Singers from several states will make a joyful noise onSunday, March 8th at Oxford’s fortieth all-day Sacred Harp singing at the Powerhouse Community Arts Center, corner of University Avenue and South 14th Street.
The singing runs from 9:45 AM to 2:30 PM.
The Sacred Harp, a shape-note tunebook first published in 1844, contains songs sung by the first settlers in Oxford and North Mississippi. The long tradition of “Old Harp” singing in Lafayette County, revived in 1981 by Warren Steel and the late George Boswell, attracts singers from all parts of Mississippi, as well as Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia and other states.
A Sacred Harp singing is not a concert or a performance, but a community musical event with deep roots in American tradition. The singers sit facing inward in a “hollow square,” from which individuals are called, one by one, to stand in the center of the square and lead their favorite selections from the songbook; there is no instrumental accompaniment. The Sacred Harp represents the oldest continuous musical tradition in the United States, with many songs dating from the eighteenth century. Once confined to the rural south, the full-bore sound of Sacred Harp singing has attracted fans throughout the United States and was featured in the films “Cold Mountain” and “Awake My Soul.”