I’m an Ami expat living in Bochum who enjoys singing shapenote hymns from an old hymnal called the Sacred Harp. In this case, the “harp” is the human voice, and I miss getting together with like-minded folks who also enjoy four-part a cappella singing in this style.
Okay, you say, but these are Christian hymns and I’m not a Christian. That’s not a problem. Check out some of the samples that are linked from the home page here. If the style and the sound appeal to you, let me know anyway. You don’t have to be religious to sing these hymns. No one will try to convert you or preach to you. We leave our doctrines at the door. If you are religiously inclined, that’s fine too. Sacred Harp singers respect each other’s spiritual “space” and just enjoy the sound.
This type of singing is not performance-driven. Amateurs and professionals alike can participate. The key word here is “participate”. Sacred Harp is meant to be sung and enjoyed by singers. Listeners are welcome, but my main purpose here is to form a group, not to perform for an audience. I don’t have a time or a place to meet yet, but if you are interested, you can contact me at alosaf1 (at) gmail (dot) com, and we can start making arrangements to meet and sing.
*The “heavy metal” in the page title is a nod to Bochum’s heritage as a center of the coal and steel industries, though Sacred Harp Singing has been referred to as “a cappella heavy metal”