The Revision-Music Committee is pleased to share this status report on the revision of The Sacred Harp. We continue to value your input and support.
Revision-Music Committee Status Report
On October 13, 2018, the Sacred Harp Publishing Company Board of Directors unanimously approved a revision of the 1991 Edition and named David Ivey as chair of the Revision-Music Committee. This followed extensive discussions that first started five years earlier in 2013.
Going back to the first revisions of The Sacred Harp by B. F. White in the nineteenth century, it has been the practice to use a committee of singers to work the revision of our songbook. The additional members of the committee (Lauren Bock, Helen Brown, Richard Ivey, Jesse P. Karlsberg, Nathan Rees, Karen Rollins, Terry Wootten, and David Wright) were announced in April 2019.
A central feature of the revision process is the involvement of the singing community. We have held 16 town hall meetings from Fairbanks, Alaska, to Warsaw, Poland. Singers from the community have participated in two singing sessions for recording submitted songs. To date 127 singers have submitted 559 songs by 164 composers/arrangers. 124 of those composers are living or known to living singers. The remaining 40 are historic composers or sources from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The committee is evaluating songs blindly without dates or attributions to writers.
Your Revision-Music Committee has been working hard. The committee has met nine times since May 2019, and I am indebted to them for their dedication and care for the Sacred Harp community and songbook. The committee is considering every aspect of the book from cover to cover. The committee has no preset agenda other than to produce the best possible revision that will satisfy the singing public for the next 25–30 years. We hope the new book will strengthen and add energy to the community and will produce even more interest in our book.
An adjunct committee of experts was appointed in May 2019 to work on book design and production. This adjunct committee is comprised of Jesse P. Karlsberg (chair), Rachel Wells Hall, Fynn Titford-Mock, Michael Spencer, Lindy Groening, and Kate Coxon.
Our original plan was to complete the revision in late 2021. However, our progress is impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, so we are now extending that schedule by about two years. Song contributors are now requested to submit music by April 30, 2022. We hope to have an open singing session to record finalist songs for further evaluation, as was done for the 1991 revision, in the last half of 2022. We also plan to hold a celebration singing to introduce the new revision when it becomes available.
We continue to receive your inputs that are submitted by the following email or postal mail channels. Inputs provided in this way are viewed by all committee members. The email address is [email protected]. The postal address is PO Box 4243, Huntsville, AL 35815.
Finally, I thank everyone for your encouragement and the confidence that you have expressed in the committee. We value your continued support.