and social backgrounds. Everyone is free to define the spirituality that he or she wishes to find. This is what makes the practice of Sacred Harp a unique space to mix and meet people of all denominations, generations, and backgrounds in a climate of tolerance and openness.

The Program

Friday, April 14
6:30 – 8:30pm: Introductory workshop

The Sacred Harp is a style of choral singing in four parts based on a notation system called “shape note.” This technique of reading song allows singers to easily follow their parts in any song among the hundreds in the repertoire. No musical background is required to sing shape notes, only practice. To become more familiar with reading shape notes before the All-Day Singing, we suggest attending the introductory workshop, or “singing school,” the day before. This class is NOT mandatory for beginners wishing to participate in Saturday’s program, but provides space for questions to be asked and answered. Many Sacred Harp singers have never made music or read songs before singing shape notes. Not having any singing experience is not an obstacle!

Saturday, April 15

9:30 – 10am: Registration
10:00 – 1:00pm: Three singing sessions with 10-minute breaks
1:00 – 2:00pm: Lunch break
2:00 – 4:00pm: Two singing sessions, announcements
It will be possible to borrow The Sacred Harp book.

No pre-registration required. Join the Facebook event for updates!
Donations accepted to help cover the day’s expenses.

Want to know a little more about Sacred Harp? Take a look at this video from the first get-together in France last year :