Third Sunday Charlestown Shapenote Sing

IMPORTANT!  This singing has moved!

While Elizabeth and Robert have enjoyed hosting the Third Sunday singing over the past five years,

we have been stewards only for the North Shore singing.  With the renaissance of singing in Newbury, MA,

we look forward to joining our friends in song at a truly North Shore venue.  The singing space

in Newbury is excellent, and the singers numerous and enthusiastic.  We look forward to singing with you there!

Essential Info


When?  Third Sundays, singing from 3-5:30 pm.  Break for snacks around 4:00.
What?  Singing from The Sacred Harp and other shapenote songs of interest.
Where?  First Parish Church, 20 High Road, Newbury, MA
Who?  Open to all!
Contact info:  Mail Chris Noren!

Getting There


First Parish Church is just north of the Newbury Green.


From Greater Boston or Points West: I-95 North to Exit 56. Turn right at bottom of ramp onto Scotland Rd. Continue ~2.8 miles, turn right on Highfield Rd. Take Highfield to end, turn left onto Middle Road, which turns into Hanover St. after crossing Rt. 1. Continue on Hanover, turn left onto High Rd. (Rt. 1A) at light. Church is on left.

From Points North: I-95 South to Exit 57. Left at top of ramp onto Rt. 113 (Newburyport). Road curves right onto High St after ~1 mile. Continue ~3 miles, church is just past Newbury town line on right.

From Ipswich and Cape Ann: Due to ongoing construction of the Parker River Bridge, Rt. 1A is closed between Rowley and Newbury, so you'll need to take Rt. 133 West to Rt. 1 North. Turn right at the second light onto Hanover St. Turn left onto High Rd. (Rt. 1A), and church is on left.

Directions to First Parish Church

What is this all about?


If you go to a "dance," you go to dance.  When you come to a sing, come to sing!

The singing is an opportunity to sing great, uniquely American unaccompanied choral music together.  As is traditional, the singing is highly democratic--anyone who wants to may call and lead songs. 

We sing mostly from The Sacred Harp, 1991 Edition, the leading example of shape-note hymnals that were popular in the early 1800s in America.  The idiosyncratic style of its hymns is characterized by strong rhythm and simple harmonic structures that break many of the Old World strictures in a powerful, expressive way.

Other Information


The singing is free, but we take up a collection to help First Parish Church defray its building heating and maintenance costs.  Loaner books for all four books are available, but please bring along your own book if you have one.

Other shapenote singings in the area


There are many other singings in New England and around the country.  Annie Grieshop maintains a master list of regular singings.  The closest regular singings are:

First Sundays: In Plymouth or East Sandwich (winter digs)
Second Sundays: The Boston Connexion singing in Brookline
Second Mondays: Norumbega Harmony hosts a singing in Newton Center
Third Sundays: That’s the Newbury singing!
Fourth Sundays: The Rhode Island Sacred Harp Singing in Providence

There are several annual “conventions” (big singings) in New England, which you can track
down at FaSoLa.