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David Ivey

Aug. 15, 1955

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David Ivey, Washington, D.C., 2013, photograph by Alan Govenar
David Ivey performing with his Sacred Harp singers at the 2013 National Heritage Fellowship Concert, Washington, D.C., photograph by Michael G. Stewart
David Ivey with his family, Washington, D.C., 2013, photograph by Alan Govenar
David Ivey performing with his Sacred Harp singers at the 2013 National Heritage Fellowship Concert, Washington, D.C., photograph by Michael G. Stewart
David Ivey performing with his Sacred Harp singers at the 2013 National Heritage Fellowship Concert, Washington, D.C., photograph by Michael G. Stewart
David Ivey, Washington, D.C., 2013, photograph by Alan Govenar
David Ivey performing at the 2013 National Heritage Fellowship Concert, Washington, D.C., photograph by Michael G. Stewart
David Ivey, Washington, D.C., 2013, photograph by Alan Govenar
David Ivey performing at the 2013 National Heritage Fellowship Concert, Washington, D.C., photograph by Michael G. Stewart
David Ivey performing with his Sacred Harp singers at the 2013 National Heritage Fellowship Concert, Washington, D.C., photograph by Michael G. Stewart
David Ivey, Washington, D.C., 2013, photograph by Alan Govenar

David Ivey is a native of Henegar, in northeast Alabama. His family was prominent in Sacred Harp singing. At an early age, he attended singing schools and, because of his keen ear, was called upon to “key” (provide the pitch) for singers.

Sacred Harp singing had its beginnings in Colonial New England and spread, thanks to traveling singing masters. It became popular in the rural South, especially in Alabama and Georgia, and takes its name from that of a hymn book published in Georgia in 1844. (Ivey served on the committee that produced the 1991 edition, which remains popular and widely used.) Any number of singers can take part. They divide into four vocal parts and gather in what they call a “hollow square.” They take turns coming to the center of the square to lead, which also gives them the rich experience of being at the center of all four voices. As they sing, they move their hands to keep time. The music is a form of worship, but anyone is welcome to participate or simply to listen. The style is also called shape note singing because it employs a system of musical notation with symbols for notes. Some singers use a seven-note system, but Ivey continues to use four tones: fa, sol, la and mi.

After studying computer technology at Auburn University, Ivey moved to West Palm Beach, Florida, but moved back to north Alabama within a couple of years so he could take part in Sacred Harp singing. After establishing a singing school at his church, in 2003 he joined with singers Jeff and Shelbie Sheppard to establish Camp Fasola, whose name reflects a name sometimes used for Sacred Harp: “fasola singing.” It proved so popular that two sessions are held each summer—one for adults, one for younger singers. The adult camp is held in Double Springs, Alabama. In addition to singing, students learn about the tradition of “dinner on the grounds” during all-day singing events and even the making of lemonade, a staple of such gatherings. Sacred Harp has gained popularity in Europe, and camps were held in Poland in 2012 and 2014. Ivey plans to continue these about every other year, possibly in other European countries.

Ivey is also a founding director of the Sacred Harp Musical Heritage Association. In 2003, he worked with film director Anthony Minghella and music producer T Bone Burnett to record Sacred Harp songs for the soundtrack of the Civil War film Cold Mountain.

Bibliography
“NEA National Heritage Fellowships: David Ivey.” http://arts.gov/honors/heritage/fellows/david-ivey
Huebner, Michael. “Sacred Harp: Flourishing globally from Southern roots.” June 10, 2012. http://www.al.com/entertainment /index.ssf/2012/06/sacred_harp_flourishing_global.html
Reed, Josephine. “2013 National Heritage Winner.” Sacred Harp singer David Ivey both preserves the tradition and widens the circle.” Art Works. http://arts.gov/audio/david-ivey#file_audio_default_group_audio_transcript
http://campfasola.org/

Discography
Various artists. Cold Mountain soundtrack. Sony CD, 2003.

Filmography
Cold Mountain, a 2003 Miramax feature film, included two songs recorded by David Ivey and other Sacred Harp singers.

Watch

David Ivey interviewed by Nicholas R. Spitzer and performing with his Sacred Heart singers, 2013 National Heritage Fellowship Concert, Washington, D.C., courtesy National Endowment for the Arts

David Ivey demonstrating major and minor scales with his Sacred Heart singers, 2013 National Heritage Fellowship Concert, Washington, D.C., courtesy National Endowment for the Arts


David Ivey interviewed by Nicholas R. Spitzer, 2013 National Heritage Fellowship Concert, Washington, D.C., courtesy National Endowment for the Arts

David Ivey performing "Florida" with his Sacred Heart singers, 2013 National Heritage Fellowship Concert, Washington, D.C., courtesy National Endowment for the Arts


David Ivey performing "Wayfaring Stranger" with his Sacred Heart singers, 2013 National Heritage Fellowship Concert, Washington, D.C., courtesy National Endowment for the Arts

Listen

David Ivey answers the question 'How did you get started singing Sacred Heart?' Interview by Alan Govenar, Washington, D.C., 2013

David Ivey answers the question 'What is Sacred Harp?' Interview by Alan Govenar, Washington, D.C., 2013

David Ivey outlines the Sacred Harp traditions, interview by Alan Govenar, Washington, D.C., 2013

David Ivey discusses the Sacred Harp community, interview by Alan Govenar, Washington, D.C., 2013

David Ivey answers the question 'Do you sing these songs a cappella?' Interview by Alan Govenar, Washington, D.C., 2013

David Ivey answers the question 'What are the four shapes?' Interview by Alan Govenar, Washington, D.C., 2013

David Ivey demonstrates the major and minor scales, interview by Alan Govenar, Washington, D.C., 2013

David Ivey sings 'Parting Friends' and explains the origin of the song, interview by Alan Govenar, Washington, D.C., 2013

David Ivey sings 'Corinth,' interview by Alan Govenar, Washington, D.C., 2013

David Ivey answers the question 'Why did the Sacred Harp develop?' Interview by Alan Govenar, Washington, D.C., 2013

David Ivey talks about how Sacred Harp singing is taught today, interview by Alan Govenar, Washington, D.C., 2013

David Ivey answers the question 'How does Sacred Harp make you feel?' Interview by Alan Govenar, Washington, D.C., 2013