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Singing School!

I taught my singing school today, and it was fabulous! The chorus director just barely managed to escape from a luncheon so she could get to the rehearsal on time, but I had already corralled some of the singers to help me set the chairs up in a hollow square. The setup intrigued them, which was a good first start. We got everyone seated fairly quickly, the choral director introduced me, and the rest of the class period was mine.

I wish I'd had more than fifty minutes, but we got so much done. I gave a lecture about the history of Sacred Harp and of singing schools, and everyone paid attention. (This impressed the choral director -- apparently they're not so well behaved for her.) Then I told them about the shaped notes, and we got to sing. I taught them a tune called "The Promised Land," which was the first shape-note tune I ever learned. They got it pretty well, though I think I might have chosen something shorter if I had it to do over again. Unfortunately, class was up by then. I invited anyone who wanted to stay after a break for more singing. Most people left for other classes, but a small group stayed behind, and we learned two more tunes, "Invocation (First)," and "Russia."

Several people came to me after the main lesson was over to say how much they enjoyed it. I was so pumped. The choral director was happy, I was ecstatic that my very first singing school had gone over well, and it was a grand day in general. We're even discussing doing it again next year. I might take a day to travel back from Chicago and lead another singing school, maybe in the fall.

Comments

frenchpony
Apr. 28th, 2006 11:00 pm (UTC)
"Russia" is a great tune, and I love it dearly. But there were two reasons that I started with "The Promised Land." First of all, it's a plainsong in the camp meeting style, and those are much easier to sing than fuging tunes like "Russia," especially for basses who might not be confident enough to lead in on the fugue. And second, I usually sing tenor, and I know the tenor lines to all of these tunes like the back of my hand. But I had to learn the other three parts so I could teach them here, and I'm better at the treble, alto, and bass of "The Promised Land" than at the parts in "Russia."
dot_o_choillmor
Apr. 28th, 2006 11:04 pm (UTC)
You're making me wish I was there!
frenchpony
Apr. 28th, 2006 11:24 pm (UTC)
I wish you'd been there, too. You might have enjoyed it.
bodkin_ra
Apr. 29th, 2006 02:15 pm (UTC)
Are these random maidens or part of the family Pony?
frenchpony
Apr. 29th, 2006 02:21 pm (UTC)
Neither. It's part of a photograph of Laura Ingalls Wilder (standing) and her older sister Mary (seated), taken about 1882 or so. The third daughter, Carrie, is also in the photograph, but does not appear in the icon. This photo is a portrait of Laura taken a couple of years later, when she was about seventeen.
bodkin_ra
Apr. 29th, 2006 02:44 pm (UTC)
Ah - the original French Pony.
frenchpony
Apr. 29th, 2006 04:17 pm (UTC)
Indeed. I thought I should have one, especially after that discussion about all our names a couple of weeks ago.

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