Saturday, February 09 2013 - 3:30 pm
Washington & Franklin Sts.
Cape May, NJ
Area singers, musicians, history buffs and those who want a fun day will enjoy a very special musical event planned for Feb. 9 in Cape May. All are invited to a Shape Note or Sacred Harp day of song and potluck lunch under the leadership of Aldo Ceresa from Brooklyn, NY. For singers or those with an interest in history, musical or otherwise, or just for fun, this is a day not to be missed. The event will take place at Cape May’s Episcopal Church of the Advent at Washington and Franklin Streets from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Shape note singing is a kind of four-part a cappella music (without instruments) that was popular around the time Cape May was first being settled. Cape May resident Vicki Watson helped organize the day and invited Mr. Ceresa to lead. She noted that this music is about participation, not performance. Each of the four parts sit facing each other in a “hollow square”. Men and women can sing the same part an octave apart. All are welcome, whatever your interest or singing skill. There is not separate seating for an audience, but listeners will be able to enjoy the experience and participate, seated in the pews and singing the melody.
The term “Shape Note” refers to the special way the music is written, with notes in different shapes to make sight reading easier. The music is sometimes called “Sacred Harp” because the most widely-used collection of shape note songs today are in oblong hymnals called “The Sacred Harp”. The term “sacred harp” refers to the human voice. The tradition, originally from New England and the American South, almost died out until revived over the last few decades under the leadership of dedicated singers and leaders, including Aldo Ceresa who will lead the Cape May event.
The day will begin at 10:00 a.m. in Church of the Advent with a workshop to explain and practice shape note singing. There will be a potluck lunch at noon for everyone attending. Willing and able local singers are invited to bring an item to the potluck to share with another, since many of the singers will be coming from a long distance. After lunch everyone will gather in the church again to sing.
A free-will offering will be taken to defray expenses. Otherwise there will be no cost. We’ll be singing from the 1991 Denson edition of The Sacred Harp, and books will be available for loan or purchase. Episcopal Church of the Advent, located at Washington and Franklin Streets in historic Cape May is delighted to host this event. Call Advent’s church office at 609-884-3065 with questions and to let the organizers know you are coming so that we will have enough hymnals available.