Tributes
Books and articles
Shaker vs Non-Shaker Tunes
 
 
 

 

 

Shaker Music Scholar and Singer

 

Roger Lee Hall

For over forty years this ethnomusicologist and composer
has researched Shaker spirituals.

He has written over 1,000 pages in articles and books about Shaker music and its composers,
like Sister Martha Jane Anderson ("Give Good Gifts") and Elder Joseph Brackett ("Simple Gifts").

Also, he has edited original Shaker music for performance, for example
the first known Shaker song with words and music, "Father James's Song" (1787),
and the last song from Canterbury, NH, "My Shaker Home" (1959).

Because of this prolific preservation work
and his other accomplishments in American music,
he has been honored by being listed in
Who's Who in America
and Who's Who in the World.
See his biographical profile -- click here


Currently, he is Director of the Center for American Music Preservation
-- click here

He has three AMRC CDs
with his editions and arrangements:

"Celestial Praises" (AMRC 0017)

 

 

"Gentle Words" (AMRC 0016)

 

 

His dynamic piano composition,
"Seven Variations on a Shaker Marching Tune"
is included on this CD receiving rave comments,
AMERICAN PLACES - Musical Travels (AMRC 0028)

 

 

 

 

 

 



Articles and multimedia computer discs



Research Article:
"Simple Gifts"-
The Discovery and Popularity of a Shaker Dance Song
"

 

 

An article from The Lewiston Journal in Maine,
18 July 1987

 

 

 

Blended Together - Interviews with The Shakers

 

 




 

"Invitation to Zion" - A Shaker Music Guide

 

A Deluxe DVD Edition with the largest collection of Shaker music recordings
and with 10 books and music collections

A Shaker Music Miscellany
(PTM 1030)

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

Please help support the preservation mission of this website

Order Shaker music broadsides, CDs and DVDs from the

CAMP Store

 

 


 

 

Music papers and programs

Mr. Hall presented his paper at the Communal Studies Association Annual Conference,
held at Zoar, Ohio, Otober 5-7, 2017. His paper was titled:
"Heavenly Music: Evolution of communal singing at Kirkland, North Union and Zoar,"
from his research collected for his publication titled,
"The Best Choice": A Sampling of American Communal Hymns -- click this link

 

 

 

Mr. Hall presented an illustrated music talk with singing
focused on Shaker women composers and singers
from New York State, Massachusetts, New Hampshire,
and Maine on 5 August 2017
at Canterbury Shaker Village in New Hampshire.
The title of his paper was:

"Give Good Gifts:
The Simplicity of Shaker Music"

For more information about the multimedia DVD click this link:
Give Good Gifts: Shaker Music in the 20th Century

 

 

On Saturday, 23 April 2016, Roger Lee Hall gave a PowerPoint presentation at
the Enfield Shaker Museum Spring Shaker Forum in Enfield, New Hampshire.
The title of his presentation was "My Shaker Home"

An arrangement of this last Shaker song composed at Canterbury, New Hampshire
is on this CD:



Celestial Praises - A Celebration of Shaker Spirituals



 

 

 

 

"Symbols and Symmetry: Shaker Music, Art and Architecture"
An audio-visual program presented by Roger Lee Hall

Fruitlands Museums
Harvard, Massachusetts
Monday, 14 September 2015

Click here

 

 

 

 

 

Enfield Shaker Museum
Spring Shaker Forum
April 26-28, 2013


"Break forth into singing”:
Evolution of an Enfield Shaker Anthem


A paper discussing the evolution of the popular Shaker anthem,
"Millennial Praise (Break forth into singing)"
composed by Elder James G. Russell.

This anthem is available on the CD:

Gentle Words - A Shaker Music Sampler

 

 

If you wish to write and discuss a possible music program with Mr. Hall -- click here

 

 

 

 



Shaker music publications
written, edited and produced by Roger Lee Hall

 

CDs and Songbooks

"LOVE IS LITTLE" - A Sampling of Shaker Spirituals - Sampler Records Ltd., 1992/ 2nd ed, 1996

"JOY OF ANGELS" - Shaker Spirituals for Christmas and The New Year (Introduction and Notes) - Sampler Records Ltd., 1995

"LET ZION MOVE": Music of the Shakers - Rounder Records 2 CD set with 72 page booklet with extensive history and complete texts, 1999

FOR THE LOVE OF ZION - 30 Shaker Spirituals arranged by Jack Bomer - PineTree Music, 2007

"GENTLE WORDS" - A Shaker Music Sampler - AMRC CD, 2009

"CELESTIAL PRAISES" - A Celebration of Shaker Spirituals - AMRC CD, 2013

Music Articles

"Shaker Hymnody: An American Communal Tradition" in The Journal of Church Music, Volume 17, Number 8 (October 1975)/
reprinted in The Hymn (January 1976) - first published article

"An Interview with Aaron Copland" in The Journal of Church Music, Volume 24, Number 2 (February 1982)

"Shaker Song Series" column in The Shaker Messenger magazine, 1981-1996 (56 Shaker songs and hymns)

"Shaker Music Notes" column in Shakers World magazine, 1996-1997 (5 issues)
Sample articles:
Voume 1, Number 1 (May 1996): "To Edit or Not To Edit?"
Volume 2, Number 1 (June/July 1997): "The Simple Gifts of Elder Joseph and Sister Mildred"

Music Collections

A WESTERN SHAKER MUSIC SAMPLER - Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland, Ohio, 1976

"The Happy Journey" - 35 Shaker spirituals compiled by Miss Clara Endicott Sears - Fruitlands Museums, Harvard, Massachusetts, 1982

The Story of 'Simple Gifts': Shaker simplicity in song - The World of Shaker, 1987; 1990; 1992

Six Shaker Spirituals - PineTree Music, 2000

Joseph Brackett's 'SIMPLE GIFTS': Evolution of a Shaker Dance Song - PineTree Press, 1997/ 2nd ed, 2001

"COME, LIFE, SHAKER LIFE" - The Life and Music of Elder Issachar Bates - PineTree Press, 2004

Joseph Brackett's Shaker Dance Song - PineTree Press, 2006; 2009; 2010

"HOW HAPPY ARE THEY" - Twelve Shaker Spirituals From Kentucky and Ohio
- PineTree Press, 2007

"GENTLE WORDS" - PineTree Press, 2009

Multi-media Editions (ME)

"MAY WE EVER BE UNITED" - Music of the North Union, Ohio Shakers, PineTree Multi-media (PTM 1046) -2012

A SHAKER MUSIC MISCELLANY - 10 books - PineTree Multi-media DVD (PTM 1030) - 2012

"SIMPLE GIFTS" - Great American Folk Song - PineTree Multi-media DVD (PTM 1034)- 2014

"GIVE GOOD GIFTS" - Shaker Music in the 20th Century - PineTree Multi-media DVD (PTM 1035) - 2015

"THE HUMBLE HEART" - A Forty Year Survey of Shaker Music - PineTree Multi-media DVD (PTM 1050) - 2016

"BLENDED TOGETHER" - Interviews with the Shakers - PineTree Multi-media (PTM 1052) - 2016

 

 

Friends of the Sabbathday Lake Shakers


Roger Lee Hall and his wife, Gail [seated in the front row at right and left sides in the above picture] are Founding Members of the Friends of the Shakers at Sabbathday Lake, Maine and joined in 1974. The other Founding Member is Edward Brown [seated in the front row center]. In the back row are the former Presidents of the Friends of Sabbathday Lake. Several of the songs edited by Mr. Hall, "Welcome, Welcome" and "We Will All Go Home With You," have been sung at the annual meetings of the Friends of the Shakers at Sabbathday Lake and at Shaker Seminars held each year at different locations.

 

 

 

1970s

 

Roger Lee Hall's first research project was a Master's Thesis at Binghamton University in 1972 titled, The Shaker Letteral System: A Practical Approach to Music Notation. It included several Shaker songs and hymns which he transcribed from the singing of the Shakers at Canterbury, New Hampshire and Sabbathday Lake, Maine.

On 17 January 1973, he presented his first Shaker music program which was announced in a newspaper column by Bill Randle, the Cleveland disc jockey who had introduced Elvis Presley on national television in 1956. Mr. Hall worked for Randle as his assistant while at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. Hall's first program was titled: "Songs and Dances of the Shakers."

 

On 9 November 1974, Roger Hall had the honor of introducing the distinguished composer,, Aaron Copland, who had arranged "Simple Gifts" in his award-winning ballet score to Appalachian Spring, to the Sabbathday Lake Shakers for the first and only time in Shaker Heights, Ohio. Read more about it -- click here

Two years later, Mr. Hall's first edition of Shaker music with 12 Shaker songs, hymns and anthems from Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana and titled, A Western Shaker Music Sampler, was published by the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland.

In 1976 at Washington, D.C., Mr. Hall presented a scholarly paper about the first prominent Shaker tunesmith, Issachar Bates, at the American Musicological Society National Meeting in Washington, D.C.

 

1980s

 

In 1980, Roger Hall wrote the first article about the best known Shaker song, "Simple Gifts," published in The Shaker Messenger magazine. He also interviewed the American composer, Aaron Copland, about his arrangements of "Simple Gifts." In addition, Hall interviewed Sister Mildred Barker of the Sabbathday Lake Shakers about their music. These interviews are available in the book, "Simple Gifts": Great American Folk Song.

He was a music consultant for many Shaker Seminars sponsored by Elmira College and directed by Dr. Herbert Wisbey at various historical sites. In 1981, Mr. Hall presented a music and dance program at Lawrence Academy in Massachusetts.
The program was titled: "The Humble Heart - A Pageant of Shaker Poetry and Music." The singers and dancers were from The New English Song and Daunce Companie.
Here is an excerpt from the article by Charles Gordon in the Times-Free Press in East Pepperell, Massachusetts:

"Roger Hall presented a pageant of Shaker verse and song on the theme of humility for the July 30th program...Hall had members of an extraordinary singing and dancing group with him. The group calls itself 'New English Song and Daunce Companie' with its home base in southeastern Mass...Hall had six of them transfer their very substantial talent to singing and dancing Shaker songs and reading pieces of poetry for this program. With their clear, sweet voices and their expressive dancing, they made the material come alive."

 

Mr. Hall edited a music collection, The Happy Journey: Thirty-Five Shaker Spirituals Collected by Miss Clara Endicott Sears, from her book, Gleaning from Old Shaker Journals. She knew the last of the Harvard Shakers and also began the Fruitlands Museum in Harvard, Massachusetts. This music collection was "Publication No. 1" in the Fruitlands Museum series and published in 1982.

In 1987, the World of Shaker published Hall's short pamphlet on the popular Shaker song, "Simple Gifts," including a copy of the original music manuscript, an edition of the song, and the interview with Aaron Copland.

Also in 1987, Roger presented his first of several Shaker music workshops at the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village in Maine and he received a thank you note from Sister R. Mildred Barker, who attended part of that workshop. A local newspaper story was written about his Shaker music workshop and headlined: "Shaker music speaks to the heart." He gave Shaker music workshops again at Sabbathday Lake in 1988 and 1989.

 

 

 

 

1990s

 

 

 

 

Roger Hall's music editions have been used on numerous CDs, including Love is Little (1992) and Joy of Angels (1995) from Sampler Records.

He also met with musician Joel Cohen and encouraged him to record Shaker music. That resulted in the best-selling CD by the Boston Camerata and Sabbathday Lake Shakers titled, Simple Gifts, and also a second CD, The Golden Harvest.

Between 1981 and 1996, Hall compiled and edited 56 Shaker tunes for The Shaker Messenger, a magazine devoted to Shaker culture. The titles of the Shaker songs and hymns he edited are listed here.

 

 

In 1999, Rounder Records released a 2 CD set titled, Let Zion Move: Music of the Shakers, compiled and edited by Roger Hall, with a 72 page booklet containing biographical information about Shaker musicians and the words to all the music plus interviews with Shaker sisters, recorded in 1960, 1972 and 1980.

 

2000-2009

 

 

 

Some of Roger's vast research was included in the reference book, A GUIDE TO SHAKER MUSIC (6 editions, 1996-2006), the most extensive resource guide about Shaker music collections and recordings.

 

"Gentle Words"
(book originally published in 2009)
and republished in the
collection, "Give Good Gifts"

 

 

 

 

 

A best-selling CD featured arrangements by Kevin Siegfried performed by the Tudor Choir on the CD, Gentle Words - Shaker Songs (Loft Records, 2001). Some of these arrangements were based on Roger Hall's editions. These are his editions selected by Kevin Siegfried:

"In yonder valley"
"All is summer"
"Love is little"
"Followers of the Lamb"
"Peace"
"Angels of heaven"
"Prayer for the captive"
"Gentle words"
"Almighty Savior"

 

In 2004, he was a presenter at the popular John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina. He led the singing of Shaker songs in Morning song and also gave a lecture titled, "The Humble Heart: The Craftsmanship of Shaker Music." The lecture included 15 Shaker spirituals that were sung and played from recordings.

 

Also during these years, Roger Hall wrote these two collections about Shaker music in the West:

"Come Life, Shaker Life": The Life and Music of Elder Issachar Bates (2004)

"How Happy Are They": Twelve Shaker Spirituals from Kentucky and Ohio (2007)

 

 

In 2009, a collection titled "Celestial Praises" - A Suite of Nine Shaker Spirituals,
edited and arranged by Roger Hall was published by PineTree Music.

 

 

2010-2016

 

For the 40th anniversary of his Shaker music research, Roger wrote a booklet about his music discoveries, including interviews with several Shaker sisters from Canterbury, New Hampshire and Sabbathday Lake, Maine. This booklet and an audio album with Shaker interviews are now available on a CD-ROM disc titled, Blended Together: Discoveries Along The Shaker Music Trail (2011).

 

 

"Millennial Praise"
Singing New Englanders:
From The Pilgrims to The Shakers
(PineTree Productions, 2012)

 

 

 

Also for his 40th anniversary, Hall compiled 10 of his books and music collections with over 200 music examples and 500 files of sheet music and historical information for a Deluxe Edition DVD titled,
A Shaker Music Miscellany (PineTree Productions, 2011/ 2nd ed, 2014)
.

 

 

 

This book is titled, "Simple Gifts": Great American Folk Song (PineTree Productions, 2014), and available as a PDF document on an informational DVD or as an E-book. The DVD includes music examples and several video clips, plus audio interviews in 1980 with Sister R. Mildred Barker of the Sabbathday Lake Shakers in Maine, and with the distinguished composer, Aaron Copland, about his arrangements of the "Simple Gifts" song.

 

This multi-media DVD (PineTree Productions, 2015) contains an extensive amount of information
including book, music albums and videos. Read more about "Give Good Gifts" - Shaker Music in the 20th Century -- click here

 

 

 

 

 

 

In addition to his many publications, Roger Lee Hall is also an ASCAP composer and his compositions and arrangements are on several popular CDs: "Gentle Words" and "Celestial Praises."

He is currently Director of the American Music Recordings Archive (or AMRA).

For his many distinguished achievements and leadership in music,
he has been listed in Who's Who in America and Who's Who in the World.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shaker Concerts and Presentations


Two concerts for release of
Celestial Praises - A Celebration of Shaker Spirituals

Canterbury United Community Church
Canterbury, New Hampshire
November 3, 2013

and

Concord Community Music School
November 16, 2013

 

 

 

 

 


Lecture: "Celestial Praises"
Music of the New Hampshire Shakers


Date: June 7, 2012

Time: 12:10 p.m.

Bach's Lunch Series,
Concord Community Music School
23 Wall Street, Concord, New Hampshire

Speaker: Roger Lee Hall

Description:

The Shakers are America’s oldest religious communal society and they were also the most musically prolific of any American communal sect, with over 10,000 tunes composed between the 18th and 20th centuries.

The lecture included a selection of Shaker spirituals from the two communities in New Hampshire -- at Enfield and at Canterbury. Several songs will be heard as sung by Shaker sisters and also several arrangements by Roger Lee Hall.

Below are pictures of Roger Lee Hall at the lecture and display of his many music publications:

 

 



 

 

"The Humble Heart"
Music of the Harvard Shakers

Date: April 12, 2012

Time: 7:00 p.m.

Location: Harvard Historical Society, 215 Still River Road,
Harvard, Massachusetts

Presented and performed by Roger Lee Hall

This program takes you on a musical journey through several centuries with the Shakers in Harvard, from the songs of their first spiritual leaders in the 1780s, to arrangements of Shaker tunes.

Harvard has a unique place in Shaker history because it was where Mother Ann Lee (1736-1784) spent time on her missionary journey through New England in the 1780s. A good deal of music was composed or collected at Harvard from the 1780s onward.

The program is titled after the hymn which Roger considers the best to come from the Harvard Shakers and demonstrates the sharing of creative ideas among the sexes -- a Shaker sister (Eunice Wyeth, 1756-1830) wrote the words to the hymn and a Shaker brother (Thomas Hammond Jr., 1791-1880) wrote the Shaker tune. Since the Shakers believed strongly in being humble, this hymn is titled appropriately, “The Humble Heart.”

Another hymn was first published in 1991 in an edition by Roger for the 200th anniversary of the Harvard Shaker Community. This hymn is titled, "Good Believer's Life."

A sing-along with the audience of a few Shaker songs is at the end of this musical journey through Harvard’s Shaker history.

In the above picture, Roger Lee Hall presents his gift of Harvard maps, a sheet of color slides of Harvard Shaker sites, a pamphlet (Blended Together), and Gentle Words (music book and CD) to Denis Wagner, President of the Harvard Historical Society.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




Shaker Music Editions and Arrangements

 







Mr. Hall's research has been used on these CDs featuring Shaker music:

  • All at Home (Singers of Lower Shaker Village, 1995)
  • Blended Together: Interviews with The Shakers (2008)
  • Celestial Praises: A Celebration of Shaker Spirituals (The Canterbury Singers, 2013)
  • Farewell to Nauvoo (Fiddlesticks with Lisa Arrington, 2006)
  • Gentle Words: A Shaker Music Sampler (includes Shaker singing, 2009)
  • Gentle Words (The Tudor Choir, 2001)
  • The Humble Heart: Twenty-four Shaker Spirituals (2010)
  • Joy of Angels: Shaker Spirituals for Christmas and The New Year (The Sampler Chorus, 1995)
  • Let Zion Move: Music of the Shakers (2 CD set with illustrated booklet, 1999)
  • Love is Little: A Sampling of Shaker Spirituals (The Sampler Chorus, 1992)
  • Music of Angels: Songs of the Shaker West (The Pleasant Hill Singers, 1999)
  • Music On The Mountain (William Coulter, Barry Phillips and other musicians, 1996)
  • The River of Love: Music of the Shakers and Music Based On Shaker Themes (New England Voices, 2007)
  • Simple Gifts: Shaker Chants and Spirituals (The Boston Camerata, 1995)
  • Tree of Life (William Coulter, Barry Phillips and other musicians, 1993)
  • Verdant Groves: A musical journey through four New England Shaker Villages (Various musicians, 1998)

 

 

These are a sampling of over 200 Shaker tunes edited or arranged by Roger Lee Hall:

  • "All at Home" (f.l.: What shall be the theme of the passing hour)
  • "Almighty Savior" (f.l.: Almighty Savior hear my prayer)
  • "Blended Together" (f.l.: Blended together as one we stand)
  • "Celestial Praises" (f.l.: Let all the new creation their sweet hosannas sound)
  • "The Earthquake" (f.l.: Lift your heads ye once afflicted)
  • "Father James's Song (f.l.: In yonder valley there grows sweet union)
  • "Followers of the Lamb" (f.l.: O brethren ain't you happy)
  • "Gentle Words" (f.l.: What the dew is to the flower)
  • "Holy Habitation" (f.l.: Lord, they name shall be exalted)
  • "The Humble Heart" (f.l.: Whence comes this bright celestial light)
  • "Love is Little" (f.l.: Love is little, love is low)
  • "May I Softly Walk" (f.l.: May I softly walk and wisely speak)
  • "Mother" (f.l.: At Manchester in England this blessed fire began)
  • "My Shaker Home" (f.l.: Away from earth's turmoils and cares)
  • "Ode to Contentment" (f.l.: Come contentment lovely guest)
  • "Praise to the Lord" (f.l.: Raise ye your voices)
  • "A Prayer for the Captive" (f.l.: Dark is the cloud that rest over the nation)
  • "Rights of Conscience" {f.l.: Rights of conscience in these days)
  • "The Savior's Universal Prayer" [Lord's Prayer]
  • "The Shakers" (f.l.: When the Lord in ancient days)
  • "Simple Gifts" (f.l.: 'Tis the gift to be simple)
  • "Slow March" (f.l.: The angels of heaven are marching around)
  • "Welcome Song" (f.l.: Welcome, welcome, precious Gospel kindred)
  • "Farewell Song" (f.l.: We will all go home with you)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you would like to schedule Mr. Hall to speak to your organization about the popularity of the Shaker dance song, "Simple Gifts," or some other related topic including some singing, write to discuss scheduling and fee by clicking this link:

Simple Gifts talk

 

 

 

 

Read more about "Blended Together" and "Give Good Gifts" at

Shaker Books and Articles

 

 

 

 

 

Shaker Music  Scholar
Named to Who's Who Directories

 

Roger Lee Hall, one of the world's leading authorities on Shaker music, has received the high honor of being listed in Who's Who in the World and also, Who's Who in America

 

Mr. Hall is a music preservationist, composer, and singer who has researched, arranged and performed Shaker music for forty years.

His popular reference book, A Guide to Shaker Music, is the only one of its kind.  

Also, he edited an extensive 2 CD set with historical booklet featuring music and commentary by the Shakers from Canterbury, New Hampshire and Sabbathday Lake, Maine, titled: Let Zion Move: Music of the Shakers

To read more about his other music research and publications,

CLICK HERE

 

 





Shaker Music Lectures and Workshops

 

 

 

Related links on this site

 

 

Aaron Copland Meets The Shakers -- their first and only meeting.

Article: The Simple Gifts of Shaker Music in America

CD and DVD Releases -- list of original and arranged Shaker tunes.

Joseph Brackett's 'Simple Gifts' -- about the best known Shaker song.

Shaker music books and articles

Shaker music arrangements

Shaker Music Miscellany

Shaker Music Preservation Series

Shaker music in our time

Shaker and Non-Shaker tunes

 

 

 

 

Please help support the preservation mission of this website

Order Shaker music broadsides, CDs and DVDs from the

CAMP Store

 

 

 

 


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