Oxford Sacred Harp Singing

Shapenote Singing in the City of Dreaming Spires

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Good news !! 

We have successfully located an alternative hall in North Hinksey, for the 2017 Oxford Singing Day, which will be on Saturday 24th June. The hall is possibly only 200 yards away from the old hall, but separated from it, and hidden by the embankment of the main A34 trunk road. 

So, hopefully it will be well away from the noise of redevelopment (if it has started by then) and another chance to see all our old singing friends there!!


19 Oct 2017

Follow us on:


Listen to:

The Strand, - BBC World Service, review of First Polish Sacred Harp Convention in Warsaw, in September 2012.  Starts at 11:05 mins.

Discussions on Blogs:

Wed 28 Nov 2012
http://jpkarlsberg.com: Songs of the Sacred Harp on BBC Radio 4.


7 Dec 2012 - Music Takes a Sacred Shape; article in the Church Times by Simon Jones.

7 Dec 2012 -
Cerys Matthews visits Alabama to uncover a sacred choral tradition.


The Sacred Harp website in America is at www.fasola.org which contains a wealth of information for both new and experienced singers.




 Oxford Sacred Harp Singing

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Unfortunately, and sadly, our Evening Singings have now ceased. The Annual Singing Day, however, has now reverted to the last Saturday in June, and will take place as usual on that date in 2016. See below.

Please also see notice below as to future singings

The Oxford New Road Baptist Church in 1799

Thursday 17 December


Thank you all for coming to the final
Carols Session,
which was greatly appreciated by those
who came!


We hope we may be able to host occasional singing to visitors to Oxford, given sufficient notice !

Chapel Way, OX2 9LS


Singing Day
25th June 2016

10.00 am - 4.00 pm

Tea, Coffee and Biscuits available from 9.30 am


Bring and Share Lunch

Donations to cover costs


Evening get together afterwards at 30 Eynsham Road OX2 9BP

Lifts from Oxford Bus and Rail Stations can be arranged
 please contact us


Buses 4, 4a, 4b, and S1 can be picked up from the
centre of Frideswide Square opposite Oxford Station;
these go to Botley Shops.
Bus U1 also goes from the same stop, but to Westminster Way,
the stop being immediately before the Shops.

It is easiest to leave the railway station and take footbridge over the Botley Road. 
Turn left down the slope, and cross the road. Bus stop immediately on left.

If using our splendid new rail link from Marylebone,
this at present stops at Oxford Parkway station.
Use the 500 bus link to Oxford Station, then procede as above.

Map for bus stop

Map for Seacourt Hall, Chapel Way, OX2 9LS


If walking, it is about a mile from the Stations down the Botley Road to Botley,
ie about 20 minutes walk, but beware roadworks!


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Monthly Oxford singings


  1. Some of you will already know the December 'teenth' Thursday singing on
    17 December will be the last one we'll be holding here in Oxford.

    When we started singing in our home early in 1999, the Oxford singers
    became only the third group meeting on a monthly basis in the UK. Many
    is the time that the living room was full, we well remember occasions
    with 30 people there, several sitting on the floor! Now there are more
    than fourteen singing groups, some meeting on a weekly basis, such is
    the interest and the enthusiasm for this wonderful music. So, now that
    Sacred Harp singing is safe and well, particularly in the South of
    England, we've decided to call it a day with the Oxford sessions.

    As this particular door closes, it means we can expand our commitment to
    our granddaughters in Dartmouth, but the annual Oxford Sacred Harp
    singing on the Saturday before the fourth Sunday in June, and the
    Jordan's Thanksgiving singing on the Saturday before the fourth Sunday
    in November will be taking place as usual. And as and when any overseas
    visitors find themselves in Oxford, we'll do our best to organise people
    together to sing with our guests. You won't be forgotten in that respect!

    Please accept our thanks for your support over the past 17 years, some
    of you have travelled quite a distance to be with us, and it's always
    been appreciated.  Join us here in Oxford, together with Steve Marini,
    for one more time in singing some pieces from the Christmas Harp as well
    as from the Sacred Harp on Thursday 17 December from 7.45 pm onwards.
    Plenty of seasonal food and drink to be had for those that will. Notice
    of anyone thinking of coming with special dietary needs would be

Link here to a piece of music from the Shenandoah Harmony, being led by Tom Macclure at Bethnal Green, London, on 16 March 2014.


The American Sacred Harp tradition


What is Sacred Harp? A rather longer explanation can be found here, but essentially it is Shapenote music, an American choral tradition of singing unaccompanied four-part harmony, sometimes referred to as 'sacred folksong' or 'White Gospel' music.


This 200 year-old living tradition came to the UK in the early 1990s, and to Oxford some fourteen years ago. It has recently caught the interest and imagination of singers in several parts of Europe, including Ireland, Poland and Germany, and not least in London.   Come and experience it here in Oxford for yourselves!


Singing at 30 Eynsham Road, Botley, Oxford, OX2 9BP, take place on 3rd Thursdays and 5th Tuesdays, when there is one) in the month. The 5th Tuesday singings look at alternative sources of music eg. Northern Harmony, Norumbega Harmony, Shenandoah Harmony, etc.


Loan music available, or learn by ear.


All welcome, from beginners to experienced. There is no need to be able to read music!


Further information from:
Sheila and Edwin Macadam
Tel:01865 865773
Email:  sheila@oxfordsacredharp.org
or sheila.macadam@music.ox.ac.uk

How to find us:

30 Eynsham Road OX2 9BP is just west of the A34 Oxford Bypass, on the B4044 Oxford - Eynsham Road, and just after the road branches at the bottom of Cumnor Hill in the "village" of Botley.

The house is to the north of Eynsham Road, parking in nearby roads, Deanfield Road and Owlington Close. Bus stops for Services 11, S1 and 4C very close to the front door. All the other 4 Services (4, 4A, 4B,) stop at or near the Botley shops, a short walk away!

Location map:

Link to Google Map here