Children (particularly older ones) are welcome at Potomac River Shape-Note/Sacred Harp Singing Conventions!

At the Cherrydale Fire House, there is no space for childcare and no nearby playground or park, but well-behaved children are most welcome in the singing hall. They are free to sing or listen to the music as they wish. Sacred Harp singers believe that it is good for children to be exposed, actively or passively, to the sound of the music and the concept of community-style singing.

However, if one brings an infant or young child to the convention, it would be wise to sit in the back rather than front rows and to use ear plugs to reduce the chance of permanent hearing loss from loud sounds over an extended period of time. Experts believe (e.g. ref 1 and ref 2) that loud sounds (higher than 85 decibels) can permanently damage an infant's or young child's hearing. Decibel levels at large Sacred Harp conventions have actually been measured in the 100 decibel range and discussed with respect to hearing loss on a 2009 thread on the Fasola-Discussions discussion group.

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