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UK Sacred Harp Convention at Trinity Centre

Trinity Rd, Bristol, BS2 0NW

Tel: +44 (0)117 935 1200

Add UK Sacred Harp Convention at Trinity Centre to your Itinerary

UK Sacred Harp Convention at Trinity Centre


Sacred Harp singing is an unbroken 175-year-old tradition of powerful a capella music from the USA. This is the 24th UK Sacred Harp Convention.

This September, singers from around the world will travel to Bristol to spend two days singing together in uninhibited, full-voiced harmony. It's an experience unlike any other: powerful, moving and unearthly. And anyone can turn up to watch or take part, for free.

Sacred Harp singing is a unique folk tradition dating back to 18th century America, with its roots in many of the different cultures that mixed there. Music publishers drew on folk melodies, sea shanties and popular tunes, and invented new notation systems, to make harmony singing more accessible to ordinary people. Their unique, primitive style was reformed out of the big cities, but survived in the rural American South, where singing families carry on an unbroken tradition to this day. After nearly dying out halfway through the last century, Sacred Harp experienced a revival, spreading back across America, and is now being taken up by people around the world.

Johnny Cash and Tammy Wynette are both said to have sung Sacred Harp when they were young. These days, its influence can be found in the music of Sam Amidon, Holly Herndon, Tim Eriksen, Sufjan Stevens and Cath & Phil Tyler. It has been notably featured in the films Cold Mountain and Lawless, and recordings of Sacred Harp singing have been sampled by Bruce Springsteen and MIA.

Unlike the choral music most of us are familiar with, there's no focus on polished performance: you sing for your own enjoyment, and for each other. There's no choirmaster, and nobody's going to tell you how to sound. It is as much a social movement as a musical tradition, and everyone is welcome. No experience necessary

Free Event

Friday, 13 September 2019
7.00pm - 9.00pm

Saturday, 14 September 2019
10.00am - 8.00pm

Sunday, 15 September 2019
10.00am - 4.00pm

Date of Event

Opening Times

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Trinity Centre, Old Market