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Brother Arnold Hadd, Kevin Siegfried, and Radiance – Shaker Hymns from Maine (Homegrown Concerts from the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress)

August 25, 2021 @ 12:00 PM - 12:30 PM EDT


The United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, more commonly known as the Shakers, was founded circa 1747 in England. The Shakers emigrated from England and settled in Revolutionary colonial America in 1774. From their inception, the Shakers composed thousands of songs which were an important part of Shaker worship services. Shakers’ earliest hymns were shared by word of mouth and letters circulated among their villages. Many Believers wrote out the lyrics in their own manuscript hymnals. In 1813, they published Millennial Praises, a hymnal containing only lyrics. Other Shaker scribes Scribes used a form of music notation called the letteral system, using letters of the alphabet for notes, along with a simple notation of conventional rhythmic values. The Library of Congress Music division has manuscripts in its collections with such transcriptions. Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village in Maine, established at the height of the Shaker movement in the United States in the 18th-century, is the last active Shaker community in the United States, and has three members as of 2021. Brother Arnold Hadd, one of those members, is the last Shaker to actively carry on the 200-plus-year tradition of singing Shaker songs. Brother Arnold has been working with American composer Kevin Siegfried, who creates spare arrangements for choir that are performed by modern vocal ensembles. With Brother Arnold’s guidance, these pieces serve to bring the music to a wider audience, while staying true to the essential nature of the original songs. This concert will focus on the transmission, history, and meaning of Shaker song, and Brother Arnold’s work with Kevin Siegfried. The concert will feature Brother Arnold demonstrating the songs as he sings them, and Radiance, a Seattle, Washington, choral ensemble, singing Siegfried’s arrangements.


August 25, 2021
12:00 PM - 12:30 PM EDT
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American Folklife Center, Library of Congress
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