First Lutheran Church
1208 Race Street
Cincinnati OH 45202
Saturday, Feb 29 ~ 10:00am-3:30pm
Sunday, Mar 1 ~ 9:30am-3:00pm

Welcome everyone to the 28th annual Ohio State Convention, hosted by the Cincinnati singers. Our 2020 chair team, Ed Walton and Josh Walton, has the local crew primed for hospitality. As the old saying goes, "We'll treat you so many ways you're bound to like some of them."

We will be in the same space as 2017. So singers, prepare yourselves for an acoustical adventure at First Lutheran Church. Our singing space measures 37x42x10, all hard surfaces. Yes, you heard that right: a ten-foot ceiling, with walls close behind each part. For an account of the 2017 convention, read Mike Hinton's detailed report.

New to Sacred Harp? It is indescribably weird, high-spirited religious folk music sung from the 1844 book, The Sacred Harp. Hosted in Cincinnati once every three years, this convention brings the best singers from throughout the midwest and beyond. Come and be drenched in thick, penetrating, relentless sound. Like nothing you've ever done before. Free admission -- come anytime. For a brief introduction to the tradition, this short video is good. Or visit the online headquarters at

Directions to First Lutheran: First Lutheran Church is at 1208 Race Street in the historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood adjacent to downtown Cincinnati. Race Street runs one-way southbound, so all directions are routed from the Interstates east and west on Liberty Street and then south on Race. The church door is on the left immediately past the streetcar stop.

Parking: The 2020 Ohio Convention is in a downtown entertainment district where there is little free parking. However, Saturday and Sunday morning you should find abundant parking at low rates. Saturday - we recommend one of four pay lots shown on the Ohio Convention Parking Map. Sunday - park at curbside meters (not enforced until 2pm) or use one of the lots. Cincinnati uses the Passport Parking app (or the local Cincy EZPark) for remote meter payments.

Curbside Book Valet: Since parking may be a block or so from the church door, we will have a curbside book valet available to transfer your belongings to the singing space at the beginning and end of the singing. Just past the streetcar stop, look for the sidewalk table and our cheerful valet volunteers. We'll post attendants Sat 9:30-10:30 and Sun 9:00-10:00, and also just after the singing ends each day. If you arrive late and need help, call John Bealle at 513-515-7473 and we'll send someone up to meet you. When parking to unload, do not block the path of the streetcar.

Lodging: We are not recommending any particular lodging option. There are good options, but none ideal for everyone. There are hotels and some interesting AirBnb options downtown where you can walk or ride the streetcar to the singing. Downtown hotel prices can be $125 or higher, plus parking fees. The best rates are at suburban interstate exits, which you can choose according to your direction of travel. We are also offering lodging with local singers as described below.

Housing with local singers: Local Cincinnati singers are hosting a limited number of visitors in their homes. Please contact Debbie Hall ( with your lodging needs (number of lodgers? beds needed? private space needed? floor space ok? allergies? etc.). Debbie will get back to you when she has found a host for you.

The Saturday evening social will be held around the corner from the convention building, so you won't need to get back in your cars. We will gather at Venice on Vine pizzeria, restaurant and pre-employment training and job placement program, for individuals with barriers to employment, that utilizes both a traditional pizzeria and a commercial catering kitchen as unique classrooms. We will sing from Shenandoah Harmony and have pizza and lemonade. We will hold the space from 5-8pm, and you may drift in and out as the spirit moves you.

After the social, those who wish to may ride the new streetcar up to Rhinegiest Brewery where we'll have a cornhole tournament.

For more information: Contact John Bealle at 513-515-7473 or To learn more about Sacred Harp singing in Cincinnati go to the Cincy Sacred Harp webpage. For general info on Sacred Harp, visit

Michelle Cull leading 168 Cowper, Ohio Convention 2011, Little Red Schoolhouse in Indian Hill