There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
“The ideals of popular, art, concert, and opera singing do not apply to the Sacred Harp.” So wrote the compilers of the hymnal that is central to the venerable American tradition of Sacred Harp, or shape-note, singing. If you didn’t stop reading this back at “hymnal,” you either already know or should know about this form of music-making, in which vocalists with “pure, full, firm, and certain” tone bellow their harmonies to the heavens. It’s a cappella, it’s fairly easy to grasp, and it’s mighty. Tim Eriksen is the best-known bridge between pop music and this peculiarly wonderful style; his albums with Cordelia’s Dad included a Sacred Harp tune here and there, and he brought in singers—and trained nonsingers—for several scenes in Cold Mountain. That film was pretty but vacuous; the music is exactly the opposite. Find out more—and try it out yourself—when Eriksen and the Potomac Sacred Harp Singers present “Sacred Harp Singing” at 2:30 p.m. at the S. Dillon Ripley Center, 1100 Jefferson Drive SW. $25. (202) 252-0012. (Pamela Murray Winters)