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Omaha Shape Note Singers

Nebraska All-Day Singing April 5, 2014,
plus a singing every month!


         We meet on the second Sunday of each month with an all-day singing every spring. On April 5, 2014, experience a whole day of powerful four-part folk harmonies at Saint Vincent's Church, 51st and Lake in Omaha! Contact cmiserez [at] cox [cot] net for more information.


Click here for hotel info and directions to the singing.


Click here to read one of Martha Henderson's wonderfully written essays about Omaha's all-day singings.

         Shape note music is a living folk hymn tradition with over two hundred years' history in the United States and with roots that go back centuries before that.  The sound is different than that of any other music, and the tunes are written in special notes invented to help untrained singers learn to read music!
         Many hundreds of wonderful songs have been composed in this tradition, and many are still being written today.  Developed originally in Revolutionary-era America from British Isles sources, the tradition lives on in the twenty-first century in certain southern churches and has spread to many other parts of the United States.
         The shape-note tradition preserved in such books as The Sacred Harp (which we use in Omaha) is a capella, four-part harmony music.  It is not the same thing as gospel music, and it is not regular church hymns printed with different notes.  It is its own tradition.  (And by the way, there aren't any harps in The Sacred Harp -- it's all unaccompanied voice.)
         The sound is both rich and stark, ranging from somber to wild.  In many of the wildest songs, all four parts (bass, tenor, alto, and treble) sing different melody lines with different words, and each part has a melody that could stand on its own.  Nobody is singing "backup."  Everybody gets a good tune, and the four parts merge into something that is beyond melody.  Men and women sing tenor, and men and women sing treble (the men sing it lower, of course), which creates the feel of six-part harmony.
         Traditionally, the songs written in minor keys are sung in the Dorian mode, which gives them an indescribable haunting quality, especially in songs that contain another shape-note tradition:  the "open chord."  To understand this unique and stirring music, you just have to hear it!
         Omaha's shape note singing group meets because we love the music and want to preserve this great tradition.  And our singers include both trained and untrained musicians from a wide variety of backgrounds and philosophies.  Many of the best shape note singers around the U.S. learned through singing from The Sacred Harp!  So to learn the music in a supportive environment, come and join our group, which meets in St. Vincent's Church at 51st and Lake Streets in Omaha, Nebraska.

         The national web site for shape note singing is at www.fasola.org.  But don't forget to check the calendar below and come to a singing in Omaha! 

Calendar of upcoming singings, St. Vincent's Church basement, 51st and Lake Streets:
 

2014

Jan 1 noon potluck and singing at Sandra's house (email cmiserez [at] cox [dot] net for info)

Jan 12 Sun 1:30

Feb 9 Sun 1:30 pm

Mar 9 Sun 1:30 pm

Sat, April 5: All-Day Singing 10 am to 3:30 pm!

April 13, 2014. In 2015, contact Cindy for April date, which may change due to Easter.

May 11 Sun 1:30 pm

Jun 8 Sun 1:30 pm

Jul 13 Sun 1:30 pm

Aug 12 Sun 1:30 pm

Sept 14 Sunday 1:30 pm

Oct 12 Sunday 1:30 pm

Nov 9 Sunday 1:30 pm

Dec 14 Sunday 1:30 pm
(*Singings might be moved to different dates.  Call 402-393-6108 to make sure we are really meeting on a given date.)

 

With rare exceptions,  singings occur on the 2nd Sunday afternoon.  If you have any questions,  please feel free to call Cindy Miserez 402-850-8553, or try

cmiserez [at] cox [dot] net or    

Kathy Wood    khwood [at] cox [dot] net        402-397-4673
 
 

Wonderful Singings in Nearby Cities

Missouri Sacred Harp Singing Convention, one and a half hours west of Saint Louis, Missouri, seven hours' drive from Omaha.  Second Sunday of March and the Saturday before.
Check http://fasola.org for details.  This is a great shape note singing, at a place where northern and southern singers can meet halfway!
 

Sacred Harp Singing Convention in Shakopee, Minnesota (just outside Minneapolis)
Late September.
Check http://fasola.org for details.  Sing with your national shape note friends at an excellent singing, one of the Midwest's biggest!