Community Sings: Resources

Want to learn more about organizing or leading a community sing? Here are some resources to explore.


The following four titles by Alice Parker are available on the Melodious Accord website.

Melodious Accord Hymnal contains 150 tunes composed and/or set by Alice Parker, with texts ranging from from Biblical texts to contemporary poetry. Intended for choirs and adventurous congregations, the hymns include many titles familiar to those who have sung them in Parker-Shaw arrangements.

Melodious Accord: Good Singing in Church captures in print what Alice Parker teaches “about taking song from the page and the stage and amplifiers and putting it right where it belongs—on every tongue.”

Creative Hymn Singing is an introduction to the history of this rich musical heritage. It is designed to help song leaders find the style and sound of hymns from different historical periods.

In Folksong Transformations. Singing and Responding to Folksongs: A Primer for Improvisation, Parker introduces and teaches the familiar secular tunes she has used over and over in leading her "Folksong SINGS."

Sing and Shine On! The Teacher’s Guide to Multicultural Song Leading by Nick Page offers step-by-step instructions for teaching songs by rote as well as strategies for teaching song content, making songs exciting, addressing issues of tone quality and intonation, locating song material, and presenting songs to an audience. Ten songs are included in the book as well as signing gestures for one selection. Available at World Music Press.

Music by Heart: Paperless Songs for Evening Worship includes newly composed pieces designed to be taught and sung without the use of congregational books. Available at Church Music Publishing.

Rise Up Singing includes words, chords and sources to 1,200 songs for group singing with an introduction by the late Pete Seeger. Available at Amazon.


The following two resources are both available on Ysaye Barnwell's website.

Singing in the African American Tradition by Ysaye Barnwell explores the harmonies, melodies, rhythms, counter-melodies, and vocal styles of 20 songs from the African-American singing tradition. The course, which includes four instructional CDs and a manual, is for individuals, choirs, church, camp, and community groups or friends of any background. 

In the second volume, Singing in the African America Tradition: Building a Vocal Community® Barnwell teaches 17 traditional songs from African-American culture, including spirituals, hymns, gospel and songs from the Civil Rights Movement.


Music That Makes Community offers workshops around the country. Check the website for details.

Artist-in-Residence Ysaye Barnwell leads Monthly Community Sings at the Levine School of Music in Washington DC. You'll find the schedule on the Levine School website as well as a six-minute video of a past community sing.

Barnwell also leads Building A Vocal Community® workshops. Check her website for details.