Shape note singing is one of the oldest musical traditions in the United States still practiced today. Shape notes are a style of musical notation designed to facilitate singing in large groups, whether in a church or in a hall or living room. The notes have a shape assigned to each tone in the musical scale. Shape note singing in America began in the late 18th century, and is currently enjoying a revival in communities nationwide. As in the past, people of all stripes get together to sing hymns and traditional songs, regardless of training or ability — for the sense of community and the simple beauty of singing. The First Congregational Church in Belfast will host a shape note singing event at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 12, with participants singing from the two standard shape note songbooks, the Sacred Harp and Northern Harmony volumes. The event is free and open to the public; songbooks will be available for purchase. For details, call 594-5743.
Relive the excitement of the 2008 state and national elections with photographers Alan and Linda Eastman, who will display pictures from last year in a Camden Public Library exhibit titled “Maine Votes and It Counts!” The Eastmans, founders of the Alan Eastman studio in Waldoboro, document the races of various candidates — from local representatives to presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain — in their hometown of Waldoboro and elsewhere. The result is a look back at a cross section of the entire political process, showing how the happenings in a small community in Maine can reverberate all the way to Washington. The show will hang in the Jean Picker Room at the library through January; for details, call 236-3440.