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You are hearing a vibrant form of American Sacred music, which for centuries has been taught through "singing schools" where local teacher/composers train rural communities to sing in harmony using "fa-sol-la" syllables. Perhaps the earliest and most famous of these teacher/composers was William Billings of Boston who composed during the American Revolution. As 19th Century European musical influences crept into New England, this from of music was pushed out of the Northest, but flourished in the Southern and Western states where a unique form of notation with shaped note heads helped people learn to sing and harmonize. Well, that same music is thriving today, because the techniques and traditions of "fasola" singing have been kept alive largely by a single book, "The Sacred Harp." The living Sacred Harp tradition in states like Georgia & Alabama, as well as Texas and Mississippi & Florida, this tunebook and its vibrant community of singers continue to draw people from around the nation into the spritual and musical world of shape-note singing. More info? visit fasola.org. There's probably a local singing near you...
Vermont's history in the 'fasola' tradition is quite significant, primarily through teacher/composers such as Jeremiah Ingalls of Newbury, Vt., Hezekiah Moors, and Elisha West of Woodstock. Jeremiah Ingalls (1764-1838) had a particularly succesful run as a tavern keeper and church musician in Newbury between the years of 1709 and 1810 during which he published a book of fasola music called "The Christian Harmony." This book contained not only the familiar fuging-tunes and anthems in a style popularized by Billings but something rather new, folk-melodies with sacred texts, as well as call-and-response spirituals, and camp-meeting revival choruses. In this way Ingalls' book anticipated the variety and content of later Southern tunebooks such as The Southern Harmony by William Walker (1835) and The Sacred Harp by B.F. White (1844) whose pages also contained a mixture of Anthems, fuging tunes, sprituals, and hymns.
In 2005 Ingalls book would have been 200 years old, yet despite it's musical significance it never recieved a widespread following during it's own time, and was never printed in shape-notes. Despite the seeming failure of his tunebook, Ingalls is one of the most important fasola composers, and his compositions remain among the most popular in contemporary Sacred Harp singing. To observe the significance of this musical piece of Vermont's history, Thomas B. Malone a Sacred Harp singer and teacher of American traditional music, brought out a modern edition of Ingalls book in shape-notes making it available to the wider community of Sacred Harp singers and lovers of American traditional music. Since 2005 there has been an All-day singing in Newbury each July coinciding with the Cracker Barrel Bazaar, a local fair and heritage day in the town. Singing is from 10:00 am to 4:00pm with a pot-luck dinner at 12:30pm. Please join us!
This website allows people to learn more about Ingalls' music and his life and to consider making the trip to sing some of this glorious music. No experience is necessary, and books are provided.
VIEW THESE LINKS BELOW FOR HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE PREVIOUS THREE YEARS OF THE JEREMIAH INGALLS SINGING and more....!
NEW! A YOUTUBE TRAILER FOR THE UPCOMING THE 2008 INGALLS SINGING (you may want to mute the audio from the main site before viewing this...)