Sacred Harp Singing in Cincinnati

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Ordinarily we sing EVERY MONTH at Community Friends Meeting in North Avondale. However, due to Coronavirus we have CANCELLED singing events until further notice. We hope you are well and safe, and do please take care of each other. We will resume singing when we are able, and we expect an especially joyous event when that happens.

Sacred Harp singing uses the book The Sacred Harp (orig. 1844), which features a style of music popular during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Its most distinctive characteristic is the use of shape notes to indicate the degree of the musical scale. Just as in nineteenth century singing schools, Sacred Harp singers sing the names of the notes "fa," "sol," "la," and "mi" before singing the text. Singers sit in a "hollow square," with the bass, tenor, treble, and alto facing the leader in the center.

As the film clip describes, Sacred Harp singing is undergoing a revival in northern cities like Cincinnati. For more information on Sacred Harp singing in general, the "fasola" webpage is a good resource—

Directions and Singing Information

Sacred Harp singing meets on the 2nd Sunday of each month, 4:30-7:30pm. We have a communal meal at 6:00pm—please join us!

The meetings are informal and proceed by taking turns choosing songs from the book. Often easy songs are chosen if newcomers are present. Veteran singers are eager to answer any questions. There is no admission charge, no membership, no audition, no choir director, no rehearsal, and no performance—just singing. Sacred Harp singing thrives on large numbers, so veterans are usually eager to help newcomers learn the fundamentals.

Community Friends Meeting
3960 Winding Way, Cincinnati, OH 45229

Potluck — We have a potluck meal around 6pm during the singing. Most singers bring a modest contribution but this is not required. There is a fully-equipped kitchen with a gas stove with oven, fridge, utensils, dishes, etc.

Donation — The church has asked for $2/person donation for use of the building. We will pass a collection basket midway through the singing.


  • I-75 or I-71 Exit 7 - 562 Norwood Lateral
  • From the Lateral, exit at Reading Rd, turn south (right from I-75; left from I-71)
  • Reading Rd southbound, pass golf course
  • left on Avondale Av; right on Winding Way
  • park in circular drive or on street
  • I-71 northbound Exit 3 - Martin Luther King Drive
  • right (west) onto MLK Drive, go 0.3 miles
  • first right onto Reading Rd, go 1.6 miles
  • right on Lenox Pl, then quick left to stay on Lenox Pl.
  • go 0.3 mi, road (Lenox Pl) ends at Community Friends

FOR MORE INFORMATION — For more information on the Cincinnati singing call John Bealle at 5ds13453tr7-4ru5444r1rgc5556-1957554ic47801a3 or email at


Each year on January 1st, Cincinnati sponsors an "all-day singing" from 10am-3:30pm. This is a wonderful event that attracts singers from around the midwest and brings together old friends who are in Cincinnati for the holidays. Details on the singing are available at the Cincinnati New Year Singing website.


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Records indicate that the first meeting was held June 26, 1988, with six singers. In 1990 we hosted a singing school taught by Richard DeLong, held in a classroom at Xavier University. There for the first time we met the singers from Columbus. Soon after, we jointly established the Yellow Springs singing.


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