Bishop Richard Allen’s Hymnal: Lecture & Concert

Sunday, February 17, 3:00- 5:00 pm

Bishop Richard Allen’s Hymnal: Lecture & Concert

Sunday, February 17, 2019

3 – 5 pm


Trinity Episcopal Cathedral

801 West State Street

Trenton, NJ 08618

Free off street parking- Light refreshments

$15 Trent House Association Members; $20 Non- members

Jason Allen, former director of the museum at Mother Bethel AME Church, will present an illustrated lecture on AME church founder, Bishop Richard Allen, including his lifelong efforts as abolitionist and patriot that place him among our nation’s founding fathers.

Philadelphia’s Craft Works Music group will perform music from Bishop Allen’s hymnal, which used shape notes to encourage congregational singing. This form of music notation was used widely in American singing schools and churches in the late 1700s and early 1800s.  The audience is invited to participate in singing some pieces using shapenote music.



About the presenters: 

Jason Allen’s work at the New Jersey Council for the Humanities [NJCH] encompasses connecting and partnering with traditionally under-represented and under-served communities, such as African, Hispanic, LGBTQ, Millennial, and South Asian – Americans in projects utilizing humanities concepts and content to address community issues. 

Jason joined NJCH in 2016 from the Richard Allen museum at Mother Bethel A.M.E. in Philadelphia where he was executive director and previous to that he was executive director of the Camden County Historical Society.  Jason was also director of education and interpretation at Cliveden of the National Trust, and before that the national student programs manager at the National Constitution Center both of which are in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  He is also a board member of Historian Against Slavery, which works to end modern-day human trafficking using the lessons learned and unlearned from the enslavement of Africans and African-Americans.

Craft Works Music

Craft Works Music, in collaboration with the Trent House Association, presents a program of psalms and hymns by Richard Allen, the first African American preacher and founder of the AME Church.  The music will be taken from The Sacred Harp, the quintessential American collection of shape note songs, and Allen’s own hymnal, A Collection of Spiritual Songs and Hymns.  Shape note singing is a musical notation system which came alive in the late 1700’s as a movement to reform church music and congregational singing. This style of notation assigned scale degrees different shapes which would help the reader anticipate the interval related to the combination of these shapes. Drawing upon the history and performance practice of shape note singing, we will explore the impact of Richard Allen’s music on congregational singing in early America.  Come enjoy the offerings of the guest speaker and the singers of Craft Works.


Craft Works Music is your all natural, hand crafted, minimally processed music fix. Founded in Philadelphia in 2017, Craft Works develops, discusses, and performs music from all eras, genres, and cultures, mainly in the choral repertoire. The ensemble explores and collaborates with other musicians and experts about the process of crafting music and shares this via podcast and live events. More information at


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