Today, Sacred Harp singers from north, south, east and west descended on the Mississippi River port of Vicksburg. Unlike the siege nearly 150 years ago, everybody came out a winner. Our hosts were great. The food was, too. A group of good singers assembled, and we sang in full voice and almost non-stop from the 1991 Denson and 2006 Cooper editions of The Sacred Harp, and the Christian Harmony (Alabama edition).* This provided an interesting combination of shape note singing in both four shape and seven shape. This singing was hosted by the Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation and the Mississippi Humanities Council in connection with the Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibit, New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music. This exhibit will be at the Foundation from June 28 through August 9.
Many will return to the Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation auditorium to sing on Sunday, but for some of us our several engagements call us away.
* In addition, we also sang two songs by John Merritt -- one composition was his original words and music, and the other was a poem by John set to the old hymn tune Mear.
Gaylon Powell and I talked yesterday about the possibility of a Christian Harmony singing in Texas. Anyone out there interested? BTW, the Powells were able to stay through the Sunday session, and reported that the Vicksburg singing will be made an annual event!
Martha Beverly has placed pictures from the Vicksburg singing online here.