Joseph Brackett Day

Joseph Brackett Day is observed next on Saturday, May 6th, 2023 (86 days from today).

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Joseph Brackett Day is a birthday commemoration of Joseph Brackett as well as honors his great song "Simple Gifts."

History of Joseph Brackett Day

It was sponsored by the American Tune Lovers Society, an online group "designed to help preserve and preserve American tunes from the past through research, sound recordings, and other information." PineTree Productions, which includes the American Tune Enthusiasts Association, is the founder of that day.

Joseph Brackett was born Elisha Brackett on May 6th, 1797, in Cumberland, Maine. At age 10, his name was changed to Joseph, the same name as his father, and around the same time his family joined a Shaker community in Gorham, Maine. Shakers are members of the Association of Believers in the Second Coming of Christ. In 1819, Brackett's group moved to Polish Hill, Maine, and he eventually became head of society in Maine, after which his official title became Elder Joseph Brackett.

Brackett is not only a religious leader, but he is also an author and musician. He composed the lyrics and music for "Simple Gifts" in 1848, while at the Shaker community in Alfred, Maine. Also known as "Tis the Gift to be Simple", the Shaker dance became his most famous composition and is still frequently performed and adapted to this day. It became famous worldwide in 1944 when Aaron Copland used it in the score for his ballet Appalachian Spring. Joseph Brackett died at the Shaker Lake Sabbathday Village in New Gloucester, Maine, on July 4th, 1882.

How to celebrate Joseph Brackett Day

The day's participants were invited to listen to or perform "Simple Gifts". Some of the most notable arrangements for listening can be found online. Copland's Appalachian Spring, whose song and helped popularize it, can also be heard. For those who want to perform the song, free scores can also be found online. Some other ideas on how to celebrate the day include reading the book "Simple Gifts": The Great American Folk Song by Roger Lee Hall; see Simple Gift: Chamber Music Society at Shaker Village; visit the Alfred Shaker Museum, located in the town where Brackett wrote his famous songs; visit Brackett's grave in the Shaker Village Cemetery; and visit the nearby Shaker Lake Sabbathday Village, the village where he died.


Joseph Brackett Day has been observed annually on May 6th.


Thursday, May 6th, 2021

Friday, May 6th, 2022

Saturday, May 6th, 2023

Monday, May 6th, 2024

Tuesday, May 6th, 2025

Also on Saturday, May 6th, 2023

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