Sacred Harp Singing at Pioneer Museum Saturday

Published 10:04 pm Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The Pioneer Museum of Alabama will host the 10th All-Day Sacred Harp Singing from 9:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

Ken Sundberg, organizer of the annual Sacred Harp Singing, said singers come from across the state and beyond to sing loud and long from the Blue Book. Those who want to come and just enjoy the singing are invited and encouraged to come.

Sacred Harp groups always sing a cappella, that is to say, without accompanying instruments.

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Singers face each other in a “hollow square” formation with each voice part on one side – treble, alto, tenor and bass.

Sundberg said there is no single leader or conductor.

“The singers take turn leading,” he said. “The leader stands in the middle of the square and selects a song from the book and calls the page number. The leader usually selects a song that reflects what he or she is feeling at the time. Standing in the middle of the square, the leader hears all of the parts. The sound is extremely good.”

Anyone who wishes to lead has the opportunity.

“We have several young children who sing and lead,” Sundberg said.�� “One little boy, three years old, leads one or two songs. He is fun to watch. At an event last week, a lady turned leading into ballet. She was amazing.”

Many of the singers who participate in the Sacred Harp Singing at the Pioneer Museum of Alabama are seasoned singers. Some are just beginning but all are welcome.

“If somebody sings the wrong note, they are not the only person who missed it,” Sundberg said, laughing.

Not all the singers could be on America’s Got Talent but they all love to sing Sacred Harp music.

“We have people that show up at almost every event and some who come from time to time and we do sometimes have new singers,” Sundberg said. “We always welcome those who come just to listen.”

Sundberg said there seems to be growing interest in Sacred Harp singing among young people and that is encouraging.

“We invite those who have an interest in Sacred Harp singing to come to the Pioneer Museum of Alabama Saturday between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. and join the singing or just enjoy the singing,” he said. “And take time to look over the exhibits. The Pioneer Museum of Alabama has an outstanding collection of artifacts.”

Admission is free for the singers. Other visitors will pay the usual museum fee.