Singing New Englanders:
From The Pilgrims to The Shakers
by Roger Lee Hall
Vocal music from earlier New England has been neglected for far too long by historians and researchers.
The material on this extensive multimedia archive on DVD-ROM is one of the titles from the series of American Music resources Editions (AMRE), and provides a collection of music composed or performed in New England, from the time of the Pilgrims in the early 17th century to the Shakers in the early 20th century. Much of the music was composed or published in Massachusetts.
On the accompanying album the music was recorded with various soloists and choruses.
The DVD title, "Millennial Praise," is a 19th century Shaker anthem still sung today (No. 30 on the music album listed below).
All the information on the DVD was researched and written by musicologist and composer, Roger Lee Hall, Director of the Center for American Music Preservation.
Listener's Guide - This 150 page book contains lyrics, sheet music and background notes for the 30 selections on the accompanying music album. Also included in the back of the book is a Supplement with listings of singing meetings and concerts held between 1762 and 1912 in Stoughton, Massachusetts. This town is home of the oldest choral society in the USA, organized in 1786.
There are additional bonus features on the DVD:
Father Kemp and the Old Folks Concerts - a research article about Robert Kemp, known as "Father Kemp." He organized and conducted a group of musicians that gave programs known as "Old Folks Concerts" (shown in above picture) singing mainly New England choral music from the 18th and early 19th centuries. Also includes the music album listed below.
Video program - one hour program titled, A Stoughton Musicfest.
This program, written by Roger Hall, features a history of America's oldest choral society, the Old Stoughton Musical Society, founded in 1786. There is also a short play - "William Billings Teaches A Singing School," about a typical 18th century New England school for young people, taught by the Father of American Choral Music. For this play, Billings is portrayed by popular local actor, Skip Mahoney. There are also performances by several soloists and an adult chorus, plus a combined elementary school chorus, and high school instrumental ensemble. This video may be shown on a TV but you must have a HDMI connection from your computer or a similar connection from your computer to your TV set.
Two additional music albums (20 titles):
1. Father Kemp's Old Folks Concert Tunes: ten tunes from this popular 19th century music collection
compiled by Father Robert Kemp (Boston, 1874/ 1889).
2. Five New England Composers:
For sample audio files
click links in this box:
Accompanying music album (.wav good sound quality) for the Listener's Guide:
Illustrating important aspects of New England's cultural history:
- psalms sung by The Pilgrims and The Puritans (Nos. 1- 3)
- oldest original New England tune (No. 4)
- a song sung by Narragansett Indians (Nos. 6)
- music of the American Revolution, including "Yankee Doodle" (Nos. 7-11)
- music by early New England singing masters (Nos. 12 -16)
- two poems from the War of 1812 (Nos. 18-19)
- two Civil War era texts set to the same tune (No. 21)
- hymn for National Peace Jubilee held in Boston in 1869 (No. 24)
- holiday music for Easter (no. 26) and Christmas (no. 27)
- song and anthem composed by Shaker Elders (Nos. 29-30)
I. Pilgrims, Puritans, and Reformer
1. +Pilgrims: PSALM 8 - Ainsworth Psalter, 1612/tune: OLD 124th
2. Pilgrims: PSALM 100 - Ainsworth Psalter, 1612/tune: OLD 100th
3. Puritans: PSALM 23 - Bay Psalm Book, 1698/ LOW DUTCH TUNE
4. +Reformer: 100 PSALM NEW - tune: Rev. John Tufts, ca. 1726
II. Pirates and Native Peoples
5. CAPTAIN KIDD – undated ballad
6. +NARRAGANSETT INDIAN HYMN – Thomas Cummock, 1845
III. The Fight for Independence
7. THE LIBERTY SONG – words: John Dickinson, 1768/ tune: HEART OF OAK
8. FREE AMERICA – words: Dr. Joseph Warren, 1770/tune: BRITISH GRENADIERS
9. FATHER AND I WENT DOWN TO CAMP -- tune: YANKEE DOODLE, ca. 1776
10. CHESTER – words and music: William Billings, 1770/ 1778/ +1786
11. +THANKSGIVING HYMN – tune: KITTERY by William Billings/edited by R.L. Hall
IV. Singing Masters
12. +THE BIRD – music: William Billings, 1790
13. +VICTORY – music: Daniel Read, 1793
14. +JUBILANT – music: Supply Belcher, 1794
15. NEW JERUSALEM – music: Jeremiah Ingalls, 1796
16. +DORMANT – music: Jacob French, 1802 - one of the most inspiring early tunes!
V. Federalism Song
17. ADAMS AND LIBERTY – poem: Thomas Robert Treat Paine, 1798/
tune: TO ANACREON -
composed in honor of Second U.S. President, John Adams
VI. The War of 1812 and Sentimental Age
18. +THE STAR-SPANGLED BANNER – poem: Francis Scott Key, 1814/
tune: TO ANACREON
- from 19th century tunebook published in Boston
19. +PEACE – Esther Talbot, 1814/ music: Roger Lee Hall, 1981
- based on an anti-war poem written by 10 year old girl about the War of 1812
20.+SONG OF THE OLD FOLKS (tune: AULD LANG SYNE) - words: Albert Laighton, 1855
VII. The Civil War Era
21.+JOHN BROWN, 1861
& BATTLE HYMN OF THE REPUBLIC, 1862 - tune: GLORY, HALELUJAH
22. GO DOWN, MOSES-- Negro Spiritual, about 1861
23. +GIVE US THIS DAY - words and music: Stephen Foster, 1863
24. +ANGEL OF PEACE – poem: Oliver Wendell Holmes -
the National Peace Jubilee in Boston, 1869/
tune: AMERICAN HYMN by Matthias Keller
VIII. The Gilded Age
25. +HOW BEAUTIFUL UPON THE MOUNTAINS –
music: Edwin A. Jones, 1881
26. +EASTER CAROL – music: Charles E. Ives, 1892
IX. Early 20th Century and World War I
27. +CHRISTMAS CHORALE -- music: George Whitefield Chadwick, 1909
28. +SONG OF THE MARCHING MEN – music: Henry Hadley, 1919
X. Shaker Spirituals
29. +Dance Song: SIMPLE GIFTS – Elder Joseph Brackett, 1848/ edited by R.L. Hall,1976
30. +Anthem: MILLENNIAL PRAISE – Elder James G. Russell, 1883/ 1908
+ = First recording - 20 titles
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Singing New Englanders:
From The Pilgrims To The Shakers
By Roger Lee Hall
This multi-media collection (PTM 1029),
an illustrated listener's book with sheet music and lyrics,
a picture gallery,
plus these bonus features:
music albums (50 titles) and one hour video program.
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(including shipping - USA only),
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Singing New Englanders DVD
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Composers born in Massachusetts
This AMRC CD available with
several instrumental works
by New England composers
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