The eighth annual Maine All Day Singing in Bristol and a special “American Vocalist” singing in Union will focus on shape note singing, a style of communal hymn singing rooted in Colonial New England. Popular in Maine until the Civil War, it still is practiced in areas of the south and west. The singing is primarily from “The Sacred Harp,” a shape note tunebook that has been in continuous publication with periodic revisions since 1844. The music consists of hymns, fugue-ing tunes, anthems and other songs in a style rooted in Colonial New England.

On Friday, July 23, there will be a mini-singing school and singing from 8 to 9:30 p.m. at the Masonic Lodge, Bristol Road/Route 130 in Bristol. On Saturday, July 24, the Maine All-Day Singing will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the parish house of the Congregational Church of Bristol, also on Bristol Road. Attendees are asked to bring a potluck a dish to pass for dinner, bearing in mind there are no facilities to heat or cook. Saturday’s singing will be from the “Sacred Harp,” 1991 Denson edition. Books will be available for loan or purchase.

On Sunday, July 25 there will a singing to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth in Hope of the Rev. D. H. Mansfield, compiler of the “American Vocalist” (1848). There will be singing from both the “Sacred Harp” and from copies of the “American Vocalist” in shape notes. At 10 a.m., singing will take place at the Morey Hill Cemetery, Morey Hill Road in Hope. At 11 a.m., a singing commence and run through 4 p.m. at the Old Town House, Old Town House Road, in Union.

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VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to