About the UK Convention

UKSHC 2015

Sacred Harp singing is a form of traditional, unaccompanied community harmony singing. The tradition as we know it today comes from the Southern states of America, but the music can trace its roots to a number of places and time periods.

Our tradition knows neither rehearsal nor performance, and, like our Convention, is open to all – regardless of background, age, religious belief or musical experience.

The UK has a thriving Sacred Harp community, and events are held up and down the country throughout the year. The United Kingdom Convention has been held annually since 1996 and is one of the largest Sacred Harp singings outside the United States.

Our 2016 Convention will be hosted by Bristol Sacred Harp singers at the Trinity Centre in central Bristol. It will draw together singers old and new, young and old, from across the British Isles and from further afield, for a weekend of singing, friendship and fellowship.

Find out more about Sacred Harp music:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacred_Harp

Twenty Years of the UK Sacred Harp Convention

In 1996, the first two day singings, known as Shapenote Conventions were held. For the first three years, the Conventions were two book singings using The Sacred Harp (Denson Edition, 1991) and The Northern Harmony, and aimed at attracting those who had been taught by Larry Gordon and brought up on Northern Harmony shape note music. Since 1999, the Convention has been a single book singing, using The Sacred Harp (Denson Edition, 1991).

Year Location Convention Chair(s)

1

1996

Hitchin, Hertfordshire Steve Fletcher

2

1997

Hitchin, Hertfordshire Judy Whiting

3

1998

Beeston, Nottinghamshire David Cooper

4

1999

Beeston, Nottinghamshire David Cooper

5

2000

Beeston, Nottinghamshire David Cooper

6

2001

Cumnor, Oxford Edwin Macadam and Sheila Girling Smith

7

2002

Cumnor, Oxford Edwin Macadam and Sheila Girling Macadam

8

2003

Cumnor, Oxford Edwin Macadam

9

2004

Letchworth, Hertfordshire Ken Baddley

10

2005

Letchworth, Hertfordshire Ken Baddley

11

2006

Witney, Oxon Mandy Townsend

12

2007

Witney, Oxon Mandy Townsend

13

2008

Marsden, West Yorkshire Judy Whiting and Chris Brown

14

2009

Marsden, West Yorkshire Judy Whiting and Chris Brown

15

2010

Weedon Bec, Northamptonshire Mick Verrier

16

2011

Stannington, South Yorkshire Sarah West

17

2012

Winnersh, Berkshire Michael Walker

18

2013

Framwellgate, County Durham Cath Tyler

19

2014

Stannington, South Yorkshire Hannah Land

20

2015

London Erin Johnson-Williams

21

2016

Bristol Matthew Parkinson

22

2017

Stannington, South Yorkshire Vicki Elliott

The East Midlands Sacred Harp Convention

The East Midlands Sacred Harp Convention was founded in 2002 by Helen Brown, Ruth Steggles and Ian West, who felt that Sacred Harp singing in this country had grown strong enough to support a second two day singing.

A two day Convention has the potential for greater variety in pace and more flexibility in programming than a one day singing. This has allowed innovations such as the use of a second song book – The Sacred Harp (Revised Cooper Edition, 2012 – alongside The Sacred Harp (Denson Edition, 1991).

The East Midlands Convention continues to be held every year on the fourth Sunday in April and the Saturday before, at the Village Hall, Kegworth, Leicestershire.

East Midlands Convention 2015 flyer (PDF)

Local Singings in the UK and Europe

Singers meet regularly all around the UK and Europe. For more information, visit the UK Sacred Harp & Shapenote Singing website:

http://www.ukshapenote.org.uk/

For more information about the Sacred Harp book itself, visit the Sacred Harp Publishing Company website:

http://originalsacredharp.com/