Aula Maxima, UCC Eoin Leading Aula Maxima, UCC


The First Ireland Sacred Harp Convention and Singing School, 4-6 March 2011

was an enormous success! Many thanks to all of the wonderful singers who traveled across land and sea to be with us, thank you to our fantastic singing school masters, and many thanks to all of the local organizers, cooks, and singers for their hard work, dedication, and ceaseless energy. Click here for a selection of videos, photos, and press coverage of the convention. We hope you will all join us again next year!


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Singing schools by David Ivey and Neely Bruce

This singing school is a set of two workshops that will introduce you to the music, notation, and traditions of American Sacred Harp singing. The workshops will be co-taught by singing masters David Ivey and Neely Bruce. David Ivey is a lifelong Sacred Harp singer and teacher hailing from a traditional singing family from Madison County, Alabama. Neely Bruce, originally from Alabama, is professor of music at Wesleyan University, one of the founders of the New England Sacred Harp Singing Convention, and a contributing composer to the Sacred Harp. The singing schools are open to newcomers and singers of all levels of experience.

Friday 7-9, Sean O'Riada Hall, UCC
Saturday 9:30-12, Aula Maxima, UCC
(On Saturday, we will have coffee/tea and registration at 9:30, and the singing school will start at 10 AM)


The convention is a coming together of traditional singers and new singers to share the intense musical, communal, and spiritual experience of devoting all of our combined energy to making music together for an entire weekend. Experienced Sacred Harp singers from America and England will be joining us, and we strongly encourage newcomers from across Ireland to participate. We will be singing from the Sacred Harp (Denson edition). We will share lunch together both days (please bring food to share if you can).

Saturday 1-3:30 and Sunday 9:30-3:30, Aula Maxima, UCC
(coffee/tea and registration will open at 9:30, and the first singing session will start at 10 AM)

Please REGISTER for the singing schools and convention here!

Admission to all events is free. However, we will be collecting donations at the convention to help us cover expenses. (An appropriate donation might be five euros per day for students and unemployed, and ten or twenty euros per day for those of better means.)
All attendees coming from the local area are requested to bring food to share for the lunchtime potluck feast on both Saturday and Sunday.


Other Events:

Lecture Panel on the Sacred Harp

"'The Sacred Harp' as Experimental Composition: How one American composer discovered a remarkable tradition."
by Prof. Neely Bruce

New England composers of sacred music in the late eighteenth century, and their southern successors in the mid-nineteenth, were remarkably free-wheeling in their approach to writing music. Some of their best work is preserved in The Sacred Harp. In their treatment of dissonance, rhythm, and even spatial relationships, William Billings, Timothy Swan, Supply Belcher, B. F. White, L. P. Breedlove, and other composers in this multifaceted collection, are remarkably modern. Whether by coincidence or design, their work anticipates in surprising ways that of major composers of the twentieth century.

"Experimentalism and Conservatism: Independence and Influence in the Music of The Sacred Harp"
by Jesse Pearlman Karlsberg
The wide ranging music in The Sacred Harp emerges from an approach to composition that is both experimental and conservative. Despite their relative isolation, and purposeful independence from any rules of composition, many Sacred Harp writers were nonetheless influenced by popular musical styles, and willingly constrained by the writing of previous generations.

Thursday 11-1, Sean O'Riada Hall, UCC

Weekly Sing

If you want even more singing opportunities, come join us at our regular weekly singing session at the Camden Palace.

Thursday 6-8 PM, Camden Palace, Camden Quay

Concert by Andy Irvine

Legendary Irish singer-songwriter Andy Irvine performs his impressive repertoire of Irish traditional songs and Balkan dance tunes in an exciting fusion of Irish and World Music. A highly revered troubadour of the Irish music world, Andy is a founder member of the Sweeney¹s Men, Patrick Street, Planxty, and Mozaik. (Admission is free, but seating is limited and often fills up fast, so please come early.)

Friday 1-2, Glucksman Gallery, UCC

Saturday evening social

Convention participants are invited to hang out and socialize on Saturday evening at the Long Valley Pub. We have reserved the upstairs room in the pub from 8 PM. Musical instruments and/or printouts for informal eclectic singing are welcome.

Saturday 8 PM-, Long Valley Pub

Cork Singers Club

The Cork Singers Club is a traditional singing club. Every Sunday night they feature a special guest singer, and provide opportunities for club members to perform songs. This is a great chance to hear some traditional Irish solo singing, especially ballads. You might even be asked to share one of your own songs.

Sunday 9:30-11:30 p.m., Spailpín Fánach Pub


We will be convening in lovely Cork City on the southern coast of the Republic of Ireland.
The Thursday lecture and Friday singing school will take place in the Music Building of the University College Cork on Sundays Well Road.
The Friday lunchtime concert will take place in the Glucksman Gallery on the main campus at University College Cork.
The Saturday singing school and the entire convention will take place in the beautiful Aula Maxima, whose wooden ceiling, wooden floors, and wooden panels make for gorgeous acoustics. The Aula Maxima is located in the Main Quad of University College Cork.
The Saturday Evening Social is located in the upstairs room of the Long Valley Pub, 10 Winthrop St. (off of Oliver Plunkett St.).
The Cork Singer's club meets in the upstairs room of An Spailpín Fánach, South Main St.

Download an information sheet with directions and maps here.


Cork is a very walkable city; both the bus and train stations are within 20 minute walking time (or a 5-10 minute cab ride).
Bus schedules are available from Bus Éireann.
Train schedules are available from
Air travel is most convenient through the Cork Airport (ORK), which is a 20 minute cab ride from the city center and has direct flights from most UK and major European cities.
It is also possible to fly into Shannon airport (2 1/2 hour direct bus to Cork), or Dublin (three hour train ride from downtown Dublin).


We recommend that you stay in one of the B&Bs or hotels located on Western Road, which are easy walking distance to the city center and the convention sites.
The Garnish House (our favorite)
Anam Cara
Blarney Stone Guesthouse
The River Lee Hotel
Lancaster Lodge


Registered convention participants will be invited to share dinner-on-the-grounds on both Saturday and Sunday from 12 to 1. Dinner-on-the-grounds is a potluck feast-- it's an important part of the Sacred Harp tradition, and an opportunity to show some real Irish hospitality to the 60+ guests that we are expecting from the US, the UK, Poland, and France. We ask all attendees coming from within Ireland to please bring lots of food to share; we recommend bringing both a main dish and a dessert or salad, preferably enough to feed 8-12 people, on both Saturday and Sunday. There will be no kitchen facilities, so your dishes should be well insulated to keep them hot or cold, and ready to serve. Please read our Dinner on the Grounds preparation guide.

Groceries within walking distance:
(in order of closest to farthest, more or less)
English Market (lots of ready-made food)
Quay Co-Op
Marks & Spencer (lots of ready-made food)

Recommended Restaurants and Cafés within walking distance:
(in order of closest to farthest, more or less)
Café Paradiso (a bit pricey)
Indigo Brasserie
Liberty Grill
Café Gusto
Quay Co-op
Café Bar Deli
Strasbourg Goose
Eastern Tandoori
Café Idaho
Banna Thai
Annie's Gastro Pub (closest to events in the Music Building)


Please download one of our flyers and distribute it to your local singers!
Flyer for sacred harp singers
Flyer for newcomers


(or Juniper Hill or Rob Wedgbury)


We hope to sing with you in Cork City in 2011!