Quay Smathers Memorial Singing School

Held in the historic Shook-Smathers House, the singing school is taught by leaders in the Blue Ridge style of shaped-note singing, including Quay's daughters June Smathers-Jolley and Elizabeth Smathers-Shaw, and son-in-law Lynn Shaw. Participants will gain a deeper understanding of the tradition, a proficiency in singing shaped-notes as originally sung in the Southern Appalachians, and resources to continue their own personal exploration of the practice. The Quay Smathers Memorial Singing School is devoted to carrying on his work of raising up shaped-note singers who desire to sing in the tradidtional style found in the Blue Ridge mountains of Georgia, North and South Carolina, Tenessee and Virginia. The book of choice is The Christian Harmony by William Walker and much attention is given to tempo, phrasing, and oral traditions. Quay Smathers (1913-1997), singing master and receipent of the prestigous North Carolina Folk Heritage Award, tirelessly taught shaped-note singing from Georgia to Michigan and points in between. Today, those who learned under Quay remember his quick wit, his clear voice, and his strong convictions about saving a musical tradition passed down from his ancestors in Western North Carolina.

2018 Schedule:

  • 9:00 - Registration and Coffee, Tour of Shook-Smathers House
  • 9:30 - Opening Remarks, Presentation about William Billings, Demonstration Singing by Teachers
  • 10:00 - Brief History of Shaped-Note Music and Books
  • 10:45 - Rudiments of Singing Shaped-Notes
  • 12:00 -  Archival Recordings of Shaped-Note Singing, Discussion about Blue Ridge Style
  • 12:30 -  Brownbag Lunch Exhibits 
  • 1:30 -  Section Choir Rehearsal & Advanced Class in Ornamental Singing
  • 2:30 - Refreshment Break
  • 2:45 - Singing As a Group
  • 4:30 - Closing Remarks 

Event Details

Location Shook-Smathers House
Clyde, NC
Cost Free
Visit website to register early strongly suggested. limited availability.
Music Styles Shaped-Note Singing
Event Type Workshop / Class / Demonstration
  • ✔ Handicapped Accessible

Contact Info

Phone (740) 274-1146

Upcoming Dates: