Many of us know about the website Sacred Harp Breman. When we’re stuck trying to figure out a song, the robot voices are always there to sing our part and help us figure it out. All the Sacred Harp songs have been transcoded into playable sound files along with the poetry, a PDF, and links to YouTube versions of the song. It’s quite useful. The site also has a wealth of Shape Note tips, articles, videos, links, and a wonderful documentary about the formation of the Bremen Group called Shape, Rattle & Roll.
But now, this wonderful site is challenged. Read this from Paul Kolenbrander:
“Most of you will be familiar with the Sacred Harp Bremen website and will have heard the infamous robotic voices of our songs. The site, or rather the 3 sites, Denson, Christian Harmony and Shenandoah, continue to receive many visits daily.
It is with some hesitation that I write this post asking for help from the Sacred Harp community. The cost of keeping our sites running has risen sharply recently. With skyrocketing energy prices in Europe, hosting costs have also risen dramatically. Today our hosting company announced a hefty rate increase for the second time this year. This is now starting to get in over our heads. The last thing we want is to shut down the websites, but in order to keep them running I would like to ask for your help by making a donation. Any contribution is very welcome and greatly appreciated. We solemnly promise that any donation will be used exclusively for the websites.
The link below shows how to make a donation. If anyone has other ways to help us, please feel free to send me a personal message. Thank you in advance for your help!”
On Saturday, August 27, 2020 the Central Ontario All-Day Sacred Harp singing took place after a couple of years of delay. The previous evening, we held an informal singing from The Shenandoah Harmony. We sang at the Toronto Friends House, where we have been having our monthly singings. Here are photos from the all-day singing with dinner-on-the-grounds.
And here are photos from the Friday evening Shenandoah Harmony singing.
Directions:Located in central Toronto, the Friends House is about a block north from the Bedford Street exit of the St. George TTC subway station. There is paid parking available on-street or in nearby parking lots.
Vaccinations and Masking:
The Toronto Shape-Note Community is a loving community that cares for our most vulnerable members, and as vaccinations are proven to reduce the spread of Covid-19, we would prefer that all participants are vaccinated. While we do not have the capacity to check, nor the interest in engaging in a compliance-relationship with our friends, we do trust that all who choose to join us will respect that trust, and honour our community’s preference. In the same spirit, although we do not require masking, we encourage it out of care for others. We also encourage taking and passing a rapid test before arriving.
Further precautions: Doors will be open and fans and air purifiers will be running.
Check out the Facebook Event for more information. This is Ontario shape-note singers’ biggest event of the year, and one you absolutely shouldn’t miss!!! For questions, more info and/or to volunteer to help, contact email@example.com.
Friday Evening Shenandoah Singing Also at Friends House, we are holding a warm-up Friday evening singing, August 26th, 7:30-9:30 p.m. — an informal singing, primarily from The Shenandoah Harmony (with limited loaners available). More details in the Facebook event.
We had hoped to announce a 2021 Central Ontario Sacred Harp Convention this year, but it just wasn’t possible.
This past Saturday we held a special park singing at Fred Hamilton Playground in Toronto. At least ten singers from Toronto participated and we had memorial lesson but no dinner-on-the-grounds. Minutes will be submitted to mark the occasion.
Hopefully we will be back again in August 2022 when we’ll be thrilled to have you singing with us once more.
In April 2020 the Toronto group started singing together weekly using Zoom. We were inspired by visiting online and singing with the Montreal Group to see how it worked. So we decided to try it here in Toronto, and have been gathering online to sing weekly since then.
We open the Zoom session each Wednesday at 7:15 p.m. Eastern time and chat or check technology for fifteen minutes. Then we start the singing at 7:30. We sing from the Denson 1991 Sacred Harp book. We start with songs lead by pairs or single singers with the rest of us on mute. This is due to the lag that would otherwise cause our voices to combine at different times—making it sound pretty bad. After a break, we start a playlist of various Youtube singings. Requests are done in advance to avoid delays between songs. Here is the Current Zoom link which is also posted in our Facebook group and in the mailing list emails (Send an email to Pleasance to receive these).
In addition to the weekly Denson singing, we also hold a First-Sunday-of-the-Month singing from the Shenandoah Harmony. This singing is usually held from 3 to 4:30 p.m. The link will be posted in our Facebook group before the singing and in the mailing list emails.
Thanks to everyone who came and sang with us at our second annual weekend convention August 24-25, 2019. We look forward to doing it all again next year on the fourth Sunday in August and the Friday night and Saturday before. Please mark your calendars now!
This year on August 24 and 25 we will host our second two-day convention. After holding all-day singings for fourteen years, last year we decided to extend the gathering to multiple days of events, and we were really happy how it went, and all the wonderful singers who showed up.
The first day of this year’s singing is Saturday, August 24 at the Friends House, 60 Lowther Avenue in a mid-town area of Toronto known as the Annex. Following that on Sunday, August 25 we return to the Detweiler Meetinghouse at 3445 Roseville Road, North Dumfries, Ontario. We’ll sing each day from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with midday dinner on the ground.
But there is more! On Friday evening, August 23 at 6:00 p.m. there will be a Singing School at the Friends House, 60 Lowther Avenue, in Toronto with special guest Lauren Bock of Decatur, Georgia, USA.
And we’ll hold an Evening Social on Saturday, August 24 at 6:00 p.m. at a location nearby. (RSVP to Pleasance Crawford for more details. There will be food at the social, but snack and beverage contributions are welcome.)
162 Bloor Street West, at the corner of Bloor and Avenue Road
Join us for Eucharist in the round, featuring hymns from the shape note singing tradition of The Sacred Harp hymnbook. Our congregational voices will be supported by experienced singers of this unique music tradition. Come worship and sing!
After holding our all-day singings for fourteen years, we upgraded to holding a two-day Convention with a singing school session the evening before. And it turned out great. Thank you to everyone who made the journey there and added their voices.
The weekend started with a Singing School at the Friends House in the Annex in Toronto with special guest Bridgett Hill Kennedy. Bridgett gave a personal and moving talk on the deep community, friendships and bonds that grow with Shape Note music and singings.
Continuing on Saturday morning at the Friends House was our first day of singing. Dinner on the grounds happened in the backyard and in various rooms in the historic structure. That evening at Chuck & Pleasance’s condo we gathered again for a social with Toronto-style takeout and singing from the Northern Harmony (which could be heard out the fourth-floor at least a half-block away).
On Sunday we traveled back down the 401 to the Detweiler Meetinghouse where we previously held annual singings. A warmer day made our southern friends feel right at home. Again we shared midday dinner on the grounds under the tent. A full house in the meetinghouse filled that room to overflowing with the power of our voices.
We look forward to doing it all again next year on the fourth Sunday in August and the Friday night and Saturday before. Please mark your calendars now!
On behalf of Chairperson Jan May and the entire Toronto Shape Note Community, our heartfelt thanks for your friendship and support!