This fascinating book brings more than one hundred previously unpublished Shaker songs to the attention of scholars, performers, and aficionados of folk music. A Shaker Musical Legacy introduces Shaker songs and dances that Brother Ricardo Belden, the last male member of the Hancock Shakers, gave in original manuscript form to Jerry and Sybil Count, the first directors of the Shaker Village Camp. The Opdahls have selected from and transcribed this music and included dance directions to hor Brother Ricardo's hope that doing so would keep alive a part of the Shaker heritage. The songs are transcribed as modern musical scores for use by contemporary musicians and singers. Step-by-step instructions show how to perform the dances as the Shakers themselves danced them.
Robert C. Opdahl spent several summers at the Shaker Village Work Camp as a key staff member creating and conducting workshops on Shaker music as well as transcribing songs from the manuscripts. Viola E. Woodruff Opdahl taught history in New Lebanon, New York, where she had the opportunity to learn about the nearby New Lebanon and Hancock Shaker communities. The authors have been studying Shaker music and collecting original songs and dance materials of the Shakers for more than 40 years.