Northern Shenandoah Valley Shape Note Singers Release Fall Singing Schedule

Shape note singing is a non-denominational community, musical, and spiritual event emphasizing participation, not performance. The music is sung a cappella without harps or any other musical instrument. The music is printed in “patent notes”  wherein the shape of the note head indicates the syllables FA, SOL, LA, and MI.  The book includes early and later American psalm tunes, fuging tunes, and anthems, as well as Scotch Irish folk songs and revival hymns. Books are available for sale. All are welcome, no experience necessary! Call John or Kelly for more information at (540) 955-2660. Send us your email address if you would like to be put on our emailing list. Or let us know if you would like to be removed from the list.

Sacred Harp song books use shaped notes associated with the “Mi – Fa – So – La” scale – Photo Edward Leonard

Northern Shenandoah Valley Sacred Harp and Shape Note Singers meet (generally, but not always) on the first Saturday of the month to sing from the Sacred Harp and the Shenandoah Harmony. We sing the first session from the Sacred Harp; the second session from the Shenandoah Harmony and the third session either book.

SEPTEMBER 16, SUNDAY, John & Kelly will be featured at the Virginia Folklife Apprenticeship Showcase between 1-5pm in Charlottesville VA. A group of singers will meet in Charlottesville at 9:30am for breakfast and singing; and then make a presentation at the VA Folklife Festival ( for more information). Please let us know if you would like to attend the breakfast/singing and sing on stage. We will send out pdf’s of songs to you if we know you’re coming. rsvp.

OCTOBER 6, Saturday, special guest presentation by Tollie Lee of the Hoboken singers begins at 3 pm (see October date).

Saturday, September 1, 4-8 p.m.– Josephine Street Museum, 303 Josephine St. Berryville VA. From Business Rt 7 and Rt 340, head east one block to right (south) on Church St, go .4 mile south on Church St. and take a left on Josephine St.; go another 0.4 mile on Josephine St. and look for small sign on the right, “Josephine Street School Museum” and “Johnson Williams”. It is a small white frame building on left. Potluck supper at 6 p.m.; no kitchen; bring lawn chairs or blanket for outdoor eating.

Saturday, October 6, 3-8 p.m.– Millwood Community Center, 1610 Millwood Rd, Boyce VA.  potluck at 6 pm. (some heating available in kitchen); SPECIAL GUEST, TOLLIE LEE, A TRADITIONAL SINGER FROM SOUTHERN GEORGIA WILL GIVE A SHORT PRESENTATION ON ORAL TRADITION SINGING OF THE LEE FAMILY HOBOKEN SINGERS. The focus will be on early oral tradition as opposed to the later gospel-style music. Many of these tunes have been passed down over generations of singers, and are related to tunes we feature in the Shenandoah Harmony which were used in the Shenandoah Valley in the early 1800’s. He will begin the presentation at 3pm and we move into our regular singing around 4pm.

Saturday, November 3, 4-8 p.m. –Malucci’s Bakery (formerly known as Bon Matin), corner of Church and Main Streets in downtown Berryville VA. potluck supper at 6 pm. no kitchen available.