Song leaders in the eighteenth century invented a notation system to help church singers who couldn’t read sheet music learn to sing in 3- or 4-part harmony. The result was “shape notes” or “sacred harp”. This is a living tradition with songs still being written and enthusiasts singing around the country and every week in the Bay Area.
Terry Moore has sung Sacred Harp music since the turn of the century, having seen a notice in the Folknik. He has led workshops for several years in Ben Lomond, chaired Sacred Harp conventions, and regularly participates in the Palo Alto area singings. He also enjoys singing barbershop, gospel, madrigal, and jazz a cappella harmonies.
Peter Ross originally got hooked on shape note singing when he attended workshops in the 1990s at the San Francisco Free Folk Festival, due partly to the gorgeous harmonies and the inspiring music. He now sings regularly with the Palo Alto shape note singing group, and occasionally with the Santa Cruz, San Francisco, and Berkeley groups. Also, before traveling, he checks the www.fasola.org website, and has found groups with which to sing in Denver, CO, Madison, WI, Knoxville, TN, Portland, OR, Los Alamos, NM, and Burlington, VT.