Sacred Harp

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Shape note singers will meet at Fuller Lodge for two days of singing

By Jennifer Garcia

Sacred Harp singers from Colorado and New Mexico will converge on Fuller Lodge for the 21st Annual Rocky Mountain Shape note Convention from 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Sept. 25-26.
Los Alamos resident Claire Singleton will be one of the performers during the two-day singing event. Singleton, originally from Oxford, England, has been a Sacred Harp singer, or shape note singer, for more than 10 years.
Singleton found a group of shape note singers to share her passion for singing with in 2000, when she came to New Mexico on sabbatical. Two years later, she and her family moved here permanently and she joined a group from Albuquerque, who she still sings with.
According to a press release, shape note singing is a tradition that has been around since around 1844.
“Technically our style of singing is “shape note singing” because the musical notation uses note heads in four distinct shapes to aid in sight-reading, but it is often called ‘Sacred Harp’ singing because the books that most singers use today are called ‘The Sacred Harp,’ a press release said, “with the most prominent of these being the 1991 Denson edition. The term ‘sacred harp’ refers to the human voice — that is, the musical instrument you were given at birth.”

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