WHAT IS SACRED HARP?
This exhibit celebrates one of southeast Georgia’s most distinctive and cherished traditions: a style of three or four part, unaccompanied religious singing called “Sacred Harp” which has been part of local community life since the mid- 1800s. The Sacred Harp singing style originated in colonial New England and later spread to the American South where states like Georgia continue singing traditions of great power and beauty. The name “Sacred Harp” comes from the most common songbook used in this singing style, The Sacred Harp, first published in 1844 by B. F. White of Hamilton, Georgia. Although originally written for use in Protestant church services, The Sacred Harp has become the centerpiece of a nondenominational community singing tradition that typically takes place outside formal worship..
Ramona Lee beats time as she sings from the revised Cooper edition of B.F. White’s Sacred Harp during a monthly sing at the Hoboken School.
Photo by Laurie Kay Sommers, 2000.