Come learn about and participate in community singing!

Sacred harp, or shape-note singing descends from the singing-school movement of the 1700s and has been practiced continuously since then. The music is powerful and lively. Although the songs we sing are traditionally Christian, shape-note singing is not associated with any church or denomination. We don’t preach and we welcome all people of all faiths—or none.

You are invited to St Mary’s Church Hamilton Village, 3916 Locust Walk on the UPenn campus, on Sunday September 13, 5:00-8:30 pm, for a good old-fashioned shape-note singing school and community supper. We’ll go over the basics of notes and rhythms and get practice leading songs. There will be plenty of singing, and we’ll teach the parts! Experience reading music is not required. All are welcome and songbooks will be available to borrow or purchase. The school is free. Please bring a potluck dish to share for the community supper if you are able.

Please study the map. It’s a little tricky to find – you have to go around the building to the cloister door. Please ring the bell in our “Philly Shape Note” sign. Contact: Rachel at or 215-605-1621.

Here’s a printable flyer.

stmarysPUBLIC TRANSPORT: The nearest subway stop is at 40th & Market, on the Market-Frankford Line.

DRIVING DIRECTIONS: From I-76 East or West, take Exit 346A – South Street, which is a LEFT exit. Turn away from Center City and continue on Spruce Street. Turn right on 38th St, left on Walnut, left on 40th, and left on Irving. Street parking is free. There is free parking after 4:30pm in front of the church and also a few spots on the far side of the church.

SH047Idumea☞ The melody of the song is the third line, or tenor, which is sung by both men and women.
☞ The shaped notes are an invention intended to make it easier to learn to read music.
Here’s a recording of this song from our Keystone Convention. The song was featured in the movie Cold Mountain.