Holy Manna is a big, participatory singing that celebrates the vast history of the early American hymn and reflects on this repertoire's enduring legacy. Beginning with a brief “singing school” based on the practice of early music educators – Ruckus leads all present in a communitarian feast of song and history.
Holy Manna centers around the shape-note tradition and practice, a form of folk hymnody which was developed in 18th-century New England and found its home in the rural South. This traditional singing practice is punctuated by storytelling and a wide range of music that tells of the diverse history of the repertoire and reflects upon its contemporary resonance. With new compositions and arrangements, Ruckus connects these old hymns to ancient folk melodies, fiddle tunes, up to gospel, bluegrass and country blues.
Members of the ensemble may work in advance of performance with local singing groups for deeper community engagement and preparation - from grade school choruses to amateur choirs to university students to local shape note groups.
April 28th, 6pm, Sheep Hill Rural Lands Foundation, Williamstown, MA
April 30, 2022 Dumbarton Concerts, Washington DC
Holy Manna premiered at The Clark Art Institute of Williamstown, MA in September, 2020.