Singing the Bay Psalm Book

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Date / Time

  • April 19, 2018
    6:00 pm - 7:00 pm


2008-2010 Delancey Place, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19103, United States

Note: this event was originally scheduled on March 21, and was rescheduled due to inclement weather.

The Whole Booke of Psalmes, also known as The Bay Psalm Book, is the first book printed in North America. Only eleven copies of it are known to exist. Our founder, A.S.W. Rosenbach cherished the copy in our collection. Translated from the Hebrew in 1640 so that Puritan congregants could sing the Psalms in English, and then into metered poetry so the text could be easily memorized, metrical psalmody is one of the hallmarks of Puritan life in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Singers from Craftworks and Emma Barnaby, a PhD student in musicology at the University of Pennsylvania, will present these psalms as they would have been sung in the 1640s and talk about their historical context. We will also feature poetry from Anne Bradstreet, the first poet published in America, who was writing while the Bay Psalms were first sung. Join us as we bring to life these poems and songs of the 17th Century.

About the Performers

Craftworks Ensembles (CE) are comprised of all professional musicians working in the Philadelphia and Surrounding Areas. Founded in October 2017, Craftworks is organization of musicians comprised to develop, perform, and solicit new music on their own. Develop their own skills together. To be advocates of new music compositions that will be recorded, produced, and broadcasted weekly on a podcast launching in 2018.

Emma Schnell Barnaby is a PhD student in musicology at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research focuses broadly on English church music, and, along with English, Scottish, and early American metrical psalmody, her interests within the field include Marian worship in English liturgical music, the place of music in the cultural history of the English Reformation, and early 20th-century English church music. Raised in the Episcopal tradition, Ms. Barnaby has been singing this repertoire since the age of eight and is a staff member at the St. Thomas Choir School Girl Chorister Course in New York each summer, where she teaches music history and choral skills to the next generation of girl choristers. Her other primary area of study is music history pedagogy; she has done extensive research on the changing nature of music history textbooks over time.

Performance at the Rosenbach

From adaptations of beloved classics from page to stage to interactive performances inspired by great literature, experience theatrical arts in an intimate setting. Performances take place at the Rosenbach unless otherwise noted. Seating is limited; advance registration is strongly recommended. In the event of inclement weather, the Rosenbach will announce any closures on Please call 215-732-1600 x0 if you have questions about program status.

Sponsor this Program!

One way to support great programs at the Rosenbach is to become a program sponsor. Sponsorships offset the costs of bringing literary and cultural luminaries to the Rosenbach. To learn more about program sponsorship, view our sponsorship levels or contact [email protected].