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The East Midlands Sacred Harp Convention

by Ian West


The East Midlands Sacred Harp Convention was founded in 2002 by Helen Brown, Ruth Steggles and Ian West, who had previously hosted the UK Convention in Beeston, Nottinghamshire for three years from 1998 to 2000. The East Midlands Convention continues to be held every year on the fourth Sunday in April and the Saturday before, at the same venue, the Village Hall, Kegworth, Leicestershire.

After their experience running the UK Convention, the founders felt that Sacred Harp singing in this country had grown strong enough to support a second two-day event. A two-day Convention has the potential for greater variety in pace and more flexibility in programming than a one-day singing. This has allowed innovations such as the use of a second song book, the Cooper revision, alongside the 1991 Denson book. The longer duration also makes the event more attractive to singers from the US and Europe, many of whom have made their way to Kegworth over the years.

The East Midlands Convention was conceived as a smaller and simpler event to complement the UK Convention, observing as many of the practices of a “traditional” American Sacred Harp Convention as possible. One of its key objectives was therefore a reliance on a single collection each day to defray expenses, rather than charging for admission as had been the case for the UK Conventions at that time.

Many months were spent searching for an affordable venue which was easily accessible by road or public transport, had a range of accommodation and other facilities nearby and, most importantly, would sound good even if only a few people turned up. In fact, the Convention typically attracts between 50 and 60 singers each day, although as many as 80 have attended on some occasions in the past.


This Web Site has been set up for the United Kingdom Sacred Harp and Shapenote Community to provide a resource centre for singing in the United Kingdom. 

Any correspondence, helpful suggestions and contributions as to content, amendments, additions and new web links should be sent to Edwin and Sheila Macadam at .  All material copyright © 2000-2015.