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Visiting Other Conventions

notes fa sol la Dear Miss Grace Notes: For several years singers from our local class have attended what I'll call the "Friendly Valley" all-day singing. We have enjoyed that singing and have been well received. The problem is that the "Friendly Valley" singers don't return the visits by coming to sing with us. I think only two of their singers have been to our local singing in the last four years. So our feelings are a little hurt, and frankly we could use some help from outside our local class at our all-day singing. Some of our singers say they're not going to "Friendly Valley" anymore and will go sing somewhere where our visits will be returned. What do you think? ----Unrequited

image of Miss Grace Notes Gentle Singer: As you have observed, the charms of Sacred Harp do not lie wholly in the singing itself; one "unsung" delight is the custom of "visiting" and the friendships that develop between singers in different communities and regions of the country. This custom dates to the 19th century, when singers travelled by mules and wagons for as much as a week to attend distant singings. The practice helps singers experience a sense of mutual enjoyment, support, and obligation.
   You have indicated that the "Friendly Valley" singers can't or won't return the visit. May I assume you have already personally invited "Friendly" singers? Perhaps they have a long-standing obligation on the same date as your singing? In any case, unless there is a strong "Friendly Valley" local class, their inability or unwillingness to visit will likely mean that you will eventually see "Friendly Valley" listed with the "called off" singings in the annual Minutes Book. Miss Grace Notes advises against attending the "Friendly Valley" singing grudgingly. Better not to attend than to nurse hurt feelings. Either attend as before, accepting that they are not likely to reciprocate, or attend another singing that weekend.

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