Azariah: Whom Jehovah Helps

Filed under: Announcements,Sacred Harp and Shape Note Music,Shows and Performances
Posted by jesse on March 2, 2006 at 5:01 pm

My MFA Thesis Show, Azariah: Whom Jehovah Helps is this Saturday.

The show will be a participatory shape note singing, and begins at 2 PM on March fourth (please be on time) at the Old Songs Community Art Center at 37 South Main Street in Voorheesville, NY (directions).

The singing follows the story of a young man from the Burnt-over district in nineteenth century Western New York who begins to experience visions of singing prophets in the wake of the Great Disappointment.

After the singing, there will be a pot-luck supper (please bring dishes that can be served cold), and from 7:30-10:00 PM is the monthly, Albany-area Sacred Harp singing.

Visit my blog for more information on Azariah.

Five-Channel Sound Installation in “Pent-Up and Undergone” at Jessica Murray Projects in New York City

Filed under: Sacred Harp and Shape Note Music,Shows and Performances
Posted by jesse on May 11, 2005 at 7:56 pm

Recordings of two shape note music compositions of mine, “North Adams” and “Undergone” will feature in a sound installation I’m creating to accompany The Informants, a work by Carrie Dashow in her collaborative solo show with Jesse Bercowetz and Matt Bua at Jessica Murray Projects in New York City, Pent-Up and Under Gone.

Working with Albany-area shape note singers, I’m creating recordings of the two tunes for five speakers, with each speaker playing back the voice of one singer. Each speaker is paired with an “informant” a character of sorts in the form of a video sculpture, created by Carrie. The work is juxtaposed with a giant lighthouse sculpture built by Matt and Jesse, and a video depicting the “eye” of the lighthouse by Carrie. Carrie also wrote the texts to “Undergone” and “North Adams.”

Pent-Up and Under Gone opens on May 27.

Small Middletown Singing

Filed under: Sacred Harp and Shape Note Music
Posted by jesse on June 13, 2004 at 12:09 pm

I just got back from a shape note singing from the Sacred Harp in Middletown, CT. It was a small singing, and we ended up paring things down to three parts. It has me thinking about shape note singing as a dying tradition, wondering whether it is in fact dying, and whether I’ll see the tradition grow or shrink, and how it will change over my lifetime. I don’t know what I’d do without shape note music.

I’ve been thinking through plans for my new shape note music blog. A first step in creating this new site is to figure out how to configure WordPress. I’m going to start duplicating my blogger posts in that blog and figure out how to separately display posts from different categories. Should be neat.

Western Massachusetts Sacred Harp Convention

Filed under: Projects,Sacred Harp and Shape Note Music
Posted by jesse on March 14, 2004 at 10:12 pm

This Saturday and Sunday (while celebrating my 23rd birthday which occurred on Friday, I attended the Western Massachusetts Sacred Harp Convention in Northampton. The WMSHC is one of the biggest and best conventions in the Northeast and this year’s convention was spectacular, with well over 300 singers in attendance and 128 leading about 200 songs.

Attending last year’s convention lead me to begin writing shape note music, and in the wake of this year’s convention, I’m hoping to finish work on my first set of compositions and begin arranging some performances. I’m now working on a couple of new pieces as well as porting all of my old compositions from Finale NotePad to Sibelius. As I make these changes, I will also update the shape note section of this site to include full-size scores as PDF and GIF files as well as MIDI files for each piece represented. I will also add a selection of new shape note pieces I composed since posting the current selection.

I’m planning on working with Pamela Slea and Laura Neuman to provide my shape note pieces with words, but I have plenty of pieces and I am eager to work with any interested writers. Please email me or fill out the form on the Contact page if you are interested.

Singing Shape Note Music

Filed under: Projects,Sacred Harp and Shape Note Music
Posted by jesse on December 12, 2003 at 11:22 pm

I went to Middletown, Connecticut today where a group of 25-30 shape note singers brought together by Neely Bruce sang a selection of shape note songs, largely from the Sacred Harp songbook. A reporter and photographer from the Hartford Courant attended and reported on the event. The selection of songs was meant to illustrate the history of the tradition, from “Old Hundred,” the oldest song in the book, to recent works.

The group sang four pieces from the shape note sketches found on this site, including “Hampshire” and “Monday,” as examples of recent compositions in the tradition. Thanks to Neely Bruce for the opportunity, and to Anne Rhodes and Mark and Linda Pearlman Karlsberg for advice and support preparing for the singing.

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