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World Premiere Recordings of music from over 40 years of research.

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From Research to Recording

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From Research to Recording


This CD is a result of many years collecting research and performing Shaker music.

The Shakers began in the vicinity around Manchester, England in the 18th century.

Their spiritual leader, Mother Ann Lee (1736-1784), and a small group of her followers emigrated to America and landed in New York City on 6 August 1774. That was the beginning of the Shaker Church in America.

Their first settlement was at Niskayuna (later known as Watervliet) in 1776, and their first organized community was located at New Lebanon, New York in 1787, the same year the U.S. Constitution was written.

The Shakers are a religious communal society.

Astonishing to realize that a religious society of about 5,000 members over their history have composed over 10,000 tunes from the 18th to 20th centuries. This is likely more music than any other religious group in the USA.

They were among the most tolerant of faiths with songs coming from the spirit manifestations of Indians (Native Americans), Blacks (Afro-Americans), and other minorities at a time when there was much prejudice against them.

It is not generally known that like the Afro-American spirituals, the Shakers had their own Anglo-American folk tradition of songs, hymns and anthems, and many of their tunes are lively and deeply emotional. Thus, it is appropriate to call them "Shaker spirituals."

I first became aware of the Shakers and their music in 1969 when visiting Hancock Shaker Village in Massachusetts. At that time I purchased a copy of the first music book about the Shakers, The Gift to be Simple, by Edward Deming Andrews (1940/paperback, 1962).

Two years later, I began to work on my Master's Thesis at Binghamton University on Shaker music notation. One of my first projects was composing a set of variations on a Shaker tune which is subtitled, "A Study in Compositional Styles." The Variations on a Shaker Marching Tune are included on this CD (tracks 25-32), beautifully performed by pianist, Kathryn Southworth.

The best known Shaker song is "Simple Gifts" which was composed by Elder Joseph Brackett in 1848. This song has been arranged by many musicians and composers, like Judy Collins, Aaron Copland and film composer, John Williams, who used the Shaker tune for his piece played at the Inuguration of President Barack Obama in 2009. My arrangement of this song is included on the "Celestial Praises" CD.


I presented my first Shaker music program, "Shaker Songs and Dances," in 1973 while working on my Ph.D at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. I was assisting Prof. Bill Randle, who had been a popular Cleveland disc jockey in the 1950s and had introduced Elvis Presley on national TV in 1956. Also, he had produced a 10 LP set on Shaker culture and the music portion was released on a 2 CD set I edited and titled, Let Zion Move.

While collecting research at the Western Reserve Historical Society Library in Cleveland, I discovered a Shaker hymn book which was the first one with printed music using what the Shakers called "letteral" (or alphabet) music notation. The book was titled, A Sacred Repository of Anthems and Hymns, and was compiled by Elder Henry C. Blinn from Canterbury, and published in 1852. One of the hymns in that collection was "Celestial Praises."

 

The illustration above shows the hymn, "Celestial Praises," printed in Shaker "letteral" (or alpahabet) music notation. For the 1974 Bicentennial conference, I conducted a community chorus in a selection of original Shaker tunes and also my arrangement of "Celestial Praises." Here are the three verses of this hymn:

1.
Let all the new creation
Their sweet hosannas sound,
Celestial praises flow around,
Celestial praises flow around,
Celestial praises flow around,
In one perpetual song.

2.
Sing praises to our Savior,
Eternal praises sing;
Rejoice ye saints in heavenly light,
Rejoice ye saints in heavenly light,
Rejoice ye saints in heavenly light,
Let music sweetly ring.

3.
All shining worlds above [us]
In heavenly order stand,
Where *[all God's children] gather round,
Where *[all God's children] gather round,
Where *[all God's children] gather round,
United heart and hand.

* = "Mother's children" in the original hymn book.

Citation:
"Given by inspiration, Jan. 10, 1841, Canterbury, N. H."

 

I composed a new arrangement of "Celestial Praises" especially for The Canterbury Singers and it is included on this CD (track 37).

The music on the CD covers several centuries and is focused on Shaker music from New York State and New England.

It includes mostly 20th and 21st century arrangements but also there are original Shaker songs and hymns from the 1840s to 1890s. One of these is "Watching and Praying," performed on a rare 1908 reed organ and it was built the same year as this Gospel hymn was published in the Canterbury Shaker hymn book.

Most of the CD is devoted to World Premiere Recordings of Shaker music arrangements by Conrad Held (1894-1955), a past violist with the South Mountain Quartet.

The collection of 15 Shaker songs and hymns selected and arranged by Conrad Held (shown at left) were published in 1944. This collection has a Preface by Edward D. Andrews, who compiled the first book of Shaker tunes in 1940,
The Gift to be Simple: Songs, Dances and Rituals of the American Shakers.

(Picture courtesy of The Julliard Archives, New York)

The Held arrangements are performed by soloists (both adults and teenagers) with piano accompaniment, plus accompaniment by a recorder and two violins on several arrangements.

Review of the Held collection:

Conforming to the deep faith and simplicity of the communicants, Mr. Held has adapted his harmonies to the purposes and words of the songs. He has maintained a moderate austerity in the support he has supplied for the piano and shown his understanding of the nature of the music and the fundamental aspirations of the Shakers.
--J.C.R., music review in The Berkshire Eagle, Pittsfield, Massachusetts, 28 July 1944.

 

Also on the "Celestial Praises" CD are my arrangements of Shaker tunes and three original compositions:

--Variations on a Shaker Marching Tune, Op. 1b (tracks 25-32)
--A Prayer, Op. 38, No. 1 (track 33)
--A New Year's Prayer, Op. 38, No. 2(track 34)


The two prayer hymns (Op. 38) are set to beautiful poems by the beloved Shaker singer,
Sister R. Mildred Barker
.

Kathryn Southworth has carefully prepared all the music for soloists, chorus and instrumentalists.
It was my pleasure to work with Kathryn and the other musicians on this CD, with 25 Premiere Recordings.

I hope you will enjoy listening to these beautiful Shaker tunes.

It is a summary of 40 years of my researching, performing and recording Shaker spirituals --
"united heart and hand."

--- Roger Lee Hall, composer and ethnomusicologist

Note: The Canterbury Singers are an independent chorus and have no affiliation with the Canterbury Shaker Village Museum.

 

 

 

Eldress Mary Ann Gillespie ("Watching and Praying")



Elder James G. Russell ("A New Song")
[picture courtesy of Mary Ann Haagen]

 

 


 

 

CD Titles:

+ = Premiere Recording

 

New England Shaker Spirituals

1. +Welcome, Welcome
Rosetta Cummings (1841-1925), Enfield, NH, 1869
arranged by Roger Lee Hall - Katie and Samantha Allman, violins; Steven Lundahl, recorder; and Chorus

2. +Heavy Cross
Learned from a Native American (Indian) visitor, Canterbury, NH,
June 15, 1847 - Karol Carroll

3. +Noggin of Love
Received from an Indian spirit, Canterbury, NH, September 2, 1847 - Karol Carroll

4. Hop Up and Jump Up
Shirley, Massachusetts, ca. 1847) – Susan and Annalise Papinsick

5. +A New Song
James G. Russell (1843-1888), Enfield, New Hampshire, 1885) - Chorus

6. Watching and Praying
Mary Ann Gillespie (1829-1887), Alfred, Maine, ca. 1880
Kathryn Southworth, 1908 Weaver reed organ - Chorus

7. Prayer Universal
Dorothy Durgin (1825-1898), Canterbury, New Hampshire, ca.1890 - Chorus

8. +My Shaker Home
Lillian Phelps (1876-1973), Canterbury,1959 - arranged by Roger Lee Hall
Jim Miller and Karol Carroll; Katie and Samantha Allman, violins
Kathryn Southworth, piano

9. Holy Habitation - arranged by Roger Lee Hall
Tune: New Lebanon, New York, 1848
Steven Lundahl, recorder; Kathryn Southworth, piano


 +Fifteen Shaker Songs - selected and arranged by Conrad Held (1944)
Kathryn Southworth, piano accompanist and conductor

10. The True Vine
Joseph Brackett Jr., Alfred, Maine, 1856 – Susan Papinsick

11. Living souls, let’s be marching
Tyringham, Massachusetts, 1853 – Jim Miller

12. A Prayer
New Gloucester, Maine, 1856 – Karol Carroll

13. Love, Love, Heavenly Love
John Robe, New Lebanon, New York, 1849) – Susan and Annelise Papinsick

14. My Peace
New Lebanon, New York, 1860 – Samantha and Katie Allman with violins

15. Here’s love and rejoicing
Groveland, New York, 1854) – Karol Carroll

16. I’m on my way To Zion
New Lebanon, New York, 1851 – Richard Cowing

17. O the beautiful treasures
Canterbury, New Hampshire, 1849 – Susan Papinsick

18. The Humble Heart
words: Eunice Wyeth (1756-1830)/ tune: Thomas Hammond (1791-1880),
Harvard, Massachusetts, ca. 1822 – Karol Carroll; Steven Lundahl, recorder

19. Do give me one drop
Watervliet, New York, 1843– Susan Papinsick

20. Who will bow and bend like a willow
Canterbury, New Hampshire, 1843 – Susan and Annelise Papinsick

21. A Willing Sacrifice
New Lebanon, New York, 1864 – Karol Carroll

22. Mother Ann’s Closet
New Lebanon New York, 1852 – Jim Miller
"Written on visitng the room where Mother was protected from the mob at the house of Elijah Wilds in Shirley, Massachusetts on the night of June 1, 1783." - journal of Sister Bethiah Willard

23. Peaceful Vale
Union Village, Ohio, 1838 – Susan Papinsick

24. Let us sing praises
Hancock, Massachusetts, 1853
– Jim Miller, Susan Papinsick, Annelise Papinsick

Variations on a Shaker Marching Tune -- music by Roger Lee Hall (1971/ published 1984)
Kathryn Southworth, piano

25. Theme: Shaker marching tune, New Lebanon, New York, 1843
26. Variation One: Classical
27. Variation Two: Romantic
28. Variation Three: Impressionistic
29. Variation Four: Bi-tonal
30. Variation Five: Quartal
31. Variation Six: Bi-modal
32. Variation Seven: Twelve-tone

See the performance of these variations by pianist, Kathryn Southworth, on YouTube -- click here



Sister R. Mildred Barker (1897-1990)


Two Shaker Prayer Hymns, Op. 38 -
music by Roger Lee Hall, who received permission from Sister Mildred to set her poems to music

33. +A Prayer
poem: R. Mildred Barker (1897-1990), Alfred, Maine
Richard Cowing, Chorus

34. +A New Year’s Prayer
poem: R. Mildred Barker, Alfred, Maine, 1922
Susan Papinsick, Jim Miller, Chorus

 


Four Shaker Spirituals, Op. 40 - arranged by Roger Lee Hall (2012)

Elder Joseph Brackett Jr.(1797-1882)


35. +Simple Gifts - book about this song on a multi-media computer disc
Joseph Brackett Jr., Alfred, Maine, 1848 - Chorus

36. May I Softly Walk
New Lebanon, New York, 1869
Susan Papinsick, soprano; Ruth Smith, alto;
Richard Cowing, tenor; Jim Miller, bass

37. +Celestial Praises (concert video with The Canterbury Singers - copyright: AMRC)
Canterbury, New Hampshire, 1841 - Chorus

38. +We Will All Go Home With You
Canterbury, New Hampshire, ca. 1862 - Chorus


+ = Premiere Recording

 

Sources:

Nos. 1, 8-9, 35-36, 38: transcriptions from Shaker manuscripts by Roger Lee Hall

Nos. 2 and 25: Edward Deming Andrews, The Gift to be Simple: Songs, Dances
and Rituals of the American Shakers
, J.J. Augustin, 1940/ reprint, Dover Publications, 1962.

Nos. 3-4: Daniel W. Patterson, The Shaker Spiritual,
2nd edition, Dover Publications, 2000.

No. 5: The Shaker Manifesto, Vol. IX No. 3, March 1879.

Nos. 6-7 Shaker Hymnal by The Canterbury Shakers, East Canterbury, New Hampshire, 1908.

Nos. 10-24 Schirmer’s American Folk Song Series, Set 23, G. Schirmer, Inc., 1944.

Nos. 33-34 Poems and Prayers by Sister R. Mildred Barker,
The Shaker Press, 1983.

No. 37 A Sacred Repository of Anthems and Hymns, for Devotional Worship and Praise, Henry C. Blinn, compiler,
Canterbury, New Hampshire, 1852

Recorded, mixed and mastered at CedarHouse Sound & Mastering in
North Sutton, New Hampshire by Gerry Putnam, June-August 2013.


© American Music Recordings Collection
AMRC 0017

 

 

 

 

 

The Canterbury Singers

See the YouTube video of the popular Shaker dance song,"Simple Gifts," arranged by Roger Lee Hall
and performed by The Canterbury Singers, Kathryn Southworth, conductor -- click here

 

Kathryn Southworth at the 1908 reed organ

Soloists:

Katie and Samantha Allman - sopranos and violinists, are young twins born and raised in the musical tradition of Canterbury, New Hampshire and the Shaker village. At the age of nine, Katie joined Songweavers, a women’s singing group at the Concord Community Music School, and a year later she began taking formal violin lessons. Now, Katie plays classical violin and viola, fiddle, and piano accordion and sings. She performs with her sister Samantha, as well as their band Trilogy, at farmers markets, house concerts, special events, and fairs across New England. 

Karol Carroll - mezzo soprano, is an accomplished performer singing Opera, Oratorio, Broadway and classical recital works.  Her recording credits include The Essence of Cabaret and Christmastime by the vocal ensemble Belle Voci.  Ms. Carroll was a finalist in the 2013 American Prize Competition which recognizes and awards America's finest performing artists and was awarded an honorable mention for the NH Council for the Arts 2013 Performing Artists.  For more information about Ms. Carroll, visit  www.karolcarroll.com

Richard Cowing - tenor, has studied voice with Dr. Eva Nagorka, sung with numerous choral groups and church choirs, often as soloist; also has served as church director of music.  Richard currently volunteers his keyboard talents to Havenwood Heritage Heights Retirement Community for their worship services.

Steven Lundahl - recorder, currently performs with the Boston Camerata, Calliope and Boston Baroque, and over the years with the Waverly Consort, Boston Shawm and Sackbut Ensemble, Ensemble Project Arts Nova, Tafelmusik, Smithsonian Chamber Orchestra and the Boston Handel and Haydn Society. He has participated on nearly 30 recordings, including a Grammy nominee. Additionally, for other music enjoyment, he performs with a Civil War band and an 1890s band on original instruments. 

Jim Miller - bass , In addition to being part of the Canterbury Singers, Jim has been a choir member and soloist at the Canterbury United Community Church for 9 years. He has been fortunate enough to sing in a variety of venues—the Capital Center for the Arts, country fairs and festivals, Concord Music School, the historic Concord City Auditorium, small and large churches, the Eastern States Exposition, and at Meadowbrook. Jim enjoys performing Shaker and other traditional American works—particularly spirituals, hymns, and gospel tunes—whether as a soloist, as guest bass with the Belle Voci quartet, or with choral groups.

Susan Papinsick - soprano , is a freelance vocalist, voice teacher and children’s music teacher with a specialization in sacred music performance. She is the Director of Adult and Children's Handball and Director of Children's Music at Wesley United Methodist Church in Concord, NH where she also sings with the Praise Band and in the Chancel Choir. Susan earned her certification in Sacred Musicianship from the National Pastoral Musicians Association in 1999 and has worked as a certified cantor, liturgical vocalist and choir director. Susan enjoys, playing harp, cooking meals for family and friends and can be found singing with the Canterbury Singers and in various groups and ensembles throughout New Hampshire and Massachusetts.  

Annelise Papinsick - soprano, is a home schooled 9th grade student that enjoys learning about everything she can. She is, a multifaceted artist that plays piano, violin, sings, writes fiction and draws fantasy art. She has been a piano student of Kathryn Southworth since 2005.  Annie can be found playing piano, violin, handbells, performing in musicals and singing at Wesley United Methodist Church in Concord New Hampshire.  Annie also sings with the Canterbury Singers and performs with various other groups in the Bow and Concord, New Hampshire areas.  

Ruth Smith alto, grew up singing including rounds in the family car while on road trips and in church and school choirs.  Voice lessons in high school led to participation in an auditioned choral group and regional competitions.  College and church choirs continued to be a part of her life when she came to the University of New Hampshire to study Environmental Conservation.  Ornithology was a favorite topic - perhaps because the birds also sing!  Ruth has been a member of several community and church choirs including the Concord Community Music School Songweavers group, the Suncook Valley Chorale and the Canterbury Shaker Singers.  She also enjoys playing guitar and leading songs with children.


Kathryn Southworth
- musical direction, piano, reed organ
Holds a B.M. in Piano Performance from Oberlin Conservatory and an M.M. in Vocal Accompanying and Coaching from the University of Illinois. While pursuing her graduate studies, she held an assistantship as staff accompanist under the tutelage of acclaimed accompanist John Wustman, and served as a musical ambassador to Costa Rica as a collaborative pianist. She has worked with such organizations as Opera North, Dartmouth College, Plymouth State University, Boston Ballet, and Belle Voci, and has also served as music director, accompanist and organist for numerous theater and choral groups throughout New England. She has been an interim piano faculty member at Plymouth State University and has been a member of the piano faculty at St. Paul’s School. Currently, she is Piano Department Chair at the Concord Community Music School in Concord, NH, where she performs regularly with the Musicians of Wall Street Ensemble. She resides in Canterbury, NH with her family, where she also serves as the music director and organist for the Canterbury United Community Church and directs The Canterbury Singers.

 

 

 

 

High Praise for this CD!

 

  • We sing earthly praises to this delightful new CD!  The Canterbury Singers, under the able direction of Kathryn Southworth, accurately capture the spirit and style of Shaker music.  “Welcome, Welcome” gets the collection off to a strong start, and the flow of the programming continues smoothly, reflecting the variety of musical approaches to praise in the Shaker tradition, including the influences of Colonial New England composers and Southern Harmony.  Joy is shown in songs such as “Hop Up and Jump Up”, while “Holy Habitation” (an instrumental) and “My Peace” present the quieter side.  For those who know Shaker music mainly from “Simple Gifts” (represented in a lovely arrangement by producer Roger Lee Hall), this CD is a wonderful view of the world of Shaker music and a celebration indeed.
    -- Benjamin Sears & Bradford Conner, Song Duo and Producers, American Classics


  • Thank you for "Celestial Praises" - beautiful selections of new and old for me. Congratulations.
    --Leonard Brooks, Retired Director, The Shaker Library, Sabbathday Lake, Maine

  • I especially enjoyed the "Variations on a Shaker Marching Tune, op. 1b" -- a very delightful set of variations that take the tune into places one doesn't ordinary expect.
    -- Carson Cooman, Composer in Residence, The Memorial Church, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

  • Thank you so much for the CD. It's truly lovely!
    -- Helen Friot, Friend of the Sabbathday Lake Shakers

  • Love what I hear. Your arrangements are wonderful. There's something about the timing, melodic twists and instruments to Shaker music that is so refreshing. Thanks for sharing it with me. I will keep it and enjoy the sincerity and praise and great music in it.
    -- Mark McKenzie, film composer and orchestrator

  • The two prayer hymns [Op. 38] are wonderful.  The words are very moving, and the harmonies are stirring. Just lovely.
    --Carol Medlicott, Associate Professor of History and Geography, Northern Kentucky University

  • Shaker spirituals performed by a plucky group of singers whose enthusiasm and sincerity allow us to experience the important role music played in the Shaker religious community...Roger Lee Hall, who lovingly prepared these performing editions, also contributes a set of seven piano variations on a 'Shaker Marching Tune' arranged cleverly by musical era and idiom...The piano playing sounds quite elegant.
    --Philip Greenfield, American Record Guide (May-June 2014)


 

 

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Sheet music

 

Music by ASCAP composer, Roger Lee Hall,
is available at

PineTree Music

 

 

 

 

Shaker music DVDs

 

 

 

"Give Good Gifts" - Shaker Music in the 20th Century

 

 

 

 

"The Humble Heart" - A Forty Year Survey of Shaker Music

 

 

 

 

A Shaker Music Miscellany
with 200 music examples

 

 


"Simple Gifts": Great American Folk Song

 

 

 

 

 

 

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