Shaping beautiful sound

17:00, Aug 28 2012
Julian Raphael
SHAPING NOTES: Julian Raphael is in Auckland to lead a Shape-note Singshop.

Anyone who loves to sing is in for a rare treat at Ponsonby's Unitarian Church on September 1.

The historic church on Ponsonby Rd will ring with the four-part harmonies of shape-note songs.

Julian Raphael is musician, teacher, and leader of the Wellington Community Choir and is offering a rare chance for people to come along and learn this distinctive style of community singing.

Mr Raphael says the Unitarian Church has beautiful woodwork and good acoustics, making it an ideal setting for a day of joyous singing.

Shape-note singing schools began in America in the early 1700s.

A system of shapes represented musical notes based on the syllables FA, SO, LA and MI.


This made sight-reading easier as people gathered for their congregational and community singing practices.

"Some American composers are writing in this style today, producing wonderfully heart-warming and vibrant songs," Mr Raphael says.

Mr Raphael is a passionate advocate of shape-note music and has worked alongside one of the great authorities of the style, Larry Gordon from Northern Harmony, USA.

"This non-denominational ‘singshop' offers a rare singing experience for all those who love to sing with others and are not afraid of some basic sight reading."


What: Shape-note Singshop with Julian Raphael

When: September 1, 10am to 4pm

Where: Auckland Unitarian Church, 1 Ponsonby Rd

How: Bookings essential. Email or phone or text 027 222 9049. 

Auckland City Harbour News