Twelfth Annual Sacred Harp Sing to be Held Feb. 9

Feb. 6, 2013

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Contact: Terry Goodrich, Assistant Director of Media Communications, (254) 710-3321

WACO, Texas (Feb. 6, 2013)--On any given Sunday afternoon, a traveler passing through the Deep South might stumble upon the age-old tradition of Sacred Harp singing. In a simpler age when Sundays were a time for the Lord, groups would gather and sing from a traditional songbook passed down for generations.

The 12th annual Sacred Harp Sing will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, in the Great Hall of Baylor's George W. Truett Theological Seminary, 1100 S. Third St.

The event, presented by the Baylor Center for Christian Music Studies, is free and open for anyone to participate in or observe. It will be preceded by a brief singing school at 9:30 a.m., and lunch will be provided.

Sacred Harp singing is a 166-year-old Southern folk hymn tradition named after the shape-note tune book "Sacred Harp," published by B. F. White and E. J. King in 1844. Shape notes ascend and descend the musical scale with a different shape and syllable assigned to each pitch. They are designed to aid congregational and community singing.

The Baylor sing, held the Saturday before the second Sunday in February each year, uses the 1991 edition of the book. While "harp" is an old word for a hymnal containing music, in a broader sense, the "sacred harp" is the human voice or ensemble of voices.

"Sacred Harp singing is an important part of the American musical heritage," said Dr. David W. Music, professor of church music at Baylor and Sacred Harp Sing director. "From this tradition have come many of the hymn tunes we sing today, such as those of 'Amazing Grace,' 'How Firm a Foundation,' 'Brethren We Have Met to Worship' and 'Wondrous Love.'"

In 2000, the Sacred Harp Sing began at Baylor when several veteran Sacred Harp singers decided to bring a sing event to campus. The following year, the Baylor Center for Christian Music Studies took over sponsorship. Music has been the director for the past eight years.

"We feel that it is important for our Baylor students and others to be exposed to the traditions of Sacred Harp singing as a means of keeping in touch with the Southern roots from which it sprang," Music said.

For more information, contact Music at 254-710-2060 or email him at

by Rebecca Malzahn , student newswriter, (254) 710-6805


Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.


Baylor University's George W. Truett Theological Seminary provides theological education leading to the Master of Divinity, the Doctor of Ministry or the Master of Theological Studies degree that is centered in the gospel of Jesus Christ and consistent with historic Baptist commitments to prepare persons to carry this gospel to the churches and the world. Within the M.Div. degree program, students can choose concentrations in Biblical Studies and Theology, Christian Education, Ministry Leadership, Missions and World Christianity, Worship Leadership and Youth/Family/Student Ministry. Truett Seminary also offers two Dual Degree programs - M.Div./MSW and MTS/MSW - through a partnership with Baylor's School of Social Work and an M.Div./Master of Music through a partnership with the Baylor University School of Music. Visit to learn more.

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