Welcome to the site of the Harpeth Valley Sacred Harp Singers of Greater Nashville, Tennessee. We are not a performing group (though we'll sing for anyone who wants to listen!), but a loose band of people who enjoy getting together to sing and explore the rich tradition of music variously known as shape-note (though not gospel shape-note), fasola, and Sacred Harp (for an introduction, see the Fasola Home Page, or the Sacred Harp Singing Page of Warren Steel). We generally sing from the 1991 Edition of The Sacred Harp--a tune book first published in 1844, and in print continuously ever since. However, we also maintain ties with those who sing from William Walker's Southern Harmony and with our friends in East Tennessee who sing "Old Harp" music from the 1867 New Harp of Columbia.
Fasola music is unlike virtually any other heard today; dating back to the eighteenth century, it is one of America's oldest continuing musical styles. Sung a cappella in four-part harmony, it is distinctive for its massive, hard-edged sound, its combination of driving rhythms and folk lyricism, and its spiritual intensity. This music is close to the bone. We are amateurs who sing out of our love for the music and our desire to acquaint others with a tradition we cherish. We'd love to have you join us; because we're not a singing group, there's no obligation--and the book is cheap!
Our most common activity is our Monthly Singing, which we hold on the First Sunday of each month , singing our favorite tunes, exploring new tunes, planning activities, and enjoying fellowship with one another. We eagerly welcome all who wish to join us around the hollow square (If you want to know what we mean by a "hollow square," see this). For further information, contact Tim Reynolds or Sandie Scott. Our next monthly singing is Sunday July 7, 2013 from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM at Belmont United Methodist Church room 120.
We also host two annual "all-day singings with dinner on the grounds," and support others in the vicinity:
- The Harpeth Valley-Priestley Miller Memorial Singing, held on the Saturday before the First Sunday in April at Radnor Primitive Baptist Church, 503 Brewer Dr. beginning at 9:30 AM and continuing until 2:30 PM--with "dinner on the grounds." The Harpeth Valley Singing was begun in 1962 by the late Rev. Priestley Miller, pastor of the Harpeth Presbyterian Church, at which this singing was held for many years; the singing continues as a memorial to his service to the Sacred Harp tradition. The next Harpeth Valley-Priestley Miller Singing will be held Saturday, April 6, 2013
- A recently-formed neighbor group in Murfreesboro has started a new annual singing, the Middle Tennessee Singing at King's Chapel, between Franklin and Murfreesboro on Tennessee Route 96 near Triune (directions and map). King's Chapel is an early-nineteenth-century church that had fallen into disrepair until a developer recently restored it to serve as the centerpiece for a subdivision. It is light and airy, with a high ceiling and a great sound. The singing starts at 9:30 am and lasts until 2:30 pm.
- The Tennessee State Convention is held at Second Creek Primitive Baptist Church near Five Points,TN in Lawrence County on the Second Sunday and the Saturday before in October. We sing from the Cooper book on Saturday night and from the Denson on Sunday.
- The Immanuel Baptist Singing is held on the Saturday before the Second Sunday in November At Immanuel Baptist Church 222 Belle Meade Blvd. Nashville between Harding Rd.US 70 and Harding Place.The singing starts at 9:30am and ends at 2:30pm.
- We also sing at the Wilson County Fair in August in Lebanon,TN This year we will sing on August 20th from 10:30am to 11:30am and again from 12pm to 1pm at the Fiddler's Grove Opry pavilion. Your book is your ticket in and you can stay at the fair however long you want. Byron says see the hypnotist!!!!
If you are an experienced singer new to Nashville, or passing through on a visit or on your way to a singing (Nashville is superbly situated for cheap flights to the Sacred Harp heartland)--or especially if you simply want to find out what we're so passionate about--please feel free to contact Tim Reynolds or Sandie Scott