Haverhill Herald & Twin State Times

Unearth Newbury’s Vibrant Musical Past: Shape Note Singing Returns to the Town

Newbury, VT, is once again resonating with the vibrant strains of Shape Note Singing, a unique musical tradition deeply rooted in New England’s cultural history. The picturesque town is set to host two fascinating events aimed at revitalizing this age-old musical form.

The celebration kicks off with a Shape Note Singing School on Friday, July 14th, from 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm at the Newbury Center Town House. The session, which is free for all, will delve into the intriguing history and form of Shape Note Singing. It will be led by Dr. Thomas Malone, a key figure responsible for nurturing the tradition of annual singing in Newbury.

The musical journey continues with the 16th Annual Jeremiah Ingalls Shape Note Singing event on Saturday, July 15th, from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, also at the Newbury Center Town House. The day-long singing event invites experienced singers, novices, music lovers, history enthusiasts, and curiosity seekers to revel in the early music of Vermont.

Jeremiah Ingalls, the namesake of this event, was the choirmaster of Newbury’s First Congregational Church from 1791–1805. He was instrumental in shaping the “fasola” singing style that emerged in late 18th century New England, even compiling his own tunebook.

The event will unfold in the historic Newbury Center Town House, a building that remains largely untouched since its construction in 1839. The venue, known for its exceptional acoustics, will come alive with the robust sounds of fasola singing, evoking a feeling of travelling back in time.

This nostalgic musical journey is presented in partnership with the Newbury Historical Society. For more information, reach out to [email protected]. Whether you plan to attend the entire day or drop by for a few hours, this is an opportunity to immerse yourself in a vital musical community and experience a tradition dating back two centuries.

Don’t forget to bring along your love for music and a dish for the communal potluck at noon. Tunebooks will be provided to all participants, ensuring that everyone can join in this uplifting musical event.