The Burlington Shape Note Singers On 'Rocket Shop' 3/30/11

singers1 Words by Julie Jay Seger. Photos by Sarah Gottschalk.

As representatives of the Burlington Shape Note Singers, from left above: Peter, Deborah, Nicandra, Mark, and Mason visited 'Rocket Shop' this Wednesday night on 105.9 FM The Radiator. The group ensures that America's oldest singing tradition, shape note singing, remains alive and well by practicing and performing selections from The Sacred Harp, a pioneer songbook first published in 1844. Between live on-air performances of selections from The Sacred Harp in a capella four part harmony, the crew educated 'Rocket Shop' listeners about shape-note singing, a proudly egalitarian and inclusive American tradition. The technical style of shape note singing comes from its musical notation that uses note heads in four distinct shapes to aid in sight-reading music. The style is also frequently referred to "Sacred Harp" singing from the title of songbooks most singers use in the tradition today. According to, the term "Sacred Harp" also refers to the human voice- that is, the musical instrument you were given at birth.

The Burlington Shape Note Singers host weekly sings at UVM's Ira Allen Chapel every Tuesday evening from 6:30 to 8:30 P.M. "There is no pressure to commit, rehearse, or perform; nor is this a religious event. Shape note sings are simply opportunities for bringing communities together through good-old fashioned, honest, from-the-heart a capella singing. Anyone is welcome, regardless of faith, creed, or musical experience." If you'd like more information on shape note singing, check out For information on the weekly UVM Sing, please contact

Thanks again to Mason, Nicandra, Mark, Deborah and Peter for sharing their vocal talents on 105.9 The Radiator and expanding our listening knowledge to include the incredible shape-note tradition!

'Rocket Shop' Playlist:

1. Burlington Shape Note Singers, "New Jerusalem" (live)

2. Burlington Shape Note Singers, "Wondrous Love" (live)

3. Burlington Shape Note Singers, "Stratfield" (live)

4. Burlington Shape Note Singers, "Africa" (live)