Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Berkeley Sacred Harp - on the Radio!

Late last night, a group of Monday night sacred harp regulars performed on KUSF, the University of San Francisco college station. There were fourteen of us in a tiny, acoustically deadened, and extremely warm room. It was way past my bedtime. The equipment was primitive. As in pre-stereo. But singing your heart out with your friends is fun no matter what the circumstances!

Listen to a recording of the show.

I think because of the acoustics of the room (or more precisely, the lack thereof), the sound is especially naked and raw, even by sacred harp standards. Of course, in my book, "raw" = "cool."

At the very, very end, I lead 49b, "Mear." This is an example of a "crisis of faith" song - minor, mournful, profoundly unresolved, and thus, naturally, one of my favorites. Indulge me:

Will God forever cast us off?
His wrath forever smoke
Against the people of His love,
His little chosen flock.

And still to heighten our distress,
Thy presence is withdrawn;
Thy wonted signs of pow’r and grace
Thy pow’r and grace are gone.

No prophet speaks to calm our grief,
But all in silence mourn;
Nor know the hour of our relief,
The hour of Thy return.

Now that you're feeling a little vulnerable and worried, let me invite y'all to the Golden Gate Singing this Saturday in Portrero Hill! If the gorgeous, powerful music doesn't soothe your theological angst, the amazing potluck spread might do the trick. Newcomers are more than welcome - it's free and loaner books are provided! Persons of all faiths (or no faith) are welcome and represented. Most importantly: we don't care if you can sing (we can't)! Drop by!

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