AUTHOR SUNDAY – Do you remember Fa Sol La and All Day Singing and Dinner on the Ground? [vintage film and pics]

My Dad was a member of a church in a rural area of Alabama. The church and others throughout the state would have singings several times during the warm seasons of the year. This was a full day event, beginning around 9:00 or 10:00 in the morning and lasting until around 3:00 in the afternoon.

There was usually a morning and afternoon break which they referred to as “recess”. They also took a lunch break. The church provided a long row of tables, often with a roof overhead.


Alabama Sacred Harp Singers-Cuba

Each local family attending would bring a large basket of food to share with others at lunch time, or “dinner” as it was called then. One would soon learn who made the best fried chicken, vegetables and banana pudding or other dessert. It seemed that each lady had her specialty. Taking home an empty bowl or platter was compliments to the cook.

With our southern dialect, the Sacred Harp music was usually pronounced “fa-sa-la”. I was an adult before I realized it was fa-sol-la. Those participating would first sing the notes and then the words of the music. It was a-capella and consisted of four notes: fa, sol, la, and me. There were four parts: Bass, Tenor (the leading part), Alto and Treble. The singers were divided into those groups. My Grandmother sang treble and even though that was the smallest group, it could be heard above all the others. Singers who were brave hearts would each direct one or two songs of his or her choice.

When my Brother and I were probably seven and nine, we stayed a few days with our Grandparents so that we could attend singing school. That was such an exciting time for us. Each afternoon, we would walk to the little church for group lessons. The week ended with a recital so that we could show our parents how well we had learned the music.

Fa so la singing Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church Fayette, Alabama

I could hardly wait for the first Fa-sa-la Singing. I would now be able to stand before the congregation and wave my arm while holding a book that was really an arm full for me. I would tell the page number and title of the song. We would sing the notes and then this bashful little girl (me), who was the leader, would say: “Words”. We would then sing the verses. After that very important day, I would see my Dad whispering to the person who kept the list of those directing the music. In a little while, my name would be called to direct.

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Now when I turn through the Sacred Harp book, those notes are as foreign to me as another language. Oh well, use it or lost it!

Dinner on the ground


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  1. I remember well these wonderful Sings….. Precious Memories of a time long gone by!

    1. You can still attend! There are singings all over the place almost every weekend.

  2. I remember my dad singing bass and eating chicken and dumpling. Hard to tell just which one he enjoyed most!

  3. These “Singings” were common Sunday afternoon occurrences in Blount County when I was growing up there in the 60’s and early 70’s.

  4. I remember going to many “all day signings” at Mt. Hebron.

  5. I remember going to these at the Rocky Mount church we called them ‘All day singing with the dinner in the ground’. Wonderful times!

    1. Should be ‘All day singing with dinner on the ground’

  6. We called them note singings…joy

  7. Some of my uncles sang this. One of them that passed away recently had several songs sung at his funeral. It was beautiful!

  8. I remember these around Fayette Co as a child. Had relatives that always participated.

  9. Nila Clardy and Fran Clardy. Was this the church in Fayette that Uncle Jim participated. Looks like Dad and Mom on back row

  10. Wonderful, wonderful times!

  11. I remember singing and “dinner on the ground”. Good old days. Wish they would bring them back.

    1. Those days are not gone. Sacred Harp singings are well and thriving..Come to Mt Zion Primitive Baptist Church, Near Ashland , AL on Sat Before the second Sunday (Nov. 14, 2015) and help us in the 149th Session of The Boiling Springs Convention – For more information call me, Eugene Forbes 205-515-2977 or Call for other singings. Thanks

      1. Make that NOV 7, 2015-

      2. I use to go to the signings with my papaw, Odell Cleveland, all the time. Never learned to sing it but love to hear the music

        1. I remember a Mr. Odell that would be at the singings my dad would take me to. I think the church was Rocky Creek. Also I went to the singing school every summer. I love that music, I even have it on my iPhone.

  12. i remember going as a kid also. in w.va good food. grown and cooked by mountain women. my cousin would eat so much banana pudding that made him sick

  13. My granddad would sit on the front porch, in his swing, and sing from his hymnal. Such great memories..

  14. They are still around! Every weekend there is a singing somewhere. Just look up fasola.org. I went to a singing yesterday in Warrior with dinner on the ground.

  15. They still do Sacred Harp here in Birmingham once a year and it is fabulous

  16. Mother mentioned this..too. Sounds like a lot of fun. Mother ..unlike some of her other siblings….really wasn’t a great singer…but you put the family together at reunions and they sounded great!!! Would live to experience those times agaiin!!!!

  17. My grandfather, Irvin Creel, of Sumiton AL was a FaSolLa singer. Did anyone know him from singings in the 1990s or before?

    1. Yes, I remember Irvin Creel. He lived next door to my aunt in Sumiton. His daughter, Betty, was a year or two older than me. My Moher was a Fa-Sol-La singer or hanger on. Never knew her to lead. Uncle Marion Chafin was and still is a leader. I think he may have just turned 90-years-young. His daughter, Brenda, a Presbyterian, carries on the tradition which was generally associated with the Primitive Baptist faith.

  18. I went to a lot of them growing up

  19. Went to these at Bethel Church up near Hackleburg when I was a little girl. (Early 60’s)

  20. As a Methodist PK, I have been to a few of these.

  21. They still do shaped note singing up here. I absolutely love hearing it & have had some fun doing it.

  22. I remember going to shape note singings in Miss, my Dad and Mother loved to sing. The all day singings were well attended and the food was fantastic, great memories

  23. Use to go to mt grove in blountville with my mama

  24. Creel reunions at Liberty Baptist in Morris, AL

  25. As a child went with mother and dad to Lower Cane Creek every year for dinner on the ground, decoration and sacred harp singing. Cleburne County, Alabama.

  26. allday singings and dinner on the ground at Mt. Carmel in Mellow Valley when I was young remember well and your right Marsha Carson Poe when you said allday you meant all day.

  27. Had family who would go to them at Holly Springs PBC in Bremen, Ga.

    1. There’s a singing coming up there in June.


  29. As a kid the dinners were phenomenal ..a time of all you can eat fried chicken legs and banana pudding. =D

  30. I remember staying all day at church also

  31. We had older man and woman in Ragland al. That sung fa so la .

  32. Pilgrim’s Rest (Dozier, Alabama) had Sacred Harp singings with dinner on the grounds every August.

    1. Oh my goodness, my grandmother went to Good News in Dozier!

  33. I remember those days, went with my grandmother…Brooksville ,Al..little primitive Baptist church….Good memories!

  34. Hollis Cleaveland used to sing setting on a old school bus seat at his coal yard,,,you could hear him at a1/2 mile away at our house !

  35. Susan Allred see this. <3

  36. My granddad was a Primitive Baptist Preacher, I can remember going to New Hope, Antioch to these in my younger years. Also had footwashings. Those were the good old hard days.

  37. Miss those days, even if I’m am “younger but older” person I can remember going to these singing, lunch and maybe dinner on the grounds depending on what time you left. and visiting family from all over. Many memories.

  38. My grandparents met at a singing in Penton.

  39. Thank you Diane Gray Rochester! The first song, Cuba page 401 was led frequently by my one of my children when he was learning. He’s now 20. The singing at Mt. Lebanon in Fayette County is a wonderful singing to go to. I saw some relatives and scads of friends in the video. The man taking the photo is my cousin. All my kids except the youngest has been to Camp Fasola. They loved it. There’s some great singings coming up in Cullman County in June and July. The Cullman Courthouse singing is the 2nd Sunday and Saturday before in July. It’s the only remaining courthouse singing in the nation and there used to be so many. And there’s still lots of fried chicken, BBQ, and fried green tomatoes.

    1. Please remind me of this closer to time. I’d love to go if I don’t have other plans.

  40. My maternal grandmother, Viola Cole Jones, told me that she used to attend these Fa So La singings when she was growing up in rural Cragford, Alabama. Fa So La is sort of a dying art.

  41. I remember the Homecoming All Day Singing and Dinner on the Ground. You did not get a plate of food and go back in the church because it was considered sacrilegious to eat in the church. Pick up trucks were parked in the shade of the trees so the little children could sit in the bed of the truck and eat, other children sat on a blanket and ate, Men ate standing propped up against the side of the church or in a squatted position eating, and the women ate at the tables while fanning flies away from the food. Big cloth tablecloths were placed over the food after everyone ate and went back into the church for more singing, then everyone would go back out for more food. Big containers of lemonade, tea and Koolaid for the children and sometimes, afterwards the old hand turned ice cream churns would come out of nowhere and homemade ice cream would be the final dessert. As folks got into their vehicles driving away you could hear the singing for miles and miles. Good times, hard times but faith filled churches times. I miss those days.

  42. I remember them so well as a child. Many in my family were good singers David Morrison.

  43. My Dad taught me to sing the notes, not the words, from shaped note songbooks.He was from Marshall Co.,Al.

  44. I have attended a few of these in Pickens County. Mother loved it.

  45. My Grandfather did this as well. I have his song book somewhere and remember going to many of his activities and outside lunches.

  46. That was when people truly worshiped, truly loved the Lord and cared about each other, we did not watch the clock, we let His Holy Spirit flow. Revivals were in a tent, we sat on the ground, and sometimes they lasted all night.

  47. I attended many at Liberty Methodist church in Moulton, Al where my Grandaddy John Wallace preached and they usually happened about the same time every year. Oh what beautiful voices and harmonies filled that very warm little sanctuary with the windows tilted out to let the air in and those Fa So La’s out.

  48. They were torturous for us kids (unless other children were there to play and run around with)! I didn’t know the notes and wanted to sing the words and was constantly being shushed. Loved the dinner on the grounds tho! 🙂

  49. I was a kid but remember my mother going. Singing the notes.. Kids playing outside and dinner on the ground as it was called.

  50. I attended one at Springhill Baptist Church in Pickens County. Wonderful day of fun and fellowship. Met some distant relatives.

  51. Lot’s of “singings” around the entire country, and Alabama is host to the National Convention every Summer.

  52. I remember these. My Little Momma just loved them!!

  53. For information on Camp Fasola, the annual Sacred Harp summer camp, please visit campfasola.org. Sessions in 2015 are as follows:

    Adult Camp: June 14–18, 2015, Camp McDowell, Double Springs, Alabama

    Youth Camp: July 6–10, 2015, Camp Lee, Anniston, Alabama (EARLY-BIRD PRICING UNTIL JUNE 15)

  54. I attended some of these with my grandmother….

  55. Back in the 50’s my dads quartet sang at many all day sings where dinner on tables were served to all.love the events,met many new friends

  56. Maplesville Al. I remember all day singings & dinner on the ground!! I loved it! Fun for all & plenty to eat & ice tea flowed freely! My dad pastored Maplesville COG in 1964! Great memories! Churches use to have singings that lasted for hours! No one watched the clock! Those were the days!!!

  57. Maplesville Al. I remember all day singings & dinner on the ground!! I loved it! Fun for all & plenty to eat & ice tea flowed freely! My dad pastored Maplesville COG in 1964! Great memories! Churches use to have singings that lasted for hours! No one watched the clock! Those were the days!!!

  58. I remember those well. When they put the food on the table my cousin and I would scout out the location of banana pudding and stand right by that waiting on them to say the blessing and as soon as they said amen we would dive right in and load up our plates with that.

  59. I remember those well. When they put the food on the table my cousin and I would scout out the location of banana pudding and stand right by that waiting on them to say the blessing and as soon as they said amen we would dive right in and load up our plates with that.

  60. My husband and I always attend the National Sacred Harp Convention held at First Christian Church on Valleydale Rd. Birmingham, Al. It’s open to the public starting at 9:30 on June 18 and 19th. If you enjoy this kind of music you will love listening to these people from all over the country.

  61. My husband and I always attend the National Sacred Harp Convention held at First Christian Church on Valleydale Rd. Birmingham, Al. It’s open to the public starting at 9:30 on June 18 and 19th. If you enjoy this kind of music you will love listening to these people from all over the country.

  62. Sometimes when I sit at one of my pianos, I can hear those lovely old saints singing their hearts out to the Lord ! My, how I miss the old hymns and convention music ! Those were fun days when they had all day singing and dinners ! Wow ! Wouldn’t it be fun to have an “old timey” day and relive a memory or two !

  63. Sometimes when I sit at one of my pianos, I can hear those lovely old saints singing their hearts out to the Lord ! My, how I miss the old hymns and convention music ! Those were fun days when they had all day singing and dinners ! Wow ! Wouldn’t it be fun to have an “old timey” day and relive a memory or two !

  64. My dad said my grandmother and the rest of the ladies would make paper flower arrangements to decorate the graves also. Does anyone else recall this?

  65. My dad said my grandmother and the rest of the ladies would make paper flower arrangements to decorate the graves also. Does anyone else recall this?

  66. Loved going to these singings when I was a child.

  67. Loved going to these singings when I was a child.

  68. I was just reading about Sacred Harp in “Stars Fell On Alabama.”

  69. I was just reading about Sacred Harp in “Stars Fell On Alabama.”

  70. My daddy was a fa-so-la singer. I remember him talking about singings and dinner on the grounds.

  71. My daddy was a fa-so-la singer. I remember him talking about singings and dinner on the grounds.

  72. Union Springs Baptist Church in Pansey, Al.

  73. OH Yes. WE SAID SINGING ON THE Ground , Dinner ALL DAY!

  74. Mt. Olive Baptist had this….my cousin has a great picture during one of the “singings”….not too far from Sprott, Al.

  75. Always loved those

  76. I went to these when my dad was living, he loved the singing, and we would have dinner ont the ground, We Primitive Baptist, and they had good meeting with singing all day. and lunch. those was good old days. I miss them.

  77. I have 2 of the Fa So LA singing books for those who couldn’t follow.

  78. My grandfather taught fa-sol-la singing schools in about1910 and later in the Lamar County, Alabama and Columbus, MS area. Wish I had asked him more about it before he died.

  79. I remember these well miss that today Damascus Alabama

  80. I grew up going to sacred harp singings. My mother loves them. Her dad was really into it as well. They sang at Mt Ebron church in double springs, AL.
    We have a really old song book from the 1800’s

  81. We had a coupled of fa-sol-la singing schools in the 70’s or 80’s at Mt Moriah Primitive Baptist Church between Anniston and Jacksonville, AL, I still attend Mt Moriah Primitive Baptist Church and we still have dinner at church. The singing group met at Mt Moriah each September until about 3 years ago, the group got so small they stopped meeting there.

  82. Miss them days that brings me back to my childhood missing my parents now

  83. Hand fans were in use at Singings; with funeral home advertisements on them. The doors & windows were open to allow an occasional cross breeze. No screens on the windows, but insects seldom botheres us. Once, a dog came in the front door of the church and rested on the floor under our pew. I was A M A Z E D, but noone else thought that unusual. In those small rural chuches the most beautiful music you have ever heard would bellow out into the woods surrounding the church. Various church members would volunteer to lead the various songs. Parents allowed dating on these occasions as the dates were in church settings. And, if there was a Revival/Gospel meeting, parents allowed their youth, of dating age, to date on the Godpel Meeting nights during the week. Usually parents approved their youth dating someone who was a member of their congregation, as parents knew the date as well as their families. I join Sandra Day in her post earlier…in saying thst I too “miss those singing days.”Once a month, at the least, a Singing was held in our close various communities . The only cost was gasoline for our cars to travel to & from these functions The ladies brought food for a picnic; which included a plate of peanut & butter sandwiches for the children who preferred that over vegtable/meat casseroles. Home singings were held,as well. Would anyone want to share the protocal for Home singings? ? ? ? ?These were good & wholesome fun days in the 1940’s, 1950’s and on into the 1960’s. THE GOOD OLD-DAYS! Thank God for these good memories. Carolyn (Jackson) Humphries.

  84. Those were some good ole days!

  85. I remember these, and my Dad sing those songs

  86. Yep – raised in Popular Springs Primitive Baptist Church in Rock City. Ala. –

  87. Memories of my Alabama childhood!!! I’ve really come to appreciate Sacred Harp singing!!! Definitely make your own kind of music!!!

  88. Best eatin ever ! At Hopewell Methodist Salem, Al

  89. I remember all day signings…..don’t you Kris Cornutt?

    1. Yep all day… And all night singings also!!!

  90. My great-grandfather wrote many Fa So La songs which are in some of the old song books.

  91. His name was Albert Doss.

  92. my mother, told me of stories ..about her grand dad and grand mother…going to these..

  93. JimmyandGlenda Wade thought you might like this.

  94. Yes I Remember As A young girl Going Too Orange Church In Franklin County About too
    The Fa So La

  95. They still have a similar event at my dads childhood church United Methodist in wrights AL

  96. Helen Singleton Allen Neita Singleton

  97. I attended many of them in West Butler, AL, and other churches as a child,

  98. my grandfather sang at these events. he loved it

  99. Me and my papaw use to go to these singings all the time in Ashland and at Cleveland Cross Roads. He loved it and so did I. I looked forward to it as much as he did

    1. Did he happen to wear a big hat?

    2. A big cowboy hat

      1. YES, I remember him well. If I remember correctly, the last day of singing school he would always make a huge thing of lemonade for all the kids. What wonderful memories!!

  100. I went to several of these with my paw paw. I was always amazed at how high those ladies could sing.

  101. His name was Oralee Burns if anyone knew him

  102. I absolutely love these singings. My 94 year old aunt has some dementia and lives in a nursing home. Trying to stimulate her memory, I reminded her of the all day singings and dinner on the ground. Her eyes opened wide and quoted this: “All day singing and dinner on the ground, whiskey in the bushes and the devil all around!” I was floored. I said, repeat that. She replied, “I couldn’t if I had to!” I googled it and it was a known saying. Now we know why they stayed all day! Lol

    1. ur aunt hit it right on the head,,,,it was joyous times ,,i attended as a kid

  103. There is an annual singing in the Rotunda at the Alabama State Capital building. I have Sacred Harp as a channel on my Pandora. Two weekdays a month there is “Old Book” singing at Don Green Sr Center in Cullman. They will teach folks that want to learn.

  104. Papa loved them!!!!

  105. I absolutely love theses d ing. Wish l could find one

  106. I loved those signings . I wish we still had them.

  107. I well remember hearing my grandmother, my mother and her sister doing “Old Harp Singing.” My great-grandfather often was a leader at the conventions. I have mother’s songbooks and a few albums. The involved families were Robbins and Hulseys. Liberty Church is one of the places I remember being mentioned. They lived at one time near Jasper and Nauvoo.

  108. Angela Brown, thanks for sending this site to me. I really enjoy reading the posts they have & learning so many new facts!!

  109. I remember my dad talking about this kind of singing

  110. I wish we still had all day signings and dinner on the ground!!!!

  111. Never attended these. I was raised Church of God. My grandmother and Aunt Paul would go to those camp meetings on Bessemer high way which lasted all day. The only thing good I remember, as a little girl, was eating snow cones.

  112. Great article! Having grown up int the rural Sand Mountain area, the only music exposure we had as poor farm kids beside the Grand Ol Opry on radio was these “shaped note”All Day Singings with Dinner on the Ground. Wonderful memories.
    My ancestors were all schooled in this music with an uncle who spoke of harvesting corn for 50 cents a day to pay for his Singing School. Few people know that such a school still exists on the campus fo Snead College in Boaz, AL, each summer that is provided by the Gaither Homecoming organization. Annual conventions are still held with one recently being convened here in Talladega, AL.

    Wonderful flash back to another time.
    James W. Anderson
    Talladega, Alabama

  113. Loved these singings! Miss the tabernacle singings of old! My Grandfather loved to sing hymns in his native tongue (Cherokee) i miss the gatherings so much!

  114. I remember going to them loved the singings

  115. I remember going to the one held on the 4th of July at Macedonia Baptist church near Union Springs, Alabama back in the 50s when I was a little girl. At that time it had been held every fourth for over 100 years. Everyone in the community went – my dad always introduced me to cousins I didn’t know I had.

  116. My family went to an all day singing at the family church. I was never a fan of this type thing. But, some of my relatives were the most noted teachers of singing schools and taught the fa so la method.

  117. I love hearing this type of singing! So many wonderful memories !!

  118. I remember them at the baptist chirpy in Peterson, Alabama on the fourth Sunday in May

  119. Our Granddaddy taught this type of singing. I have one of his hymn books.

  120. As a growing boy , I called them all day dinners and. singing on the ground

  121. But we DO still have them!!! Sacred Harp has gone international folks!! Check out the website fasola.org to see where/when singings are held…This is part of Alabama’s cultural heritage that has taken root in other places, and while dying out in many parts of our state. We who still sing work hard to keep that from happening….all are welcome join us!

    1. bear in mind this started as a New England tradition with the “Singing Schools” and the “Yankee tunesmiths” (Like William Billings)..the South, however, preserved and nurtured the practice. I love the annual sing in Birmingham.

    2. Is there a singing coming up this year in Alabama? I looked at the website but all I saw was the Convention in November. Did I miss something? Thanks for the help. Would love to bring my mom to one!

    3. Where are you in Alabama Gail? I bet not far from a singing! The Alabama State Convention is in November…here’s the list of singings around the country: http://home.olemiss.edu/~mudws/annual.html

  122. Notice in the picture that the women are setting everything up and the men standing in groups talking or have their arms folded!

  123. I used to go to these with my family at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church outside of Troy, Alabama. My great-grandmother was the oldest living member of the church until her death at 104. I don’t remember hearing them sing although I have seen the song books. However, I do remember dinner on the grounds. Praise God for simpler times.

  124. Martha Curtis Minor. For dad!

  125. Martha Curtis Minor. For dad!

  126. Your dad…..my uncle Charles….was a member of a church with singings. I am glad to hear…now I know the connection. I am a member of a choir to… beqause the girls forced me to…probely like they did to my uncle Charles . Tell him it is hard to be handsome….he knows !

  127. Every summer at the church at Choccolocco in Alabama

  128. We still have Sacred Harp singings all the time and in many other different countries now! Check out http://www.fasola.org for more details! We would love to see you at one sometime soon!!

  129. Been there done that. Mariah primitive baptist church Fort Deposit Alabama

  130. My dad could sing the shaped notes, although he had been just a child when he learned. When I was young, some of the old country churches would occasionally still have a Sacred Harp singing. I’m glad that there are people carrying on this tradition. Many old church song books I have are in shaped notes. I know the theory, just never put it into practice.

  131. Martha Gaddy Sealy Sandy Thomason

  132. I loved all day singings and dinner on the grounds……..great great memories…..

  133. My dad and his sisters could sing this and as a child I went to the church at least once a year for the singings. This picture is true to the way the singers were organized down front and sat with the ones who sang the same part he or she did. Always a leader to begin the song and get everyone in tune. So beautiful. My grandparents and other relatives are buried in the cemetery along with many others. There was always a cleaning of the graveyard before the singing day and a hat(s) were passed at lunch time to take up an offering to pay for the cleaning. Many beautiful artificial flower arrangements were brought in to decorate the graves. Everyone spread their lunch and shared their special foods. How I miss those days even though I did not learn to sing. Thanks for sharing.

  134. Old Book singing…

  135. Sweet memories! Attended many with my grandfather, G.G. Hardin, growing up! My grandfather wrote music, taught many singing schools and was director of many ‘all day singing’ events all over Alabama!!

  136. I thank you so very much Alabama Pioneers for this post. I thought never to hear this wonderful sound again. A singing was held at a cabin home in my community during the 1950’s. When bedtime came I would go to sleep hearing the songs in my mind!!! I have my grandaddy’s Sacred Harp Hymnal which is elongated book like the lady in right corner is holding. What a wonderful sound to hear again. I had no idea Sacred Harp was beging sung today but that makes me happy!!!

    1. I well remember dinner on the grounds and all day singings!!! Great times!!!

  137. My Mom used to go when she was little up on Sand mountain!

  138. Praise the Lord and pass the ‘shine.

  139. “All day singin’ and dinner on the ground.”

  140. I used to love to hear my Grandpa lead at some of these singings. Prettiest music I have ever heard. Would love to hear it again.

  141. First Sunday in June was all day singing
    At Union Grove First Baptist, I would
    Sit by my great uncle Ervin Stanley ,the
    best Bass singer I have ever known
    Tuck my chin down sing as loud as I could
    in my 12yr old mine I was singing bass ,
    but sounded like a frog croaking.

  142. When I was a little girl I would go with my blind Granny to all day church sometimes. ( can’t remember who we went with, aunt, uncles , cousins ) they would sing, wash feet, have church and have. Spread of the best food!’ Fried chicken and fried Apple pies stand out in my mind ! Thanks or jogging my memory !!

  143. Oh, I would LOVE to go to one once again!!?,?,!!!

  144. I’s wonderful to see so many who have a family connection to the music. The music is alive and well and you are INVITED to come sing! Here’s what it looks like now-this is AND is not your grandmother’s Sacred Harp! The singing is worldwide now with vibrant singings in Ireland, England, Poland, Germany and beyond! Folks come from all over the country and the world now to sing in those little churches your grandparents carried fried pies to! Go to youtube and type in Sacred Harp Ireland Convention to get an idea!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHUfHNEZDPc

  145. HELLOOOOOO, this still goes on.

  146. I remember these, I was introduced to them by my mother n law I have her books and mintues from singings. I married in 70 and we would go to the valley every year for the singings, I sure miss them

  147. I went to these singings with my parents & grandmother. At decoration there would be singing & dinner. Everyone brought a covered dish & would stay all day, it was fun. They still do this but they bring in electric guitars, etc & doesnt sound as good as back then (only a piano was used). This is at Center Church in Lawrence County, Alabama.

  148. My Grandpa was George M Mattox who was a pioneer in Sacred Harp singing. My Mom grew up singing fa-so-la. I need to take her to a “singing” soon.

  149. We went to two every year!

  150. I’ve never been to one of the singings, but apparently my family (Deason) has been involved with them going back at least seven generations. I’d love to attend one some day.

  151. Jean Willis Pierce McCaleb
    My grandfather, Thomas Richard Willis always went to the FaSoLa singings, and I assume that the Mt Lebanon church is where he went. That is where he is buried, his father James Franklin Willis was a Baptist Minister for most of his life. Is there anyway that I could get picture that appeared about the singings.

  152. What wonderful times will forever be in my memory of the churchs, tent revivals and singings I went to as a child, windows had to be open for the air to blow thru we had no air conditioning at night bugs would buzz around the drop lights that ran down the middle of the isle, mosquitos buzzed, wow.

  153. I remember the Fa-So-La hymnals.

  154. My great Grandma would sit on the porch and sing like this. So sweet to hear it again 🙂

  155. The 1st Sunday in May is decorations day at Mount Vernon Methodist Church on Sand Mountain. As a kid my family went for the dinner on the grounds and the all day singing. Great memories.

  156. If you want to see the top “all day singing and dinner” go the White House Church of Christ (not a misprint “White House” is the name because the building was one of the first building in the area painted white) on the third Sunday of July!! People come from 4 and 5 states for the singing. People sit outside in the Juy heat to

  157. oops , didn’t finish the comment below.. People sit outside in the July heat just hear the singing. This is a blessing you don’t want to miss.

  158. Well, how do you get to the White House Church of Christ? It’s at the intersection of Hwy 278 and Hwy 129 in Marion County just north of Brilliant, AL.

  159. I remember Mr. Roy Avery being the leader and preacher.

  160. My daddy loved this kind of music.

  161. They still do this every July at the Cullman Co Courthouse. It’s a weekend event. Here is a link to an article done in 2014. It has contact information for those interested.


  162. My Grandpa Calvert and his brothers used to sing Fa Sol La!

  163. Are you the Raymond Kelly that attended the Jacksonville Church Of Christ?

  164. Beautiful, singing God’s praise in the purest sound!

  165. I see ya Ron Yrabedra

    1. My granny sang sol do me re da

  166. As a young child I went to Providence Methodist Church in Lamar County, AL, for all day singings and dinner on the grounds. There was food all down the outdoor tables under the trees. It was always hot! The cousins always played outside tossing paper plates in the air and digging in the dirt with wooden forks. All the while, hearing the older folks singing hymns and keeping time by stomping the wooden floor was aside until we heard the fa so la start up and we would wonder in to hear what my sister said sounded like Indian music. Plus, they had fans with pictures of Jesus on them. Then, back outside to wander through the graveyard, first was the tombstone that was closest to the church, Miles…my Papa Miles, then on to some with just a flat rock and no name, and the ones of children and babies with angels or lambs. We wanted all of them to have flowers so we would pick wild ones from the fields and place them for those who had none. It was a special day, especially for us city girls from Fayette.

  167. I do remember my grandfather and others singing this type of song.

  168. My Mother and Daddy talked about All Day Singing School and my Dad tried teaching me Fa Sol La.

  169. I still have my grandmothers song book.

  170. With much joy! Still attend whenever I can

  171. YouTube has many Sacred Harp [aka fasola] videos. Also checkout fasola.org to find a singing near you. Everyone is welcome.

  172. Sang in many of them and had many dinners on the ground. That was how I grew up.

    1. Ken, Donna Causey, Alabama Pioneers administrator, and her husband, Wayne, are friends of mine and my late husband, Ron’s. I did not know you were a sacred harp singer. Do you know David Ivy from Henesey and Frances and Joe Jones from Huntsville. Frances and Joe are friends of mine who do a wonderful job singing sacred harp…who knew. Give Lana my best, Gayle Gamble Thomas

    2. Gayle Igrew up in St. Clair county in a tiny community called Chula Vista Mountain. We had our little white church and on Sunday almost everyone on the mountain was in that church. The men in the church had built some long tables out back and they would be covered with food. My Momma was famous for her banana pudding , people would almost fight over it.

    3. Gayle Igrew up in St. Clair county in a tiny community called Chula Vista Mountain. We had our little white church and on Sunday almost everyone on the mountain was in that church. The men in the church had built some long tables out back and they would be covered with food. My Momma was famous for her banana pudding , people would almost fight over it. All my sacred harp singing was in the church and a few more in the county.

    4. I play anything with black and white keys with the exception of the accordion, for which I am certain my family really appreciates. However, my brain is not wired to do Sacred Harp singing…I tend to stumble big time when I try to do the do, re, mi singing. I really admire anyone who is able to sing in shapes. I have several friends who call St. Clair County home. It is a very beautiful county geographically. The food we ate as youngsters on the church yard “tables” was extraordinary and I haven’t found any food since then that measures up to the taste of the that food. Happy weekend, Gayle

  173. oh yea…as a kid ..

  174. I never did fa-sol-la singing but I remember Daddy taking us to the Colbert County Courthouse once a month on a Sunday afternoon for a singing.

  175. I went to several in rural Alabama. It’s a wonder everyone didn’t get food poisoning
    Sometimes they did. But it was fun.

  176. I was raised Church of Christ and A Capella.My great grandfather was a Primitive Baptist preacher.I believe the religious group that did this was Primitive Baptist.A Capella is beautiful.

  177. My mother’s people are from Sand Mtn. We did that on decoration days

  178. I was 20 before i knew people used notes that were round.

  179. Still think of my grandparents when I hear this kind of singing. <3

  180. Happy childhood memories! Loved it

  181. I miss the 5th Sunday signings I went to as a kid.

  182. I do! We’d pack a lunch, then as a teen,I went to ” singing school” ,! We had to learn all 4 parts,lead, memorize the shaped notes, They still have all day singing and dinner on the ground,I think !

    1. we sing the numbers, too.

    2. Where I live in Cullman Alabama there is a Sacred Harp singing every year at the courthouse.

  183. I was Methodist in chambers county. Most churches in rural areas did.

  184. Have not heard that singing in a Long time.

  185. It took me awhile to get used to it, I had friend who went to the primitive babysits
    Church but the I found that it very special, the church of Christ sings without a musical
    Intrustment. Dinner on the ground is was usually on a concrete table.Fond memories.

  186. Beautiful memories!!

  187. Cheryl Jones Deb Sizemore

    1. Thanks, Paula. Interesting article. Love the Sacred Harp.

  188. Went to many during the 50’s and 60’s – Rocky Mount, Gum Pond, Guntersville Court House, Rice School House. Still gave my songbook.

    1. You went to singings at Rice School House? The one outside of Albertville?

    2. No, the one I went ti is just outside Arab.

  189. Primitive Baptist. I have my grandmothers Sacred Harp song book. Went to her church near Kellyton, AL many years ago.

  190. I have heard about this type of singing still going on at some churches in the mountains and very far out of the way places. Since I saw a special on it I have been fascinated. I would love to find somewhere close by where I could hear in person

    1. Where are you? There are singings now all over the US and Europe…Also Canada

    2. Linda, I am in Birmingham, Alabama. The special I saw on TV about singers was somewhere in Tennessee or Northeast Alabama. If you know where or how I can get some info on the singers I would love to to go hear them.

    3. Went to one in Collinsvillea couple months ago. It was great!

    4. They sing the First Tuesday night at 6:30 of every month in Birmingham at
      1016 19th St S, Birmingham, AL 35205

    5. Henagar, Alabama at Liberty Baptist Church. Call Mr. Loyd Ivey in Henagar for info.

  191. Yes, down at Hebron Church

  192. I remember your Dad’s shape-note hymn book. Always wanted to go to a “singing”.

    1. I have one that was my grandfather’s on the Phelps side.

  193. Shape-note singing was actually developed in Boston to teach sight singing. It didn’t catch on there–purists thought shape-notes were too much of a crutch. The practice took root in the South.

  194. J Ricky Sizemore, do you remember Grandaddy Sizemore singing?

    1. As a matter of fact I do. It sounded a lot like o brother how art though the movie.

  195. Oh my goodness, yes I do,I just love that old book singing and dinner on the ground. Still go even chance I get.

  196. I don’t remember much about the music as it had pretty much died out by my timer, but I remember dinner on the ground. There were always aunt this & cousin that, and I would only eat what my immediate family brought. I was a bit of a shy brat. Would love to go back to those times just once more.

    1. There are still signings such as this at Liberty Baptist Church In Henagar.

    2. Lancaster Sacred Harp

  197. This was how my parents grew up. They both loved this type of singing.

  198. I surely do. My mother was a fa sulla singer. I loved it

  199. Still done in south Alabama. We used the broadman hymnal. It was shaped notes. Sang that all my growing up

    1. Different from Sacred Harp/fasola

  200. Used to have them the First Sunday in June at Pleasant Field Baptist.


  202. My mother used to sing this.

  203. my favorite memory in Tull, Arkansas. Old Folks Singing and Dinner on the Grounds. Best food in the world. Best singing in the world.

    1. they still have it. 3rd Sunday in May

    1. the actual Church singing!

  204. I went to the ones at the primitive Baptist church in the Sapps community in the 40′ s and 50’s . Still have a Sacred harp song book. We still have our family reunions there. ( Coleman ).

  205. I clearly remember dinner on the ground at Forest Home Methodist and Pine Flat Methodist

  206. Robin Sims Prior Granny Watson could sing this.

  207. Brockwell Gospel Music School for over 60 years, has been teaching shape note singing, with an annual 2-week Summer school.

  208. My great-grandfather, John Whitman taught singing schools in the east central Alabama area. Cleburne County and in western Georgia. His daughter, my grandmother, Flora Skinner, loved Sacred Harp singing. It was in her soul. I regret I never learned to sing it while she was alive. It’s on my bucket list. Two short clips of her were in the documentary on Sacred Harp “Awake My Soul”, which by the way is beautifully done story. Maybe some of you knew her.

  209. Dale Higgins adding you in

  210. In Brockwell, Arkansas every second Sunday we have a singing like this.
    Also we have Brockwell Gospel Music School every second Monday in June for two weeks. Check out our Facebook page This year marks the 70th year of teaching Do Re Mi’s
    I know some people in Alabama who go to signings all over the place.

  211. Liberty PB Church in Henegar is the best!

    1. Thanks for sharing hun! As you know my family was and most still are involved in Sacred Harp and the do, re, mi, shaped notes music. There are many groups all over the US and other countries as well. I haven’t been able to participate over the last several years but as my children, grandchildren, and loved ones know I still sing at home and as often as anyone will tolerate me doing so!

  212. Thanks for sharing hun! As you know my family was and most still are involved in Sacred Harp and the do, re, mi, shaped notes music. There are many groups all over the US and other countries as well. I haven’t been able to participate over the last several years but as my children, grandchildren, and loved ones know I still sing at home and as often as anyone will tolerate me doing so!

  213. I drove PapPaw Jones to the country when I was almost 15. He stood outside and watched through the opened window. He wouldn’t go inside. He lost his left arm in a grist mill accident when mother was 12. He had played the banjo and wouldn’t give it up, so the church turned him out. He loved music.

  214. It’s not too late to learn fasola, or experience it again. Many weekends have singings around Alabama, and you can even go to camp for it.


  215. Sheila Rosser Wootten

  216. I love to hear fa so la.
    Wayne makes saying some shake no music in a quartet at night church hymnal singing you all are invited. I will attach the information it’s at Gardendale’s first Baptist church Gardendale Alabama. April 29, 2017. 6pm.

    1. Dale, I believe that’s “shaped note” singing!

  217. Thanks for tagging me in this Joan Wortham Fa Sol la is still alive and well. Terry’s family is gathering this afternoon for a cousins singing. I’ll try and post a clip of it. We’re doing a recording and video for the family.

    1. My mother loved fal sol la singing and I knew you did too. Please post video when you can.

    2. I will do my best to post a highlight from this evening.

    3. Mrs, Wootten, please post it to my facebook!!!

  218. Some of my fondest memories are of all day meetings with dinner on the ground ….

  219. there are still shaped note singing conventions around…..one in Bham every year

    1. I’ve been there and it’s great.

    2. There will be a large convention, the United, at Camp McDowell the 2nd weekend in Sept…but you don’t have to wait that long to hear fasola!

  220. The church is grew up in had a program in the summer where we learned this type of singing and song leading. It was great.

  221. I would love to go back to those days.

  222. Maxine Lambert Walker Harriette Lambert Brown

  223. My grandfather sang . We have his song book.

  224. That is how I grew up.I was a pretty good singer.

  225. My grandfather Jack Kerr and my father Moses M Nelson sang at Mars Hill Primitve Baptist Church in Cleburne Co. Al. They both loved this music.

  226. Daddy always loved Fa Sol La singing!

  227. My parents were from Georgia. When I was young I remember they would go to a lot of these. So much fun. The singing was a little strange to me. Love to go again for all the good food.

  228. My mother, daddy and aunts always sang this Sacred Harp music. Had all day singing and dinner on the ground

  229. Been there done that…thanks Jerry

  230. I never went but my daddy went everytime they had one around here and loved them. I guess his family went when he was growing up.

  231. I grew up in a Primitive Baptist Church in Western Kentucky. As a child, every year there would be an Associational Meeting with the other Primitive Baptist Churches in the area. There would be preaching and singing on the grounds all day long. We had a long row of tables that literally groaned from the amount of food set upon them. No instruments other than a pitch harp was ever used. I remember learning to sing from the shape notes.

  232. I am one of those pioneers. Attended every singing school, each year at Antioch, with Dick Johnson or Herman Windsor. Precious memories.

  233. I remember the all day singings I did not sing sacred harp music we learned by notes and the words my Dad could sing it and my Grandmother they sang it beautiful

  234. My step dad and I did this from the time I was about 7 until 17. Was a wonderful time. I appreciate it even more now than I did then

  235. oh yes- one of the best things I remember from my childhood- the singing always sounded like angels!

  236. My dad loved that kind of singing

  237. My mother and her family only sang in what they called shape notes and do ray me fa so la te do.spelling may not be right. She played the piano but always shape note books. Ky. Mountains

  238. New Canaan Baptist has a fa so la singing each decoration day in Coon Creek………..

  239. I grew up a Primitive Baptist. We had many a practice.

  240. I remember dinner on the grounds, but not the Fa Sol La. I do remember hearing my grandma talking about how family and friends would get together and have singings and that is how they learned new songs. By singing the notes first.

  241. Aunt Eva Shelton and Vera Bond could sing fa, so, la.

  242. Great sound. Must hear if you have the opportunity.

  243. Always the highlight for me when I was a child growing up and wondering what in the world were they singing. I would think “Do they not know the words?” – I was still young when we stopped going. And in my teens before I was told a meager understanding of this singing form.

  244. Wynette Allen Smith you might enjoy this.

    1. Thank-you for sharing this with me Ken!!!!!

  245. Seeing this brings back a very distant memory for me. I remember as a little girl walking with my BIG DADDY,( paternal grandfather), to church to have dinner & all day singing on sunday

  246. How I remember these!! Those were fun times.

  247. Marvin, remember Mama and Daddy would go to Bonafay, Florida to these.

    1. From Graceville fl. Grew up listening to my grandmother sing sacred harp. As a child it fascinated me to hear her sing. Watch the movie Cold Mountain. It shows some of this form of music. If you actually buy the DVD there is a second DVD that has more performances by the group that performed the singing in the movie.

  248. My grandfather taught this type of singing!

  249. My daddy was a Primitive Baptist elder. They still do this and it last 3 days. They also have foot washings and no musical instrument is allowed.

    1. The human voice is an instrument of Praise and Worship .. In The Key of LOVE !

  250. They still do it here – watch for gatherings – my father did and we have shaped notes books

  251. Clara Parker Mauldin

    1. Thank you Sharon Morgan. We have an all day singing at Corinth Baptist Church, 3295 Corinth Road, Cragford, Al. 36255 on March 18, 2017. We begin at 10:00 am. covered dish lunch at 11:30 and singing in the afternon. This is convention new book singing. We have 8 notes – not the Fa Sol La singing. You are all invited.

  252. Yes, I do remember the fa sol la and dinner on the grounds Remember Haynes reunion, many Primitive Baptist churches on Sand Mountain, your dad of course, Lisa! Since he and I were born one day apart, he was my favorite SM cousin

  253. Wendy Futral Anderson and Ed Henry

  254. That looks like Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Centerville,Al. But it could mimic a thousand other location. I feel very blessed to have attended these signings and dinner on the grounds!

  255. I grew up with thise Singings!

  256. Been to several in my day!

  257. Looks like out table at Maple Grove Baptist in Ten Mile TN

  258. Pam James Carpenter

    1. Such sweet memories! Thanks Kay Doyle White.

  259. This looks like Star Community Club House outdoor tables except this one is longer. Likely many were copied from others.

    1. It sure looks like Star Club! I had to do a double take. More tables here and Star doesn’t have that pole centered on the end. Also, those buildings in the background aren’t down there.

  260. Wonderful memories of childhood.

  261. These were wonderful to go to.

  262. See fasola.org for more information about Sacred Harp singing, including links to the directory of upcoming singings…now sung & heard all over the world!

  263. Went near and far to fa-sa-la singings all the way through high school. Still love it, but can no longer remember how to sing it.

  264. I attended one in north central Alabama. Always a fan of pickles, I got a large helping of potato salad, covered in pickle slices. Long before the filming of the Andy Griffith show’s episode of Aunt Bea’s kerosene pickles, I found out how they would taste. Often wondered if that show was based on the pickles on & in that salad. LOL

  265. I do believe it is!

    1. Don Waldon……Yes there was one table not covered .

  266. As s child, my father took me to Ramer Primitive Baptist and Brushy Creek Methodist churches near Lenox, Al. They had all day singing and dinner on the ground. Every one wanted you to come to their space and have some of their delicious food. Then the singing was so beautiful.

  267. We went to all-night sings. Took folding chairs, blankets to football fields to hear bands like The Florida Boys.

  268. All day singing with dinner on the grounds.

  269. I remember them being called “singing conventions”. It’s many many moons since I’ve attended one.

  270. we called it dinner on the ground everybody brought a dish

  271. I know what you mean.

  272. That sounds like a perfect day wish people were still like that.

  273. This looks like my granny’s church in the Fairview Community

  274. This is like the tabernacle in Scooba. Beautiful memories.

  275. My grandmother went to Fa Sol La Singing and stayed all day.

  276. Went to many of them at Piney Grove Baptist in Double Springs, AL….

  277. Went often in the mid-fifies through early 60’s primarily at Rocky Mount Primitive Baptist in Arab, Alabama!

  278. Those were the good days!

  279. Wolf Creek, AL. Lockhart Mtn

  280. Singins were a wonderful time, a time for real worship and laud and praise.

  281. I went to one every Sunday during the summer.

  282. I remember my father, Clifford Wiggins, and other relatives always singing a Scared Harp song at our annual reunion.

  283. 3rd Sunday in May. May sangin, new dresses, no ac’s, hand fans, dinner on the outside tables. Kids these days will never understand, wonderful memories.

  284. I remember… and they still exist.

  285. My Dad was a minister. When I was little, he had a circuit with 5 churches in Clarke County. It seemed like we ate at church or member’s homes all the time—-especially during a revival.

  286. I remember going with my dad, I still have my song book.

  287. My mother played a pump organ and sang fa-sol-la hymns.

  288. In Mississippi they were call all day signings or Donner on the ground all day till dark

    1. Ginger Jackson my folks are all from Mississippi. I miss the singings. My momma sang at singings all the time. I grew up here in alabama though. So she sang around here everywhere. My grandparents churches use to do the singings in mississippi with the potlucks. It was fun doing them outside. My momma and daddy use to haul us around to all of them in Alabama and Mississippi

    2. CA MJ I truly miss those days. Aunts uncles cousins and made new friends every year,

  289. Spent many happy days at All Day Singing
    And Dinner On The Ground. My Momma made the best banana pudding ever. People would load up on it first before they even got their main course.

    1. send recipe pease .☆´¯`•.¸¸. ི♥ྀ.

  290. all day singing and dinner on the ground

  291. I remember my dad talking about his dad,in Chilton Co, He went to a lot of these events ,mainly because he had a truck. He would pick up a whole truck load and go to these events

  292. I use to loooooove having singings!!! My mother use to travel around to all of the country churches around here and do them. And then those country churches had the old tables built into the ground outside on the grounds and everybody had a potluck. I miss those! My grandparents churches use to have singings all the time too. I miss watching my mother do them. People quit doing the best stuff within churches! Sad. My momma was the best singer ive ever heard. Last one i remember her doing was at big springs. I belive its in Chilton. I sang at that one too. They had the tables outside. After eating we went back inside for more singing.

  293. some good memorable times at the All Day Singing. Fun and good singing.

  294. All day singing and dinner on the grounds.

    1. And Decoration Day.

  295. Remember them and smile. They were special times and glad I had some of them in my head!! Popsicles were the best!!!

  296. Enjoyed those dinner on the ground! Even helping prepare the ground

  297. I remember them days also

  298. I love those days Donna. Nanny would bring her good dressing and we would sit around and talk but we mostly played in the yard around the church. I miss all of that.