Death Head icon Norumbega Harmony

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Quick Contents: Sacred Harp Conventions, contact info, musings on etymology of Norumbega, recordings available, group photographs.

NEW! Finally in print, The Norumbega Harmony, a collection of New England tunes set in shape-notes.

Our latest recording, Sweet Seraphic Fire has been released by New World Records. Available as Compact Disk (CD).

Norumbega Concert Calendar.

Norumbega Harmony sponsors monthly Boston Area Singings from the Original Sacred Harp and other shape-note tunebooks in the Meetinghouse behind Noyes Hall at the Andover-Newton Theological School, 210 Herrick Road, Newton Centre, Massachusetts. See the flyer for dates, details, maps, and contact info. These take place every second Monday of the month beginning at 7:45 pm. You are welcome to come either to sing or to listen. Loaner books are available.

The Monthly Singing page also has information about the Third Sunday singing in Charlestown and the weekly singing at Boston University.

Norumbega Harmony is one of the largest and most active groups of Sacred Harp and shape-note singers in New England. The Group includes more than 50 singers, the majority of whom live in the greater Boston area. The singers, who have diverse musical and religious backgrounds, gather weekly for fellowship and traditional hollow-square singing from which the group's characteristic singing style has evolved.

Norumbega Harmony was founded in 1976 at Wellesley College as an undergraduate student organization by singing master Dr. Stephen Marini, who had learned to sing Sacred Harp at traditional singings held at Primitive Baptists churches in Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia. The student group soon attracted singers from outside the College and in the early 1980s moved to Cambridge and took on the name "Norumbega Harmony". More recently many of the singers have traveled to singings sponsored by traditional singers in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Texas, as well as to singings sponsored by other groups of newcomers in Chicago, St. Louis, Denver, Minneapolis, Madison, WI, Washington, DC, Ithaca, NY, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont.

Norumbega Harmony's repertoire consists of music from the colonial and Revolutionary era of New England as well as music from the Sacred Harp and other American folk-hymn traditions. Singers from Norumbega Harmony sponsor monthly public singings from the Original Sacred Harp (Denson Revision) and once every three years they host the annual New England Sacred Harp Singing Convention. They also conduct workshops (also called "singing schools") and singings at regional folk festivals, and they have given concerts, singings schools, lectures and interviews, and they have sung for church services, recordings, and other events by invitation throughout New England.

Contact Information

Persons or organizations wishing to sponsor an event should contact:
Dennis O'Brien
10 Ethel Street
Roslindale, MA 02131-4508
Tel: 617-325-4952

Email inquiries handled by Bob Parr, parr [at] LL [dot] mit [dot] edu

The group has presented works in concert for the Folk Alliance Conference, the American Antiquarian Society, the Sonneck Society, the Berkshire Shaker Seminar, the Society for the History of the Early American Republic (SHEAR), and others. In addition Norumbega Harmony presents a Singing School and Open Sing from the Sacred Harp at the annual New England Folk Festival and every third year (..., 1996, 1999, ...) sponsors the annual New England Sacred Harp Convention.

The Name

There is a somewhat controversial etymology of Norumbega available as a distraction, with illustrations.

. Recordings .

Recordings are in stock may be ordered from Norumbega Harmony c/o:

A. Kazlauskas
99 Bow Street #1
Arlington, MA 02474

E-Mail inquiries handled by A. Kazlauskas:

These recordings should also be available from Tower Records in some areas. Recordings and tunebooks are also available at the monthly open sings at Andover-Newton Theological School.


The Norumbega Harmony, a collection of 136 New England tunes, set in shape notes, with indexes and commentary. Clothbound, an oblong book similar in layout to The Sacred Harp.
The Norumbega Harmony Sampler introduced at the 1996 New England Convention is a collection of 12 New England tunes set in shape notes, a preview of our new book, The Norumbega Harmony, above.

Disclaimer: I have no financial interest in sales of these recordings - my intent is solely to make the information available to interested parties for the dissemination and enjoyment of this music.


Concert and other pictures can be found in our Photo Gallery, although we do stress the Aural experience rather than the visual.

Other illustrations of Norumbega, the Concept, rather than the singing group, are available in the etymology section.

Corrections, additions or comments?
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Original June 1994
Last Modified: 2016 Sep 21 / Ishmael the Fiddler