Welcome to our announcements section! Here you will find short announcements about local harpers, harp events, performance opportunities, and new product releases. If you have an announcement that would be of interest to Pacific Northwest harp players, please contact info@pugetsoundfolkharpsociety. org for submission guidelines.
Website Changes. If you visited Reigning Harps during June you noticed the lack of menu buttons caused by a software meltdown. We have changed the buttons to "button-like" links and this should be a more stable navigation method. However, in the course of revamping each page of the site, various other things may have been affected. We have no way to test on the vast variety of platforms our reader use, so please, if you experience problems with the buttons or with the site in general, write to Diane at email@example.com and describe the trouble. We'll try to get it fixed as soon as we can. Thanks for your patience!
Summer Retreat Cozy and Fun! The annual PSFHS Summer Folk Harp Retreat was held June 7-9 at Camp Casey on Whidbey Island. The usual harp magic kept away forecasted rain showers so we had sunny breezy weather, perfect for comfy harping inside, and kite flying and bubble blowing outside. Participants enjoyed learning new tunes by ear and by notes, and playing together in all sorts of situations from formal harp circle to silly band scramble. And of course the state park next door and the beach just across the field made for scenic explorations during free time. For a look at a gallery of photos from the weekend, follow the link you'll find at www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org.
Melodías del Arpa Books. This book is a collection of 11 Latin American tunes for the lever harp. These are Nicolas Carter's arrangements that Sharon Thormahlen further arranged and simplified for the intermediate beginner to the more advanced player. The book is $29 (shipping included) which you can order directly from Sharon at firstname.lastname@example.org or through PayPal on the website http://www.thorharp.com/pages/melodiasdelarpa.htm. There is also an audio CD of the music that you can get to listen to the rhythms of the tunes.
Harp Near Salmon Arm? Larry Keats is production manager of the Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival , held every August in Salmon Arm, BC. He is looking for a harp to borrow/rent for Tristan Le Govic who is scheduled to play there this summer. If you have a lead on a likely instrument, contact Diane at email@example.com and she'll pass on the info. Thanks!
Music Mondays and Harp Tuesdays. Victoria's busy harpist Josh Layne announces a new YouTube channel called "Music Mondays" in which he shares harp performances. This series joins his long-running Harp Tuesday channel which focuses on instruction. Of particular interest to all players is his recent Episode 161, about keeping relaxed hands at the harp; see the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPvxI-DN_YQ.
Gut Strings. For those who don't mind a brief view of animal innards, here is an interesting video about how gut strings are made: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ywzxkC0NAc&t=11s&app=desktop.
A Good Reminder. This article reminds us of the role of self-compassion in our musical lives, and has simple hints (and further reading) about not beating ourselves up over inevitable mistakes: https://bulletproofmusician.com/the-role-of-self-compassion-in-cultivating-mental-toughness-and-overcoming-setbacks/.
Another Good Reminder. Laurie Riley authored this valuable blog post, "Instant Gratification: Help or Hindrance?" about giving ourselves time and permission to learn necessary techniques and skills: https://laurierileymusic.com/.
Double Strung? There's a new Face Book group for Double-Strung Harp, where people can share ideas, receive tips, make requests, and see what kind of music people are writing for double-strung. It can be found at https://www.facebook.com/groups/Doublestrungharp/.
PSFHS Officers. At our recent PSFHS annual general meeting, the following officers were elected: Eileen Warr-Marti, president; Nan Pardew, vice president; Diane Moss, secretary; Sally Verrinder, treasurer. We also said a fond farewell and a huge thank-you to founding member Harper Tasche, who is retiring from the board of directors but will continue to work on the Winter Folk Harp Festival committee.
PSFHS Summer Retreat. Registration is now closed for the PSFHS annual summer folk harp retreat, June 7-9 2019, at Camp Casey on Whidbey Island WA. Thanks so much for your interest.
Wedding Harp Needed in Port Orchard. Reigning Harps got a note from a lady seeking a wedding harpist for Aug. 24, 2019, an outdoor ceremony starting at 3:30 pm. Music from about 3:20-4:00pm. If you are interested please reply to firstname.lastname@example.org and I can send your contact info on to the bride.
Primavera Video. Josh Layne of Victoria BC has released a music video of Ludovico Einaudi's "Primavera". Primavera means "Spring" in English. Josh writes: "ironically I filmed this on a chilly November day last year. It took me awhile to get around to editing it but I finally did and I'm very pleased with how it turned out! The sun was coming and going behind the clouds that day and I love how just before I finish playing you can see the sunlight appear once again on my harp and hands. The wind playing the strings after I've finished provides the perfect punctuation." See the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cg_Jj6Ru9NU.
New CD for David Michael. David Michael of Port Townsend WA writes he has released a new CD, "Confluence", with Grammy Award winning woodwindist Nancy Rumbel and long-time friend, percussionist/multi-instrumentalist Benjy Wertheimer. His 38-string bubinga wood Triplett Eclipse harp is the centerpiece. David writes: "I’ve been a huge fan of Nancy Rumbel since her days with the Paul Winter Consort—my all-time favorite band! I’m still pinching myself about having had this chance to compose and produce an album with her! Our primary sound of harp/oboe/tablas is rarely heard and works beautifully. Other amazing musical guests grace the album: Michael Mandrell, Richard Russell, Sean Frenette, Mark Eubanks and Grammy-Award winner, Steve Gorn. This is a very up-tempo work of World Fusion music, unlike some of my recent ambient CDs designed for the healing arts. It might just make you want to dance (can you move your feet to 9/8 or 7/8?) and should definitely keep you awake while driving or doing house chores!" You can sample and/or purchase it here: https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/nancyrumbel.
Advance Planning! On January 10, 2020, Benjamin Bagby with Sequentia Ensemble will appear in Vancouver BC at Christ Church Cathedral, 7:30 pm, in an early music program with a number of harps, see http://www.earlymusic.bc.ca/events/charms-riddles-elegies-feat-sequentia-ensemble-for-medieval-music/. The next day, January 11, he will present his Beowulf concert at the Vancouver Playhouse. The pre-concert talk is at 6:45 pm and the show is at 7:30 pm. See http://www.earlymusic.bc.ca/events/beowulf-the-epic-in-performance-feat-benjamin-bagby-voice-and-harp/.
Useful Video. Carolyn Deal has a YouTube channel where she produces many tutorials for teh double-stung harp. But here is one for single-stung too! She says: "Here are learning tips that helped me leap forward in my progress, and my tone. It's for all levels and single strung harp as well." Watch at https://youtu.be/JdkBCsMZv6c.
Interview with Siobhan Armstrong. For those who enjoy traditional harp music and the work that goes into researching it, there is an in-depth interview by Micheal O'Cathain (video and transcription) with Irish wire-strung expert Siobhan Armstrong available at https://michealocathain.com/interviews/siobhan-armstrong/. The video (speaking and playing) is shown interspersed with transcription so you can read along and listen at the same time.
Registration Opens for Summer Retreat. Our PSFHS annual summer folk harp retreat will be June 7-9, 2019, at Camp Casey on Whidbey Island WA. Registration opens April 1st and the 22 harping spots tend to fill fast; get more info and a registration form by following the link at www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org.
Want to Play at the Skagit Harp Tent? Do you have some Celtic music to share? The Skagit Valley Highland Games in Mount Vernon are July 13 and 14, 2019. The Harp Tent has been extremely popular with the folks attending the Games. We have several 25-30 minutes performance spots available the year. If you have a repertoire of approximately 75% Celtic tunes or songs and are interested, please contact Sally at email@example.com.
Harmonics Technique. Victoria's Josh Layne has been posting a number of his Harp Tuesday YouTube videos, and there is an interesting one on an unusual placement for the extended harmonic series that gets the player out of the levers or discs up high on the strings. Take a look at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhC1cXzIKZQ .
Celtic Tune a Month. Aedan MacDonnell shares Celtic-tune-a-month videos on YouTube. Every month she searches out Celtic tunes that aren't all that well known, but are interesting and lovely. These are taught by ear and eye, with lots of repetition and explanation, but without sheet music. See: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLMnMZXA4knZLS0iQ2FwVb-21NFOVcFyy6.
Fake "Harpsicles" Hit the Market. The folks at Rees Harps send the following: "A number of lutheries are making inferior copies of Harpsicle Brand Harps. Disappointed customers, who think they are buying our products, are ending-up with a variety of problems and zero customer support. You can help prevent others from experiencing the same sad result by passing the word to everyone you know who plays the harp." If a web site offers a Harpsicle at far below the usual price, be very suspicious. You can write to Rees Harps to be sure you are buying from an authorized dealer. If buying a used harp, check inside for the Rees label. For more info on this situation see https://harpsicleharps.com/blogish/2019/3/22/international-harp-fraud-update.
Snow Can't Stop PSFHS Winter Festival. Co-director Sally Verrinder reports "We had a wonderful time at the 33rd annual PSFHS Winter Folk Harp Festival! A snowstorm brought our attendance down a bit, but the 28 harpers onsite had a delightful weekend. We enjoyed two fun all-plays from our Harpers’ Songbook with Anna Jenkins; gained confidence on our two new group tunes with Harper Tasche; explored very interesting talking, listening and harping techniques during ‘Intentive Listening’ with Patrice Haan; learned to stomp syncopated rhythms with our feet, clap them with our hands, and put it all on our harp strings during ‘Off-Beat and On-Time’ with Monica Schley; and learned how to add chord notes in the melody hand with Harper Tasche's ‘Wrong Hand Chords’. Two companions joined us for our meals and the very fun (and sparkly!) céilidh Saturday night. There was a lovely snowfall late Friday afternoon and evening, but the Seabeck staff did a great job and kept the pathways clear, the fire roaring in the Inn lobby, and our meals and rooms toasty warm. Hope to see everyone at the Summer Retreat in June on Whidbey Island!" For some photos of the fun, see the gallery at https://photos.app.goo.gl/6VCMGHWxZnJEBoVd8.
Harp Spectrum Harp Camp List. There are so many harp festivals, camps, etc., all over the US and Canada. Some are for pedal harp only, some for lever harp, and some for both! If you want to see a very comprehensive list of these events check out the page Joyce Rice maintains on the Harp Spectrum website (and if you know of any that aren't listed, let her know). See the list at http://www.harpspectrum.org/camps_concerts/camps%20USA.shtml.
Calling All Wire-Strung and Wire-Curious Harpers! The Pacific Northwest Wire-Strung Harp Circle is open to all players on the wire-strung harp and anyone who wants to learn more about wire-strung harps. We meet to play tunes and support each other on our wire-strung harp journeys. Circles happen every other month at a private home in Bothell, alternating the second Saturday and the second Sunday of the month. The audience is your supportive and appreciative fellow harpers, all skill levels. There are snacks and camaraderie. For details and directions, please contact Nan Pardew at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Harp Retreat in BC April 5 & 6. The High Spirits Harp Retreat had its beginnings in Chemainus on Vancouver Island in 1999. Join them in West Kelowna this Spring as they celebrate two decades of retreats, and hundreds of selections from Celtic, Latin and Classical repertoire, all selected for the intermediate player. Sharlene Wallace is the instructor. Sharlene's teaching style is one of a kind: deep and experienced, sassy and fresh, optimistic and confident! Experience her in person, and return home invigorated to play better than ever! The Friday Night Concert will be ultimate "Shar in Action", and the Spellbound Harp Trio will join her in performance. Reserve your spot, get a brochure, or ask questions by contacting Caroline McKay at email@example.com.
Traditional Scottish Harp at Feis 2019. It's still many months before the Feis (August 13-19, 2019), but early bird registration is already open! Ingrid Henderson will be teaching the harp track, and there are opportunities for Gaelic language and song instruction as well. For more details, see https://www.slighe.org/feis-seattle-2019/
Early Bird Registration Open for Wells Harp School. The 33rd International Harp School in Wells BC runs from Monday August 19 through Friday August 23, 2019. Instructors: Tristan Le Govic, Seumas Gagne, Sharlene Wallace, Marilyn Rummel. Early Bird Fee: $529 (must pay in full by June 1). Regular Fee: $589. Deposit: $145 (non-refundable). Harp rental available. For complete info see http://support-imarts.com/2019-harp-cello-program/.
Tunes to Go is Back! Cindy Shelhart has released the 2018 version of her classic Tunes to Go, with 400 harp tunes in lead sheet format. This go-to collection is available in print (with spiral binding so it lies flat) or in digital form for iPad etc. For more info see http://cynthiashelhart.com.
New Year's Improv. For the last several years Josh Layne of Victoria BC has published a New Year's Harp Improvisation on YouTube. The 2019 installment is quick and sprightly, alternating video of beautiful mountains and water with Josh's flying fingers. Take a look at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6SpAd_9jzs.
PSFHS Logo Wear. Volunteer Becky Szymanski oversees a Cafe Press storefront with sweatshirts and hoodies bearing our PSFHS Harp-Orca logo. These are sold at cost... no profit to Becky or to PSFHS. Thanks to Becky for her initiative and follow-through! You can visit the storefront at https://www.cafepress.com/psfhslogowear.
Harpist in a Tree! The always creative Josh Layne of Victoria BC has started a new video series called "Harpist in a Tree" in which he combines his love of harp playing with his love of nature. He explains the concept more at his video of Vivaldi's "Autumn" which he does indeed play while in a tree -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IYDN8ilRYMo. (For those of you who know Josh's playing, no it is not a pedal harp that he climbs the tree with!)
Copyright Extension Ends. As of New Year’s 2019, works under copyright from 1923 become public domain. A 20-year freeze on copyright expirations, the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act which was passed in 1998, has prevented a cache of 1923 works from entering the public domain. The last release of copyrighted works was very early in the digital age, so it will be interesting to see how this new influx of material will be used!
Season of the Harp Online Retreat. Martha Gallagher is organizing the Winter season of Seasons of the Harp. This online retreat series is full of great ideas, insights, inspirations, and music. Four recorded retreat sessions all feature enlightening conversations with wonderfully creative folks, hands-on harp wisdom, sheet music pdfs, play-along sessions, creativity tools, culinary delights, and more. This season’s special guests are Harper Tasche, Susie Allen, Trista Hill, and Dave Thormahlen. The season begins Jan. 16, with a full year of access to all materials. Details and registration are at http://adkharper.com.
Wire-strung Harp Players Interviewed. Michael O'Cathain has interviewed Ann Heymann, Paul Dooley, Javier Sainz, Simon Chadwick, and Siobhan Armstrong. He is making the text and video available here: https://michealocathain.com/interviews/.
PSFHS Winter Festival Full. The Winter Folk Harp Festival is now full with a short wait list. We often have cancellations so if you would like to be on the wait list, please do submit a registration form, found at www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org, and a check per the instruction on the form. Checks will NOT be cashed unless you are able to move to the Participant’s list and, even then, not until early January. Please contact Sally at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or would like further information.
Harp Tech Coming in February. Harp technician Steve Moss (see his website at www.mossharpservice.com ) will be in Seattle Feb. 19-24 to do regulations, repairs, and restringings on both pedal and lever harps. (This is an excellent chance for owners of non-Dusty Strings harps to have work done, as the Dusty repair shop is so busy it is increasingly unlikely they can schedule harps other than their own.) To get a spot on Steve's schedule, contact Susi Hussong at email@example.com.
In Sympathy. We send loving condolences to Paula Lalish, well-known harper and songwriter of Marrowstone Island, on the loss of her husband Greg the day after Thanksgiving. Greg was battling lymphatic cancer, and passed with his family around him. He was a contractor who had a particular interest in traditional building techniques, as well as a volunteer EMT and ambulance driver on the island. He and Paula had been married over 45 years.
PSFHS Winter Folk Harp Festival. Registration is now open for our 33rd PSFHS Winter Folk Harp Festival, February 8-10, 2019. We will be returning to the Seabeck Conference Center on the beautiful Kitsap Peninsula for a weekend of interesting workshops, our festive Saturday night céilidh. and lots of music-making fun! You can find more information at www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org; just follow the link for the most up to date information on workshops, general festival information and a registration form. The 2018 Festival sold out quickly so get your registration form postmarked soon! Come join the fun and help us celebrate our 33rd festival! Questions? Please contact Sally at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Magical Strings Celebrates 40 Years of Annual Celtic Yuletide Concerts. For many in the Northwest, it wouldn’t be the holidays without the harps, dulcimers, and energetic Celtic sounds of acclaimed family ensemble Magical Strings. The tradition continues this year, as Magical Strings announces its 40th triumphant year of annual Celtic Yuletide Concerts taking place throughout western Washington and Oregon in December 2018! See the Calendar for details and links to advance tickets.
Winter Harp's 25th Anniversary Tour. If your are in southern British Columbia, Winter Harp will be appearing near you. To celebrate their 25th anniversary they have a special concert featuring some of the most popular carols from the past 25 years, plus some gorgeous new carols. The concerts include the usual harps, rare medieval instruments, and this year, the hurdy-gurdy. For concert dates, see the Calendar. For more information on the group, see www.winterharp.com.
Potluck Picnic Fun. The annual PSFHS Potluck Picnic did it again! Despite ominous forecasts and some early morning sprinkles, harp music kept the rain away all afternoon and it was lovely weather for those who turned out to nibble and play on September 9 at Seattle's Ravenna Park. It was hard to keep track with people coming and going, but at one point there were at least 15 harps being played at one time, and the sound drew fascinated listeners from the surrounding lawns and trails. The pot luck offerings were all delicious, ranging from very healthy salads to downright decadent desserts. Thanks to Eileen Warr-Marti for organizing and set-up, and to Valerie and Glenn Day for bringing their portable sun/rain shelters! If you'd like to see a few photos from the picnic: https://photos.app.goo.gl/3gVjpw1qkiymFTMs7.
Congratulations to Joyce Rice. After many, many years of editing the AHS Seattle Chapter newsletter, Resonance, Joyce has handed over her duties and is all set to enjoy some new volunteer jobs, such as ushering at the Symphony. Thanks to Joyce for all the timely and accurate information she has provided!
Beginner's Harp Teacher Near Oak Harbor? We've had a request for a harp teacher for a 12 year old girl who lives in Oak Harbor WA. Is there a teacher on Whidbey Island or in the Skagit Valley who would be interested in a new student? Please reply with any leads and they'll be forwarded to her parents.
Can You Help? Reigning Harps was contacted by a very worried mother who reports that her son Adagio (Dag) and his father Gerald (Storm) are missing. They told family they would be sailing with people on a boat that originated in Washington to Hawaii, with stops in southern California. They had airline tickets for the return from Hawaii on September 1st, but did not use them. The father was thought to have a "harp-builder friend on an island" in Washington as well. The Coast Guard and police are in need of information, so please, if you know them or have heard about them or the sailboat, reply and we'll get you in touch with the family.
PSFHS Potluck Picnic. The annual Puget Sound Folk Harp Society pot luck picnic will be Sunday, September 9, rain or shine, 11 am to 5 pm, at Shelter #1 in Seattle's Ravenna Park. All harp player are welcome, as are family and friends, and dogs on leash too! The park entrance is about a mile north of the UW at NE 58th Street and 20th Avenue NE. (Note: you cannot drive south on 20th NE to the park entrance as the bridge is pedestrian-only; drive north on 20th NE from NE 50th or Ravenna Blvd. instead. This Google map on "Satellite" shows the entrance, the parking area, and the shelter: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=2000+NE+58th+St,+Seattle,+WA+98105.) Please bring your harp and bench, music stand and PSFHS tunebook if you have one, and a dish to share plus a beverage for yourself (no alcohol, due to park rules). Spend the afternoon playing, nibbling, and socializing. Dress casually and comfortably for the weather. (Some dishware will be provided but if you can bring your own from home to reduce waste, that's great. If you can label your potluck donation for those with food allergies, also great!) Contact Eileen Warr-Marti at email@example.com if you need further information.
Get Well Wishes. Several thoughtful readers wrote to report that Patricia Jaeger, long-time harpist, music publisher, and harp and strings teacher from Seattle, fell and broke her hip last month and will in a rehab facility until mid-September. We certainly wish her a speedy and complete recovery! If you would like to send her a card or note of encouragement, you can send it in care of her son Tony (he visits her daily) at 1235 NE 95th St., Seattle WA 98115.
Congrats to Dusty Strings Music School! Dusty Strings Music School has been in operation for ten years now... so many wonderful harp workshops and classes and concerts have been presented during that time! Of course, coming up in October is Harp Seattle, with dozens of harp activities for those who register, and two public concerts as well. See the Calendar (Oct 5-7) for details.
Harp Case Makers? Our wonderful readers have come up with a number of leads in the search for custom harp cases, both soft and hard-shell. We'll have an article ready for next month, so if you have any suggestions please send them in!
Magical Strings Celtic Yuletide. Even though we just got past a rather oppressive heat wave here in Puget Sound land, Pam and Phil Boulding and family are already hard at work setting up their annual Yuletide concerts. All the dates will appear on our Calendar in a month or so, but if you want to get your ticket now to be sure of your favorite venue, you can already get details and order tickets at http://magicalstrings.com/YT_2017.html.
South Sound Harp Ensemble. The South Sound Strings Harp Ensemble, directed by Pat Wooster, is offered through the Community Music Department at the University of Puget Sound. The ensemble welcomes harp players of all ages. Join fellow harpists to explore chamber works and harp literature in various musical styles. Rehearsals are held at the University of Puget Sound. The ensemble presents a public performance. Fall rehearsals are Saturdays at 3:00 – 5:30 pm on September 15 and 29, October 13 and 27, November 10 and 17. The concert is Saturday December 1, 2018, at 3 pm at Schneeback Concert Hall. Class fee: $145 plus $10 registration. To learn more, call 253-879-3575 or register online at www.pugetsound.edu/communitymusic.
Harps in the Glen. At last count, there were still three open spots at the retreat in Port Townsend WA with Sunita Staneslow and Kim Robertson, and one lodging spot left at Laurie Riley's lovely retreat center. A great opportunity to study with these internationally known musicians without traveling across the country! Please see the Calendar (Sep 13-16) for details and contact information.
Harp Arrangements from Port Ludlow. Deborah Dahl Shanks, of Port Ludlow WA, has been busy arranging a number of books of harp arrangements. Of particular interest are "The Japanese Harp: Cherry Blossoms, Songs from Japanese Koto Literature" and "The Asian Harp: Asian Folk Songs" (mostly Chinese, but also some Korean, Mongolian, etc.). Deborah has also arranged a book of medieval music, a book of renaissance madrigals and songs, a book of Christmas tunes, and two Handel harp favorites. All these are available directly from Deborah (firstname.lastname@example.org) or in PDF format from Sylvia Woods' Harp Center at http://www.harpcenter.com/category/harp-pdfs-deborah-dahl-shanks, where you can see many more details and actual samples of the books.
Save the Date for PSFHS Picnic. The annual Puget Sound Folk Harp Society pot luck picnic will be held Sunday afternoon, September 9, at Shelter #1 in Seattle's Ravenna Park (about a mile north of the University of Washington campus on 20th NE). Plan to bring your harp and a dish to share, and spend the afternoon playing and socializing. More details as date nears!
Seeking Harp Case Info! Now that former stand-by Colorado Case is no longer available, where are you going for your custom harp cases? We have a few leads, but would appreciate more ideas from our informed readers! Please send names of companies or individuals you've had experience with, along with their contact info, and we'll compile a little article on where to find a custom dust cover, soft case, gig bag, or flight case. Thanks!
MHTP Reminder. Music for Healing and Transition Program has a new cycle of classes starting September 2018! If you (or someone you know) sings or plays an acoustic instrument and would like to learn about therapeutic music and all the benefits it brings to patients at the bedside, please visit www.mhtp.org for details. Or contact Cheryl Zabel, CMP/WA Area Coordinator, 253-307-0999, Mhtpwacoordinator@icloud.com. Hospitals and hospices are reaching out for assistance to find therapeutic musicians, especially here in Western Washington!
NPR Hour of Celtic Harp. In May, NPR's Thistle and Shamrock program aired an hour of Celtic harp played by harpers William Jackson, Wendy Stewart, Moya Brennan, and Alan Stivell. To listen to the playback on-line, go to https://www.npr.org/2018/05/23/613760528/the-thistle-shamrock-a-gentle-revolution.
PSFHS Summer Retreat. Twenty-one harp players (and harps!) gathered at Camp Casey on Whidbey Island for the Puget Sound Folk Harp Society's annual summer retreat, June 8-10. The weather was drizzling when we arrived Friday, but we soon played that away and had sunshine until after we packed up and left on Sunday. Harp music was heard throughout the building at all hours, and lots of impromptu musical happenings occurred all weekend, in addition to the planned activities. Despite all the playing, there was time for enjoying the beach and the park next door, and to see the wildlife that paid us visits (deer with twin fawns, bunnies, herons, eagles). We have already booked our dates for next year, so plan ahead and join the fun! For some photos from the weekend, visit the gallery link at www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org.
Have a Witcher Harp? Jay Witcher, long time harp maker, has been nominated for the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Somerset Harp Festival in July. Chris Johnson has undertaken the project of trying to locate as many Witcher harps as possible so Jay can be presented with a list of where his harps are now. If you have a Witcher, please write to Chris at email@example.com, and include your name and which harp(s) you currently own (or owned, if you know of their whereabouts); if possible, include the style and the number, wire or nylon, and whether it was made in CA or MA. A picture would be welcome too!
Playing Sessions at Dusty Strings.
The music school at Dusty Strings in Fremont (Seattle) has a couple
of fun and useful playing sessions which would be appropriate for harps.
Tunes by Ear/Eye on YouTube. Aeden MacDonnell has a number of (mostly Scottish) tunes on her YouTube channel that she teaches by sight and sound, both melody and chords. Of course the great thing is you can repeat as often as you need to in order to catch anything you miss! For those who prefer learning from another harper rather than from sheet music, this is a great resource for some lovely tunes. Take a look at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCa7mNZZpD-vwCmB08NswdDQ?view_as=subscriber.
Harp Seattle Early Bird Rate Extended! Dusty Strings has decided to extend this year's early-bird registration deadline to Friday, June 15th. Register by then and save $50! They've also added several workshops and presenters, including Cathy Madden back by popular demand teaching Alexander Technique for Harpists; Pacific Northwest harpist Margaret Betts presenting her findings from a year-long journey she took with her harp around the world; Dusty Strings Music School teacher Monica Schley teaching Creative Business Strategies for Harpists; Tudy McLain once again leading the Celtic Jam session; and Dusty Strings co-founder Ray Mooers demonstrating regulating and maintenance of lever harps; and Harp Talk, a revamped open forum discussion workshop. You can see more information and this year's workshop schedule, now available online at: http://store.dustystrings.com/p-5069-181005-harp-seattle-2018-early-bird-registration.aspx .
Port Townsend Harp Retreat. Laurie Riley writes to say there are still a few spots open at the retreat with Sunita and Kim in September. See Calendar for September 13-15 for full info.
DHC Tacoma Concert Blog and Photos.
Deborah Henson Conant posted a nice report and good photos of her
concert in Tacoma, including many of the local harp players who joined
her onstage. Read it at:
New MHTP Cycle. REMINDER! Music for Healing and Transition is starting a new cycle of classes September 21st! If therapeutic music calls to you, please visit the website: www.mhtp.org for information and details. Hospitals and hospices are asking for trained and certified Music Practitioners. Cheryl Zabel, CMP/WA State Area Coordinator, would be happy to answer any of your questions. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seeking West Seattle Harp Players. Reigning Harps has heard from a harp player who will be spending the summer in West Seattle and who asks if there are any other harp players there who would be interested in getting together occasionally? Reply to your editor at email@example.com and I'll put you in touch!
Another Harp Teacher Scam. Harper Tasche writes to warn of the following teacher scam attempt: "Hello, My name is Albert Martinez and my wife name is Hannah Martinez, i got your email from (www.harpconnection.com) we need a music private instructor for my daughter maria, which is 15 years old if you are interested please confirm your Teaching Specialties and your area zip code." Just ignore messages like this one!
Funny Harp Videos. To celebrate his millionth YouTube channel view, Josh Layne recently had a live-stream event in which he showed some amusing short videos captured while he was filming more serious harp performances. The first involves a dog and a shoe - https://youtu.be/zqbhnoRl5b0. The second shows what happens when a bass wire breaks - https://youtu.be/8Kq-y3fP-wY.
Somerset Harp Festival in NJ. Somerset Folk Harp Festival (July 19-22), 33 top-notch presenters and over 100+ workshops on a variety of topics, covering myriad genres of music. The cost of the full festival is $495. There are added Thursday workshops and also two full Sunday programs you can add on. For more info see www.somersetharpfest.com.
Latin American Harp Program. John Lozier is re-launching efforts to promote harmony and community, locally and globally, through harp music. And especially, to present Latin American harp traditions to new audiences in North America through the Baquianos program. In July and September, he will host tours with two young Colombian harpists, Sergio Nicolas Aguirre and Wuilmer Lopez. You can collaborate by sponsoring and hosting a live Latin American harp presentation in your community. For more information, contact John at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Registration Open for PSFHS Summer Retreat. The Puget Sound Folk Harp Society's annual summer folk harp retreat will happen June 8-10, 2018, and registration opens April 1st! The retreat takes place at scenic Camp Casey on Whidbey Island, all activities in one building with single rooms, ample adjacent parking, a ramped entry for harps, and beach and forested trails just steps away. More info and registration form can be found by following the links at www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org.
In Memory of Carrol McLaughlin. We are sorry to announce that world-renowned harpist Dr. Carrol McLaughlin passed away on March 10, 2018 at her home in Tucson, Arizona. Dr. McLaughlin began playing the harp at age six. By age 14, she was the principal harpist for the Calgary Symphony. She graduated with her Master of Music from The Julliard School and her Doctorate in Harp Performance from the University of Arizona. Professor of Harp at the University of Arizona for over 30 years, she established the world's largest touring harp ensemble, HarpFusion. She directed the Lyon & Healy Pop & Jazz Harpfest and served on the board of the World Harp Congress for many years. She will be deeply missed by her family, friends, and the numerous students whose lives she touched. Memorial Services will be held at Holsclaw Hall in the School of Music at the University of Arizona on Saturday, April 28, 2018 at 11:00 am.
Sylvia Woods Interview from 1982. This archive of Studs Terkel interviews includes one with Sylvia Woods from 35+ years ago. Fun and interesting! Listen at https://studsterkel.digitalrelab.com/.
Coordinated Harpist. Linda Khandro sent in this link of a video of harpist Amy Turk playing her cover version of Toto's "Africa"... the fun thing to watch for is the percussion effects on the harp soundboard which she alternates with playing on the strings, and shifts between both hands! Enjoy: http://www.classicfm.com/discover-music/africa-toto-cover-solo-harp/.
Early Bird Registration for Dusty Strings Harp Seattle October 5-7. Remember, early bird registration (open now) costs $295. After June 1, registration costs $345. Registration includes an all-access pass to the weekend’s workshops, performances, and gatherings. More info and registration at http://store.dustystrings.com/p-5069-181005-harp-seattle-2018-early-bird-registration.aspx.
New MHTP Cycle. Music for Healing and Transition is starting a new cycle of classes September 21st! If therapeutic music calls to you, please visit the website at www.mhtp.org for information and details. Cheryl Zabel, CMP/WA State Area Coordinator, would be happy to answer any of your questions. Contact her at email@example.com.
PSFHS Winter Folk Harp Festival. Our annual winter festival took place February 9-11, 2018. Administrative director Sally Verrinder and program director Harper Tasche write, "Our 32nd annual winter gathering of folk harpers was another sold-out success! A full complement of 42 harpers (including eight first-time participants plus several companions) gathered at beautiful Seabeck Conference Center on the Kitsap Peninsula for a weekend of workshops, music-making, and camaraderie. Kudos to our instructors Beth Kollé, Margaret Betts, and Harper Tasche for delightful presentations, and also to leaders Anna Jenkins and Patrice Haan for shepherding our Songbook all-play sessions and Saturday evening 'house party' respectively. And special thanks to all of our on-site volunteers for helping the weekend flow so smoothly!" To see some photos of the fun, check the galleries at https://tinyurl.com/ya7dmv22 (thanks to Donita Andrews who took so many wonderful photos of the weekend) and https://photos.app.goo.gl/QclxFVSoBYbT8Ee22 (thanks to Bob Zawalich who compiled photos from many talented contributors).
PSFHS Summer Folk Harp Retreat. Our annual summer retreat will be coming up soon, June 8-10, 2018. This is a cozy "family style" retreat held in one building at beautiful Camp Casey on Whidbey Island. Instead of formal workshops, we have a number of playing sessions, some with printed music, some by ear, some slower, some faster. We break the ice with a fun band scramble, learn new group tunes, have a harp circle, and enjoy a talent show. Plus there's time to cook meals, fly kites, and walk on the beach! Registration opens April 1st at www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org; the retreat fills fast, so apply early.
PSFHS Logo Wear. Over the years we've had occasional requests for shirts with our "harp orca" logo on them, but as we did not wish to venture into the tax hassles of "unrelated business income" or deal with taking orders or stocking inventory, it just never happened. But recently a volunteer changed all that! Becky Szymanski offered to create and manage a Cafe Press storefront with some sweatshirt choices for the benefit of those who want one. These are being sold at cost... no profit to Becky or to PSFHS. Thanks to Becky for her idea and her follow-through! You can visit the storefront at https://www.cafepress.com/psfhslogowear.
Harp Seattle 2018. Dusty Strings is proud to announce Harp Seattle 2018, running October 5th – 7th at Dusty Strings Music Store & School in Seattle WA. Folk harp players, teachers, and enthusiasts gather to enjoy extraordinary musical performances, intimate workshops, and unforgettable experiences. Headlining are internationally renowned harpists Aryeh Frankfurter, Lisa Lynne, Martha Gallagher, and Alfredo Rolando Ortiz. Also presenting are notable harpists from around the region. Online registration begins March 1, 2018. Early bird registration costs $295. After June 1, registration costs $345. Registration includes an all-access pass to the weekend’s workshops, performances, and gatherings. Please check back frequently for updates and more information, including workshop titles and descriptions, the weekend's schedule, and more. (After registering online, you will receive an email with a link to a Google form to select your workshops.)
Do You Own a Sylvia Woods Disney Book? Sylvia Woods' recent newsletter mentioned that she has recently completed a PDF addendum to her Disney book only for those who tune in E-flat. (There are 19 tunes in the book that require A# or E# accidentals that lever harps in E-flat do not have.) She writes: "If you have purchased a copy of the book in the past, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org asking for the additional free Disney PDF. (Please put your name in the subject line of the email.) If you purchased the book from me, let me know, and I'll try to find your order in my database. If I can't find your order, or if you purchased the book elsewhere, I'll send you an email asking you one trivia question. It will be something similar to 'who wrote the music on page 86,' or 'what are the last 3 words of the lyrics on page 97,' for example. The answer will be easy to find if you have your copy of the book close at hand. Once I receive your correct answer, I'll email the free PDF to you."
Harp Tuesday - The Butterfly. Victoria BC's Josh Layne has an on-going harp tutorial series on YouTube, and his latest episode is of particular interest to folk harpers. It's a short lesson on the Irish tune "The Butterfly" which often causes breakdowns of laughter at harp circles when it gets going fast. Josh has some good hints for fingering and consistent speed. See his tutorial at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxmNVvkNQfY.
Another Harp Lesson Scam. Harper Tasche reports a warning in case other Reigning Harps teachers are getting email from "andrewrogers770 at outlook.com" ... the usual about arranging intensive harp instruction for a visiting daughter while she is "in your area". The second email was the setup for sending a too-large check! Ignore "Andrew" and similar scammers.
Aryeh Frankfurter and Lisa Lynne Tour.
Mark your calendars for the following tour stops:
House Concert Opportunity. Tristan Le Govic, harp player from Brittany in France, will be teaching this summer at the Island Mountain Arts Festival in Wells BC from Aug. 20-24. It might be possible for him to pay a visit to the Seattle area before or after if someone would be willing to organize a house concert for him. If you are interested, reply to email@example.com and we'll put you in touch.
Scottish Historical Harp Site. There are many interesting blog posts, complete with videos and transcription examples, at Simon Chadwick's site www.clarsach.scot.
New String Inventory Tracking Program. Harp tech Steve Moss has invented a free on-line string inventory program. He says "I'm pleased to announce that I've just launched String Bag, a free online string inventory tracking tool designed specifically for harpists. To try it, simply point your browser to https://stringbag.mossharpservice.com." (Steve will be in Seattle for regulations in February; see the Calendar for details.)
Beware A1 Products. Biagio Sancetta writes that there appears to be "a new, wide-spread scam. The scammer, using the handle A1 Products, first appeared on eCrater, an on-line clearing house similar to eBay. The scammer appears now on eBay as well. It works like this: pictures and descriptions of new, well known harps are copied and pasted, the sales price however is drastically lower. Most of the time the text states that the harp will be shipped from Pakistan; sometimes Ireland, England, or the US. Be warned... if a deal looks too good to be true it probably is."
Free Levers. Trish Sowards of
the Tacoma area has Loveland levers from a deceased 29-string harp. She
would like to give them away to someone who is starting out by building
a kit, or to someone adding levers to an existing harp. If you are
interested contact Trish at
Early Irish Harp Website. There is a fascinating website about early Irish harp music, composers, and poets of Oriel on the northeast coast of Ireland, complete with information, videos, scores, and recordings. See https://www.orielarts.com/harp/.
Winter Festival Full. The PSFHS Winter Folk Harp Festival is now full with a short wait list. If you would like to be on the wait list, please submit a completed registration form (find it at www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org) and check. Your check will not be deposited unless a spot in the Festival opens. Date of postmark determines standing on the wait list. Please contact Sally at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
Sunita & Kim in Port Townsend. Sept. 14-16 2018, Kim Robertson and Sunita Staneslow, Harp Retreat at Laurie Riley's Center for Musical Enrichment! Workshops, master classes, optional harp ensemble & more ; 5-6 hours of instruction per day plus informal evening harp circles. Additional concert with Kim and Sunita as well. Topics to be covered: Musicality • Arranging • Slow Airs • Playing back-up • Psalms. Most classes will be intermediate level. Register with Kim and Sunita at http://www.sunitaharp.com/2016/09/harp-retreat-registration.html. Tuition is $360. Food and lodging are priced separately; register for your lodging and meals by emailing email@example.com. Please register EARLY! Lodging at the Center for Musical Enrichment may fill up, and although there are other Bed & Breakfasts in Port Townsend, they also fill up fast!
PSFHS Winter Festival. Registration is now open for the 2018 Winter Folk Harp Festival, February 9-11, at beautiful Seabeck Conference Center on the Kitsap Peninsula! We will have interesting workshops, new tunes to work on, a Saturday night céilidh, and two all-play sessions. Registration includes dinner on Friday through lunch on Sunday and two different room options. Room options are on a ‘first come, first served’ basis determined by postmark, so be sure to get your registration into the mail as soon as you can. For more information on the Winter Folk Harp Festival, including workshop presenters, room options, and a registration form, follow the link at www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org. Questions? Please contact Sally at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tour of Ancient Harps in Dublin. Seattle's Peter Berry was fortunate enough to be included in a "behind the scenes" tour of some of Ireland's oldest harps which located in various museums and collections in Dublin. And, he was kind enough to share the tour with Reigning Harps readers! Thanks to Peter for contributing an article and photos... you can see them by clicking here.
New Book by Josh Layne! Josh Layne of Victoria BC wrote to tell us that his new book "Five Solos for Lever Harp" is available on his website. This collection of five solos for lever harp features Josh's orignial composition "Forgotten Summer" plus music by Bach, Beethoven, Elgar, and O’Carolan. These are arranged for 34+ string fully-levered harp, advanced beginner/intermediate level. Here's the link to the PDF version: http://www.joshlayne.com/store/?product=five-solos-for-lever-harp-downloadable-sheet-music-pdf. (A printed version is also available.) Josh recorded a video, talking about the music in the book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvVroKcB448. And a music video of "Forgotten Summer", his original composition that's one of the pieces in the book can be seen at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWhDpSrGUDo.
House Concert Suggestions. Every now and then there is a request from a harp player who is passing through the area for someone to consider doing a house concert. If you've thought about it but weren't sure how to proceed, you might be interested in Lisa Lynne's new book "How to Succeed with Self Produced Concerts". Email her for more info or to order at email@example.com.
Stolen Harps. On Thursday,
10/6/17, a Dusty Strings FH36 stave-back bubinga harp was stolen out of
a car in Portland OR, along with a black walnut 30-string Philip
Boulding/Magical Strings harp. The Dusty Strings harp is serial number
#6590, built in 2003. It has a highly figured grain pattern (sometimes
known as "waterfall" bubinga) and has a pickup installed in it. The case
contained an extra set of strings, a Sabine Metrotune, a Dusty Strings
DuoTune wrench, and some music books (Deborah Friou, Kim Robertson,
etc.). If you see someone attempting to sell either of these harps,
please contact Sheriff Elliot, case #17-49808, Multnomah County
Sheriff's office at 503-988-7300.
PSFHS 2018 Winter Folk Harp Festival! Puget Sound Folk Harp Society will be returning to the Seabeck Conference Center on the beautiful Kitsap Peninsula February 9-11, 2018, for interesting workshops and lots of fun! Workshop presenters will be announced when registration opens November 1, 2017, on our website at www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org . Have questions that cannot wait until then? Contact Sally at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PSFHS 2017 Annual Picnic. On September 10th, a dozen harp players gathered at Seattle's Ravenna Park for Puget Sound Folk Harp Society's potluck picnic. After a whole month of high temperatures and smoky skies from forest fires, the weather for the picnic was perfectly clear, blue, not too hot for harp or harper. Some players came from as far away as Olympia to join the fun. Food contributions were yummy and the music-making went on until 4:30 pm while listeners enjoyed the sound of harps from all around the grassy field. For some pictures of the day, see the link at www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org.
New Dusty Strings Serrano Harp. Harpist Margot Krimmel recorded a video of herself playing the new mariachi-style harp from Dusty Strings; check it out at https://youtu.be/X9sNUlIySP8 .
Josh Layne's Harp Tuesday. Josh
has posted a new episode which looks at using an iPad in place of
printed music (with the
PSFHS Picnic at Ravenna Park. Puget Sound Folk Harp Society hosts its annual pot-luck picnic Sunday September 10th at Shelter #1 in Seattle's Ravenna Park, rain or shine! All harp players are welcome, as are family and friends (dogs on leash welcome too). Please bring your harp and bench and music stand, your PSFHS Harpers' Songbook if you have one, a dish to share, and your own beverage (no alcohol due to park rules). Gather around noon, lunch between 1-2 pm, play all afternoon! The park entrance is about a mile north of the UW at NE 58th Street and 20th Avenue NE. (Note that you cannot drive south on 20th NE to the park entrance as the bridge is pedestrian-only, so drive north from NE 50th or Ravenna Blvd.) This Google map shows the entrance to the parking area near Shelter #1: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=2000+NE+58th+St,+Seattle,+WA+98105. Contact Eileen Warr-Marti at email@example.com if you need further information.
Virtual Harp Summit Number Three. Diana Rowan does it again, with another great line-up of harp workshops on-line September 14-21, 2017. This time the theme is "Arranging, Improvising & Composing" and you can sign up for that week for free at www.virtualharpsummit.com. (You can also pay for permanent access to the material if you like.) For a sample of the upcoming workshops, check out the Summit's new YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZiLqusj51gLZ-VNaiF86lg.
New Blog Post From Laurie Riley. Laurie has posted a new topic: "Getting the Most out of Workshops and Classes" and you can read it at www.laurieriley.com. Laurie's advice might go well with the free workshops mentioned in the entry just above!
Irish Harp Channel. The Historical Harp Society of Ireland runs a wonderful summer school every year, and this year they have a YouTube Channel where you can see highlights of their workshops and concerts at https://www.youtube.com/user/historicalharp.
Harp Lessons at Dusty Strings in Fremont. Most days of the week, private harp lessons are available at Dusty Strings Acoustic Music Shop in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle. This autumn there are four teachers available: Molly Bauckham, Michael MacBean, Susan McLain, and Monica Schley. Learn more about them at http://store.dustystrings.com/t-3-ms-PL-harp.aspx?skinid=4.
Harp Music Subscription. Anna Dunwoodie, harpist from New Zealand, wrote to tell of her new Harp Music Club. A low monthly membership fee provides three new pieces of harp music delivered to your home each month. If you are interested in learning more, see http://www.annadunwoodie.co.nz/harp-music-club.html.
Registration Open, Space Still Available. For MHTP Class Cycle starting September 9 & 10th, 2017 in Federal Way, WA! Northwest Coordinatior Cheryl Zabel writes to say: "Music for Healing and Transition Program (www.mhtp.org) educates acoustic musicians to work as therapeutic musicians to serve the ill and dying. This is VERY fulfilling work. Healthcare organizations are recognizing the benefits of live therapeutic music at the bedside to decrease pain, lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety, stabilize heart rate, and more! They are looking for trained therapeutic musicians to bring live acoustic music to their patients and staff. If you sing or play an acoustic instrument (OR you know someone who does), please visit our website: http://www.mhtp.org/mhtp-events/?category=Federal+Way" .
Paraguayan Style Harpist Nicholas Carter Seeks House Concert. Nicholas Carter, always in demand at conferences and festivals, will be in the Pacific Northwest in late August. He has workshops and concerts planned in Corvallis and La Pine OR, and is looking for something similar in Washington after August 20th. If any of our ambitious readers would like to host him in a workshop or house concert, please contact Diane at firstname.lastname@example.org to get his contact information and discuss publicity. Thanks!
Save the Date for PSFHS Picnic. The annual Puget Sound Folk Harp Society pot luck picnic will be held Sunday afternoon, September 10, at Shelter #1 in Seattle's Ravenna Park (about a mile north of the University of Washington campus). Plan to bring your harp and a dish to share, and spend the afternoon playing and snacking and socializing. More details in next month's update!
Registration for Music for Healing and Transition Classes Still Open. The new cycle of classes in Federal Way WA starts September 9 & 10th, 2017. Hospices and hospitals are requesting therapeutic musicians all over the NW and there aren't enough therapeutic musicians available to offer services. Healthcare organizations recognize the benefits of live therapeutic music at the bedside to decrease pain, lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety, stabilize heart rate, and more! They need trained therapeutic musicians to bring live acoustic music to their patients and staff. Music for Healing and Transition Program (www.mhtp.org) educates acoustic musicians to work as therapeutic musicians in healthcare: hospice, hospital, and skilled nursing facilities. MHTP is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit therapeutic musician training program, accredited via the National Standards Board for Therapeutic Musicians (http://www.nsbtm.org). If you sing or play an acoustic instrument and this work calls to your heart, visit our website: http://www.mhtp.org/mhtp-events/category=Federal+Way or email Cheryl Zabel, CMP and WA Area Coordinator, at email@example.com.
Great Times at PSFHS Summer Retreat! On the weekend of June 9-11, 20 harpers and two intrepid companions gathered for a retreat at beautiful Camp Casey on Whidbey Island. We had a planned schedule of five informally moderated harp activities, plus other musical events, all hands on. There was also plenty of free time for jamming, reading from our tunebooks, socializing, snacking, and exploring the beach and woods and state park, all within walking distance of our building. Despite bad weather forecasts and thunder clouds in the distance, we had sunny weather the whole time, perfect for kite flying, naps in the sun, and watching the visiting deer! For a gallery of photos from the retreat see https://goo.gl/photos/6j2GhTEaaJC17YrE8.
New Retreat Center for Laurie Riley. Laurie, formerly of Whidbey Island, has moved to her own retreat house in Port Townsend and has a full schedule of retreats planned. (These retreats will appear on the Reigning Harps calendar, of course!) See the web site at https://laurierileymusic.com/laurie-rileys-center-for-musical-exellence-a-place-for-focused-retreat .
Introducing the Serrana 34! Dusty Strings has created a new Latin-style harp model called the Serrana 34. Here is a link to their blog page about it: http://manufacturing.dustystrings.com/blog/2017/01/coming-soon-new-mariachi-34-harp/. The Dusty crew took a prototype to the NAMM Show in January and introduced it to a number of Latin and mariachi harp players, and you can see several of them playing it in the video clips on the blog.
New Blog for Jane Valencia. Vashon Island harper Jane Valencia writes "I am starting a blog post series on storytelling for kids, and will be including techniques for using harp in storytelling. If you are interested in techniques for growing your abilities in (1) storytelling, (2) storytelling with harp, (3) storytelling to kids, then please drop on by. Please note that these posts are not just for those interested in performing. If you, as a parent, grandparent, educator, or loving community member want to tell stories to the kids or anyone else in your life, these posts are for you too. If you have questions in this subject area that you'd love to see addressed, please email them to me or ask them in the comments box at the end of the blog posts. I'll be sure to answer them in the series!" The first entry is Telling Stories to Children: Why Not You? at http://foresthalls.org/wordpress/?p=25995/2017.
Dusty Strings Annual Sale. It’s time once again for Dusty Strings’ annual Folklife Sale! The sale runs Memorial Day Weekend (May 26-29, 2017), and all new Dusty Strings harps and hammered dulcimers will be 15% off. Selected guitars, banjos, mandolins, ukuleles, and mountain dulcimers will also be on sale. (Local sale only: all instruments must be purchased, or ordered and picked up, at the store.) For more information about the sale, call Dusty Strings at 206-634-1662.
Award for Laurie Riley. Whidbey Island's Laurie Riley will be is awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at July's Somerset Folk Harp Festival in New Jersey. She is being honored for her work in the development of ergonomics for harpists, the double-strung harp, and the therapeutic harp certification programs. Congratulations Laurie!
HARPA 2017. Beth Kolle writes to tell us of the current HARPA tour: "HARPA tours once again through Scotland starting May 11th. Fourteen musicians will meet in Edinburgh and pile harps, guitars, concertina, and suitcases into one bus and ourselves into the other bus and take off for a tour of St. Andrews. Our tour leader, Jen Narkivicius, has arranged a slate of sightseeing and concerts for us, this time mostly on the western side of the island. At the Isle of Skye we will tour Eilen Donan Castle and Dunvegan Castle - and in between we’ll rehearse the tunes we’ve been practicing for months. Concerts are scheduled at Dumfries House and Estate, the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, Moniaive, and Culzean Castle. We’ll meet with the Dumfries and Galloway Branch of the Clarsach Society for a jam session, and there will most certainly be a distillery tour wedged in there as well. Many of us on this year’s tour were members of the 2015 tour, so we’re looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones. And of course it will be a treat to see beautiful Scotland with our harps in hand!"
Montana Harper's Family Heading Home. All our best wishes go to Megan Juras, of Missoula MT, and her entire family. She has been staying at Ronald MacDonald House near Children's Hospital in Seattle since October, when her newborn son was transferred there. After nearly 7 months of treatment and multiple surgeries, baby Andy is ready to go home this week! Megan was able to take a break from the hospital to attend a couple of harp circles while she was here, and enjoyed the use of a borrowed harp for a time. She asks that her joy and gratitude be sent to the Puget Sound harp community.
Trees, Wood, Harps. Your editor says "The other day I happened upon a chart which shows many of the woods our harps are made from, along with drawings of the respective trees in scale. I thought it was quite interesting, as I had no idea what a bubinga tree, or a wenge tree, or a koa tree might be like! http://www.alansfactoryoutlet.com/52-types-of-wood-and-the-trees-they-come-from ."
PSFHS Summer Retreat. Registration opens April 1st for the Puget Sound Folk Harp Society's annual summer retreat. This year's dates are June 9-11, and the venue is again Camp Casey on beautiful Whidbey Island. For more information and a registration form, follow the links you'll find at www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org.
Harp on Local Radio Show. Remember that Vashon Island harper and storyteller Jane Valencia offers a Celtic music themed radio show on alternate Sundays on Voice of Vashon radio. Harps feature prominently in her music choices! For more info, see http://www.voiceofvashon.org/forest-halls-celtic.
New Harp Tuesday Video. Josh Layne of Victoria BC writes to say that after a long hiatus he has released new Harp Tuesday videos. Of particular interest to lever harp players might be Episode 110, "Coordinating two hands, contrary motion, and practicing" which you can view at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTxjz97zTPU.
Estate Sale Harps. Melody's Traditional Music writes to say "During the course of 2016, we received over a dozen harps from an estate. John has been diligently assessing and working on these harps, and most of them are now available for sale." If you are interested in any of the harps below, mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more info and pictures. (These harps are in SE Texas. Buyers arrange shipping if needed.) Triplett 22-string Zephyr, maple, $750. Hummingbird "Lupine 36", walnut stave, $3200. Heartland 25-string lap harp, cherry, $950. Blevins Exthara 24/17 Cross Strung, cherry, $1250. Argent Fox 25/17 Cross Strung, $750. Triplett Signature 36, mahogany stave, $3500. Blevins Encore 34, walnut, $1200. L&H Troubadour I, $900. L&H natural Style 17 pedal harp, $19,500. L&H gold Style 24 pedal harp, antique, $16,000. Dilling Single Action harp, ready soon.
Seeking Carbon Fiber Experience. Marianne, from Portland OR, is looking for anyone with a Heartland Infinity Carbon Fiber harp to try out before purchasing one. She says "I am willing to drive almost anywhere in Oregon or Washington. If you are selling one, please let me know. Thank you." Contact her at email@example.com or 503-348-2668.
Snow White with Harp Score! Leslie
McMichael will perform her original score for the 1916 film “Snow White”
live with a screening of the silent film on Saturday, April 8, 10 am, at
the Edmonds Center for the Arts. She composed the music for harp and
viola and will be joined in this performance by her sister, violist
Barbara McMichael. The score was commission by Children’s Film Festival
Seattle for their opening night gala in 2016. This presentation is part
of ECA’s Dementia-Inclusive Series, an effort to make arts experiences
accessible for all people. The event is designed for people with memory
loss, but the general public and all ages are very welcome. This arts
initiative is a great way for young and old to bond over music and
classic film! For more info, see:
New Harp Scam? Judith Cummings writes to say she received a suspicious "Wedding Harpist" solicitation by e-mail, very similar to the old "Music Teacher" scam mails that were circulating a while back. This one sounds a little more reasonable, at least mentioning the harp, but is most unlikely to be a real wedding gig. Please beware of these long-distance vague-sounding inquiries!
Car Pool to Wells BC Harp School. Jo Ann Philpot says "I am going to drive to the Wells BC harp school Aug 14-18 and will leave on the 13th. I have room for another harp and person if someone else would like to go and ride with me." Contact Jo Ann at 360-758-7844.
Weekly Irish Slow Session. Susan ("Tudy") McLain leads this harp-friendly multi-instrument weekly class at Dusty Strings. Have fun learning simple Irish dance tunes as well as taking part in the culture and traditions that keep this music alive. Welcoming to beginners and experts alike, this weekly slow session is for any player who wants to raise a glass to the spirit of Irish music! Four Thursday sessions, 7:45 - 8:45 pm, $80. Sign up for March or April at http://store.dustystrings.com/c-78-multi-instrument-classes.aspx.
Music Thanatology Training. Marylhurst University near Portland OR will offer music-thanatology training beginning September 2017. The application deadline is April 1st. The new, two-year training will prepare graduates to meet the Standards and Competencies of the Music-Thanatology Association International (MTAI). Applications are available by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Music-thanatology students receive education in a broad range of topics from musical, medical, clinical, contemplative, and academic disciplines. A highlight of this training is the clinical internship in which student interns receive weekly hands-on training alongside certified music-thanatology mentors working throughout the region.
New Mariachi Harp Model Coming to Dusty Strings! Coming in late spring of 2017, a brand new design for an affordable mariachi harp appropriate for school programs. Dusty Strings announced "After learning more about the power of these [school] programs and their challenges finding harps, we were inspired to create a model that speaks to this need. We combined time-tested elements of the Ravenna 34 with a new neck, pillar, and string set for a more traditional mariachi look, string tension, and spacing. The result is a big, open voice on a very portable, sturdy, and affordable harp that is built to the high quality standards we are known for, and which can handle the everyday bumps and bruises of the traveling school group life." Go by and check these out in late spring!
Bubinga Instruments May Require Permits to Cross Border. Beginning January 1 2017, several species of bubinga were added to the endangered species list, which limits their export. If you have a bubinga instrument and plan to take it to a workshop in Canada, for example, you may need special permits which require pre-planning. For details, see https://www.fws.gov/international/permits/by-activity/musical-instruments.html.
St. Brigid's Day Harp Music. For those interested in Celtic lore, harpist Aine Minogue has posted a new web page celebrating St. Brigid. History, poetry, invocations and more, all at https://aineminogue.com/saint-brigid-of-ireland.
Harp Music Archives. There is an extensive on-line resource for public domain harp music and scores available at The International Harp Archives at Brigham Young University; see https://archive.org/details/byuinternationalharparchive.
West Seattle Harps? Kathy Wilmering , harpist from West Seattle, writes to say that she has a large living room that could fit 10 large harps, and that she is willing to discuss hosting possible harp events or meet-ups at her home. If you live in West Seattle and have been thinking of a get-together, contact Kathy at email@example.com.
Private Lessons at Dusty Strings. If your new year's resolutions included polishing up your harp technique, remember that there are private lessons offered at Dusty Strings in Fremont. Molly Bauckham is available Fridays, Michael MacBean Mondays, and Susan McLain on Tuesdays and Thursdays. For more information see http://store.dustystrings.com/t-3-ms-PL-harp.aspx?skinid=4.
New Web Site for West Coast Harp Society. The West Coast Harp Society in Vancouver BC and environs has a brand new web site! Take a look at www.westcoastharpsociety.org.
PSFHS Winter Festival Full. The 2017 Winter Folk Harp Festival, February 10-12, at beautiful Seabeck Conference Center on the Kitsap Peninsula is currently full. Thanks so much for your interest! If you would like to discuss the waiting list situation, please contact Sally at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy Birthday, Harpo! On November 23, Harpo Marx's birthday, Seattle harper Linda Khandro sent me this link which brought me great pleasure and many smiles... a perfect example of the musical and comedic gifts of this very talented Marx brother. Enjoy!https://youtu.be/bPAQYfYmW1A
New Book/CD. Sharon Thormahlen
and Jory Aronson have created the Castle Dance Storybook and Music CD!
If you have young children in your life, they will love listening to you
read the story while they dance to the music intertwined within the
story. It will make a wonderful Christmas gift. The story tells of two
kingdoms fighting over the magical Singing Trees and through celebrating
the birth of the Queen's and King's child, they dance their way to
resolution. Along the way, you’ll meet Wizards, Dragons, Sailors, Jolly
Jesters, Princesses, Ponies, Mice, and the Castle Cats. Families,
teachers of young children, grandparents and friends will love this!
Remembering Pamela Vokolek. Pamela
Campbell Vokolek, harpist, harp teacher, and former officer of the local
AHS Chapter, died at age 76, November 5 2016, at Madrona House on
Bainbridge Island, Washington. A Seattle native, she graduated from the
University of Washington in 1962 with a BA in Music (harp), having
studied with Lynne Palmer. In 1965 she earned a Master of Music degree
from the Cleveland Institute of Music under Alice Chalifoux. She also
studied with Carlos Salzedo in Camden, Maine. While teaching at Western
Michigan University, she was harpist for the Kalamazoo Symphony. She
next toured as the harpist for the National Ballet Company of Washington
D.C. Returning to the northwest, she taught harp students at the
University of Washington School of Music from 1968-2007, as well as many
private students. As a professional harpist, she performed with 5th
Avenue Theater, Seattle Men’s Chorus, Seattle Opera, Seattle Symphony,
Pacific Northwest Ballet, and others. A longer obituary and guestbook is
www.cookfamilyfuneralhome.com. A memorial will be held at a later
date. If you desire, please make a donation in her name to an
organization of your choice.
PSFHS Winter Festival. Registration is now open for the 2017 Winter Folk Harp Festival, February 10-12, at beautiful Seabeck Conference Center on the Kitsap Peninsula! We will have interesting hands-on workshops, a few new tunes to work on, a fun Saturday night céilidh, and, as always, our two popular all-play sessions. This year registration will include lunch on Sunday as well as two different room options. These room options are on a ‘first come, first served’ basis determined by postmark, so be sure to mark your registration form with your options 1 and 2 and get it into the mail as soon as you can. For much more information on the Winter Folk Harp Festival, including workshop presenters, room options, and a registration form, go to www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org. Questions? Please contact Sally at email@example.com.
Harp & Beginner Friendly Irish Session
Continues. Susan (Tudy) McLain leads an Irish Music Ensemble
at Dusty Strings Music School, 3406 Fremont Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103.
Learn traditional Irish Session music, Thursday evenings 7:45 -8:45 pm.
All abilities welcome -- especially beginners. Suggested instruments:
Fiddle, Whistle, Irish Flute, Concertina, Guitar, Banjo, Mandolin,
Bodhran, Accordion, Harp Let’s play Jigs, Reels, Hornpipes, Polkas,
Waltzes, and more! $25/session or $80/4 sessions. Sign up here:
Get Well Wishes to Louise Trotter. Texan harp power-house Louise Trotter, now 92, is recovering from a broken hip suffered in a fall. Anyone who has heard or studied with Louise is encouraged to send her a get-well card. Angi Bemiss says "Louise said that getting cards is one of the things that has kept her going, and she has them hanging all around her “nursing care” temporary home. She said that she remembers almost everyone who has written, and it really helps 'when they remind me of where I first met them or have seen them lately.' You can write to her at: Louise Trotter, c/o Parkway Place, 1321 Park Bayou Drive #C317, Houston TX 77077.
New Music Book by Harper Tasche. If you've been waiting for another collection of new music from Harper, this is for you! "A Folk Harp Reaching Out" features lively, vivid, gorgeous, and introspective original pieces modeled on traditional Irish, Scottish, Welsh and other styles, for 34/36-string harps (using E-flat tuning and levers, but there are no lever changes within songs). All of these pieces are from Harper's newest CD "Further," including The Dancing Tree, Nostalgia, It's Raining Harps, Phase Oasis, Neil McNeill's March, Miss Elizabeth Roberts, and A Peaceful Place. This book is so new that it's not even on Harper's website yet (though it will be, look for it at harpcrossing.com) but for now, contact him via firstname.lastname@example.org for ordering information.
New Release by Magical Strings. A new CD, Fairy Wind, captures the exuberant spirit of Philip and Pam’s journeys to Ireland and beyond, with 15 sparkling tracks just recorded at Big Red Studio, featuring their newest compositions including “The Hermit’s Cave” and “Tigh Eamon” along with many surprises. CDs will be available in mid-November and at all the Celtic Yuletide concerts. For more information e-mail email@example.com.
On-line Historical Harp Lectures. Here are fourteen lectures, most over an hour, on the early Irish harp and related topics from this summer's Irish harp school from the Historical Harp Society of Ireland https://www.youtube.com/user/historicalharp/videos.
Harp Lust List. This long-running list of harp-makers around the world, compiled by Mike Neilson, is now hosted at: http://cynthiaartish.com/harplust-list/. Great info and fun browsing!
PSFHS Winter Festival. Save the dates February 10 – 12, 2017! We’re looking forward to our Winter Folk Harp Festival at the Seabeck Conference Center on the beautiful Kitsap Peninsula. We’ll have interesting workshops, additional single-room options for lodging, a fun céilidh, good food, and wonderful camaraderie. Registration opens November 1, 2016, and we’ll have all of the information for you at that time. Have a question that cannot wait? Contact co-director Sally Verrinder at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PSFHS Picnic Great Fun. Thanks to all who organized and contributed to our pot-luck picnic! We couldn't have had nicer weather, we had a nice shady shelter for the harps, there was a ton of delicious food, and lots and lots of harp playing with tunes ranging from medieval to modern, and some both at once (jazz Greensleeves, anyone?). If you'd like to see a picture of some of the players during our afternoon "harp gauntlet", go to www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org.
ISFHC Video. Beth Stockdell,
the current Folk Harp Journal editor, wrote to inform all that they have
made a video (with harp music of course) of all the FHJ covers since the
very beginning. It is fascinating to watch the transformation over the
years! To see the video
Spokane Area Harp Facebook Page.
Susan Miles (formerly from the Puget Sound area, now living east of
Spokane) writes to say "Exciting news! We now have a 'Spokane Harp
Happenings' Facebook page. Check us out. Please feel free to post any
harp happenings that may come your way. We want to stay connected to our
Virtual Harp Retreat. There will be a free 5-week harp workshop series offered by Canadian harpist Kate Kunkel. For more information, see http://theharplady.ca/theharplady.ca/News_and_Events.html.
Scotland with Sunita. Sunita
Staneslow is organizing a 2017 harp tour to Scotland. This will be 12
days / 11 nights, 2nd - 13th June, 2017. This tour will include:
Scottish mainland; Islands of Arran, Orkney, and Shetland; Visit and
performance for local charities; Meet musicians and harpists; Castles,
Glens, and Lochs; Harp performance at St Magnus Cathedral, Orkney;
Cultural, social, and political content; Visit a Scottish harpmaker;
Harp Master classes in Shetland. This amazing tour is not only for
harpists. Anyone can join - bring your partner! Space is limited.
Contact Sunita at
Annoying Buzzing? Harp tech Steve Moss wrote an interesting note mentioning that in his experience 95% of buzzes on the harp come from string ends inside which are touching each other, or a string anchor, or the wood of the harp. Checking inside for an overlong string end to clip is an easy fix for a harp player to undertake on her own, and saves waiting for a harp technician!
Harp Festival Returns to California in
2017. Director Jessica Siegel writes to say "Grab your
calendar now to save May 25 - 28, 2017 for the 2017 International Harp
Festival at the San Damiano Retreat Center in the beautiful hillside
town of Danville, CA. Read on for a peek at what's new in 2017: Daily
classes geared specifically to the beginning, intermediate and advanced
players that build on the material presented the previous day;
Internationally acclaimed artists and presenters to educate, motivate
and inspire you; Classes for both the pedal and non-pedal player
covering a wide range of topics; Classes for the casual,
pre-professional and professional harpist and teacher; Nightly concerts
spanning musical styles from Bach to Bebop, World Sounds, and Celtic
Music. San Damiano is just 45 minutes from San Francisco! We look
forward to seeing you next May!"
New Case from Ray Doherty. Irish hard-shell case maker Ray Doherty writes to inform us that he is producing a newly designed Lyon & Healy Silhouette harp case which is coming on the market in September. The case has wheels and carries the The Silhouette and stand and tripod, and is lightweight at 12 Kilo (about 25 pounds). See www.raydohertycases.com for more info.
Harp Teachers in/near Anacortes WA? We had an inquiry from someone who met a "harp teacher from Anacortes" at the Skagit Harp Tent, but cannot remember her name. We'd like to locate this harp teacher, or possibly another Anacortes area teacher... please reply to this message if you teach near Anacortes. Thanks!
Tristan Le Govic Workshops and Concert. The Puget Sound Folk Harp Society joins the Seattle Chapter of the American Harp Society to sponsor two workshops and a concert by internationally known harpist Tristan Le Govic on Saturday, August 13, 2016. Tristan will be teaching two afternoon workshops (a harps-only workshop on traditional Breton tunes, and a song/dance workshop in which singers and other acoustic instruments will join the harps to accompany dancing). That evening, Tristan will perform a solo concert, with an informal reception to follow. All events take place at St. Dunstan's Church on North 145th Street (the Seattle/Shoreline city limit); the church has ample free parking and a nice flat entry for harps. For more info on Tristan, see his web site at www.tristanlegovic.eu. For a registration form, see www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org and follow the link under Tristan's photo. (You may also register at the door, but if you register in advance we can keep you posted on special information before the event.)
New Location for PSFHS Winter Festival! Co-director Sally Verrinder writes to say: "We are excited to announce our Winter Folk Harp Festival will be held February 10-12, 2017, at the historic Seabeck Conference Center in Seabeck, Washington! We are looking forward to being on the Kitsap Peninsula at this beautiful location, which is easily accessible from all directions. There is a large meeting room for our harping activities and additional lodging options including more single-bed rooms. Please note the date has changed from January to February. We will have more information as our November 1, 2016, registration opening comes closer."
A Very Funny Game! Especially
if you play for weddings, you'll enjoy the Harpist Bingo game on Cynthia
Kuni’s blog https://harpmyday.com.
The grid is in her post of July 5th, and will make you laugh!
In Memory of Eileen Kilgren Bergman. Though she did not play the harp herself, Eileen was well known to many harpers in Seattle as the always cheerful and welcoming "right-hand woman" at Galway Traders Irish Imports shop, which recently closed after many years in Ballard. Eveline Murray, the shop's owner, sent word to let us know that Eileen had passed away unexpectedly; her memorial service was held in Carkeek Park on June 14th. Eileen was involved in both Celtic and Scandinavian heritage activities in Seattle; for many years she was the editor of "Eileen's Celtic Calendar" and shared information freely with Reigning Harps newsletter. She will be missed.
Bunting Manuscripts On-line. Biagio Sancetta writes to let us know that there are scans of the three volumes of Edward Bunting's transcriptions of Irish harp (and other) tunes, available at http://www.wirestrungharp.com/library/bunting_1796_preston.html. This link takes you to the oldest collection and the links to the two others are part way down the page. Enjoy!
Random Act of Harping Report. Diane Beaumont wrote to say "for Random Acts of Harping weekend I took my 34-string Dusty to Dunn Gardens in Seattle, a big estate that’s held in trust with a marvelous and extensive garden to roam. The setting couldn’t have been more perfect with everything in bloom, lush foliage, birds singing, and the smell of freely mown grass hanging in the air. It was an unusually gorgeous day for our normally rainy Seattle, and as the visitors came through the grounds they paused to enjoy my music and engage in conversation about the harp. As I explained that this was Random Day of Harping, one crusty old gentleman asked me what was 'random' about it, if this was the designated day. 'Ah…,' I replied. 'It’s the unexpectedness of where you might find a harper behind the shrubbery that makes it random!' He went on his way with a smile and music in his ears!"
Harp Seattle 2016 Booklet Available. You can now download and print the upcoming Harp Seattle booklet, with schedules and descriptions of activities at Dusty Strings' biannual harp extravaganza! See the link at http://store.dustystrings.com/p-3645-161007-harp-seattle.aspx.
PSFHS Winter Festival Will Be Moving. Winter Festival administrative director Sally Verrinder reports: “We have just learned that the Treacy Levine Center (a.k.a. Camp Brotherhood) will be closing its doors by the end of this summer. Program director Harper Tasche and I are exploring other possible venues in the Puget Sound region for our January 2017 Festival, and we’ll make further announcements as soon as we have solid information to share. Stay tuned!”
New Recording From Harper Tasche. "Further", Harper's long-awaited 13th solo CD, has arrived! This new all-original album was recorded on his gorgeous walnut Dusty Strings FH36S, and includes musical portraits of a dreamlike trek through the desert, a back-alley chase through the city, a crystal-cold night sky, a haunted storm, a lullaby for the dying, foot-tapping dances, and a seven-movement theme and variations suite... wordless messages for every heart. To order see Harper's website at www.harpcrossing.com.
Random Acts of Harping. June 4 and 5 were this year's annual Random Acts of Harping days, and organizer Joanna Mell writes: "A BIG THANK YOU goes out to all the awesome harpers who made Random Acts of Harping Days an internationally stellar event this year! I have been overwhelmed by messages and photos of all you amazing harpers bringing beauty and peace into the world this weekend by taking your harps out into the community - I am busily gathering all of your adventures and photos together and they will be sent to the Folk Harp Journal to chronicle this marvelous outpouring. Just think of all the beautiful harp music resonating from all corners of the globe at all hours - this truly was an international event." If you have a report or photos to send to Joanna for her article, you can send them to email@example.com.
For the Classically Trained.
Carol Levin writes: “There's a really interesting and delightful program
coming up July 2-3. Many people have talked to me about their discomfort
with improvisation and playing 'off the page’. Steve Treseler, an
excellent educator and musician, is leading what he called The Game
Symphony Workshop at SPU, an adult workshop for classically trained
musicians. Here's a link: https://gamesymphonyworkshop.com/spu/."
Harp Seattle - Individual Concert Tickets. You can still sign up for Harp Seattle and get these concerts as part of the package, but if you can't attend this time, you can now purchase tickets for the Friday night concert with Kim Robertson & Nicolas Carter and/or the Saturday night concert with Park Stickney & Maeve Gilchrist. This is an excellent option for those who can't attend the whole weekend, but still want to experience world class music. Individual concert tickets are first-come-first-served and seating will be limited. Go to www.dustystrings.com and click on "Concerts and Events" for more info.
Monthly Sessions in Mount Vernon. Join the Celtic Arts Foundation for Scottish and Irish music sessions at the Littlefield Celtic Center in downtown Mount Vernon! All are welcome to come and play or enjoy the music. The Scottish session will be held on Sunday June 5th from 3:00-6:30 pm and the Irish session will be held on Sunday June 19th from 1:00-4:00 pm. For more information, please visit www.celticarts.org, call 360-416-4934, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. (Harpers please note, there are great guides to the "session etiquette" of these gatherings listed on the Celtic Arts website under "Events"... and descriptions of fine upcoming Celtic concerts as well.)
Welsh Harp Maker Honored. Allan Shiers, founder of Telynau Teifi Harps, has been named the UK Maker of the Year by the Heritage Craft Association (HCA). The submission to the HCA was supported by two of Britain’s foremost harpists Elinor Bennett and Catrin Finch. The award was made at the Association’s annual conference as part of London Craft week; see http://awards.heritagecrafts.org.uk/?p=824. The Heritage Crafts Association is the advocacy body for traditional crafts and aims to support and promote crafts as a fundamental part of our living heritage. Since completing his apprenticeship with John Weston Thomas (who resurrected harp making in Wales), Allan has spent almost 40 years refining the design and making of harps as well as sharing his knowledge and craft. In 2005 he established Telynau Teifi Harps, a not-for-profit community business, as the best way to ensure a future for harp-making in Wales. Since then the company has made over 900 harps with a worldwide distribution; see www.telynauteifi.co.uk/.
PSFHS Summer Retreat Full. The PSFHS Summer Retreat at Camp Casey filled in record time this year! Thanks so much for your interest, and apologies to those who were unable to register in time. We do have a waiting list at the moment, and occasionally there are cancellations. If you'd like information on the waiting list, please contact Diane at email@example.com.
Tristan le Govic August Events. Breton harper Tristan le Govic will be in Seattle on August 13 for two workshops and an evening concert. This is a joint presentation of the Puget Sound Folk Harp Society and the Seattle Chapter of the AHS. The first workshop will be for harps only, the second is also harp appropriate but will welcome other instruments and singers and include the teaching of a traditional Breton dance. The evening solo concert will conclude with a simple reception. All events will take place at St. Dunstan's Church on NW 145th Street (north Seattle city limits). Save the date, and watch here for more information... registration opens in July!
Nancy Thym Touring in July. Historical harp expert Nancy Thym will be touring in the US from June 23 through July 28, when she will go to teach at the prestigious Early Music Conference in Amherst MA. She will be in the Boston area, the Denver area, the Reno area, California, and the Seattle area during that time. If you would like to book her for a concert or workshop while she is near you, please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss her itinerary. Those in the Seattle area may also contact Joyce Rice (email@example.com) to inquire about Nancy's schedule while in Seattle.
New Harp-Friendly Radio Program. Vashon Island harper Jane Valencia writes to tell us about her new radio show, Forest Halls Celtic - "Airing 1st and 3rd Sundays, 12-1 pm Pacific Time, you can catch it locally at KVSH 101.9 FM or via streaming on http://voiceofvashon.org. You'll enjoy traditional and contemporary Celtic music, plus the occasional foray into other musical realms (world, folk, historical). Each show will feature the harp! I aim for a fun, refreshing mix, with a snippet or two of Celtic poetry, and bardic and herb lore tossed in. Please join me! For play lists and more info about the show, visit: http://foresthalls.org4/16."
Harp Related Novel: "Contrary Motion".
Thanks to Linda Khandro who wrote to mention this newly published debut
novel by Andy Mozina. It follows the story of Matthew Grzbc, a pedal
harpist, newly divorced, living in Chicago. Matthew is trying to manage his
troubled young daughter, a new relationship, and the death of his
father at the same time as brunch gigs, hospice work, and frantic preparation for
a symphony first-chair audition. Harp players might identify as the main character struggles with the meaning of life as
well as the trials of harp-mobiles, unexplained buzzes, and broken pedal
rods! Please note: this is an "adult-theme" book with sexual content and
profanity... probably not to everyone's taste. But if you are interested
you can find this book at your local library or at Amazon:
Do You Use Sibelius for Harp Notation? Sibelius expert and plug-in developer Bob Zawalich has written a guide to "Notating Music for the Harp in Sibelius" which is available for free at http://www.bobzawalich.com/harp-notation-in-sibelius/. It describes effective ways to create pedal and lever harp notation in Sibelius, and also includes information on using the free Norfolk Harp Std font, which contains the pedal harp notation symbols used in Salzedo’s "Modern Study of the Harp." Bob also has compiled information about the upcoming "subscription" model for Sibelius, and some ideas for how to negotiate this change. (As of July 1, 2016, if you have a version of Sibelius prior to version 8 and have not upgraded, you will be "out of subscription".) Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org to ask for this information.
Save August 13 on Your Summer Calendar. Seattle Chapter AHS and Puget Sound Folk Harp Society co-sponsor two afternoon workshops and an evening concert with internationally known Breton harp player Tristan le Govic (see http://www.tristanlegovic.eu/). All events will be held at St. Dunstan's Church on North 145th Street at the Seattle city limits, with very easy access from I-5. Watch this space for details and registration info as the time nears!
Harp Volunteers Needed at Enumclaw Games. Kate Freeburg writes to say "I am looking for volunteers to help out on July 30-31 at the Harp Tent in Enumclaw this year and at the harp station at the Isle of the Wee Bairns. Shifts are 3 hours each and volunteers receive a gate pass for the day of their shift. They also receive a Volunteer T-shirt. The time for the station at the Isle of the Wee Bairns is from 11 am - 2 pm both Saturday and Sunday. I have a 26 string harp that can be used. This is for very young children and all they want to do is to be able to touch the harp and pluck a few strings. We are trying to encourage the youth to take an interest in the various activities (we try to have harp, drum, pipe, and dancing stations). The shifts for the harp tent run between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm Saturday and Sunday and I can use at least 3 people each day. We have an open harp circle at 10 am & 1 pm. Seirm performs on Saturday at 11 am and 4 pm. Interested volunteers can contact me at email@example.com or call me at 253-732-5232."
New Book from Sharon Thormahlen. Sharon writes to say "my new book, Season's Greetings, is a collection of 18 popular Christmas tunes: Let it Snow, Jingle Bell Rock, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, A Christmas Song (Chestnuts), Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer and many more. The arrangements were done with simplicity in mind, but you know Christmas tunes, they have lever changes. I successfully made them as easy as possible! The powers that be (whoever that is?) wouldn't let me put White Christmas in the collection with the other tunes, so it will come out separately. You can read more at: http://www.thorharp.com//pages/season'sgreetings.htm. The book will be available in mid-April, however, if you pre-order the book by April 15th, I will ship it to you for free. The book is $30 and White Christmas is $5. You can send a check to me at 1876 SW Brooklane, Corvallis, OR 97333 or pay $36.75 to Paypal using my email firstname.lastname@example.org."
Jazz Harp Opportunities. For those who are interested in jazz harp conferences or workshops, check out this calendar which keeps track of such events all over the world: http://www.jazzharp.org/calendar.
Tina Tourin Touring! Christina Tourin wrote to friends in our area about her availability for workshops, concerts, etc., at the end of May and beginning of June. She says on "May 14th I will start heading up the west coast to Seattle. I am especially writing to see if anyone would like to host a personal house concert with your friends or a local church concert, a support group session at your local hospital, or to help you get started with starting a harp group. I will have multiple harps with me. When I get to Seattle, I will be doing a workshop and concert on Vashon Island on May 28th, then I will board a ship to go to Alaska for a week, and return to fetch my car and harps and drive back down the west coast - either via I-5 or Highway 101. If you have any ideas for helping to set up this tour, please contact me (email@example.com)."
Galway Traders Close-Out. The wonderful Celtic imports shop which has hosted the autumn Samhain Harps event for 30-some years will finally be closing their doors in May. Items are not being re-ordered and are already marked down, so if there is something there you have admired in the past, now is the last chance... go by Galway Traders in April one last time, talk to our kind friends Evelyn and Eileen, and find a bargain or two while you are there.
Dusty Strings Harp Blogs. Thanks to a note in Alison Vardy's newsletter, your editor just learned of something she had not heard of before. The manufacturing end of Dusty Strings has a regular blog, which contains quite a few harp topics. There is some good reading there! Enjoy the entries at: http://manufacturing.dustystrings.com/blogsearch/harps/.
Harp Seattle 2016 Early-bird Registration. Dusty Strings is proud to announce Harp Seattle 2016 running October 7th – 9th at Dusty Strings Music Store & School in Seattle, WA. Headlining are internationally renowned harpists Park Stickney, Kim Robertson, Maeve Gilchrist, and Nicolas Carter. Folk harp players, teachers, and enthusiasts will gather to enjoy extraordinary musical performances, intimate workshops, and unforgettable experiences. Additional workshop presenters include Harper Tasche, Laurie Riley, Molly Bauckham, Tudy McLain, Catherine Madden, and more TBA. Early bird registration costs $295.00 and begins February 1, 2016. After June 1, registration costs $345.00. Registration includes an all-access pass to the weekend’s workshops and performances. For more information, call 206-634-1662.
Interesting On-Line Harp Sites. In the last couple months we've gotten word of several innovative harp sites... you might want to take a look! First, this web site by Olivia Jageurs: http://www.15secondharp.com/. Olivia is a London based harpist, and if you send her a piece of harp music by no later than midnight (UK time), she'll put up a performance by 5 pm the next day, and she will also give you feedback. One condition: it can only be 15 seconds long. There are many examples already on her site, from simple tunes to complex phrases... click her heading "The 15 Seconds" to see a list. The second site is an amazing compilation created by Gunnhildur Einarsdottir at http://sites.siba.fi/en/web/harpnotation/home as part of her doctoral studies in music. She is a professional harpist who has put together a treasure trove of info for composers, including video clips of harp techniques in action. Look under the heading "Notation Manual" for all forms of techniques and sounds explained and illustrated! The final clips are being done on YouTube by Carolyn Deal who is making a tutorial series on the double strung harp; check this clip for a number of double strung technique https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W31bzUVcATE&feature=youtu.be.
Welsh Triple Harp CD Review. There is local interest involved in the latest Folk Harp Journal's glowing review of the live concert CD "A Harper's Holiday In Wales" by the Red Dragon Harp Ensemble, a triple-harp group led by Cheryl Ann Fulton. One of the members of the ensemble was Seattle's own Bill McJohn, who says, "the concert was in Santa Cruz in 2010. Cheryl based the program on a performance that a family of Welsh triple harpists gave for Queen Victoria. A description of that performance survives, but the arrangements do not; Cheryl made her own arrangements for triple harp ensemble. It's a delightful program, illustrating the emotional breadth of Welsh music." For more information on the CD, see http://harpnhorse.wix.com/cafulton#!recordings/px8pu.
California Harp Festival Registration Discount Ends March 15. The International Harp Festival 2016 brings together many of the harp community's best clinicians and performers. Its mission is to educate and inspire, and to connect you to harpists from around the globe. Sign up for the Full Festival Registration with a friend by March 15th, and you'll both save $50. Already planning to meet friends there? Sign yourself up by March 15th, and you'll receive $25 off. Festival dates are May 26-29, 2016, at the San Damiano Retreat Center in Danville CA. For more info or to register, see www.harpfestival.org.
Music for Healing & Transition Program.
Still space available for 2016 Washington classes! Join a lively and
transforming course of study for instrumentalists and vocalists leading
to becoming a professional Certified Music Practitioner. CMPs are
employed to provide live, therapeutic music at the bedside for ill or
dying patients in many different types of healthcare facilities in order
to create a healing and nurturing environment.
PSFHS Winter Festival a Great Time. On the weekend of January 22-24, about 40 area harp players gathered from all over the northwest region at our annual festival, currently held near Arlington WA. Much music-making was enjoyed, in workshops and reading sessions, as well as informally in small jams and rehearsals during free time. Our Saturday night ceilidh was a showcase of the group's talent in harp, dance, song, story, and other instruments as well. Many thanks to the directors, instructors, and volunteers who made this fun weekend possible! To see some photos from the weekend, go to www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org and follow the link.
In Memory of Madeleine Herczog. A treasured elder of our area's harp community passed away on January 4th while vacationing with family in Arizona. Madeleine was born in 1925 and grew up in Switzerland; she and her husband Andrew emigrated to the US in 1955. She was trained as a classical pianist and taught for many years. In the 1970s she became interested in Early Music which led to learning the harpsichord, recorder, and harp. The harp became her preferred instrument, and composing became, as she once told us, her "old age hobby". She published several books of her compositions for harp, mastering music notation software in her 80s in order to do so! Madeleine was loved for her energy and humor as she participated in PSFHS events. She was a contributor to Reigning Harps' Featured Music page, and a frequent harp circle host and attendee, enjoying her last circle in December just a few weeks before her death. We were all inspired by her love of music and life-long learning. She will be greatly missed. (Her Seattle Times obituary can be seen at http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/seattletimes/obituary.aspx?pid=177234069.)
Music for Healing & Transition Program.
Announcing 2016 Washington classes! Join a lively and transforming
course of study for instrumentalists and vocalists leading to becoming a
professional Certified Music Practitioner. CMPs are employed to provide
live, therapeutic music at the bedside for ill or dying patients in many
different types of healthcare facilities to create a healing and
Economy Improving At Last? Harpist Susan McLain of Seattle reports that this year she finally increased her wedding package fee at the big wedding show, and that no one even blinked an eye at the price! Good news!
A New Year's Gift. Canadian harpist Josh Layne sent a link to a solo harp improv he recorded and combined with photos from his home in Victoria on Vancouver Island. Enjoy! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUHelyvuxxg.
Harp Circle Listeners Encouraged. The harp circle that meets at the library in Tumwater WA near Olympia has welcomed listeners into the room who wish to listen and do quiet activities, including the popular current activity of adult coloring. The library announcement reads "Listeners are welcome to read, knit or craft, or enjoy our collection of coloring books"!
Advance Notice, Harp Workshop in BC.
Caroline Mackay writes to say: "Come and refresh your skills and enthuse
your repertoire with our 17th Annual High Spirits Music INTERMEDIATE
Harp Workshop in the sweet rolling hills north of Vernon, BC, at Silver
Hills Spa and Retreat Centre. The weekend is April 15 - 17, 2016, the
gourmet vegetarian fare is second to none, and Rebecca Blair is our
dynamic instructor! Her theme this season is Something Old, Something
New, Something Borrowed, Something Blues! Come for the music, for the
friends, for the inspiring atmosphere! There is limited space, so please
register early." For a registration brochure please contact Caroline
PSFHS Winter Festival. The festival remains full but cancellations have emptied the waiting list. If you are interested in attending there is still a chance a spot will open. Get more information and a registration form at www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org. You are welcome to e-mail or call co-director Sally firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-442-3470 for more details.
New Meeting Day for Olympia Harp Circle.
The Olympia harp circle has been meeting for several months during the
work week, and is now moving to the weekend! They'll be meeting on the
2nd Saturday of
the month, from 1:30 to 4:30 pm, still at the Tumwater Timberland Library at 7023 New
Market Street in Tumwater WA 98501. If you are interested in attending a
friendly harp get-together, please contact organizer Jean Stewart at
360-943-0164 for details.
Third Sunday Harp Circle News. At the very end of November, Emily Hill, who is a columnist for Neighborhood News Networks, saw a note about the Third Sunday Harp Circle in a library publication. She contacted circle facilitator Diane Moss (your editor too!) who answered some questions about the circle, how it came to be, and what its goals are. If you'd like to read it, please see http://mltnews.com/arts-around-terrace-for-december-musical-interludes-at-our-library.
Going to Winter Festival? Sharon Thormahlen writes to say she "will be bringing an available Blond Thormahlen Ceili with Walnut trim to the PSFHS Annual Winter Folk Harp Festival January 22-24. If you're interested in purchasing this harp, contact her at: email@example.com or call 541 753-4334. It is rare that we have available harps for purchase, usually you have to wait a few months for us to build you a harp."
We've Heard of Water Music, but Really?
Linda Khandro sent in this YouTube link of a small masked harp
player, guaranteed to bring a smile:
New Edition of Classic Harp Exercise
Patricia Jaeger writes to let us know that in January 2016
Vanderbilt Music Co. will list for sale a book of 12 harp studies, over 100 years old, by the teacher of L. M. Tedeschi: Angelo
Bovio (d. 1907). Prof. Bovio taught harp at the Royal Music Conservatory
in Milan, Italy and his Opus 26, 12 Studies for Harp, "expressly composed
for those who have not yet advanced to using pedals," seems just right
for harp students who want to develop admirable finger technique on
non-pedal harps. You can find this book by searching their online harp
Samhain Harps at Galway Traders. Thanks to all who played at and attended our final Samhain Harps Presentation at Galway Traders on November 1, 2015; harp tunes, songs, stories, and poems filled the shop as we said farewell! Thanks also to the numerous audience members who filled the shop with warmth and memories, and helped to see us out with a touching rendition of "The Parting Glass". And of course, our heartfelt gratitude to Eveline Murray (and of course to Hugh as well) and to Eileen Bergman who welcomed harps with such hospitality over the years! For a photo of the players (Seumas Gagne, Peter Berry, Harper Tasche, Nan Pardew, Becky Fox, and Eileen Warr-Marti) and the event's original organizer (Sile Harriss) see www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org.
Brava Barbara Ford! Barbara Ford of Seattle responded to the notice regarding sending harp supplies to Cuba by donating a Dusty Strings Ravenna 26 lever harp. Thanks to Barbara for her generosity, and to Dusty Strings who provided shipping to get this harp to Florida in time for the boat to Havana!
Aeolian Harp Pavilion. Some friends in the UK sent a photo of a harp they came across while wandering through the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh. A little research turned up this wonderful video about the creation of an "Aeolian Harp Pavilion" by Scottish harpmaker Mark Norris. There is a time lapse sequence showing the entire construction, and lovely photos at the end of the harp in its new home. Those of us who perform outside sometimes dread the "wind harp" effect, but the idea of having a harp in a garden singing along to the breezes is quite charming! See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5mMqqY3MGw.
West Coast Harps Has New Address. Alison Vardy's West Coast Harps is moving to Cedar, just south of Nanaimo BC, on December 1st 2015. Now centrally-located on Vancouver Island with a larger studio, more parking, and proximity to two major ferries. New address is 2235 Hummingbird Drive, Nanaimo BC, Canada V9X 1G6.
Kathie Hardy Holiday Calendar. Bellingham's
Kathie Hardy writes to say she has a number of performances this month,
many quite accessible to the public who can hear lovely music while
shopping at Haggen stores in the Bellingham area. See her calendar for
Waring Harp Kit. Dennis Waring writes to introduce his innovative harp kit, very reasonably priced and well-suited to beginners, ensembles, etc. Dennis says "Please take a moment to check out my website at www.waringmusic.com, regarding my unique product, the Waring Harp Kit. It has garnered interest globally and has been praised at various craft and harp festivals. I think you'll like it."
Samhain Harps at Galway Traders. On Sunday November 1st, a presentation celebrating the Celtic New Year, 2-4 pm, 7518 15th NW in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. Harp players this year are Becky Fox, Beth Kolle, Nan Pardew, Harper Tasche, Peter Berry, and Seumas Gagne (with a guest tune as well!). Free! Join us at the cozy shop for the final celebration at this location. For details, contact Diane at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Job for Leslie McMichael! Congrats to Leslie McMichael who has joined the Seattle Symphony as a Teaching Artist working in education and outreach programs for youth and adult audiences.
Laurie Riley Teaching in New Jersey. All the best to Laurie Riley who is traveling to New Jersey and will presenting two harp workshops there for the Irish American Society of North West Jersey on November 15th.
Celtic Cruise Next July. The dates are officially set for the next Golden Bough Celtic Cruise to Alaska. Magical Strings and Jim & Cheryl Hinton are returning for 2016! You will enjoy music workshops, evening concerts, lectures, jam sessions and so much more. Sailing out of Seattle on Sunday, July 3, 2016, and returning to Seattle on Sunday, July 10, 2016. To be a part of The Celtic Cruise private group you must book through Montrose Travel. See http://tinyurl.com/celtic-cruise for info and reservations.
Help for Harpists in Cuba. Pat Wooster has collected materials for harpists in Cuba in the past, and is gathering more: strings (even older ones), sheet music, CDs, and even harps (lever or pedal). There is a ship leaving for Havana on December 2 from Florida which can transport these items. If you have any donations to make to this effort, please contact Pat soon at 253-862-3400 or e-mail email@example.com.
New MHTP Cycle. Music for Healing and Transition Program is starting a NEW cycle of classes April 9 & 10th, 2016 in Federal Way, WA. Our schedule is as follows: Module 1 April 9 & 10th, 2016 - Module 2 June 11 & 12, 2016 - Module 3 August 13 & 14, 2016 - Module 4 October 22 & 23, 2016 - Module 5 January 6, 7 & 8, 2017. If you play an acoustic instrument and therapeutic music is calling to your heart, please visit the Music for Healing and Transition Program website for details on registration, costs, etc., at www.mhtp.org.
New Harp Festival in California. Early bird registration fees good through December for the 2016 International Harp Festival which will be held at the beautiful San Damiano Retreat Center in Northern California. The festival will include One Day Intensive workshops as well as numerous 1 - 2 hour workshops. Topics include healing harp, Celtic and world music, liturgical harp, improvisation, and much more. You will have time throughout the day to shop for harps, music, and accessories, and meet and mingle with other participants, the performers, and facilitators. Every evening you will enjoy concerts featuring harpists performing The Blues, Straight Ahead Jazz, World Music, Folk and Classical repertoire. For more info or to register see http://www.harpfestival.org/.
PSFHS Annual Harp Picnic. Undeterred by ominous forecasts, a fun group of harp players gathered at Ravenna Park on September 20th for our annual pot-luck picnic. The site was cleared and prepared for us by able facilitator Beth Kolle, with the assistance of Maria Wilson and Nan Pardew. Not a drop of rain fell as we spent the time from 11 am until 4 pm visiting, lunching, and playing our harps. Gusts of winds sprinkled us with leaves and maple "twirlers" from time to time, and serenaded us with that awesome "wind harp" sound. We started off with at least an hour of sweet and peaceful tunes to honor the annual "Harpists for Peace" day (Maria decorated our shelter with paper cranes!) and later in the afternoon we concentrated on jigs, reels, and hornpipes. Several Hawaiian tunes were also played to help us relish the last weekend of summer and the warm sun that broke through the clouds. Thanks to all who attended for your assistance, delicious picnic goodies, talent, and good humor! Photos of the event are available in a gallery at www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org.
New Harp Shop in Edmonds WA. Alison Austin is opening a new harp studio and salon in Edmonds! It is located at 110 West Dayton St., Suite 104. Saturday, October 24 from 10 am to 5 pm is a public open house and celebration, with door prizes and a drawing for a Shamrock lever harp. Congratulations to Alison!
Harper Tasche Teaching at Canadian Harp Festival. Congratulations to Seattle's Harper Tasche who is teaching and performing at the Northern Lights Harp Festival in Ontario, Canada, the first weekend of October.
Seumas Gagne to Adjudicate at SHSA Finals. Seumas Gagne will be helping to judge the national finals competition of the Scottish Harp Society of America competitions, held at Stone Mountain in Georgia in mid-October. He'll also be performing a house concert while there. For more information on Seumas and his harp activities, see http://seumasgagne.com/calendar.php.
Harp at Tumbleweed Music Festival. Linda Khandro writes to say she played a harp gig in Richland WA, at the Tumbleweed Music Festival (see http://www.3rfs.org/tmf.htm for more info). She says "It's a really nice event, free to the public, smallish scale, on the bank of the Columbia River. Chris Roe has also sometimes played harp there, but otherwise, I haven't seen/heard another harper. This is where I learned about 'band scramble!'" (Linda was the person who suggested band scramble at our PSFHS summer retreat, which we have enjoyed with much laughter for many years now.)
Olympia Concert by David Helfand and Justin Lader. Debut Olympia performance by Oregon Celtic Harpist and multi-instrumentalist David Helfand, and violist Justin Lader on Saturday, Sept 26th, 7 pm, at Cafe Love (205 4th Ave E. Olympia, WA). $5 -$10 donation requested. Travel to the far corners of the world on a journey of original music with Celtic harp, octave mandolin, guitar, and viola. David and Justin will feature music inspired by Celtic, Middle Eastern, Asian meditation, and Sephardic traditions, as well as pieces from their albums, "From a Distant Time" and "After the Rain". David and Justin have performed throughout the Northwest and the San Francisco Bay Area and are excited to bring their music to Olympia. For more info visit David's web site at www.davidhelfand.com.
PSFHS Picnic at Ravenna Park. Puget Sound Folk Harp Society hosts its annual pot-luck picnic September 20th at Shelter 1 in Ravenna Park, 11 am to 4 pm, rain or shine! All harp players are welcome, as are family and friends (dogs on leash welcome too). Please bring your harp and bench, your PSFHS Harpers' Songbook if you have one, a dish to share (main dish, salad, or dessert), and your own beverage (no alcohol - park rules). We'll supply plates, cups, and plastic ware. We plan to incorporate "harp for peace hour" into our afternoon playing session. Join us! The park entrance is about a mile north of the UW at NE 58th Street and 20th Avenue NE. (Note that you cannot drive south on 20th NE to the park entrance as the bridge is pedestrian-only, so drive north from 50th NE or Ravenna Blvd.) This Google map shows the entrance to the parking area and grassy field near Shelter #1: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=2000+NE+58th+St,+Seattle,+WA+98105. Contact Beth Kolle at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need further information (or if you can volunteer to help set up between 10 and 11 am, or clean up between 4 and 5 pm).
Reigning Harps and PSFHS Web Sites. As of August 10 2015, our two websites moved to a new hosting server. We're hoping this change was invisible to our readers. However, if you have any problems reaching www.reigningharps.com or www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org, please check to be sure your links do not contain the word "comcast" anywhere. Also, our newsletter contact e-mail (email@example.com) has been bouncing everyone lately! Please write directly to editor Diane at firstname.lastname@example.org or use the PSFHS email email@example.com. Thanks for your patience!
Galway Traders Samhain Harps - One More Time! Last year we learned that the block on which the charming Galway Traders shop is located in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle was slated for development. But the silver lining in this dark cloud? The city is so busy with development and building permits that the shop's closing has been delayed, and there will be one final Samhain harps presentation there. Let's make it a great one -- Sunday, November 1st, from 2-4 pm. If you would like to volunteer to play four of your best Celtic tunes, please contact Diane at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Olympia Harp Circle Meetings Scheduled! Jean Stewart writes to say that she has found and scheduled a meeting space for an Olympia area harp circle. This is great news... there are a number of Olympia harp players but attempts to get a regular circle going have been hampered by lack of a reliable venue. Jean has been able to schedule a meeting room for Sept., Oct., Nov., and Dec., on the 2nd Monday of the month from 11 am-2 pm, at the Tumwater Timberland Library at 7023 New Market Street in Tumwater WA 98501. If you are interested in joining this group, please contact Jean at email@example.com and she'll put you on her contact list. Thanks to Jean for her initiative!
MIDI Controller Pedal Harp. Harp builder David Kortier is selling a fascinating MIDI pedal harp that weighs just 26 pounds. It has a fully functional pedal base which can be detached for ease of packing, and it only costs $6000! Take a look at it at www.kortier.com/walvph43.htm. For more info on the MIDI controllers see www.kortier.com/midiinfo.htm.
Isle of Wight Music Festival Scam. Judith Cummings writes to report that there is a fairly sophisticated scam being mailed out seeking harpists for the 2016 Isle of Wight Festival. The actual festival is aware of this and has posted a warning on its web site. Do not reply to any such offers from an "Owen Michael"; they are bogus.
Big Sky Harp Society Harp Tent. Our harp neighbors to the east once again had a harp tent at this summer's Bitterroot Scottish/Irish Festival in Hamilton, Montana. They report that they spoke to many passers-by about the fun of playing harps, and enabled many to have their first experience of playing a harp! This active society is now preparing for their annual retreat at the end of September with Scottish harper Billy Jackson.
Irish Session Music for Harp! Susan McLain of Seattle writes to ask: "Interested in playing Irish session music on your folk harp? I want to start a group willing to tackle this lost tradition on the harp. My plan is to pick a few session tunes to work on, then play them together a la session. Couple melody with both hands. No rhythm or chording. Let's TAKE BACK THE SESSION MUSIC FOR HARPERS!!! Call Susan/Tudy at 206 354-1059 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can discuss!"
Seumas Gagne at Wells Harp School. Seattle's Seumas Gagne has been invited to teach at the International Harp School in Wells BC this summer. He'll be working with intermediate students along with Sharlene Wallace. Seumas reports he'll be teaching content from several of his workshops along with some Gaelic tunes, emphasizing understanding the context of the pieces. He'll also offer some beginning Gaelic to those who are interested, play in the concert, and host their annual ceilidh.
New Book for Wire-Strung Harp. Scottish composer Hilary DeVries (who has a connection with Seattle as she attended Cornish College of the Arts) has published a book of original compositions for wire-strung harp with Bill Taylor. The book is called ‘Heartstone’ and contains 20 original tunes composed by Hilary and arranged by Bill. Hilary wrote to say she has fond memories of the Puget Sound area and it would be lovely to think her music would be played and enjoyed here. For more information, see http://www.hilarydevries.com/publications.html.
New Time for Kitsap County Harp Circle. The harp circle that meets in Silverdale WA is changing to the second Tuesday of the month, at 10 am. For further information about this group, contact Jo Peterson at email@example.com or 360-871-3759.
Donations for Guatamalan Harp School? Patrice Fisher wrote to ask: "Do you have any slightly used harp supplies that you could donate to our 25 harp students in Guatemala? In the music conservatory, they have 3 harps, but only one tuning key. In the Cultural Center, where we have weekly classes, there are more than 25 lever harps, but they never have enough tuning keys and must use car repair socket wrench tools to tune their harps. Thanks to a generous donation from Dusty Strings Harp Company of over 1000 new and used lever harp strings, we have enough strings at the moment. Please, clean out your closet and send us your old music, levers, tuners, tuning keys, music stands, supplies, harps, etc. It is tax deductible." Donations may be sent to Patrice Fisher (New Orleans Chapter, American Harp Society), 921 Stewart Court, New Orleans LA 70119.
Planning Way Ahead. Magical Strings (Phil and Pam Boulding) already have information available about dates for their 2015 Celtic Yuletide concerts throughout the Northwest. You can see that, plus much more, at www.magicalstrings.com.
PSFHS Summer Retreat Great Fun. The annual PSFHS summer retreat, held at Camp Casey on Whidbey Island, was a wonderful time. A full house of harpers and companions enjoyed the fabulous weather, the beautiful beach and nearby state park, and hours and hours of harp music and companionship. With all levels of players, from a brand new beginner to some long established pros, we still found many ways to play together and make a gorgeous sound. We've already rebooked the space for June 10-12, 2016 and plan to do it again! If you'd like to see some photos from the weekend, go to www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org and follow the link to the gallery.
PSFHS Picnic in September. The Puget Sound Folk Harp Society's annual potluck picnic will be held in Seattle's Ravenna Park on September 20th. Spend the afternoon visiting, lunching, and playing. Free to all harpers, family, and friends... bring your harp and a dish to share! More details will be announced as the date nears.
New Articles on Harp Spectrum. The wonderfully informative Harp Spectrum web site, directed by Seattle's Joyce Rice, has two new interesting articles on-line for all to enjoy. "The Golden Harp of Ur", written by Tristan le Govic, tells how Andy Lowings (a harp player and engineer) built an exact model of an ancient lyre found in a tomb in Iran. "Ireland's Harp: The Shaping of Ireland's Identity", by Mary O'Donnell (an Irish harpist and historian), explains how the harp stayed alive in Ireland despite efforts to contribute to its demise. See both of these, and much more, at www.harpspectrum.org.
2016 MHTP Schedule Announced. Music
for Healing and Transition classes will be starting this cycle in April
2016 per the following schedule:
PSFHS Summer Retreat. There are still seven spaces available at our summer retreat, coming up at Camp Casey on beautiful Whidbey Island June 12-14. New group tunes, two reading sessions, two jams, band scramble, and harp circle plus lots of free time for visiting, hiking, beach-combing, kite-flying. Single rooms too. Just $100.Get the registration form at www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org or contact director Diane at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Book for Sharon Thormahlen. Sharon's new book of harp music, Sunset on Seattle, is available for order. The book is $15 (shipping $4) and contains 14 tunes. There is more information at: http://www.thorharp.com/pages/sunsetonseattle.htm. (Ordering information is at the bottom of the page.)
Leslie McMichael's Harp/Dance Project. Leslie shares news of her just-launched Indiegogo campaign to complete funding of her collaboration with Kaleidoscope Dance Company. See her informational video at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/rocks-beneath-water-collaborative-music-dance/x/10564933.
Virtual Session. For those who always wanted to play along in a traditional session, but need a bit of practice to get up to speed before you venture out to the local pub, there's a "virtual session" available on-line with a good band who plays the tunes, plus sheet music that you can refer to or print out. The tunes are arranged in sets of jigs, reels, etc., and there are even cute animations of musicians and pints of stout in the background. The great thing about these players... they don't care how many times you need to start over! Give it a try at http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio2/r2music/folk/sessions/swf/folkmenu.html.
Harp Available at Somerset Festival. Sister Wilma of New Jersey is selling a MusicMaker's Voyageur Harp for $2300. She is unable to ship it but if anyone is going to the Somerset Harp Festival she will be there and can hand it off at that time. It is 33 strings, mahogany, with full universal sharping levers. It comes with a gig bag, extra strings, and decals. Excellent condition and sound quality. Asking $2300. For more info, contact Sister Wilma at 732-369-6344.
Wire Harp Builder Documentary. Many years back the BBC made a documentary about Irish harp maker Peter Kilroy, and it is now available on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usgNmngqNiM. Seattle harp player Peter Berry has two of Kilroy's harps, of only five which were ever sent to North America!
Registration Now Open for PSFHS Summer Retreat. The Puget Sound Folk Harp Society's annual summer retreat will again be held at Camp Casey on Whidbey Island, June 12-14, 2015. Registration forms and more info are available at www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org.
Any Carbon Fiber Harps in the Area? We have readers who are interested in the new carbon fiber harps (Heartland, etc.) but who would like to see and hear one in person before committing. Do any of you have one you are willing to show to your fellow harp players? If so, please contact Diane at email@example.com and I'll keep your name on file (to share only with your permission, of course!).
Fascinating Article on Italian Harp Tradition. There is a long and interesting article on-line about musical emigrants from Val d'Agri, which includes the harp capitol of Italy, Viggiano. There are many illustrations and much information about how central the harp was to the lives of these people as they made their new lives in Australia: http://www.youblisher.com/p/813853-Italian-Historical-Society-Journal-Musical-migrants.
Sylvia Woods Harp Teacher Listings. Sylvia Woods has started a directory for harp teachers all over the world on her web site. If you are interested in browsing the listings, or in listing yourself if you are a harp teacher, go to http://www.harpcenter.com/category/harp-teachers and follow the instructions. (Also remember we have a Teacher/Performer directory on this site for our area... just click the Teachers/Performers button on the left!)
100-Year-Old Harpist Returns to the Met. There is a wonderful article about 100-year-old Reinhardt Elster who came back to visit the site of his decades-long career as an orchestra harpist. The article has a lot of interesting historical information as well as touching human interest; you can read it at: http://www.metorchestramusicians.org/blog/2015/2/26/reinhardt-elster-returns-for-a-visit.
Finally, A Collapsible Harp! Here's an interesting new take on the dream of every harp player who gets tired of hassling with how to get a harp on an airplane... just take it apart and pop it into your suitcase! There is a good demonstration of how it works at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIwMlvn5sJg. You can get the strung frame with a standard soundbox or with an electric midi box as shown at www.wickfordharps.com.
Host House Concert for Talented Frenchman? In mid-August a French (Breton) harp player, Tristan le Govic, will be in Seattle at the end of a tour. Joyce Rice is hosting him and working to set up a performance and possibly a house concert for him the weekend of August 14-15. He explains: "My repertoire is a mix of Celtic-Scandinavian music: slow airs intermingled with lively tunes such as traditional dances with a bit of jazz swing. I reach all kind of audience from the traditional, classical, jazz... even rock scene! I love sharing the stage with other musicians so if someone is interested we could have a couple of tunes together." To see Tristan in action, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8z3a04dlcuw (watch the lever flips as he accompanies the singer!). He also sings and tells stories. If you are interested in hosting a house concert, contact Joyce at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
PSFHS Winter Festival Great Fun! The weekend of January 23-25, 38 enthusiastic harpers had a wonderful time at the Winter Folk Harp Festival at the Treacy Levine Center just north of Arlington WA. They all enjoyed workshops given by Lolly Brasseur, Jennifer Pratt-Walter, and Dave Thormahlen; learned three new group tunes with Harper Tasche; and joined in 'all-play' reading sessions with Harper Tasche and Diane Moss. Saturday was our night to shine, and shine we did with many performances by participants at our evening céilidh facilitated by Patrice Haan – we have a very talented folk harp community. Many thanks to everyone who made this fun weekend possible and a special thanks to all of our volunteers. We're already looking forward to next January – it will be the 30th Festival so plan on joining us for a big celebration!
Condolences to PSFHS Board Members. We wish to extend our sympathy to PSFHS President Harper Tasche, whose father Rev. Paul Jordan of Bellingham WA passed away on January 6th, and to PSFHS Treasurer Beth Kolle, whose father Harry Sankey of Edmonds WA passed away on January 26th. Our thoughts are with them as they manage the necessary arrangements for their families and still continue to serve the harp community.
Harp Weekend near Vernon BC. Caroline Mackay writes to say that her 16th Annual Spring Harp Workshop (originally in Chemainus, and then in Naramata) is going to take place this year in Silver Hills, east of Vernon BC. The facilitator is Rebecca Blair, who brings style, energy and a world of experience to the weekend of April 17 - 19, 2015. This retreat will be most helpful for the progress of Intermediate players. The new venue is a lovely spa retreat centre, where there is a focus on the health benefits of a vegetarian/vegan menu, and the spa facilities are available for harpists to use. Registration is already open and spaces are filling; if you'd like more info or a brochure, contact Caroline at email@example.com.
2015 Montana Harp Retreat Announced. Our neighbors to the east, Big Sky Harp Society, have announced that their 2015 Montana Harp Retreat will be held in Missoula (location TBA) September 25-27. They are excited to announce that internationally famous Scottish harper Billy Jackson will be attending and holding workshops at the retreat next fall. Also, they are sponsoring workshops by Oregon's Sharon Thormahlen in June. You can get details on these events by visiting their web site at www.bigskyharpsociety.org.
Congrats to Joyce Rice! Our local harp maven Joyce Rice (editor of AHS Chapter newsletter Resonance, and director of Harp Spectrum website) was featured in the January Sylvia Woods newsletter, where she has many compositions, arrangements, and instructional texts available as PDF downloads. A nice biography was included telling how Joyce came to play the harp and describing her musical journey from the east coast to the west (with a darling photo of her playing a Clark lever harp as a very young girl). Brava to Joyce for all her accomplishments and contributions to the harp community!
The Story Behind the Video. Dropping out of editor mode into first person for a moment... last month I (Diane Moss) announced that Carol Levin and I had appeared with our lever harps in a Dr Who Fan Orchestra production on YouTube. Several people asked me what that was like, and if I would describe it. I can't speak for anyone else of course, but I did describe my own process (which was pretty comical!) in a short article. If you are interested in reading it, click here.
PSFHS Winter Festival Full. Puget Sound Folk Harp Society's Winter Folk Harp Festival is now full but is accepting registrations for the waiting list. Forms can still be found at www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org. Thanks so much for your interest!
Another Backwards Harp Sighting. Last month we enjoyed the 1966 video of John Sebastian playing a backwards lever harp in performance... Laurie Riley wrote in right away to say she had seen k.d. Lang do much the same thing on the Jay Leno show in 1995. Sure enough, a little hunting revealed the following video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AtQfSPsehik. Even though k.d. really only strokes the strings of the tiny harp, she definitely is stroking from the wrong side!
Congrats to Leslie McMichael. The Musicians Club of Seattle granted a 2015 project sponsorship award to harpist-composer Leslie McMichael for her composition The Water Cycle. The multi-instrument work which will be presented in live dance concert performances in collaboration with Kaleidoscope Dance Company at Broadway Performance Hall on Mother's Day weekend.
Local Lever Harp Players On-line. With the encouragement of Seattle's Carol Levin, and advice from instructor Harper Tasche, your editor Diane Moss took the plunge and submitted audio and video for the Dr Who Fan Orchestra's 9th musical compilation "Martha Meets Shakespeare". The part is written for pedal harp but with well-planned lever flips and use of enharmonics was possible on lever harp. Several hundred musicians from 20 countries collaborated... you can see the result at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3uPy1hB_iY. (Carol appears at :55 in the middle of the screen and at 1:26 on the right; Diane appears at 3:30 at the top and 5:13 on the left... both with headgear, Carol's far more stylish!)
Hard Shell Flight Cases. Ray Doherty writes to say "I've been building harp cases since 1988 as you can see on my website www.raydohertycases.com. Since then, my case designs have improved dramatically and I now create extremely lightweight, yet strong and durable harp cases that can withstand the road of a traveling harpist. I've made numerous cases for global harp manufactures including Salvi in Italy, Camac in France, and Lyon & Healy in the United States. Most recently, I've designed an Ultra-lightweight harp case for the Camac DHC Light Blue harp and the Lyon & Healy Electric harp. My cases have withstood the test of time and I still receive orders from the highest standard professionals such as The Chieftains, Mary O'Hara, and Janet Harbison among many, many others. Operating from my workshop in Dublin, Ireland, I've sent various types of harp cases to far stretching countries all around the world including, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Bermuda, and all parts of the United States and Canada. And of course, many different countries around Europe. Please take a look at my website. And if you or anyone you know is interested in a top quality harp case then please don't hesitate to give me a call with any questions you might have. Thanks for your consideration." (Ray also mentioned he is offering a discount on the ultra-light electr0-harp cases in January!)
Celtic Yuletide Preview Available On-line. If you were unable to attend a Magical Strings Celtic Yuletide concert in December, you can hear a sample of Phil's harp and Pam's hammer dulcimer on the KING-FM website; just go to https://soundcloud.com/classicalkingfm/nwfl_12-05-14.
Free Harp to Worthy Student. Debbie Turner of Redmond WA sends the following "My mother-in-law wishes to donate her beautiful 1-owner 25-string lap folk harp to a needy student or school. Very nice quality hand made harp from Robinson's Harp Shop in LA (1989). Dusty Strings in Seattle says the sound board is beginning to separate, but there are still many years of good left in this instrument." If you are a harp teacher who knows of a student in need, or you represent a school where this harp could be used, please contact Debbie Turner at 425-260-2022 for more information.
Therapeutic Harpists Needed.
A call out to all therapeutic harpists in the Puget Sound area... the
field of therapeutic music is growing in this region! Three agencies are
looking for harpists trained and certified in a program such as IHTP,
CMP or Music-Thanatology. These are paid contracts and all vary
according to the agency. Following are the names of the agencies and
their contact info: Group Health Hospice - Susan Powell -
In Memory. We are very sorry to inform you all that an active and enthusiastic participant in our area's folk harp events, Martha Woods of Gig Harbor WA, passed away unexpectedly on November 20, 2014. Our sincere sympathy is extended to her family and friends and to her fiance, harp player and builder Ron Hansen.
Thanks from Susan McLain. Susan writes to let us know how she is doing: "In early September I had 17 broken bones and a collapsed lung from an accident involving my horse and a car on Vashon. My horse is fine. With the help from the team at Harborview and the support of my community, especially the harp community, I am healing well, able to get up and around, and starting physical therapy. My goal is to be at The Seattle Wedding Show in January. I appreciate all of you who have helped my recovery. Many of you brought soups and dishes, ran errands, played gigs on my behalf, visited me in the hospital, wrote encouraging cards and emails, sent flowers and made me feel loved. Many of you contributed to my recovery fund. My heartfelt thanks to all of you!! You made me feel valued and cared for which is no small gift to carry into the new year!"
PSFHS Winter Festival. As of December 1, there a just a few spots left open for the Puget Sound Folk Harp Society's annual winter folk harp festival (held this year at the Treacy-Levine Center, formerly known as Camp Brotherhood). If you are interested in signing up, please see the registration form available at www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org.
Fine Playing at Galway Traders. On November 2nd a long-time tradition of welcoming Samhain (the Celtic new year) with harp music continued at Galway Traders in Ballard. Six local harpers (Jane Valencia, Nan Pardew, Cynthia Kuni, Seumas Gagne, Harper Tasche, and Linda Khandro) entertained an enthusiastic audience for two hours. A good mix of harp types (two wire strung, one gut strung, two nylon single course, one nylon double strung) and a variety of music made for an educational experience too. Thanks to the players who volunteered their time, and to Galway Traders for their support and hospitality. For a photo, see www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org.
Harps for Sale Scammers. As I
always warn sellers "almost everyone with anything to sell on-line will
be contacted by scammers." We've had some active ones haunting the
Reigning Harps "for sale" page recently, so I thought I'd post a couple
of examples so you can note their tactics and be on your guard! Here's a
typical first approach:
"Dear Seller, My Name Raymond Vellucci, I i saw your Advert posted for
sale at the ads website, and i am willing to purchase your( Harp ), so i
want you to kindly get back to me with its present status of condition
and your last selling price offer that you are willing to let it go."
Notice the generic language, saying "seller" instead of an actual name,
and even "(harp)" in parentheses as a type of place holder... scammers
send out dozens of come-on messages at a time, so often do not say
anything specific at all. Here is another one: "Hey ! I am
interested in purchasing your classifieds ads posted for sale as
indicated in the above subject, please get back to me with the last
price and the present Condition. Would appreciate your response ASAP.
Regards, Michael Curtis". Once again, no specifics... no name, no
mention of the actual instrument. As harp players, we know that when we
are looking for a new harp, we are VERY interested in the specific
instrument, and have many questions about it! So please, watch for these
tell-tale signs and simply ignore and delete any such inquiries. Because
scammers are running hundreds of these "feelers" at a time, if you do
not respond to them, they will move on. If you do reply and they move on
to step two, they will begin to pressure you for personal info and ask
you to quickly accept a cashier's check or money order (usually also
mentioning that they are out of the area and that they'd like you to
deal with their "agent" or "shipper"). Here's a textbook example:
"Thanks for your response, I'm okay with the present condition and as
for the price, i will offer you your exact asking price to keep away any
other potential buyers from buying it and count it sold to me, I am
presently in Bahamas with my Wife for our Honey Moon, because we just
got married last weekend ,but that would not stop our transaction, as
per the payment, i will have to instruct my Personal Assistant to send
you a Cashiers Check via the United States Postal Service which will get
to your location within 2 working days. This
is the only means of payment I can offer you now due to my present
location and for the shipping, you do not need to worry yourself about
it, i will instruct my Shipping company to come to your location for the
pick up as soon as payment has been received and cleared in your
account. So to make payment out to you, please get back to me with the
information below...". If you ever see anything like this, again, delete
and cease contact... the check that you get will be bogus, and usually
far larger than the selling price of the harp, and you will be pressured
to return the difference from your personal funds. Just say no to
scammers, and use that delete key!
CD Sale Plus Free Shipping. Claudia
Walker writes to say: "Dear Harp Community, Here's a holiday gift idea
to consider: Jeri Howe and I will be reducing the price of our Cleansing
Sighs album (released in June of 2014) from 12.97 to 9.99 between Monday
Dec. 1 and Weds. Dec. 3,2014. In addition, CD Baby will only charge 1
penny for shipping! See
http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/claudiawalker. Soulful harp solos and duets
for relaxation and contemplation, featuring songs from Celtic,
Classical, and World traditions, with original compositions. Reviewer SH
says 'I love everything about this stunning harp music found on the CD,
Cleansing Sighs. Claudia Walker and Jeri Howe have created a mystical,
magical work of art. So many of the songs remind me of being in a sacred
place in nature; where the world slows down and there is a peaceful,
quiet flow. If life is like a river and we experience some heavy duty
"whitewater" in our lives, Cleansing Sighs invites us to be on a part of
a calm, gentle, flowing river: a respite from the noise, fast pace, and
other stresses. Their harp music and songs are both strong and delicate
at the same time. There is a sense of going back to an ancient, simpler
time; when humans were more connected to nature, quiet, and Spirit.'
Wishing you a joyous holiday season and Happy New Year in 2015,"
Harp Retreat with Laurie Riley Next May. Laurie will lead a weekend retreat concentrating on "Transformational Techniques for Expressive Playing" May 29-31, 2015 on Whidbey Island. For all harps and all skill levels - Learn the things no one ever tells you - secrets of technical skill, focus, and energy-directing to enhance your musical expressiveness. For details on registration, lodging, and other specifics, contact Laurie for a brochure at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Real Backwards Harp! Many of you know that your editor has a soft spot for images of harps being played the wrong way 'round. (See Related Links for a gallery of some of my favorites.) This month's Sylvia Woods newsletter contained a real treat. She sent a link to a YouTube video of John Sebastian (of the Lovin' Spoonful) playing a harp on a television show... she said she "was amazed about two things: #1 there was a lever harp in a video from 1966, and #2 he is playing the harp backwards!!!!" Take a look at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQKyG1mMgb8 and wait past the intro to see this interesting technique... of course they are lip-synching (no microphones in evidence) but still... he's plucking right along!
New Article at Harp Spectrum. There is a fascinating new article on-line at the always useful and interesting Harp Spectrum web site. This one is all about repairing and re-gilding an 18th century French harp, written by Valeria Martin. If you'd like to know what goes into the job of harp restoration, take a look at www.harpspectrum.org and click on the link for "Gilding a Naderman Harp". (For those lucky enough to need to know, there's also a new article on "Gold Harp Care"!)
Herald Music Distribution. Seattle's Patricia Jaeger writes to inform us that her long-time harp music publication company is changing distribution. Herald Music (TM) harp arrangement publications will now be distributed by Vanderbilt Music Inc. in Bloomington, Indiana. See their website at www.vanderbiltmusic.com.
Registration for the PSFHS Winter Folk Harp Festival is Now Open! Plans are final for our winter festival, January 23-25, 2015, near Arlington, WA. You will find more information at www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org; just follow the link for the brochure and to print the registration form. For those of you who have enjoyed the festival the last two years, please don't be alarmed by the facility name - Camp Brotherhood has changed their name to Treacy Levine Center. We are still at the same beautiful location!
Harps & Poets Together. Diana Beaumont writes to report on a recent event: "If poetry could inspire harp music, then harp music certainly seemed to inspire the poets at the October 11th 'Afternoon of Poetry and Harp Music' at Mountlake Terrace Library. Accompanied by harpists Bill McJohn, Nan Pardew, and Diana Beaumont, the poetry reading-cum-workshop featured poet and writer Kelli Agodon. The well-received collaborative effort was organized by Ann Hursey, local poet and Sno-Isle outreach, and Kwami Nyamidie, published poet and Sno-Isle staff tech liaison. Bill extemporized on his Medieval harp while poet Kelli Agodon read and spoke of poetic traditions, Nan brought forth lovely traditional Celtic tunes on her wire-strung harp during the break and social interlude, and Diana provided the workshop attendees with soft meditative music on her Dusty FH-34 as they composed their own verses. Afterward, the three harpists spoke briefly about their harps and how they differ one from the other, each with its own 'voice.' The attendees, as well as the event organizers who had thought, “A harp is a harp is a harp,” were amazed to learn about the variations among our instruments. An inspirational afternoon for all and a delightful way to share our music."
From L to R: Bill McJohn, Kelli Agodon, Kwami Nyamidie, Diana Beaumont, Nan Pardew
Here Comes HARP Seattle! Dusty Strings' major harp gathering is coming up fast, October 10-12. They say they will accept registrations up until the day it starts! Register by phone at 206-634-1662 or in person at the retail shop in Fremont. Just a reminder... besides the featured national faculty, there will also be offerings by regional faculty: Molly Bauckham, 'Singing with the Harp'; Peter Berry, Friday night opening act featuring Dusty Strings Harp #1; Leslie McMichael, 'Harp Music for Film & Art'; Brian Monroney, 'Smart Harp, New Tech'; Laurie Riley, 'Harp Ergonomics'; Harper Tasche, 'A Harp Practice'. And if you can't attend the whole weekend, consider a concert... both Friday and Saturday night concerts are open to the public (tickets are $20.00)! Friday night's concert (Legends of the Celtic Harp) is at Dusty Strings (7:30 pm, doors open at 7), and people can purchase tickets through Dusty Strings directly (in person, by phone or by mail). There are physical tickets for this concert, which will be held in Will Call for the purchaser. Saturday night's concert (The Harper's Dream) will be at 8:00pm (doors open at 6:30) at the Triple Door downtown. Get tickets through Dusty Strings (same as above) or purchase tickets through the Triple Door directly (http://thetripledoor.net/Calendar/Events/October-2014/%E2%80%9CThe-Harper%E2%80%99s-Dream%E2%80%9D-Patrick-Ball,-Aryeh-Frankfurt.aspx?date=2014-10-11). Tickets will be available at the door for both concerts.
PSFHS Annual Picnic. On September 7th a happy group of harp players took advantage of the amazing weather and gathered in Seattle's Ravenna Park for a potluck picnic and harp play-a-long session. Though numbers were down somewhat from previous years, enthusiasm was not. Many excellent treats were sampled and tunes were enjoyed all afternoon, and a number of passers-by were enchanted by the sound of the harps and came over to listen for a while. For a photo from this year's picnic, see www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org.
Get Well Wishes for Susan McLain. On September 5th, Seattle harpist Susan ("Tudy") McLain was horseback-riding on Vashon Island when a speeding car spooked her mount, sending Susan into the ditch and breaking nine ribs, collarbone, shoulder blade, and a vertebra, as well as puncturing a lung. The car did not stop and has not been identified; the horse was uninjured and stood guard over Susan until the ambulance arrived. She spent 8 days at Harborview Hospital and is now home recuperating. Those who wish to send get-well wishes can do so by mail to 4408 SW Juneau St, Seattle WA 98136. As Susan is a self-employed musician, she'll be missing income from a large number of bookings and lessons as she heals. An account has been set up and donations can be made by mailing a check to US Bank Vashon Branch (9910 SW Bank Rd, or PO Box 458, Vashon WA 98070; note check is a donation for Susan McLain). Donations can also be made on-line using “GoFundMe” at http://www.gofundme.com/ekf7g0. Our very best wishes go out to Tudy for a full and swift recovery!
Camp Casey Newsletter Highlights Harp Retreat. The latest issue of the Camp Casey newsletter includes an article about our PSFHS Summer Retreat with an interview with retreat director Diane Moss. To see the article and a couple of photos of the participants with harps, see http://gocampcasey.com/bonding/3211/.
Ortiz Workshop Notes. Seattle harpist Patricia Jaeger attended the Alfredo Ortiz workshops on September 7 and took notes; she is kindly willing to share these with the folk harp community. If you'd like to be forwarded a copy, please send a request to email@example.com.
PSFHS Annual Potluck Picnic. Join
us on Sunday September 7, between 11:00 am and 5:00 pm, for the PSFHS
Annual Potluck Picnic and Harp Circle at Seattle's Ravenna Park (Picnic
Shelter #1). Bring a dish to share and your harp and bench, and come
share the fun. Friends and family are always welcome. We'll provide
plastic "silverware", and some beverages (no alcohol, park rules). The
park entrance is about a mile north of the UW at NE 58th Street and 20th
Avenue NE. Note that you cannot drive south on 20th NE to the park
entrance as the bridge is pedestrian-only, so come north from NE 50th or
Ravenna Blvd. This Google map shows
Alfredo Ortiz Thanks Northwest Harpist. Alredo Ortiz (in Seattle September 7 for workshops and concert) says "Thank you to Noah Brenner for the beautiful performances of eight of my compositions in your beautiful recently released CD: ABANDON." Alfredo also invites us to search YouTube with the words ORTIZ HARP and enjoy many videos of solo harp and ensembles playing his compositions.Did you know that the Associated Board of Royal Schools of Music lists eleven of Alfredo's compositions in the current harp syllabus? That syllabus is used for examinations around the world: http://us.abrsm.org/fileadmin/user_upload/syllabuses/harpSyllabusComplete15.pdf.
Peter Berry's New Harp.
Seattle wire-strung harp player Peter Berry has sent in a wonderful
story about how he found and restored a beautiful harp that had been
left untouched in a closet for over twenty years! He'll be playing this
new/old harp at his concert at East West Books on September 13 (see
Calendar for details). You can read the saga and see a photo of the harp
in our Articles section.
Beware of LinkedIn Invitations! Recently your editor has been receiving a lot of e-mail that appear to be LinkedIn invitations, many of them claiming to be from other harp players whose names I recognize. As I don't belong to LinkedIn, I've been deleting those. But then I got real e-mail from another harp player saying she had received a LinkedIn invitation from me! So I did a little research and found there is a scam going around with these false invitations, and if you press the "accept" or "ignore" or "like" button, your computer can be infected with malware. So keep your virus protection up to date, and delete those invitations without clicking on anything... if you think one might be real, confirm with the sender before accepting. And since I don't have an account, you can be sure any that claim to be from me (M. Diane Moss) are bogus!
Remembering Stella Benson. We are sad to have to inform you all that Stella Benson passed away on July 27, 2014 after a brave battle with cancer. Sile Harriss wrote to tell us that "Stella had been admitted to St. Joseph's (Belllingham) last Wednesday for acute pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome. She declined, and passed away today about 2:30 this afternoon. Duncan Saunders and Jo Philpot were present with harps throughout. Randy, Stella's husband, wanted you all to know. So sorry to be passing this on rather than news of recovery. But as we all know, healing comes in many, many forms and I'm sure Stella has received deep healing in whatever ways were needful. We'll remember and honor Stella for all her heartfelt work, especially her music, through the years."
Alison Vardy's New Music Site. Alison Vardy of Victoria BC has a new web site, offering notation for the tunes from her recordings. You can browse through her various sets of offerings, divided by the recording and others by playing level, at http://www.celticharpsheetmusic.com/p/welcome-to-celtic-harp-sheet-musiccom.html.
Dusty Strings "Add to Cart". For the first time in the history of the Dusty Strings Music School, you can now register for workshops and classes online. Use the "Add to Cart" button on their website (www.dustystrings.com) and make your future music school reservations with confidence and ease.
Harper Tasche Performs, Teaches in California. Seattle area's own Harper Tasche will be taking one of his most popular workshops to Walnut Creek CA on August 16th. He'll also performs a solo concert after teaching his signature "small harp" workshop at Harps Etc., 1601 N Main Street Suite 106. Workshop starts at 4:00 PM, concert starts at 7:30; $25 for each event, or attend both for $45. Pre-registration is encouraged, as space is limited. For more information see www.HarpsEtc.com.
The Montana Harp Retreat is Just Around the Corner! The Big Sky Harp Society reminds us: The 2014 Montana Harp Retreat is less than two months away! Don't let the summer run out before you register. Take a moment to mail in your registration form, book a harp regulation or private lesson with Laurie Riley, and reserve your hotel room at the Best Western Grant Creek Inn in Missoula. Our group room rate of $113.90 expires August 14, so you must reserve your room by then! Just call (406) 543-0700 and mention "Big Sky Harp Society" or "Montana Harp Retreat." You can find registration forms, retreat details, and contact information at www.bigskyharpsociety.org under the tab "2014 Harp Retreat."
PSFHS Summer Retreat. Twenty happy harpers gathered at Whidbey Island's Camp Casey for our annual summer retreat on June 6-8, the first at this venue. We couldn't have asked for nicer weather, and the camp was beautiful, with a beach and browsing deer just steps from our door, hiking and a state park next door (and a good fish and chips place just down the road!). Long-time and brand-new participants all joined in to "warm" our new building with hours of harp playing, learned a couple of brand new tunes, and revisited many favorites. If you'd like to see a gallery of photos from the retreat, go to www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org and just follow the link. Dates are already set for next year's retreat at Camp Casey, June 12-14, 2015. Plan to join us!
PSFHS Welcomes New Board Member. Nan Pardew of Bothell WA has graciously accepted our invitation to fill the position recently vacated by Francine Aylward. Nan is well known in the local harp community for her wire-strung harp playing, and is also the organizer of the Pacific Northwest wire-strung harp circle and annual retreat. Welcome Nan!
In Memory. We are sad to pass along word of the death of a great friend of the Seattle-area folk harp community. Doug Brock died early on the morning of June 7, 2014, from complications of severe diabetes. Many of us who attended harp festivals and retreats at Fort Flagler and Crystal Mountain remember Doug as an adventurous and accomplished cook. He provided meals for over twenty folk harp society weekend festivals, with memorable menus of exotic cuisines, often topped off with hand-made fancy chocolates. Doug was born in Texas, grew up in Alaska, and worked at Boeing for about 25 years in computer systems management and development. He was an avid reader and collector of rare books, also collected rare mineral and gemstone specimens, and was a student of contemporary Scottish Gaelic language and culture. Doug is survived by his partner Jim Morrissey of Seattle, his parents Carol and David Brock and sister Cathy Brock of Bothell, and his Senegal parrot, Ariel.
Sending Healing Thoughts. Stella Benson, long-time area harp player and founder and director of the International Healing Musician's Program, had surgery for a brain tumor in early June and learned she is battling stage four cancer. Those who know Stella and her commitment to healing harp music may wish to send a note of support to PO Box 272, Lummi Island WA 98262. Our love and best wishes go out to her!
Random Act of Harping in Ballard. On Saturday June 21 Barbara Ford, Eileen Warr-Marti, and Maria Wilson participated in the annual Random Acts of Harping Day and took their harps to a corner park in Ballard. Maria wrote: "It was so fun. We played for about an hour and attracted about 20 or so people... some sat down and listened. There were some listening from their porches and decks as well. Three of the visitors were young ladies who also gave our harps a try; when they played the strings without any experience it sounded like they were playing with the wind...very beautiful. Here is a link to a video of a song we played: http://youtu.be/KPbJ6cn28kA. What a nice way to share the harp."
New Address for MHTP Coordinator. Cheryl Zabel, Washington Area Coordinator for the MHTP Program, writes to say: "I have recently updated my email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please update your contact records. Many thanks! Also Module 2/Federal Way is now taking registrations. Even if you haven’t taken Module 1, remember that Modules 1 - 4 may be taken in any order (but these must be taken prior to Module 5). At this time, we have 8 new students with 3 Certified Music Practitioners taking this class for Continuing Education, so there is still room for additional students. If therapeutic music is calling to you, please visit our MHTP website (www.mhtp.org) for details and contact me to answer any additional questions. Looking forward to hearing from you!"
Featured Music for June - Correction! To those of you who were quick fast and printed out Biagio Sancetta's lovely contribution to our Featured Harp Music section at the beginning of June, please note there has been a correction made. In "Return to Whidbey" there should be a high A in measure 10 instead of the C# on the staff, and if you don't have that, please return to the site and print yourself a nice new copy with all the right notes. Our apologies to Biagio for the typo!
Warm Weather Harp Hints. Our good friends at the Seattle area Chapter of the American Harp Society just sent out a link to a good article about harp care in extreme weather... though the page refers to pedal harps, these are all great tips for care of lever harps too. Before you leave your harp in a sunny window or (worse) a locked car, please take a look at this very good list of do’s and don’ts at www.venusharps.com/caremaintenance-4.htm.
Still Openings at PSFHS Retreat. If your schedule has cleared for the coming weekend and you'd like to spend a couple days playing your harp at the beach on beautiful Whidbey Island, contact Diane at email@example.com about last minute sign-ups for the PSFHS retreat, June 6-8.
Dusty Strings "HARP Seattle" Registration Opens! Coming up October 10-12, 2014, HARP Seattle is a three-day festival at Dusty Strings in Fremont for players of all levels to enjoy workshops, concerts, jam sessions and friends in the folk harp community. For more information on HARP Seattle, including full workshop descriptions, schedule, and registration form, please visit: https://store.dustystrings.com/t-3-ms-concerts-harpseattle.aspx?skinid=4. $295 includes all HARP Seattle workshops, concerts, and events.
New Book for Beth Kolle. A new
book of lever harp arrangements by Beth Kollé will be published this
coming July and available at Somerset Folk Harp Festival. Titled "Songs
for the Midnight Sun", it contains fifteen beloved songs and tunes from
the Nordic countries that Beth has arranged for Beginner through
Intermediate levels with very few lever changes. Five tunes include
parts for flute or fiddle. Beth employs unusual lever settings to create
the interesting modes and rich harmonies that make Nordic music sing.
Her tenth book so far, "Songs for the Midnight Sun" will be available as
print book and e-book through Melody’s Music, other websites and stores.
Also, three of her other books (The Harpa Tunebook, The Scandinavian
Folk Harp, The Northern Folk Harp) are now on 20%-off sale at Melodyʼs
New CD for Jeri Howe and Claudia Walker.
Harpists/music-thanatologists Jeri Howe and Claudia Walker are pleased
to announce the release of their CD
Seattle Harpists at Carnegie Hall.
Seattle harpists Valerie Muzzolini Gordon, John Carrington, Catherine
Case, and Ruth Mar played in a Carnegie Hall concert with the Seattle
Symphony on May 6. They performed an important role in John Luther
Adams' Pulitizer Prize winning composition "Become Ocean". One pair of
harps play in 5/4 for the entire 42-minute piece, while the other pair
play in 6/4, to help create the ceaseless rhythm that underlies the
piece. Read the NY Times review here:
Remembering Marion Fouse.
Long-time leader of the harp community in Portland OR, Pauline Marion
Fouse passed away on April 10, 2014, at the age of 95. Among her
many students was Vancouver's Jennifer Pratt-Walter, who wrote the
following tribute: "Marion had a huge impact on the harp scene in
the Portland area for over half a century. Marion studied with Sister
Emerentia at Marylhurst, and spent time in France with Pierre Jamet. She
was able to educate and support herself and her mother with her music
craft on the pedal harp, and she taught hundreds and hundreds of people
to play the harp. Marion toured the world and played live in a radio
orchestra, played with the Portland Ballet Theater and the Portland
Symphony. She performed for weddings and parties as well, and that was
where I first met her.
West Coast Harps is Moving! As of May 15th, Alison Vardy's West Coast Harps has a new location at 1380 Treebank Rd W in Victoria on the beautiful Gorge waterway. When you are in Victoria, send an email to arrange a visit to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Still Space at Summer Retreat! The Puget Sound Folk Harp Society's summer retreat (June 6-8) is moving to Whidbey Island, and there are still spots available. We know the move makes a longer drive for some, and ferry crossings for most, but this new location is beautiful (and snow-free) and we hope to be able to continue our annual event at the beach for years to come. Single rooms are available first-come, first-serve for $100; doubles are $75, everything is in one building, and we're gathering a great group for this first year in our new digs... we'd love to see you there! Registration info and form can be found at www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org. Questions? Contact retreat director Diane at email@example.com.
Breaking News - New Dusty Strings Harp Model! The Boulevard Classic is a new 34-string concert-tension lever harp from Dusty Strings, designed specifically for classical players and students. The sound is warm, full and professional, and the concert tension gut strings provide a shorter sustain than other Dusty Strings models, making the Boulevard an ideal choice for classical repertoire. Based on the popular Ravenna 34, the Boulevard offers players the same portability, affordability and ease of use. The included stand is quickly and easily removable without turning the harp on its side, and the harp and stand together weigh only 24 pounds. The case is high-quality and durable, with a convenient shoulder strap and an abundance of pockets to hold the stand and other accessories. The harp body is a comfortable stave-back shape constructed of laminated wood with ash-grained black vinyl veneer, and the neck is black-lacquered solid beech. The Boulevard package includes a full set of Loveland sharping levers, the removable stand with 5” legs, and the CD34 case. 8” legs can be substituted. Package price: $2795. Available starting in early June. More info at http://manufacturing.dustystrings.com.
Registration Opens for PSFHS Summer Retreat. The Puget Sound Folk Harp Society's annual summer retreat will happen June 6-8, 2014, and opens for registration on April 1st. For years we've enjoyed our retreat in the mountains, but now we are moving to the beach! This residential weekend retreat will take place at scenic Camp Casey on Whidbey Island; all in one building, single-room option, with ample adjacent parking and a ramped entry for harps, surrounded by miles of beaches and forested hiking trails. Registration info and form can be found at www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org. If you have questions, contact retreat director Diane at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Save Those Dates! Planning continues for the Dusty Strings Harp Symposium, October 10-12, 2014. Here's the latest -- "This year's Harp Symposium events will all be featured in the Fremont neighborhood with merchants, restaurants and shops participating in the fun. HotelHotel has 30 beds reserved just for Harp Symposium participants. 'Legends of the Celtic Harp' will kick off the entertainment on Friday night with Patrick Ball, Aryeh Frankfurter and Lisa Lynne. The Triple Door is saving 100 of its best seats for 'The Harper's Dream' with the full super-star lineup on Saturday night and a chartered bus to chariot attendees to and from the concert. No cars are needed to enjoy Harp Seattle 2014 all weekend long! Portrait photographer Megan Emerson will be on hand to take fine portraits at affordable prices of harpists with their instrument for their mantels at home, Marti MacEwan will share 'The Stage Fright Cure' on both Friday and Saturday with results guaranteed to work, Ergonomic Solutions for harpists will be offered by Laurie Riley, and much, much more!"
Serenaders Now in New Hands. Patricia Jaeger is passing the torch to a new conductor, Andrew Bushnell. Mr. Bushnell will lead the volunteer youth chamber ensemble of harps and strings that, as Serenaders, gave free performances for senior facilities, libraries, and Children's Hospital for 40 years, and which was founded and directed by Patricia Jaeger. She has not retired from teaching but no longer drives, and was glad to hand over her baton to him. He is a fine violinist, performer, and teacher of violin who was started by Patricia Jaeger years ago, and is now a professional himself. Serenaders' last season of 2013-2014 included players on harps, violins, viola, cello, bass, orchestra bells (with mallets) and an 8-year -old singer. We look forward to his new ensemble starting up this September. Young lever or pedal harp players who have had at least 1 year of lessons, and live at not too great a distance from Kirkland WA, may be interested in contacting Mr. Bushnell by e-mail: email@example.com.
Thank You To Out-Going Board Member! The Puget Sound Folk Harp Society wants to thank Francine Aylward for her many years of faithful service on the PSFHS Board. Francine served as treasurer of the huge and successful ISFHC conference in Olympia in 1996, and continued as treasurer of ORCA Chapter ISFHC and its subsequent incarnation as PSFHS. For the past several years, she has served as PSFHS vice-president. And of course, she and her husband Jack have been facility liaisons for our summer retreat at Crystal Mountain every year since 1997. Her quiet behind-the-scenes work and her gentle humor have helped shape our organization and activities -- thanks Franny!
Changes Coming to PSFHS Summer Retreat. After 17 years graciously hosting "harps in the mountains", the Aylward family is unable to continue as liaison between the society and the co-op ski lodge we've used as our retreat venue. So, PSFHS is taking advantage of this perfect opportunity to consider additional changes to the summer retreat. The society will be polling regular retreat attendees for their input soon. In the meantime, plans are underway for an alternate activity this summer while we look ahead to 2015 and beyond. Expect an announcement about this summer's retreat on April 1st.
Winter Festival Photo Gallery Available. Thanks to many talented photographers in attendance at this January's Winter Folk Harp Festival, we have a large gallery posted where you can take a look at the fun and festive activities we enjoyed this year -- see the link at www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org. Many thanks to Diana Beaumont, Ginny Burger, Mariella Kaija, Barbara MacPherson, Martha Woods, and Bob Zawalich for sharing their photos.
Sue Richards at Slighe nan Gaidheal's Feis. Slighe nan Gaidheal's biannual Feis (celebration of Scottish Gaelic culture, language, and music) takes place at Fort Worden June 11-15, 2014. The harp classes will be taught by Sue Richards, internationally known for her interpretation of Celtic music. For more information about Sue, see the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2VvfoSYOXQ&feature=em-upload_owner. For more information about Feis registration, see www.slighe.com. Sue will also be playing at the "Living Traditions" concert, with performances by the presenters of this year's Feis, Monday, June 9, 8 pm, at St. Benedict's School Auditorium, 4811 Wallingford Ave North in Seattle. $25 adults; $15 seniors/students. Tickets available at www.brownpapertickets.com.
Invitation to Montana Harp Retreat. The Big Sky Harp Society presents their annual Montana Harp Retreat! Held September 12-14, 2014 at the Best Western Grant Creek Inn in Missoula, the 2014 Retreat will feature workshops and private lessons by Laurie Riley and BSHS members, harp regulation and "tasting," and fun fellowship with harp enthusiasts from around Montana and surrounding states. Information can be found at www.bigskyharpsociety.org.
Seeking Clark Harp for Parts. Biagio Sancetta (on Whidbey Island) is looking for an old unplayable Clark harp, model A circa 1920, from which he can scavenge a few parts. If you have one or know of someone who does and might be willing to sell it "for parts" please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 360-341-1748.
New Dusty Strings Duo-Tune Wrench -
Corrected URL. Last month's announcement about the Duo-Tune
harp wrench went to a dead link! Please check out the new Dusty Strings
Duo-Tune (a single handy tuning device that combines the Snark
electronic tuner with Dusty Strings' ergonomic hardwood tuning wrench)
PSFHS Winter Folk Harp Festival. This year's festival was another rousing success! 42 harpers and a few friends gathered for a splendid weekend of workshop sessions, lots of playing beautiful tunes together, and the blend of friendly, inclusive, and eccentric fun which has become a hallmark of Society get-togethers. The weather was utterly perfect, the facility was warm and welcoming, and we've already heard people talking about next year! Pictures will become available online at www.PugetSoundFolkHarpSociety.org and the PSFHS Facebook page over the next couple of weeks, but in the meantime mark your calendars: the WFHF dates for 2015 are January 23-25, and registration will open on November 1st as usual. See you then, if not before!
Volunteer Harp Player Sought for Chapel Dedication. Highline Medical Center in Burien WA is seeking a volunteer harpist to play at the dedication of their new chapel, February 12 from 1-2 pm. If you are able to help out, please contact Kimberly at KCouret@highlinemedical.org.
Music for Healing and Transition Classes. Please Note New Dates! Music for Healing and Transition has scheduled a new cycle of classes starting June 7 and 8, 2014 in Federal Way, WA. MHTP provides training and certification for musicians to become Certified Music Practitioners (CMP). CMPs bring live acoustic music to the bedside for those who are critically or chronically ill or who are transitioning from life to death. CMPs work in hospitals, hospices, skilled nursing facilities, etc. There is a need for therapeutic musicians all over Washington. Please visit our website for details: www.mhtp.org or contact Cheryl Zabel, Washington Area Coordinator, email@example.com, or 253-307-0999.
New Dusty Strings Duo-Tune Wrench. There’s a lot of harp tuning that goes on at the Dusty Strings shop, and they have recently come up with a way to make the process faster and easier. The Dusty Duo-Tune is a single handy tuning device that combines the Snark electronic tuner with Dusty Strings' ergonomic hardwood tuning wrench, eliminating the need to juggle a tuner, a clip-on pickup and a wrench. Now you can pluck a string with one completely free hand while the tuning wrench and electronic tuner are in your other hand picking up the vibrations through the tuning pin, displaying the note on the attached LCD screen, and allowing you to adjust the pin – all at once. The Duo-Tune is available in three different sizes to fit different sized tuning pins, so you don’t have to play a Dusty harp to use one! Pictures and more info at http://manufacturing.dustystrings.com/harps/accessories/duo-tune/.
Pedal Harp Sought. The Snowman Foundation ( www.snowmanfoundation.org ) is a Portland-based nonprofit that endeavors to find musical instruments for young musicians in need. Their "Play it Forward" program tries to match donated used instruments with eager students. Recently they've had a request for a pedal harp. If anyone has, or knows of, a pedal harp languishing unplayed that could be donated to a worthy young harpist, please contact project manager Amy Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-318-3582 for more information.
Olympia Harp Circle Up and Running! Jean Stewart writes to say that a harp circle has formed in the Olympia area and has dates planned for meetings from January until June. Many attempts have been made to form a circle in/near Olympia over the last several years, so it is great to hear that this one is now active! If you live in that vicinity and are interested in a friendly harp get-together, contact Jean at email@example.com or 360-943-0164 for details and directions.
New CD for Magical Strings. Magical Strings is celebrating 35 years of Celtic Yuletide Concerts with a new CD, Longing for Ireland , a soulful compilation of their best compositions that will send you to the heart of the Magical Isle! This new album is now for sale on their website at www.magicalstrings.com.
Dates Set for 11th Dusty Strings Harp Symposium! Mark your calendars for the next Symposium, October 10-12, 2014. Plans are well underway for this special event, with presenters and performers Kim Robertson, Erik Ask-Upmark, Patrick Ball, Aryeh Frankfurter, and Lisa Lynne. There will be concerts at the Dusty Strings main stage and at the Triple Door downtown, and many specials are being arranged with local retailers so that participants can enjoy the best of the Fremont neighborhood during their stay. We'll keep you posted as details develop and when registration opens this summer!
In Need of Harp Regulation, Repair? Harp technician Steve Moss (see www.mossharpservice.com) will be visiting the Seattle area the week of February 11. If you would like to get on his schedule for harp regulation, repair, restringing (lever or pedal), please contact Susi Hussong at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New CD for the Kosaka Brothers! KosakaBoys (Timmy, age 16, and Jonny, age 12) has released a Christmas Harp album "He Came". The CD is available at various stores including the Enchanted Harp in Puyallup, and at their concerts (see December calendar for dates). Also available online at www.KosakaBoys.com, Amazon, CD Baby, Google Play, etc.
Music for Healing and Transition Classes. Music for Healing and Transition has scheduled a new cycle of classes starting March 15th & 16th, 2014 in Federal Way, WA. MHTP provides training and certification for musicians to become Certified Music Practitioners (CMP® ). CMPs® bring live acoustic music to the bedside for those who are critically or chronically ill or who are transitioning from life to death. Please visit our website for details: www.mhtp.org or contact Cheryl Zabel, Washington Area Coordinator, email@example.com, 253-307-0999.
Winter Folk Harp Festival Waiting List Available. The annual PSFHS January harp weekend is now full, but don't despair! We often have a cancellation or two before Festival time, so if you send your registration quickly there is still a chance. Registrations are placed on a waiting list by postmark date, and we'll let you know ASAP if a space opens up for you. For more information contact Sally (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Harper (email@example.com).
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance Seeks Volunteer Musicians. Susan Greenwood from Seattle Cancer Care Alliance writes "Please consider playing for us at the SCCA Clinic and occasionally Hutch School. Be it twice a month or twice a year, we’d love to have you. In addition to playing in the lobby/waiting areas of our outpatient clinic, we also have special events throughout the year that need a volunteer musician or two. For example: Semi-annual service of remembrances (family and friends of patients we’ve lost in the previous 6 months are invited to participate); Annual Holiday Open House for patients and families (this year’s is Saturday, December 14th); Holiday sales open house at Shine, our cancer specialty store. I hope to hear from you soon, especially if you’re able to provide even an hour’s worth of holiday cheer to our upcoming Holiday Open House for patients and caregivers." For more information, a volunteer brochure, or an application form, please contact Susan Greenwood at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Double-strung Harp Retreat (March 14-16) with Laurie Riley. The retreat will be at a large beach house on Whidbey Island. Several double-strung rental harps have been built especially for this retreat, for those who need them. Instruction for all skill levels! No one is too beginner or too advanced! Is the double strung hard to play? Not at all. What does a double strung harp do? Because it has two full rows of strings so your hands never meet, you can play your big-harp arrangements on a small harp without changing the arrangement, and you can also get special effects such as echoing, doubling, overlapping, and much more. So come and find out what it's all about! Please contact Laurie at email@example.com for details.
Great Turnout at Galway Traders! On November 3rd a long-time tradition of welcoming Samhain (the Celtic new year) with harp music continued at Galway Traders in Ballard. Six local harpers (Nan Pardew, Cynthia Rice Kuni, Sile Harriss, Peter Berry, Seumas Gagne, and Linda Khandro) shared their talents with a happy and cozy audience. There was a good mix of harp types (two wire strung (one floor, one lap), two gut strung, two nylon single course, one nylon double strung) and a great variety of music presented, spanning from the 10th to the 21st century -- fast dance music to slow laments and airs, plus harps used to accompany singing and stories. Thanks to the players who volunteered their time, and to Galway Traders for their unfailing support and hospitality. For a photo, see www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org.
Registration for PSFHS Winter Folk Harp Festival Now Open. Plans are final for our winter festival, January 24-26 2014. Please see the information brochure and registration form by going to www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org and following the link you'll find there.
PSFHS Co-Sponsors Samhain Harps at Galway Traders. Galway Traders Irish Imports (7518 15th Ave NW in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle) will host a free harp performance on Sunday, November 3, 2-4 pm, to celebrate Samhain (the Celtic New Year). This year's players are Cynthia Kuni, Linda Khandro, Nan Pardew, Peter Berry, Seumas Gagne, and Sile Harriss. Come enjoy beautiful harp music in a cozy and informal setting! Please contact Diane at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. (And remember, Daylight Savings Time ends that Sunday, so be sure to "fall back" so you arrive at the correct hour!)
Largest Recorded Harp Orchestra.
And we think we have a big harp gathering when we get 40+ harps playing
together at our Winter Festival! Here's a video of the recent
Guinness-record holding harp ensemble; unfortunately, you can't hear
them too well for the clapping-along audience, but it's an impressive
sight to see 420 Paraguayan style harps in one spot:
Seattle's "Serenaders" Seek Harp Player for Holiday Performances. The volunteer youth chamber ensemble Serenaders have been performing since 1974. They are presently 8 players on harp, violin, viola, cello, bass, and orchestra bells, and could add another harp player (either lever or pedal) and one or two violins, as they play for lonely seniors this season. Contact Patricia Jaeger at 206-525-7682 or email@example.com. The dates this December to perform (always 7-8 PM) are Dec. 5, Aegis of Northgate; Dec. 10, Northaven Retirement; and Dec. 18,Victoria Park Senior Apartments. Besides traditional Christmas carols they will also offer "Walking in the Air", "Morningtown Ride", "The Teddy Bears' Picnic", "The Navy Hymn", and "America the Beautiful", all arranged by Mrs. Jaeger.
Magical Strings 35th Year of Celtic Yuletide Concerts. The tradition continues, as Magical Strings announces its 35th triumphant year of annual Celtic Yuletide Concerts taking place throughout Puget Sound in December 2013! Three generations of the Boulding family performers are joined by the world class Tara Academy of Irish Dance, acclaimed vocalist Colleen Raney with soulful Irish songs and Dublin-born guitarist Colm MacCárthaigh, Canadian fiddler Jocelyn Pettit, and Matt Jerrell with his impeccable percussion, all creating a remarkable celebration to kindle the light of Yuletide. For details about the performances, see the December Calendar, or visit www.magicalstrings.com.
Record Turnout at PSFHS Picnic! Despite early morning thundershowers, and the forecast of the same at any time, the largest group yet turned out for the annual Puget Sound Folk Harp Society Potluck Picnic on September 15. It was a little difficult to count, what with all the moving around between tasty treats, hula-hooping, and pinata-swatting, but several counts confirmed 19 people there with harps, and a few welcome family members too! Northwesterners are not deterred by a little rain; most came prepared with layers of clothes to put on over their tropical garb, as well as tarps, plastic bags, and even a roofed shelter. But the harp music seemed to keep the showers at bay as we snacked and chatted, laughed and sang, and played our harps together for the better part of the afternoon. Just as clean-up time approached, we heard the first rumbles of thunder... packing up happened in record time, and the last few cars were leaving the parking lot as the deluge began! If you'd like to take a look at a gallery of photos (our thanks to Bob Zawalich, Diana Beaumont, and Maria Wilson), see http://tinyurl.com/psfhs-picnic-2013.
Seattle Harp Player Takes Her Lever Harp to New Levels. Seattle's Carol Levin is known as being the harpist in the all-female jazz band, The Mood Swings (see http://moodswingsjazz.org/ for a great photo). Recently she has found even more innovative ways to use her lovely Dusty FH-36! Last spring, she was the only lever harpist who joined the Dr. Who Fan Orchestra for a world-wide video compilation of "Amy's Suite". She worked with the arranger to adapt the pedal harp score, and can be seen in the center of the montage between 1:32 and 2:14 at the YouTube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNBadCgPuBo. A long-time Dr. Who fan, Carol is already hard at work learning her part for the 50th Anniversary Fan Orchestra offering! And she has only recently returned from a week-long improvisers' workshop in Amsterdam. She writes "This involved 18 people from all over the world working with five incredible faculty in small and large ensemble free improvisation. Talk about bravery - at the first session they asked us to introduce ourselves - with a three-minute solo. Yikes!" Carol reports that she was able to rent a Camac Baby Blue from Brenda dor Groot, VP of the International Jazz Harp Foundation, and the harp came with a bag of effects pedals, which were another new aspect to explore. Congratulations to Carol on her harp adventures!
New CD for Patrice Haan. Patrice Haan, harper, singer, poet and songwriter, has released her third solo album of originals, We Must Be Arrows. We Must Be Arrows takes us straight to the heart of desire and creation. Like arrows, we use the things of our world and our life experience to launch ourselves to that which we most long to realize. At once antique and modern, the 14 songs of We Must Be Arrows represent a broad spectrum of styles: from ballads and meditative tone poems to a simply silly paean for tea which will be recognized by attendees of the Winter Folk Harp Festival. Increasingly, recognized for her songwriting, We Must Be Arrows showcases Patrice’s growing skill in vocal arranging. Joined by a talented cadre of musicians including David Morris (Musica Pacifica, The King’s Noyse) on cello and viola da gamba, Tony Marcus (Cats & Jammers, Cheap Suit Serenaders) on guitar, harpers Maureen Brennan (Wake the Dead) and Diana Rowan, and Rick Elmore (tuba), Patrice has also assembled two choirs for a four-part hymn to the angel of music and the startlingly original title song. You can hear samples at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/patricehaan1. If you're interested in purchasing a copy, send a note via www.PatriceHaan.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marta Cook & Devin Shepherd House Concert. Seumas Gagne writes to say "Please join me in welcoming Marta Cook and Devin Shepherd in their first concert appearance together in Seattle on Wednesday, October 9th, at 7 pm. Each is a champion as a solo performer, and together they will open your eyes to the possibilities of fiddle and harp together. You don't have to take my word for it, though. You can visit their page on Sound Cloud to hear for yourself: https://soundcloud.com/devinandmarta. Seating is limited at this intimate house concert at a private home near Northgate Mall in Seattle, so please purchase or reserve your tickets by phoning me at 206-297-8398 or emailing me at email@example.com. Tickets are $15 if you pay in advance by credit card over the phone, $18 if you pay at the door by cash or credit card. Address, directions, and parking information will be given at the time tickets are reserved or purchased."
Great News on Stolen Harps!
California harper Lisa Stine was the victim
of a burglary and lost numerous harps. All have been recovered except
one! Please be on the lookout for the remaining harp (for sale, on EBay,
Craigslist, etc.). If you believe you've seen it, please contact: (530)
265-5599 or the Nevada County Sheriff at (530) 265-1471:
PSFHS Annual Potluck Picnic. Join us on Sunday, September 15, between 11:00 am and 4:30 pm, for the PSFHS Annual Potluck Picnic and Harp Circle at Seattle's Ravenna Park (Picnic Shelter #1). Wear your Hawaiian togs, bring a dish to share and your harp and bench, and come share the fun. Last year's Hawaii theme was so popular (and festive!) that we voted to do a repeat this year. Friends and family are always welcome. Schedule: 11:00 Gather & setup at Shelter #1; 12:00 Potluck picnic lunch; 1:00 Eileen's piñata (if you have small items to contribute in advance to our piñata, please contact Eileen: firstname.lastname@example.org); 1:30 Harp Circle / Jam Session; 4:30 Clean-up and fond farewells. Bonus points if you play an Islands tune at the harp circle! More bonus points if you bring an Islands-themed centerpiece for the picnic table! Also enjoy the Harper-phernalia Table: Bring harp tchotchkes to trade or any harp music you'd like to give or sell. We'll provide plates, cups, plastic "silverware", and some beverages (no alcohol, park rules). The park entrance is about a mile north of the UW at NE 58th Street and 20th Avenue NE. Note that you cannot drive south on 20th NE to the park entrance as the bridge is pedestrian-only, so approach from the south. This Google map shows the entrance to the parking area and grassy field near Shelter #1: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=2000+NE+58th+St,+Seattle,+WA+98105. There's a roof over the shelter, so we'll be there, rain or shine!
Samhain Harps at Galway Traders. Galway Traders Irish Imports in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle continue their tradition of hosting a free harp presentation on Sunday, November 3, from 2-4 pm, in celebration of Samhain (the Celtic New Year). The Puget Sound Folk Harp Society helps to sponsor this annual event by arranging the players. If you are a harper with a confident repertoire of at least four tunes (or harp-accompanied songs or stories) from the Celtic tradition and you would like to volunteer to play for this year's event, please contact Diane at email@example.com for more information.
Save the Dates! The Puget Sound Folk Harp Society's next Winter Folk Harp Festival will be January 24-25-26, 2014. (This is the festival which was formerly held at Fort Flagler and Fort Worden, now at Camp Brotherhood.) Details and registration information will be available November 1st at www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org. Plan ahead to come join the fun!
New Thormahlen CD! Sharon and Dave announce the release of their new CD, Live From the Harp Shop! It includes 15 of their favorite performance tunes. You can read all about it (and hear some samples) here: http://www.thorharp.com/pages/LiveFromtheHarpShop.htm. To rrder send a check for $10 plus $3 shipping to: Sharon Thormahlen, 1876 SW Brooklane, Corvallis OR 97333. Or call or email with a Visa, Mastercard, or Discover card number to 541-753-4334 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Touching Tribute. Deborah Henson Conant has posted a lovely eulogy for Martin Jarman, the man who spent years moving instruments for the harpists (and players of other delicate yet bulky instruments) of Boston. Her insights about the debt owed to those who support the music community are well worth reading: http://www.hipharp.com/blog/2013/08/29/the-man-who-moved-harpists/.
Own a Piece of Harp History! In preparation for her move to Hawaii, Sylvia Woods is selling the harp that is famously pictured on the cover of her "Teach Yourself" book (the same harp she used to win the All-Ireland harp prize in 1980). It is a Witcher Celtic 32, and is being auctioned off on E-Bay (search for Famous Witcher Celtic 32-String Harp). The auction ends September 4th!
Photo Collage from Somerset 2013. To those who attended, or wished they could have attended, this year's Somerset Harp Festival in New Jersey, you might be interested to view the photo collage, set to the closing song from the Saturday night concert, created by organizer Kathy D'Angelo and her husband Dennis Gormley. Many images of familiar faces at a very successful gathering! See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Glcmgo5ZrK0.
New Music Project for Tina Larkin. Tina Larkin, a harper, fiddler, and composer who resided for a time in our area, sends news of a project she is involved in: she is seeking to fund a Kickstarter music project for a very good cause, Healing and Reconciliation for Jews and Germans. The fundraising ends Sept 6 and every donation helps. Pledges starts at only $1. For the story of this project, see http://kck.st/14k6e0w.
Skagit Valley Highland Games Harp Tent, July 13-14, 2013. Audiences enjoyed not only perfect weather but non-stop music provided by a total of twenty-eight musicians. These included solo performances, a duo, a trio, an educational lecture/demonstration of Celtic Music, two harp circles, and two performances by Slighe nan Gaidheal's Seirm. Instruments included nylon and wire-strung harps, guitar, fiddle, whistle, and flute; vocals were in sung in Scottish Gaelic, Welsh, and English. Local harpers also assisted folks who were interested in trying the harp. Volunteers who made the tent happen were Eileen Warr-Marti, Susan Easthouse, and Sally Verrinder. Mark your calendars for next year's Skagit Valley Highland Games July 12-13, 2014. It's the 20th anniversary so it will be a big one! Contact Sally at email@example.com for more information.
Bellingham Highland Games Harp Tent 2013. Kathie Hardy writes to report: "Bellingham Highland Games 2013 was a big success! We share a big tent with the Bellingham Storytellers Guild, and audiences enjoyed nearly nonstop entertainment with harpers on the hour and storytellers on the half hour. This year we were delighted to have performances by new harpers Celci Volluz and Violet Harris, as well as Eileen Warr-Marti, Susan Easthouse, Becky Fox, and Kathie Hardy. In 2014 we will have 45" sets at the top of each hour, alternating harpers and storytellers, to decrease the frequency of transition time between harpers and storytellers, when we typically lose audience. We now have a solid 8' X 12' raised wood stage so performers have a flat DRY surface! We have two amps that remain set up throughout the games for plenty of instrument and voice sound projection. A harp mic is available. Harpers who desire a performance space for next year please contact Kathie Hardy at 360-319-7081 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Performance slots will be given out on a first come, first served basis - from one tune to a 45" set. Performance spaces not filled in advance will be filled by the "resident harpers" (willing harpers who come for the day or the weekend). New harpers or those with limited performance experience are especially encouraged to come and give it a try! This is a supportive atmosphere with an appreciative audience! And there is always a fun BBQ dinner at Kathie Hardy's house Saturday night for harpers and storytellers. Please mark your calendars for next year - the Bellingham Games are held the first full weekend in June!"
Sally Maxwell 1935-2013. We have lost a major influence in the harp community, Sally Maxwell. A graduate of the University of Oregon, Sally Maxwell originally studied harp with her mother before continuing her studies in Paris, France, and Los Angeles. Returning to Eugene, she became professor of harp at the University of Oregon. Her three decades of teaching made the University of Oregon Music School one of the leading harp performance programs in the country. Performing many years for the Eugene Symphony, she also served as President of the American Harp Society, and founded the American Harp Society Foundation, a nonprofit organization with the mission of furthering harp education through specific endowment based scholarships. A service in Sally's memory takes place at 3 pm on Sunday, August 18, 2013 at Central Lutheran Church on 18th and Potter Street in Eugene. An endowment for harp has been established in Sally's name within the American Harp Society Foundation. Donations may be given to the Sally Maxwell Endowment, AHS Foundation, c/o Connie Robertson 313 Goodpasture Island Rd, Eugene, OR 97401.
In Memoriam. Harp maker Steve Green, builder of Steen Harps, passed away on Friday July 26th at his home near Roderfield, West Virginia. The folk harp world was the better for his lovely instruments, which many play and treasure. Our thoughts go out to his wife Doris and their family.
Harp Music You Don't Need Any More? Patrice Fisher of New Orleans organizes an educational program for harp students in Guatamala. She is making a trip there in November, and is seeking harp music books to take to the program there. If you have any sheet music or music books for harp you are no longer using, consider donating it to this worthy cause. Please mail them to Patrice Fisher at 921 Stewart Ct., New Orleans, LA 70119. If you mail them early enough, you can use the "media mail" rate which is very reasonable.
Young Harp Players Performance Opportunities. "The volunteer youth ensemble Serenaders has brought cheerful music to senior facilities since 1974, and was in two newspaper articles because the harps (sometimes five!) made Serenaders unique. If you know someone aged 5 through 21 who would like to be part of this group, please telephone Patricia Jaeger, the director, at (206) 525-7682 and ask for a leaflet about us. We begin rehearsals for three December performances in Seattle's north end, on September 7 at 2:00 pm. We could use a singer, either boy or girl, to sing not only the words of some traditional Christmas carols, but also "America the Beautiful", "The Teddy Bears' Picnic", and "Walking in the Air". Other musicians needed are those who can play Orchestra Bells (loaned free to piano students), Violin, Flute, Viola, Cello, and Bass. Members often fulfill high school graduation requirements for community service, and over the years have won places in youth symphonies, as well as scholarships to colleges and conservatories. Benefits of this small ensemble include increased poise in performance, keen ability in pitch improvement, as well as making new friends. Harp players can use Patricia's studio harps in rehearsals, and music and green performance vests are loaned. We all donate our time and music to help seniors feel less lonely."
Harp Blog by Laurie Riley. Seattle-area harp player Laurie Riley writes a blog for musicians at www.laurierileymusic.wordpress.com. Recent posts include: "The Folk Process" (how tunes morph over time), "Music is a Language", "How Fast is Too Fast?", "The Student-Teacher Relationship" and much more. New posts appear approximately once a month. Coming up in future posts: "What is Talent?", "Easy Memorizing", "Self-Teaching vs. lessons", "Self Promotion" and more. You can follow her blog by going to the home page and clicking on "Follow/Subscribe" on the bottom of the page.
Harp Retreat in Montana this Fall. "Greetings from the Big Sky Harp Society! We welcome you to join us at our upcoming annual retreat. The Montana Harp Retreat will be held September 27-29 at the C’mon Inn in Bozeman, Montana. Workshops, harp circles, fellowship, and a community harp concert will make this a delightful time for harp players across the state and region. Registration fees and forms will be out shortly, but in the meantime up-to-date information can be found on our website, http://www.bigskyharpsociety.org/.
Sylvia Woods Relocating to Hawaii. Well-known California harp maven Sylvia Woods is moving permanently to Hawaii and reorganizing her business (Sylvia Woods Harp Center) so that she can run it from her new home. Some serious sales are happening as a result. If you are interested, you can read all about it by clicking on the Hawaiian shirt on the home page of www.harpcenter.com.
Pacific Northwest Wire-Strung Harp Retreat. Nan Pardew writes to say: The site and dates for this year's Wire-Strung Harp Retreat have been finalized-we'll be staying at the Orchard House at Camp Burton on Vashon Island, from Saturday, Oct. 12 to Sunday, Oct. 13 (http://campburton.com/orchard_house.html). I am asking for a non-refundable deposit of $35.00 by September 30 to secure your place at the retreat. (If there are special circumstances that make this an issue, please contact me privatelyand we can work something out.) The balance of the site cost, after everyone's deposits, will be split among the attendees. We will each be bringing our own bedding and food plus an item to share for the potluck dinner. I will provide tea/coffee and jam session snacks. If you plan to attend, please let me know by Sept. 15, so I can coordinate our headcount with the Camp Burton administrator. If you have questions, contact me at email@example.com.
New Harp CD. Anela Lauren writes to say: I've just released my second independently-produced harp CD and thought it might be interesting to your group. It's called "Harpin' on the Dead" - beautifully recorded interpretations of Grateful Dead favorites featuring the Celtic harp and a full band. It's been well received and reviewed on CD Baby - http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/anelalauren2 and will be on David Gans' nationally syndicated radio show "The Grateful Dead Hour". The cover artwork alone is worth checking out; it was commissioned by artist William Giese.
Crystal Mountain 2013. A small but enthusiastic group of harp players gathered for the PSFHS annual retreat at Crystal Mountain on the weekend on June 7-9. After a cold spring and some late snow, we were thrilled to have a lovely sunny weekend to enjoy our beautiful location in the mountains, and to fill our cozy co-op lodge with harp music from morning until the wee hours. Moderated sessions, impromptu solo and ensemble performances, and late-night jam sessions kept us (and our harps) busy, and the still-open ski area provided an opportunity to take the gondola to the summit for an incomparable view of Mt. Rainier! For some photos from the weekend, see the gallery at http://tinyurl.com/crystal2013.
Disability in Music Seminars. These seminars are being planned for Seattle and surrounding area the last two weeks of September. Learn how someone’s disability is in their music and how to use it in your music to communicate with someone with challenges. The group seminar is a one-time 3-hour session, learning and practicing with your instrument. Christina Cotruvo, CCM, has 25 years experience coaching musicians with challenges and providing her audio music description method, No-C-Notes, for the blind. Please email Christina (with any questions and if you are interested in this course so we can quickly firm up plans with set dates and cost) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lever Harp Regulations & Repairs. For the last few weeks, we've been gathering info on resources in the Western Washington area for having our harps regulated (if they have levers), repaired when needed, or restrung (if you don't want to take that on yourself). Next month that will be compiled in an article with a list of contacts. In the meantime, it would be great to hear from you! What harp services are you most in need of? How far do you (or would you be willing to) travel to have your harp taken care of? Where have you received harp services in the past, and how did that work for you? Any ideas you could add to the upcoming article would be appreciated... just reply to email@example.com.
Dusty Strings Family Open Mic. Dusty Strings is hosting a Thursday evening all-ages open mic this summer. "Original and traditional genres welcome. Join the fun and participate in a brand new experience or try out that song you just finished writing or finally got down pat and play it for the first time in public. It's fun (and good for your chops!)" Dates are July 11, 18, 25 and August 1, 8. Sign-up starts at 6 p.m. at the school entry. Open mic is 6:30-8:30 p.m. $5 Suggested Donation to Solid Ground, "Building Community to End Poverty".
Two Harp Adventures! Reigning Harps readers Diana Beaumont and Shawnmarie Stanton both shared great stories about their recent adventures with their harps. Diana decided to take her harp on a Hawaiian vacation, and she shares her trials, tribulations, and eventual triumph in an article you can find here. Shawnmarie performed with her harp in a music video by Seattle's Tea Cozies, and she explains the filming process, complete with fog machine, blindfold, and baby goats in a story here. Thanks so much to both of them! And if you have harp adventures to share, we'd love to see them... please send them any time to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Crystal Mountain Retreat Registration. The Puget Sound Folk Harp Society's summer retreat at Crystal Mountain (June 7-9, 2013) is now closed to regular registration. If you would like to inquire about available spaces from last-minute cancellations, contact event director Diane Moss at email@example.com by Wednesday June 5th.
New YouTube Links for Featured Harp Music. For years now, Reigning Harps has been publishing quarterly "Featured Harp Music". This popular offering has included a PDF score for you to print, as well as a Sibelius Scorch file that allowed you to see and hear the music as it played. Unfortunately, more and more people report being unable to access the Scorch player with their current browsers. So, we've made a change! From now on, we'll pair the standard printable PDF of our Featured Music with a YouTube video where you can see and hear the playback... sadly, we'll no longer have the ability to control playback speed, but at least we'll have a reliable way to provide the tune to those who want to hear it. Try it out on our new Featured Harp Music for June, a lovely arrangement of "Blind Mary" by Harper Tasche.
Dusty Strings Free 4 All! Dusty Strings has begun a new free monthly series on the third Sunday of the month, 1-2 pm, 6/16, 7/21, 8/18, 9/15. Instructors will provide introductions to various instruments (including harp, ukulele, hammered dulcimer, and bodhran). Molly Bauckham will be teaching the harp segment. No experience or instruments needed! Please call 206-634-1662 for more info.
New CD & Rio Tour for Josh Layne. BC harpist Josh Layne has had an extremely busy month - he released a new CD (Passage: Music for Solo Harp), did a tour to promote it, and traveled to Brazil to perform at the Rio Harp Festival! You can read more about all his adventures at his web site, www.joshlayne.com.
Physiology and Harping. Here's an interesting article about the physical aspects of harp playing, with some good basic information for staying injury and pain-free while playing. Though aimed at pedal harp players, almost all of the guidelines would apply to lever harp players as well. The article is translated from the French, and the illustrations still have French labels, but are quite clear in showing the difference between healthy and harmful postures: http://www.physiotherapy-for-musicians.com/harparticle.html.
FHJ Reviews for Local Artists. The summer 2013 edition of the Folk Harp Journal contained excellent reviews of two local harpers' CDs. Both Seumas Gagne's "Baile Ard" and David Michael's "After the Rain" received high praise. Congratulations!
New Website and CD for Kathie Hardy. Kathie writes to say "I am pleased to announce that my new website is up and running at www.celticharp.info! Also, I finished my CD: MERMAID. I expect to have copies available for sale at the Bellingham Highland Games June 1st and 2nd at Hovander Park in Ferndale. They will be available on CDBaby and at Amazon.com on June 7th."
Upcoming MHTP Classes. MHTP (Music for Healing and Transition Program) has space available for new students who are instrumentalists and/or singers interested in training to become a Certified Music Practitioner (Therapeutic Musician). Providing therapeutic music at the bedside is VERY fulfilling work. And new work opportunities continue to develop. Training may begin with the upcoming Module 3, on June 22nd and 23 in Federal Way. Please see the website ( www.mhtp.org ) and/or contact Cheryl Zabel directly for further information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Orphan Harp Comes Home. "Adirondack Harper" Martha Gallagher sent in this interesting story about her harp, which has its roots in the Seattle area: "I am very excited that I am bringing The Orphan Harp 'home' to Seattle. The concept of this harp came to me two years ago when Ray Mooers was giving me a tour of the Dusty Strings workshop. They always try to build a harp all from the same tree, even the same piece cut from the tree; it doesn't always work out, so there are pieces left, well, harpless. I was really intrigued by these 'orphans' and blurted out something like, 'I'd love to have an Orphan Harp; a harp made from the mismatched, homeless pieces!' The concept was a challenge to the makers because different kinds of woods have different 'voices'. Dusty Strings rose to the challenge, building me The Orphan Harp, which looks and sounds fabulous! I rarely name my harps; I just haven't related to them in that way. This harp, however, claimed her own name before she even arrived at my home. Her name is Hope." Martha will be playing in Seattle May 10-12; see the Calendar for details.
Harp Circle List. For years Reigning Harps has maintained a list of Pacific Northwest harp circles (by which we mean, anything between Alaska and Northern California!). Recently we've shared our information with Peggy Coates of "Dorveille" -- she is compiling a list of harp circles throughout the United States, and welcomes listings. See her current list at http://dorveille.com/links-resources/harp-community/harp-circles/.
Seattle International Film Festival Includes Film with Local Harp Music. "After Winter, Spring" is an official selection of SIFF 2013, and the soundtrack includes an excerpt from Harper Tasche's "TheaSophia Suite" for harp and cello. This beautiful, award-winning documentary by Judith Lit is about the interaction of centuries-old traditional agriculture and modern agribusiness as it is unfolding in rural France. Screening details available in the calendar (May 19 & May 20); tickets for individual films go on sale May 2 via www.siff.net.
Remembering Carlos de la Vega. Carlos de la Vega, a harper from Bellingham WA, passed away unexpectedly on March 28 of this year while recovering from injuries received when he was struck by a car last January. A proud member of the Clan Baird Society, Carlos was a regular participant at the Highland Games harp circles in Bellingham and Mt. Vernon, where he was always happy to join in with his Triplett Zephyr harp. He will be missed.
In Memoriam - Grainne Yeats. Grainne Yeats, Irish harper, singer, and historian, passed away on Thursday, April 18. Well known as a harp teacher and performer, she generously shared her interest and love of the Irish harp, recording a dual album of all the music transcribed at the Belfast 1792 gathering of traditional Irish harpers. Married to Michael Yeats (son of the poet W.B. Yeats), she was the mother of four children, one of whom is also a talented harp player. She contributed an article on O'Carolan to our local harp resource, Harp Spectrum, which you can see here http://www.harpspectrum.org/folk/yeats_short.shtml. Our condolences go out to her family, friends, and students.
House Concerts? The Puget Sound Folk Harp Society gets occasional queries from touring harp players who wish to perform in our area. We are building a list of possible concert venues, and we would like to add a section on house concerts. If any of our readers would be interested in adding their names to a list of potential house concert sites, please contact us at email@example.com.
Harp Exhibit at Museum of Making Music. "The Harp: A Global Story of Man, Music & Medicine" runs March 23-September 30 in Carlsbad CA (near San Diego). "The exhibit features intricate, alluring artifacts, sound samples of harps used in a variety of musical styles, and hands-on harps for visitors to experience. It illustrates the harp's place in treating pain, autism, and dementia, and proffers insight into how the harp traveled with ancient civilizations across every continent on the planet." Seattle's role in the global harp experience is represented by three instruments from Dusty Strings, and recorded music by Harper Tasche. For more information see http://www.museumofmakingmusic.org/harp.
New Tutorial Videos by David Michael.
Port Townsend's "ferry boat harper" David Michael has published a
series of video lessons on modes. He says: "In my view, it is much
easier for most people to get the feel of a mode by listening to its
character, rather than analyzing the relationship of half steps and
whole steps. Because most musicians are already very familiar with the
Ionian mode (major) and Aeolian (minor) and because the Lochrian mode is
too weird to be useful in my book, I wanted to focus on the other 4
standard western modes:"
Loreena McKennitt in Seattle August 15th? Alert reader Linda Khandro sent in this breaking news. According to Loreena McKennitt's web site (see http://www.quinlanroad.com/welcome/latestnews.asp) there is the possibility of a concert in Seattle on August 15th, for which tickets will go on sale in late April. Linda says if the Seattle date falls through, she's up for carpooling to Vancouver BC, though tickets are going fast!
"Harp Video" Music Now Available. If you have seen the "virtually every make and model" harp videos on Dusty Strings' website, you know that Harper Tasche arranged and performed music for each size of harp (recorded in a single day!) as a side-by-side comparison of tone and overall volume between one harp and the next. This music is heard as each video shows a 360-degree view of the harp being played (see http://tinyurl.com/DStrVideos-HT ). These arrangements were previously unpublished, but Harper's beautiful version of the Welsh hymn "Calon Lan (Shining Heart)" featured on the 34- and 36-string harps is now available digitally as a PDF for $3.75. To order Harper's "Calon Lan" arrangement, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remembering Jay Gelzer. On December 29, 2012, Seattle harper Jay Gelzer passed away on her beloved houseboat after a short battle with recurring breast cancer. Jay was one of the early folk harp players in our area, making music with her wire-strung harps since the mid-80's (and kindly encouraging new players, such as your editor). Jay was also a clinical psychologist with a private practice in Seattle, a gifted writer who belonged to the Northwest Haiku Society, a Mensa member, and a dedicated mother. You can read the obituary, which contains some of her haiku, at http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/seattletimes/obituary.aspx?n=jay-gelzer&pid=162526739. Our condolences go out to her family and friends.
Camp Brotherhood Book Available for Loan. Diana Beaumont writes to say "For anyone who attended [the PSFHS Winter Festival at] Camp Brotherhood and met Father Treacy when he spoke briefly to our group about how Camp Brotherhood came about, I have an inscribed copy of his book "Wild Branch on the Olive Tree." It is a real heart-warmer and tells of his vision and that of his friend Rabbi Levine to embrace our differences, to find our common ground, in the spirit of collaboration rather than competition. I am willing to lend it to any who may wish to borrow it. Contact Diana Beaumont at email@example.com or 425-225-5337.
Visiting Harp Player Seeks Info/Contacts. Danielle Paus, a harp player from Maine, recently got in touch to ask for some information about performance opportunities in the Seattle area. She'll be on tour with an ensemble in Oregon the week of April 14-21, but has some time free in Seattle on Friday April 12 and Saturday April 13. She would be very interested in doing a house concert and/or workshop on those days, if anyone is available to host, or simply connecting with other harp players and sharing some music. Danielle has played classical harp since childhood, but currently concentrates on lever/Celtic harp with an interest in Irish and Norwegian music; you can hear samples from her new CD at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/daniellepaus and visit her website at www.daniellepaus.com. She's currently in Ireland, but if anyone has any suggestions or ideas for her for those two days, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and they'll be forwarded to her. Thanks!
Olympia Area Harp Teachers? We've had inquiries about harp instruction in or near Olympia WA. There are currently no harp teachers in our directory for the Olympia area... is there anyone teaching there? Olympia harpers, do you know of anyone? Please reply to email@example.com and let us know if you have any leads!
Sharping Levers Revealed. Biagio Sancetta, who recently moved to Whidbey Island WA, wrote an excellent study of sharping levers which was published on the always-interesting Dorveille web site. To find out about the various styles of sharping levers and the pros and cons of each, see http://dorveille.com/harps/materiality/sharping-levers/.
Youth Harp Positions Open in Serenaders. Founder and Director of Serenaders (since 1974) is Patricia Jaeger who also arranges and loans all music for the group. Interested young harpists (and others) who would like to do community service in a small, very friendly group are encouraged to call Patricia at 206-525 7682 before the 2013-2014 season begins with the first rehearsal on September 7. Up to three violinists and four pedal or lever harp players (no accidentals needed in these arrangements) can join, using harps at Patricia's studio for rehearsals, and bringing own harp to three performances in December, and three in March, each year. A set of Orchestra Bells, played with mallets, can also be loaned with no charge to someone with at least a year of piano study who joins Serenaders. Request a free brochure about Serenaders from Patricia at firstname.lastname@example.org.
YouTube Lesson on Mixolydian Mode. Port Townsend harper David Michael writes to say "I recently created a little 5-minute YouTube lesson on how the Mixolydian mode is the one that most approximates the natural overtone series, using harmonics to demonstrate. I also show my alternative technique for playing harmonics. The sound is soft so turn the volume all the way up. I was recently in Hawaii and here I am seen sitting in my friend's garden, playing her harp. It is so much easier to SHOW this, than explain it with words alone. I've always thought Mixolydian was the most magical of all the modes. Maybe that's why so much Celtic music is written in it. Please watch! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXJaRmZCmi4. This is the first YouTube I've ever posted by myself and it is an experiment. I haven't mentioned it to anyone except to harpists so I'm curious how many of you will check me out. Please do leave your comments at the Youtube site!"
Healing Musician Webinars. Stella Benson has a number of upcoming webinars; for the current schedule, see http://www.healingmusician.com/styled/schedule.html.
PSFHS Winter Festival 2013 a Rousing Success. Director Harper Tasche writes, "Thanks to everybody who helped make our 27th annual January gathering such a wonderful experience! This year's Festival was jam-packed with excellent instruction from all of our presenters, lots of musical hilarity and beauty at our Saturday night party, and a wonderful first experience with our new hosts at Camp Brotherhood. Next year's dates will be announced soon -- hope to see you there in January 2014!"
Winter Festival Inspires Poetry. Jennifer Pratt-Walter of Vancouver WA was inspired by the lovely environment and excellent musical company at the PSFHS Winter Festival to write a poem, which she has kindly shared with us... please see it and a photo from Camp Brotherhood at www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org. More photos from the weekend will be gathered soon into a gallery for everyone to enjoy.
In Memoriam - Chris Caswell. On January 21, 2013, legendary harper and harpmaker Chris Caswell passed away at age 60 after a recurrence of colon cancer. He leaves behind many friends, fans, colleagues, and students who have enjoyed his musical skills since he began building and playing Celtic harps in the early 70's. He performed and recorded with Robin Williamson and his Merry Band, as well as with Danny Carnahan in the duo Caswell/Carnahan, was an instructor at Lark in the Morning Music Camp every year since its beginning until last summer, and built more than 1000 harps for musicians all around the world. A detailed obituary can be found at: http://sebastopol.towns.pressdemocrat.com/2013/01/news/obituary-chris-caswell/. For a sample of his contribution to the harp world, with photos of Chris and his harps throughout his career, accompanied by his own playing of a beautiful lament on one of his wire-strung harps, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=vpoTk4DHCbs.
Make a Visit to Dorveille. Dorveille is a harp-centered web site maintained by Peggy Coates of the Portland OR area. Her non-commercial site at www.dorveille.com is devoted to exploring the harp, and includes lots of useful and regularly updated information on types of harps, construction, history, myths, where to buy new and used harps, online lessons, discussion lists, conferences, etc. as well as articles on harp players, books, music, and so on. Currently there is a wonderful compilation of all sorts of apps for harper/ists (and other musicians too), including metronomes, music theory trainers, and tune recognition software. There is also a very helpful checklist of reasons for why your harp might be making a buzzing sound!
Healing Musician Webinars. Stella Benson of the Healing Musician's Center is offering a number of webinars between February and April; please see the web site at www.healingmusician.com for the schedule and details.
Spokane Area Harp Players? Susan Miles, recently relocated to the Spokane Valley area from the west side of the Puget Sound, is seeking other harp players (or musicians interested in playing with harp players) for organizing a possible harp circle or jam session. She is happy to volunteer her home for a gathering spot. If you are interested or have any suggestions for her, please contact her at Soupymiles@aol.com.
Fun Videos by Former Seattle Harper.
Luke Brechtelsbauer is a harper who resided in Seattle for some time,
often playing his harp at the Pike Place Market and in various sessions
about town. He's had many travels since then, but we were just sent an
update that includes a few new videos of him playing on a borrowed Dusty
36, with his usual flying fingers and an amazing knack for
Harp Circles in Big Sky Country. The newly formed Big Sky Harp Society has had a busy winter, organizing harp circles in three locations in their very large state. Their recent newsletter described the gatherings: The Western component of BSHS had a large turnout of 12 members on November 10 in Missoula to play together for a few hours; harpers gathered from around the Central Montana region to welcome the Christmas season with a harp circle in Helena on December 1st; the first Eastern Harp Circle happened on a snowy, stormy day in November, and seven harp players braved the roads and the wind and got together. Keep up the good work, BSHS, and keep up posted on your activities!
Harp Adjudications in Bellevue at Performing Arts Festival. Judy Thiel writes to announce: "Now that the busyness of the holidays is behind us, I hope that you and your students are thinking about participating in the Performing Arts Festival which will be the first week in April at St. Andrew's Lutheran Church in Bellevue. The harp adjudicator will be Jill Whitman. To accommodate the busy lives of you and your students we will be double scheduling the harps on Friday and Saturday. What that means is that all the harp classes will be scheduled for Friday afternoon and again on Saturday morning. When your students send in their registrations, they will need to indicate whether they want to play on Friday or Saturday. The adjudicator will not determine placements until Saturday noon when all students have finished playing. (Harp concerto entries will be adjudicated by the piano adjudicator on Tuesday. This is necessary so they can qualify to play in the Concerto Playoff concert on Friday evening at 7 pm.) Registration is now open at our website www.pafenorthwest.org. Please contact me if you have questions. Thank you." Judy Thiel, Board President, Performing Arts Festival/Eastside, Judythiel@msn.com.
Congratulations on Video! Susan McLain writes to say "A video of mine was chosen by the American Harp Society's magazine 'The Harp Column' as one of the top 33 don't miss harp youtube videos. I am giving a lesson to Karen Ford on a Dusty Strings FH36B. It's called: Karen Ford's Lesson On Harp Technique with Susan McLain (find it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRt1pbY93j0). The magazine described it: 'What do taffy, kitty litter, nose picking, and a knitting needle have in common? Watch Karen Ford's harp lesson and you'll find out! Taught by Susan McLain, this 13 minute lesson is on Salzedo's Conditioning Exercise Number One. Salzedo technique hand and arm position, finger action, closing, and raising are demonstrated both by the instructor and the adult student. It's actually very helpful seeing Ford have her hand corrected and adjusted, if only to appreciate the minute details of using correct technique, not just for Salzedo players, but for any method of study.' "
Local Harpist to Teach and Perform in Holy Land. Local harpist Ruthann Ritchie has been invited by Sunita Staneslow to present and perform at the Holy Land Harp Gathering in Israel this coming October. You can find out more about this harp gathering and tour at www.holylandharp.com. Congratulations Ruthann!
PSFHS Winter Festival. The annual Puget Sound Folk Harp Society winter folk harp festival is now closed to registrations; thanks so much for your interest. If you would like to discuss the possibility of taking a cancellation spot (if any occur) please contact festival director Harper Tasche at email@example.com.
In Need of Harp Regulation, Repair? Harp technician Steve Moss (see www.mossharpservice.com) will be visiting the Seattle area in February. If you would like to get on his schedule for harp regulation, repair, restringing (lever or pedal), please contact Susi Hussong at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dress Your Harp for Christmas! In need of a holiday decor, or perhaps a stocking stuffer for a harp player? Barb Dixon designs harp decals that can be positioned and removed from the harp soundboard without damaging the finish... holiday, Celtic, floral, and other fun designs are available. See the selection at her website, www.harpdecals.com.
New CD with Harpist Juliet Stratton. The Seattle Girls' Choir has just released a new album featuring Juliet and her harp in performances of John Rutter's Dancing Day and James Bingham's Processional and Carols, which will be available for purchase at concerts and on the Seattle Girls' Choir Website at www.seattlegirlschoir.org.
Leslie McMichael On Tour. Leslie
writes to report "I got to take my Peter Pan score on tour in NY and MA
just before Thanksgiving and did five shows in five cities in five days.
It was drive, play, sleep, drive, play sleep! Not quite the level of
Deborah Henson Conant on tour with Steve Vai in Europe but fun all the
same! The Boston Globe was kind enough to cover the Coolidge Corner
performance. Here’s a link:
New CD for Winterharp, Plus Holiday Concerts. The ensemble Winter Harp has a new CD just out: The Bullfighter's Daughter. It features their Spanish-style pieces including the Girl in the Red Skirt which was performed at the World Harp Congress. The CD is mostly harps, bass and percussion, with some violin, flute and vocals. You can hear excerpts on the Winter Harp website at www.winterharp.com. There also you can find the holiday concert schedule for Vancouver, Victoria, and other locations in BC. Winter Harp is delighted to announce that both Kim Robertson and Patrick Ball will be performing with them during December; tickets are selling quickly so check soon if you want to hear this well-known group!
Newly Discovered Life-Form Named After
Harp! Seattle harp player Linda Khandro wrote to tell us about this
newly discovered creature (besides harps and percussion, Linda is also
passionate about stars, rocks, and sea life!). See the story of the
"harp sponge" at:
Christine Grace Magnussen CD. Christine writes to announce her CD of peaceful, relaxing harp music: "Give peace this holiday and year around with 'On Wings of a Dove - Harp Music to Soothe the Soul' ". For more info, see www.peacecalm.com.
PSFHS Winter Folk Harp Festival Registration Opens Nov. 1. Festival director Harper Tasche writes, "Claim your spot at the Puget Sound Folk Harp Society's 27th annual January gathering, January 25-27 2013 -- and our first Festival at a beautiful facility near Arlington WA. We have a great lineup of workshops planned, along with our usual fabulous ceilidh and jam sessions, and full participant registration is $10 less than last year! Download your registration form (available November 1) at www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org, and mail it in soon -- this Festival usually sells out, so don't delay!"
Great Music at Galway Traders. On Sunday, October 28th, a full audience squeezed into the cozy space at Galway Traders, in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, to enjoy two hours of harp music in celebration of Samhain, the Celtic New Year. Players Laurie Riley, Seumas Gagne, Harper Tasche, Linda Khandro, Nan Pardew, and Peter Berry entertained and educated with a variety of harp types (lever, wire, double) and musical selections. Besides jigs, reels, airs, and laments, we were also treated to songs, sing-alongs, and recitations... the time flew by! Many thanks to those who played, those who listened, and the welcoming ladies at Galway Traders, Eveline and Eileen, for hosting. For a photo of the players, see www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org.
Last Minute Symposium Change. Adam Burdick of Dusty Strings Music School reports that New York's Marta Cook, scheduled to teach at this weekend's Harp Symposium, is unable to get to Seattle due to travel complication caused by Hurricane Sandy. Seumas Gagne will step in to fill her workshop and concert slots.
Welcome Big Sky Harp Society! A new harp society has formed in Montana, including both pedal and lever harp players, and with three different regional groups (West, Central, and East) with coordinators and harp circles in each. This energetic group has a newsletter, a web site, and plans for an annual retreat. For more information and to keep track of what's happening there, see http://bigskyharpsociety.yolasite.com/.
Get Well Wishes to Juliet Stratton. On October 21st, a man on the run from police crashed his car into a number of vehicles in SeaTac WA, including one being driven by local professional harpist, Juliet Stratton. Her Lyon & Healy pedal harp was in the car with her, and the force of the impact turned her car completely upside down! Miraculously, Juliet was able to walk away from the wreckage, though she was not allowed to check on the condition of her harp until much later when police had cleared the crime scene. You can read a full report and see photos of the frightening wreck at:
Juliet reported later that she is still being treated for lingering pain and numbness, that her harp sustained quite a lot of cosmetic damage but she is hoping it is structurally sound and will have a L&H technician confirm its condition. Her car (as anyone can see from the photos) was a total loss. Our wishes for a full recovery go to Juliet... we are so glad she did not suffer greater injury, and at the same time, so sorry for the shock she must have had! (Juliet mentioned that her harp bench braced her harp when the car flipped and prevented it from falling near her head; restraints to hold/cushion your harp during travel, to prevent it from becoming a "flying object", are a wise idea.)
MHTP Washington Classes. Cheryl Zabel, MHTP Washington Area Coordinator, writes to announce Music for Healing and Transition Classes for Washington are scheduled for 2013, with the first module happening in February! To become a Certified Music Practitioner (therapeutic musician), please visit the website www.mhtp.org for details on the process. This is very fulfilling work, whether with elderly, memory care, critical care, or hospice patients. If you have any questions, please contact Cheryl at email@example.com.
Musician Volunteers at SCCA. Mindy Danylak is the new coordinator for the Volunteer Healing Music program at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. Over the past several months, the Volunteer Services office has done a major overhaul on the Healing Music program – both to ensure that you have a rewarding volunteer experience and to become more compliant with the regulatory agencies that can survey the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance at any time. If you are interested in performing, please contact Mindy at firstname.lastname@example.org and she can provide you with a revised application form.
Harp Adjudications at PAFE. The 2013 Performing Arts Festival of the Eastside will be held April 2 through 6. The festival's mission is to provide a positive educational and performance opportunity for students of the arts. There will be harp adjudications for Grade 4 through Adult in Solo, Ensemble, and Concerto performance. Solo and Ensemble Harp adjudications are scheduled for Friday afternoon on April 5 and Saturday morning on April 6. The Concerto Playoff will be on Friday evening, April 5, and the Recognition Concerts on Saturday and Sunday, April 13 and 14, at 2 and 5 pm. All events will be held at St. Andrew's Lutheran Church in Bellevue. Judy Thiel is the Harp Chairperson, and reports they are planning to ''doublebook'' the harp scheduling this year. What that means is that harp students may sign up for solo and ensemble adjudications on either Friday or Saturday. All awards and placement will be given after the adjudicator finishes on Saturday. (The entry form will have a comment section. Please have your students use that comment section to indicate whether they want to perform on Friday or Saturday.) Judy says, "We realize that some of your students have Saturday conflicts while others have challenges transporting harps on Friday. Hopefully this will make the festival more 'doable' for everyone. Harp Concertos will be adjudicated by a piano adjudicator earlier in the week so a winner can participate in the Playoff on Friday evening." For more information on the harp adjudications at the festival, see http://pafenorthwest.org/Festival2013/HarpDiv2013/default.aspx. And if you have questions, contact Judy directly at email@example.com.
PSFHS Facebook Page. Puget Sound Folk Harp Society has its own Facebook page now! If you "do" Facebook, please go to your Facebook page, 'search' for Puget Sound Folk Harp Society in the search box at the top and 'Like' us (the big 'Like' box at the top of our page). We'll be giving you reminders and updates on our events and sharing pertinent information. This is not a replacement for the PSFHS web site or for Reigning Harps newsletter, but just a wonderful addition for those active in social media. While you're there, take a look at the awesome pictures from our Hawaiian-themed picnic last month. It was sure fun!
Samhain Harps at Galway Traders. Galway Traders Irish Imports in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle will host a free harp performance on Sunday, October 28th, 2-4 pm, to celebrate Samhain (the Celtic New Year). The Puget Sound Folk Harp Society helps sponsor this annual event; this year's players are Peter Berry, Seumas Gagne, Sile Harriss, Linda Khandro, Nan Pardew, Laurie Riley, and Harper Tasche. Come enjoy beautiful harp music in a cozy and informal setting! Please contact Diane at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
PSFHS Annual Picnic. On September 9th, about 15 harpers (and their harps) gathered in Seattle's Ravenna Park for our 6th annual potluck picnic. Despite a few clouds and some breezy moments, those in attendance participated enthusiastically in the Hawaiian theme, wearing their best luau outfits and donning hair flowers and leis. A lot of harp music, some great potluck food, and much laughter was shared! Thanks to all who had a hand in the planning, decorations, set-up and clean-up. And thanks to all who attended! For some pictures of the fun, see the gallery at http://tinyurl.com/95fftxs.
PSFHS Winter Festival Registration. Registration for the PSFHS Winter Folk Harp Festival at Camp Brotherhood (just north of Arlington WA) opens on November 1st. Registration materials will be available on that date at www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org.
Congrats to Harp Spectrum! Joyce Rice writes that "The new Harp Column has an article called '10 Web Sites Every Harpist Should Visit', and those of us responsible for the Harp Spectrum website were pleased to see ours at #4! It ends with 'Overall, the site is a joy to read through and is a great reference source, so it would be worth your time to take a moment to browse through their impressive collection.' " Harp Spectrum is available to all at www.harpspectrum.org.
34th Season of Celtic Yuletide Concerts. Magical Strings will celebrate the holiday season with their beloved annual tradition of Celtic Yuletide concerts, taking place all around the Pacific Northwest from November 30 to December 20. For a list of performances and ticket information, see http://magicalstrings.com/Calendar.html.
Website Updates for Josh Layne. Vancouver BC harpist Josh Layne has redesigned his website at http://www.joshlayne.com/... lever harp players may be interested in a number of his "Harp Tuesday" tutorials which focus on techniques for all harps, or lever harps in particular.
Annual PSFHS Harp Picnic. Join the fun on Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012, at the Puget Sound Folk Harp Society's annual picnic at Ravenna Park's Shelter #1, 11:30 am to 4:30 pm. Free, all harpers welcome! This year there's a Hawaiian theme, so dress the part, bring your harp and harp bench, a dish to share, and your own beverages (no alcohol please, due to park rules). Here's the schedule:
11:30 - Arrive at the park (watch for our
orca-logo signs near the park entrance and our banner at the shelter),
set up harps and food
The park entrance is about a mile north of
the UW at NE 58th Street and 20th Avenue NE; it can be reached by car
from the south side of the 20th Ave. pedestrian bridge. This Google map
shows the entrance to the parking area and grassy field near Shelter #1:
Group Lessons Now Available with Harper Tasche in Seattle. Come join the back-to-school fun! Harper Tasche is now offering 90-minute group lessons twice monthly on Capitol Hill, beginning September 4th. Each session will be 7:30-9:00 pm, and will include warm-up exercises, scales and arpeggio workouts, a featured tune in lead-sheet format to learn and arrange each month, and the (completely optional) opportunity to play a solo for the group and receive feedback. The cost is $30 for a single session or $50 per month (two sessions prepaid). To register, or for more information, contact Harper via email@example.com or call 206-329-4599.
In Memory of Mark Bolles. The folk harp world lost one of its original creative thinkers this summer with the passing of Mark Emery Bolles. Mark was a celebrated Bay Area musician, who died suddenly last July of a cerebral hemorrhage. Born in New York City, he came west to San Francisco in 1966 where he attended various Bay Area schools, both public and experimental. He was a talented guitarist who performed with a number of bands. But in the folk harp world, he was most famous as a musical craftsman, making both harps and harpsichords (as "Markwood") that were prized for their craftsmanship. He was also a clever inventor, creating a number of devices and computer programs used in the production of high quality instrument strings. His numerous articles in the Folk Harp Journal on the subject of harp-building and string-band design inspired and informed many harp builders. He later sold the "Markwood" name to Laurie Neilsen, who has produced tens of thousands of harp strings and customized string sets using the system he invented. Many of us folk harp players have benefited from his creativity. Donations can be made in Mark's memory to the San Francisco Community Music Center, 544 Capp St., San Francisco, CA 94110, or online at www.sfcmc.org.
Music Thanatology Courses 2013. Applications are now being accepted for the Music-Thanatology Training Courses at Lane Community College in Portland OR. Music-thanatology is a professional field within the broader subspecialty of palliative care. It is a musical/clinical modality that unites music and medicine in end of life care. The music-thanatologist provides prescriptive deliveries of music at the bedside, utilizing harp and voice to serve the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of people who are terminally ill or dying, and their loved ones. Training Prerequisites: Proficiency on a musical instrument, preferably harp; Basic music theory skills, including the ability to notate music. Next two-year training begins in September, 2013; admission by application only. Deadlines for applications are: Cycle I - January 15, 2013 (Interview Weekend for Successful Applicants - February 9/10, 2013); Cycle II – April 15, 2013 (Interview Weekend for Successful Applicants – May 18/19, 2013). For more about the training or to apply, see www.Lanecc.edu/ce/careertraining/musicthanatology. To learn more about Music-Thanatology see www.mtai.org.
Free E-Book About Celtic Harp. South American harpist Eliseo Pinto has released a free book, the result of his research into the history of the Celtic harp. Though it is sometimes obvious that English is not his native language, it is obvious that Mr. Pinto has done a tremendous amount of work delving into the historical records and tracing the history of the Celtic harp throughout the centuries. This is a valuable resource which he is offering at no cost at http://www.smashwords.com/books/download/210054/1/latest/0/0/the-celtic-harp.pdf.
Annual PSFHS Harp Picnic. Join us on Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012, for the Puget Sound Folk Harp Society's annual picnic at Ravenna Park's Shelter #1, from 11:30 am to 4:30 pm. Free, and all harpers welcome! This year at our annual outdoor "hang-out-with-harpers and play" picnic, we will have a Hawaiian theme, so get out your Aloha shirts and your grass skirts, wear a coconut bra if you dare, and maybe practice up on a Hawaiian tune for the harp circle! Bring your harp and harp bench, a dish to share (any cuisine) for the potluck lunch, and your own beverages (no alcohol please, due to park rules). Here's the planned schedule:
11:30 - Arrive at the park (watch for our
orca-logo signs near the park entrance and our banner at the shelter),
set up harps and food
The park entrance is about a mile north of
the UW at NE 58th Street and 20th Avenue NE; it can be reached by car
from the south side of the 20th Ave. pedestrian bridge. This Google map
shows the entrance to the parking area and grassy field near Shelter #1:
There's a roof over the shelter, so we'll be there, rain or shine! For more information about the picnic, contact Beth Kolle at 206-282-3262 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Eileen Warr-Marti at email@example.com.
Get Ready for the Harp Symposium! Whom does Deborah Henson-Conant contact for coaching when she needs to polish up her harp skills? Marta Cook and Maeve Gilchrist, of course (see the blog at http://www.hipharp.com/blog/category/rockharp-diaries/). And we're all in luck, as both Marta and Maeve will be here in November to teach at the Dusty Strings Harp Symposium! Register now for a chance to study with them, as well as with world-renowned players Laurie Rasmussen, Harper Tasche, and Park Stickney. There will also be body-care instruction from Jan Kingston (Feldenkrais practitioner) and Carol Duffy (hand therapist), jams and open mics, and evening concerts. Three days of harp activities and instruction for just $225! All the details and registration form are now available at www.dustystrings.com -- on the menu in the right margin, click "concerts & events" and then use the links in the resulting smaller menu for "Harp Symposium" "Symposium Concerts" "Symposium Presenters" and "Symposium Schedule". Or, simply call 206-634-1662 to request the Symposium brochure!
Local Harp Music in Feature Film. Harper Tasche is pleased to announce that his piece "Featherspirit", for harp and cello, has been selected for use in the upcoming documentary "After Winter, Spring" by New York filmmaker Judith Lit. The film is a beautifully told story about the way of life of traditional farmers in the southwest of France, as they deal with the pressures of modern agribusiness. "After Winter, Spring" is expected to be released for screenings at selected film festivals worldwide beginning in the fall of 2012. Congratulations Harper!
New Harp Duet Book! Anna Jenkins writes to say "I'm excited to tell you that, after six years of collaboration with Sharon Thormahlen, we are very close to publishing our harp duet book, "Cabin Fever for Two"! This is my first full book of arrangements and I am delighted to have these two-part tunes finally in print. Please take a look at the cover of our book, "Cabin Fever for Two," and read a little more about it from my website at http://www.peaceharp.com/products.html. Very soon I'll be ordering books from the publisher to sell locally (or I can mail to some of you who are afar) and would like some idea of how many books to request. If you're interested in purchasing "Cabin Fever for Two," just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org (no need to send a check at this time) and I'll include your book in my order from Afghan Press." Congratulation to both Anna and Sharon on this accomplishment; their duets together are always beautiful and we thank them for sharing!
Welcome Laura Welker. Laura Welker, of western Montana, attended our PSFHS retreat at Crystal Mountain in June. She was excited to make the acquaintance of so many other harpers, and hopes to be able to join us at more of our events in the future. Laura has been playing the harp since 2001, and has recorded a CD ("Aura of the Celtic Harp") and published a book of her arrangements (also available as individual pieces); for sample tracks and more information see her website at www.laurawelker.com. (Her website is her own design, and she would be willing to exchange web design services for harp lessons via Skype, if there are any instructors out there interested in a trade.)
What Kind of Harp Is That??? Harp guitars? Harp pianos? Auto-harps? Many things with the word "harp" in their names, but not the ones we expect! For a great look at all sorts of non-harp harps, see the new article at Harp Spectrum, compiled by Joyce Rice: http://www.harpspectrum.org/non/WhatKindOfHarp.shtml.
Skagit Games Harp Tent Report. Sally Verrinder writes to say "A big ‘thank you’ to everyone who joined us and participated at the Harp Tent at the Skagit Valley Highland Games in mid-July. We provided appreciative audiences with ‘round the clock’ harp music from Seumas Gagne, Becky Fox, Harper Tasche, Molly Bauckham, Linda Khandro, Jill McDavit, Kathie Hardy, Jennifer-Pratt-Walter & Valerie Blessley (Celtic Muse), Nancy Chouinard, and Jason Kies, with guest appearances from Welsh singer Eric Bowen and Slighe nan Gaidheal’s performance group Seirm. Becky Fox and Harper Tasche did double-duty, lecturing on the history of the harp in the Culture Tent. We introduced about 8 new folks to the harp during our Sunday morning ‘Try the Harp’ session and our audience section was full most of the weekend. Extra thanks go to Becky Fox and Susan Easthouse who helped staff the Harp Tent from decorating before the Games opening to tear down after closing and everything in-between. Susan also helped some of the performers take home a little extra cash by offering to sell their CDs. We would also like to thank the Celtic Arts Foundation for supporting the harpers with such a nice large tent with a very spacious stage. We had a very fun and successful Harp Tent this year and are already looking forward to next year!"
Dusty Strings Harp Symposium Dates and Presenters Announced. Save the dates! Dusty Strings will have a Harp Symposium this fall, November 2-4, 2012. Presenters include Marta Cook, Maeve Gilchrist, Laurie Rasmussen, Park Stickney, and Harper Tasche. More information will appear as it develops at http://tinyurl.com/harpsym2012 .
Random Acts of Harping. Congratulations to some of our local harp players who decided to take part in the Random Acts of Harping weekend, June 23 and 24. Beth Cachat and Barbara McPherson took their harps to the farmers' market near Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park and played for the enjoyment of passers-by. Beth says "we got over our nerves and had a good time. Later in the day, Linda Khandro and Valerie Day joined us for a bit. We let wide eyed children try a gliss - huge hit, and several folks took our picture." It's great to give people a chance to see and hear a harp "up close"!
Apartment Sought. Biagio Sancetta expects to move to the Puget Sound area around mid-September and would be grateful for any leads on living quarters. Student harper, hobby harp designer/builder, newly retired, age 62, non-smoker, non-drinker, but an excellent cook. Location is flexible (although prefers the West Sound), but quiet and seclusion are high priority. A privately-owned 400-600 sq. ft. apartment around $500-$700 per month would be ideal! Please contact Biagio at email@example.com or his cell phone 804-384-8989 with any and all ideas.
Still a Chance to Attend Local Harp Camps. Leslie McMichael writes to say there are still a few openings at the Vashon Island Harp Camp; she says "I could still welcome a few more middle-to-high school age players for the youth session August 10-11, and adults for August 12-13. All playing levels welcome, and great classes led by Laura Zaerr, Judith Cummings and me!" For more details, contact Leslie at firstname.lastname@example.org. And there are also still a few spaces available at the Magic Hill Harp Camp, July 20-22, organized by Phil and Pam Boulding of Magical Strings; for all the details about that (as well as a slide show of last year's camp), see http://www.magicalstrings.com/HarpCamp.html.
Twenty Years on the Job! Who would have thought it? (Not me, that's for sure!) But this year marks the 20th anniversary of Reigning Harps editorship for yours truly, Diane Moss. The newspaper was created (and named) by Sile Harriss, who began gathering a regional mailing list in the late 80's. When Sile moved away in 1992, I volunteered to take over the job "for a year" (!). In the last two decades, the newsletter has grown from a one-page sheet mailed out quarterly to about 75 people (subscription $10/year), to a 6 page newsletter mailed quarterly to over 300, to its current incarnation as a free on-line newsletter updated weekly and visited by thousands, sponsored by the Puget Sound Folk Harp Society. But the one thing that has stayed the same is that it is you, the readers who contribute the news, who make it happen! For a look at the very first issue that I ever sent out, in June of 1992, click here!
Skagit Games Harp Tent. Many harp activities will be going on at the Games Harp Tent this year, July 14 and 15 (see Calendar for daily schedule). Bring your harp and join our two Harp Circles plus Group Tunes sessions, one for each day of the Games. We have performances by Northwest harpers throughout both days, and a Celtic Jam towards the end of each day where all instruments are welcome. Come and visit with friends, or help audience members have their first taste of harp-playing. If you bring your harp to participate, please contact Sally Verrinder at email@example.com for a gate pass. And bring along a copy of the new Celtic Tunes Lead Sheets (find the link at www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org), as we will be playing from it during our Harp Circle and Celtic Jam sessions.
Third Sunday Harp Circle in the Summer! For many years, the Third Sunday harp circle has taken a summer vacation as the library where we meet was not open on Sundays during the summer months. But that has changed this year, and the Mountlake Terrace library has kindly allowed us to reserve a meeting space for June, July, and August. So if you are in the mood for a summer harp get-together, come join us on June 17, July 15, or August 20, from 2-5 pm, for an afternoon of low-pressure music making. Contact Diane at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Celtic Tunes Lead Sheet Booklet Now Available. Beth Kolle has compiled and arranged a collection of tunes which are available for use at the Highland Games harp tents this summer (see the Calendar listings for June 2 and 3, and July 14 and 15). Beth has also most generously allowed the booklet to be posted on our Puget Sound Folk Harp Society web page, for the use of other harp groups, harp circles, etc. To print out your copy, see the link at www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org.
Save That Date - October 13! The nationally acclaimed show "Legends of the Celtic Harp" will be in the Seattle area on Saturday, October 13. Three of the premier Celtic harpers in the world (Patrick Ball, Lisa Lynne, Aryeh Frankfurter) take you on a dramatic musical journey deep into the myths, legends, and history of the Celtic Harp. More details will appear as they develop, but for now, get it on your calendar!
PSFHS Tunebooks. Those who have attended a Puget Sound Folk Harp Society (formerly ORCA Chapter) festival or retreat since the year 2000 have received a free tunebook of group tunes from those events. We have had several "supplements" over the years so that people can keep their books current, and since 2007 we have posted our group tunes on-line for ease of access and updating. To make finding these tunes even simpler, we've created a new link to an archive of those group tunes. The link can be found at www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org near the bottom of the page.
Harp Concerts, Anyone? The Puget Sound Folk Harp Society gets occasional inquiries from harp players planning to tour in our area, asking if we can help refer them to appropriate venues. We are gathering a list of resources so that we can quickly provide information, and would like your help. If you know of any good places (small theaters, community halls, concert series at churches or schools, decent sized coffee houses, etc.) please make a list of them and send them to us at email@example.com. Also, there is some interest in house concerts as well; if you know of anyone presenting harp-friendly house concerts, or if you yourself would be interested in hosting such a concert, use the address above and let us know. Thanks!
Music Retail Sales Person Wanted. Dusty Strings Music Shop, home of Dusty Strings folk harps and many other fine instruments, has an opening for a part-time retail sales person (4 days per week). The right person for this position will have excellent communication skills, enjoy working with the public, and complement our current team of friendly and knowledgeable staff. A love of music and a desire to learn and talk about musical instruments is a must. Harpers are encouraged to apply! Please apply in person Mon.-Sat. 10-6, or Sun. noon-5, at 3406 Fremont N., Seattle.
Updated Website for Enchanted Harps. Enchanted Harps in Puyallup WA has an all-new look to its website. Check out the changes at http://enchantedharp.com/. Besides photos of all the tempting harps, new and used, there is a list of sheet music, and also an events listing with upcoming classes.
Watch Seattle Times for Harp-estra. Leslie McMichael writes to say a photographer from the Seattle Times attended the Sgt. Harpo's "Lonely Harps Club" Harp-estra, a 25-harp benefit concert for YouthCare, a community based agency serving Seattle's homeless and at-risk youth. Watch the Times on May 6th, in the "Picture This" column, for a photo of the participants, or see http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/picturethis/. Congratulations to Leslie for organizing this worthy effort!
Congratulations to New ISFHS Chapter. The Willamette Valley Folk Harp Society has been born! Harpers in the Eugene OR area have re-organized as a new chapter of the International Society of Folk Harpers and Craftsmen, and will have their first meeting May 20th, 3 pm, Eugene Hotel's Dining Room. Officers are: Mary DeMocker, President; Lucia Hardy, Vice President; Amy Raven, Secretary; Noah Brenner, Treasurer.
Classical Gas. In March, Deborah Henson-Conant (with her new short hair-do!) did a concert at the Shedd Institute in Eugene OR. The surprise of the evening was her special guest star, Mason Williams. The two of them did several numbers together, including his famous guitar piece, Classical Gas... it's fun to watch the levers that must be flipped to keep up with the guitar! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vXtywOlayc
Registration for PSFHS Summer Retreat Opens. Registration is now open for the Puget Sound Folk Harp Society's annual Summer Retreat at Crystal Mountain. This cozy family-style gathering offers a weekend of harp activities in the mountains for a very affordable price. For details and a registration form, see the link at www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org.
Local Harp Adjudication Opportunity. The Performing Arts Festival of the Eastside is a fun and educational experience for young performers in the Greater Eastside areas of metropolitan Seattle. This year's festival runs from April 10-April 22 and includes adjudications and concerts. There is a harp division (solo and ensemble) which the festival organizers would like to enlarge. The harp adjudication categories include adult students. If you are a harp teacher with interested students, you might take a look at their web site, and think about the possibility of preparing for next year's festival... here is the link to the harp information: http://www.pafenorthwest.org/Festival2012/HarpDiv2012/default.aspx.
New CD for Seumas Gagne. Those of you unable to attend last month's CD release concert in Seattle still have a chance to hear some of the great music the large and appreciative audience enjoyed! Seumas's debut CD, Baile Ard, is available for purchase or digital download on CD Baby. There are twelve tracks which include both traditional arrangements and original compositions, with strong vocals in Scottish Gaelic, and the harp always in the forefront. For more information, and to listen to some samples, visit http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/seumasgagne and enjoy!
Our Harp Community Loses a True Friend. It is with sorrow that we bring news of the passing of a great supporter of harp activities in the Seattle area. Hugh C. Murray, musician, psychiatrist, and for 30 years co-owner of Galway Traders, the Irish import shop in Ballard, died on Monday January 16. Hugh was the son of Irish immigrants, and his own mother played the harp; this, plus his passion for traditional Celtic music, led to his unfailing hospitality toward harpers. Galway Traders has hosted the Samhain harp presentation every autumn at the shop since the mid-80's, and generously donated to the local harp society. A celebration of Hugh's life will be held at an Irish wake on Sunday, February 5th, from noon to 3 pm at FX McRory's (near Occidental and King, in Pioneer Square). Harp players (with or without harps; there will be a session) are most welcome to attend. We extend sincere condolences to Hugh's wife, Eveline, and to their family. (An obituary with photos can be found at http://funeralscoop.org/dr-hugh-c-murray/.)
Final Festival at Fort Worden. Despite chilly weather (and a snowy ride home for some of the participants!), the PSFHS Winter Festival, January 13-15, created some warm memories. Our last festival at historic Fort Worden, on the shores of Puget Sound in Port Townsend, was the usual fun mix of workshops, jam and reading sessions, our traditional 40+ member harp circle, a memorable ceilidh with all manner of presentations from those in attendance, and free time for socializing with friends old and new. For some photos from this event, visit the gallery at http://tinyurl.com/7fkue4z (click Slideshow in upper left). And for information on the site of next year's winter festival, see this letter written by Winter Festival Director and PSFHS President Harper Tasche, which explains the reasons for the move. We hope to see you at our new venue in 2013!
Congrats to Leslie McMichael! Music from Leslie McMichael's “Peter Pan” CD has been selected for broadcast on nationally syndicated radio program The Score. Host and producer Edmund Stone will feature two selections from Leslie's harp score on the show's latest edition devoted to “New Scores for Silent Films.” A list of stations broadcasting The Score is at www.thescore.org. In Seattle, tune in to Classical KING FM 98.1 on Saturday, February 11 at 4 pm. Leslie is excited that her harp music for Peter, Wendy, and the Lost Boys will be on the air all over!
Folk Harp on The Big Bang Theory. For those of you who are fans of the television program "The Big Bang Theory", you may have noticed that the character Amy has been depicted playing a lever harp recently, and the buzz in the on-line harp forums was that it appeared she was really playing it, not doing the fake-looking "wave your hands at the strings" thing while someone else provided the harp track. The most recent issue of the Sylvia Woods Harp Center newsletter contained the answer... not only did they provide the harp for the program, but also harp lessons to Mayim Bialik who plays Amy! You can read the story here: http://tinyurl.com/swbigbang.
Music Thanatology Training.
Applications are now being accepted for the Lane Community College Music-Thanatology
Training beginning September 2012. Application deadline is May 1st,
2012. Students receive over 500 contact hours in this two year,
non-degree training, which includes 19 monthly didactic weekend
intensives in Portland OR and weekly clinical internships working
alongside MTAI certified music-thanatologists in hospitals and hospices
in the Pacific Northwest. This certification preparation training is
designed to prepare students to meet the Standards and Competencies of
Music-Thanatology Association International (MTAI), the professional
organization and independent certification body for music-thanatology
worldwide. For more information, visit:
Music Can Change Lives. Susan McLain
of Seattle wrote to share a wonderful message she got during the
holidays: "Here is a letter I received on Christmas Eve. It's a
reminders that our work as musicians has rewards more powerful than
other trappings of success... the ability to touch people in profound
ways. I remember this gig from 1989. When I received the note on
Christmas Eve of 2011, 22 years later, my joy could not have been
greater had I won any Grammy or music award. We harpists have put our
hearts and souls into our work. Let's remind each other how worthwhile
our gifts are and share the splendor of what our sweat and hard work
really accomplishes... transcendent moments that touch others for a
Still Room on the Celtic Music Cruise to Alaska June 3-10. There is still room to sign up for the cruise, which leaves from Seattle on June 3. There will be workshops, concerts, pub sessions, three city stops, and the always spectacular scenery. Philip Boulding will give a special presentation on the Magic and Mystery of the Ancient Celtic Bards. More information is available at: http://magicalstrings.com/MS_Celtic_Cruise.html.
Plan Now for Féis 2012. Slighe nan Gaidheal, Seattle’s Scottish Gaelic cultural society, has announced the presenters for its bi-annual Féis! Féis Seattle 2012, will be held June 13-17, 2012, at historic Fort Worden located along the Admiralty Inlet on the Olympic peninsula near Port Townsend, Washington, and will include instruction in Gaelic language, song, and traditional instruments including the harp. Cynthia Cathcart, harp presenter, is an expert on the wire-strung harp of Scotland and Ireland, and her classes will provide traditional techniques and repertoire to players of wire-, nylon-, or gut-strung harps. Plan ahead to attend this immersion into the Gaelic tradition. For more information, see http://www.slighe.com/topic.php?topic_id=4.
Congratulations to the Boulding Family. Long time harp player, teacher, and performer Philip Boulding, of Magical Strings, had the great pleasure and honor of walking his daughter Brittany down the aisle earlier this year. For a lovely photo, see http://magicalstrings.com/.
Decorating Your Harp for the Holidays. Reigning Harps reader Barbara Dixon of www.harpdecals.com has some great holiday designs among her selection of removable soundboard decals, just right for those December gigs when you want to dress up your harp without any permanent modifications!
New CD for Leslie McMichael. Harp CDs make great gifts! In addition to "Snowfall -- Harp Solos for Christmas" and "A Northwest Classical Christmas" (available as a bonus to supporters of KING FM), Leslie McMichael is thrilled to announce a new release -- her "Peter Pan" soundtrack, all original music for harp, just in time for the holidays. Details at www.pluckmusic.com.
Winterharp Concerts Include Patrick Ball. For those in the lower mainland of BC, Winterharp concerts are a long-standing tradition! This year, Patrick Ball is joining the ensemble for an even greater harp presence... for description, concert schedule throughout December, and ticket information, see their web site at www.winterharp.com.
Last PSFHS Winter Folk Harp Festival at Fort Worden. Just imagine this: your favorite folk harp friends, and the same quality harp sessions you've come to expect every January, but at a lower price, with individually climate-controlled meeting and sleeping rooms, NO STAIRS, and a full bathroom for every two people! After years of searching and weeks of deliberation, the Puget Sound Folk Harp Society's Board of Directors has voted unanimously to move the Winter Folk Harp Festival from Fort Worden in Port Townsend, to the Warren Center at Camp Brotherhood, located in the foothills of the Cascades near Arlington, starting in January 2013. This festival has been on the Olympic Peninsula for the past 25 years (first at Fort Flagler, and more recently at Fort Worden), but the Festival's new home is on a 200-acre forested farm with beautiful views, and offers numerous (and much-needed) facilities upgrades along with a more stable and affordable fee structure. If you have questions, see the longer explanation here or email Winter Folk Harp Festival program director and PSFHS President Harper Tasche at firstname.lastname@example.org. See you at Fort Worden for our farewell Festival in January 2012, and at Camp Brotherhood starting in January 2013!
Samhain Harps Play In the Celtic New Year. On October 30th, six harpers entertained an appreciative audience at Galway Traders in Ballard in celebration of Samhain (the Celtic New Year). Beth Kolle, Maggie Olwell, Jo Anthony, Jason Kies, Nan Pardew, and Andrew Anderson volunteered a wonderful variety of music, with melodies from Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, as well as Manx, Breton, and Galician tunes. For some photos of the players, see www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org. (The Puget Sound Folk Harp Society co-sponsors this event every autumn, and we want to extend our thanks to everyone at Galway Traders for their cooperation and hospitality, and send our special thoughts to proprietors Hugh and Eveline Murray during this difficult time of Hugh's illness.)
Seeking Celtic Cruise Cabin Mate. Barbara Dixon of Vancouver Island and creator of www.harpdecals.com has a request. She is interested in the Celtic Cruise that is departing from Seattle to Alaska next June (for details see http://www.celticmusiccruise.com) and is considering signing up for it. However, being single, she has no travel partner and the rates are prohibitive for solo travelers. She is wondering if anyone from the Puget Sound area would like to share a cabin? If you want to discuss details, contact Barbara at email@example.com.
Harp Solo on KING-FM Holiday CD. Leslie McMichael writes that she contributed a solo harp track to a holiday music CD which will be released by KING-FM just before Thanksgiving. This CD will not be for sale but is offered as a premium for contributors to the station. (Seattle's venerable classical music radio station made the move from commercial radio to public radio model earlier this year, and you can still be a Founding Member if you join in 2011.) Leslie continues, "all harp players and music lovers should consider helping sustain KING FM as members!" Visit www.king.org for details about membership and the holiday CD featuring music by different Puget Sound artists and performing groups.
Harpists For Peace. Nancy Chouinard writes to tell us that she also played for an hour on September 11, 2011 Harpists for Peace, in front of the Heritage House shop near the Fraser River bank in Ladner BC.
Harp Technique and Repertoire Hints On-line. Victoria harpist Josh Layne has recorded a series of videos explaining many harp techniques and also explorations of a number of pieces from the harp repertoire. The repertoire is more aimed at pedal harp, but many of the technique videos (harmonics, trills, rolled and broken chords, etc.) are also appropriate for lever harp players. This is a great resource, and all free! Take a look at: http://www.joshlayne.com/harptuesday/index.html.
PSFHS Picnic Thwarts Forecast! Despite the gloomy weather forecasts which predicted a downpour all day, harp music kept the rain drops away as an optimistic group gathered to enjoy a day of music and companionship in Seattle's lovely Ravenna Park. About two dozen people attended this annual free event, and by our count, at least 18 of those were harp players and 15 of them brought harps along, so there was plenty of music-making that went on from the time we arrived until the last of us left the park. The potluck selections were particularly tasty this year, with some delicious sandwiches, salads, and desserts. The harp-trinket give-away made for some funny moments, and bargains galore were snapped up from the "buck-a-book" music box. Thanks to all who attended, and to PSFHS events chair Eileen Warr-Marti for organizing! For some pictures of the fun, go to www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org and follow the link to the picnic photo gallery.
Harp Cruise Anyone? Next June, there are plans for a Seattle-Alaska "Celtic Cruise", which will include workshops, concerts, sessions and ceilidhs on-board, as well as the usual cruise ship fun and port visits. The northwest's own Magical Strings will be among the featured performers, and Phil Boulding will be providing harp instruction to beginners and intermediates in workshops, as well as private lessons to more advanced students. For more information on the cruise itself, see http://www.celticmusiccruise.com and for more information on the harp instruction opportunities, contact Phil Boulding at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Peace Harp Hour on September 11. A number of local harp players took part in the annual "Harpists for Peace" observation, held this year on September 11. As a prelude to our autumn meeting, PSFHS board members Harper Tasche, Sally Verrinder, Eileen Warr-Marti, and Diane Moss played together for an hour in Shoreline. Bellingham harp player Kathie Hardy played for an hour near the labyrinth walk in Fairhaven Park, and Mill Creek's Diana Beaumont played for an hour at Wilmot Park in Woodinville. If anyone else contributed to this world-wide event (see www.harpistsforpeace.org), write in and let us know where you played!
The Power of Music. Though this
is not a new speech, it may be new to some of you, and is certainly
worth reading. It is the welcome address made by Karl Paulnack to the
incoming class of the Boston Conservatory, in which he explores the
place and power of music in society, citing personal examples that lead
him to believe musicians can "save the planet". You can find the text
Inside Peek at Historical Harp-Building. Here's a link to an interesting photo story by David Kortier describing his replication of the Bunworth harp (the original is at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston): http://kortier.com/subpages/bunworth.htm.
WHC Program On-Line. The Vancouver World Harp Congress committee has posted the entire program for download, including biographies and extensive program notes, on the website at http://www.worldharpcongress2011.com/program.html, as well lists of performers, etc. For those who were unable to attend, this is a great way to catch up on what happened there!
Get Well Wishes. In the airport on his way to the Somerset harp festival, Dr. Alfredo Ortiz (Latin-style harp master) suffered a bad fall and a fractured knee. His injury required surgery and he will be unable to travel or perform for some time. His upcoming Seattle visit has been canceled (please see the Calendar for Sept. 3 for more information from Dusty Strings about refunds, etc.). The Puget Sound Folk Harp Society and all of his friends and fans in this area wish him a speedy and complete recovery!
Local Harpers at Folklife. Seirm, the singers and instrumentalists of Slighe nan Gaidheal (Seattle's Scottish Gaelic Society), performed at Folklife at the end of May, and the organizers have posted a sound clip from the performance on their web site! The clip opens with Seirm's harp players (Nan Pardew, Sally Verrinder, Eileen Warr-Marti, and Jason Kies) performing a set of Scottish tunes which begins with Bunessan (aka Morning Has Broken), followed by Come By the Hills, and ending with a rousing version of Glenlivet. To hear this, go to: http://www.nwfolklife.org/streaming05272011.php. Then scroll down toward the bottom of the page to Center House Theater, 9:25 pm. Bravo, Seirm harpers!
WHC 2011. The World Harp Congress in Vancouver BC just wrapped up at the end of July, and by all reports it was an amazing gathering... congratulations to the Vancouver organizing committee who planned and successfully completed this ambitious undertaking! Some clips of various programs and performers have been posted on Youtube... go to www.youtube.com and search on Vancouver Harp Congress to see some samples.
Scottish Highland Games Harp Competition. Congratulations to all those who took part in this summer's harp competition. This year's finalists are as follows: Bellingham – no competition. Mt. Vernon – Intermediate 1st place Maggie Olwell, 2nd place Noelle Kramer; Advanced 1st place Jason Kies. Enumclaw Preliminaries – Beginner 1st place Avonlea Knoedler; Advanced 1st place Janna Bisceglia, 2nd place Makayla Humbarger. Enumclaw Finals – Beginner 1st place Avonlea Knoedler; Advanced 1st place Janna Bisceglia, 2nd place Jason Kies. Thanks to all who helped organize this year's competition and harp tent activities (Sally Verrinder, competition coordinator; Becky Fox and Kathie Hardy, Bellingham tent coordinators; Terry Hergesheimer, Mt. Vernon tent coordinator; Kate Freeburg, Enumclaw tent coordinator). And of course, thanks to the judges, without whom a competition is not possible (Seumas Gagne at Mt. Vernon, Michael MacBean at Enumclaw). To see some photos from the competitions, go to www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org.
New CD for Patrice Haan. Patrice sends her best to all her friends in the Puget Sound area, and is happy to report that she has just released a new CD! "Bluest Blue" is Patrice Haan’s newest album of original songs. Suffused with lakes and the sea, half of the collection of song-paintings features harp and voice, and half showcases piano and voice. The album represents a broad spectrum of styles from meditative tone poems to jazzy blues and swing. Intuitive and poetic, "Bluest Blue" was completed with the considerable support and talent of these musicians: Rene Worst: bass, Jeff Sanford: saxophone, Tony Marcus: guitar on 'Penelope' & 'Wake Up', Jennifer Scott: piano on 'Edge of the Se'a & 'Penelope', Shira Kammen (vielle), David Morris (viola da gamba) and Julian Smedley (violin) on 'Golden Time', Dan Reiter: cello on 'Thetis Lake', and Brian Rice: percussion on 'Edge of the Sea'. David and Julian also played on 'Altars'. The album is available directly from Patrice. Please write to her at Patrice@TuxedoRecords.com. (It also should be available soon from CDBaby.)
Crystal Mountain 2011. The Puget Sound Folk Harp Society's annual Crystal Mountain retreat was held June 12-14, and twenty-plus harpers had a great time playing, visiting, eating, laughing, and learning... all surrounded by beautiful forest and mountain scenery. For the second time in 15 years, there was so much snow in the mountains in June that the ski area was still operating, but the road was clear enough for us to gain access to our cozy lodge where we could enjoy the snowy views. Everyone shared musical creativity and good-natured fun, which made for a delightful weekend. An amazing coincidence was the unexpected reunion of two college friends who hadn't seen each other for nearly 40 years! Thanks to all who attended and helped make it a success; if you'd like to see some photos from our weekend together, go to www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org and toward the bottom of the page, follow the link to "Photos from Crystal Mountain - June 2011".
Save the Date for PSFHS Annual Picnic. The Puget Sound Folk Harp Society's annual potluck picnic will be held in Seattle's Ravenna Park again this fall. Mark your calendar for September 18, and plan to spend part of the day visiting (and playing) with harp players from all around the region. Free, of course... just bring your harp and a dish to share! More details will be announced as the date nears.
In Memory. I'm sorry to have to inform you that one of our long-time Reigning Harps readers, Ellen McAtee of Bellevue WA, passed away on June 15th. Ellen studied harp with Pamela Vokolek, and also once served as the Greater Seattle area AHS Chapter vice-president. Our condolences go out to her family and friends.
New Location for Enchanted Harps. Enchanted Harps in Puyallup WA is planning a move in July to a new and larger location, just three blocks north of their original place. If you've never been there to see the wonderful selection of lever and pedal harps, including the beautiful Camac harps from France, you should make the trip! The new address is 210 North Meridian, in Puyallup. Best of luck to them in their new shop!
David Michael's New Book. Port Townsend harp player David Michael writes to say "Dear fellow harpists/harpers, Ever since bureaucrats from Washington State Ferries booted me and my Celtic harp off the ferryboats for reasons of “Homeland Security” in 2007, I’ve been busy writing a memoir. Now it’s finally finished and published in paperback. The book is called: 'BUSKER – Tales of a Renegade Harpist'. For those unaware of the word busker, I supply the definition right on the back cover: A person who brings music or any kind of performance art to a public place and entertains in exchange for donations. Highlights of my book include: Outlandish and often comical details of my forty-year career entertaining around the globe…from cafés on the isle of Crete to the walking streets of Scandinavia and the ferryboats of Puget Sound; Selections from the media maelstrom touched off by the actions of WSF and the saga of my struggle with the nation’s largest ferryboat bureaucracy. Brilliant pieces of satire by many fine writers are included; An exploration of the much maligned/beloved art of busking and the lifestyle of a street performer. Through my personal experiences, historic anecdotes and a look at other famous buskers, I make the case that busking plays a vital cultural role in society; A gritty and humorous travelogue of my five summers of street music exploits and misadventures in Europe; Colorful coming-of-age stories from my teen years, venturing through the turbulent sixties’ culture of anti-war uprisings and psychedelic voyages before breaking into the seventies when I honed my music performance skills from an Israeli kibbutz to the seamy underbelly of Hollywood Boulevard; A bonus section entitled 50 HOT TIPS FOR BUSKERS with invaluable pointers and lessons for novice and expert buskers alike. Fun for all—even for those with no interest in trying their hand at it! Also Included: a bonus sampler CD with 73 minutes of my best music. My music publishing company has formed a subsidiary—Purnima Press—to publish this book. To order, please send $20 per copy + $4 shipping 1st copy, $2 each additional copy to: Purnima Productions, PO Box 317, Port Townsend WA 98368. Or if you want to use a credit/debit card, order from Amazon. And see my new site: www.renegadeharpist.com . 'BUSKER – Tales of a Renegade Harpist' is dedicated to buskers everywhere: those seekers of beauty and spreaders of mirth—all the brave souls willing to traverse 'improper channels' in order to share their creative spirit."
Performance, Authenticity, and America's
Got Talent? Last March when she was in town for a performance
with the Tacoma Symphony, Deborah Henson Conant was invited to the
Seattle auditions for the TV show "America's Got Talent". (This had to
remain a secret until the episode aired, which it recently did.) Those
of you who watched know that Deborah was "buzzed" (rejected) within
seconds of beginning her piece, and took some fairly harsh criticism
from the panel of judges. In her blog, Deborah has been reflecting on
this experience in a very interesting exploration of what it means to be
a working performer and at the same time remain true to your own
artistic vision... see her blog at:
Complete Cross-Strung Article Now Available. Seattle's Harper Tasche writes to say: "Hi everybody! Those who have received the current Folk Harp Journal already know this, but I thought it would be worth announcing that another article about cross-strung harps is now in print. It appears on pg. 48-51 of FHJ Issue #151 (Summer 2011), entitled A Brief History of the North American Cross-Strung Harp. Beginning with Robbie Robinson's published description and drawings of a Welsh cross-strung harp in 1982, this article offers an annotated timeline of the cross-strung movement in the United States and Canada up to the present day. Anyone who would like to read the unabridged version of the article (including numerous additional archival images) can send me an email, and I'll be happy to email you the eight-page pdf file (915KB) for free. (As the author of the article, I'd like to thank John Metras, Verlene Schermer, and M. Diane Moss for valuable feedback. I'd also like to offer my thanks to Skye Hurlburt, Elizabeth Paine, Claudia Freeman, Dan Speer, Valerie Blessley, Roger Muma, M. Diane Moss, Kathy LaBerge, and Mark Sickich for sharing their photos.)" Contact Harper at email@example.com to ask for this informative article.
New Seattle Chapter AHS Officers. Congratulations to the new slate of officers for the local chapter of the American Harp Society, just elected in May: President, Judith Cummings; Vice President, Alishia Joubert; Secretary and Resonance Editor, Joyce Rice; Treasurer, Crystal Oman; Membership, Susan Haas.
Donations of Used or New Lever Harp Strings Needed. Patrice Fisher, who is President of the New Orleans Chapter of the American Harp Society, has a mission to build lever harps and provide harp instruction for students in Guatemala (for more info on this project, see http://www.patricefisher.com/guateteach.html). Because the strings and hardware are the most expensive part of the harps they build, Patrice is always accepting donations of new or used lever harp strings, and hardware such as replaced levers, pegs, etc. She'll be making a trip to Guatemala in August and would be happy to take supplies with her then. Her instructions follow: 1. if you can, put the strings in the same envelopes from which you just removed your new strings; 2. if it is too late for that, put them in separate zip lock bags, according to octave; 3. if you can, send a string inventory of what you are sending (it is easier to write you a receipt for your taxes that way; 4. in any case, send what you have, especially lever harp strings, to 921 Stewart Ct., New Orleans, LA 70119. Patrice mentions that she can also use some pedal harp strings, but is unable to use wire-strung harp strings.
Remembering Civil War Musicians on Memorial Day. Harper Tasche wrote a touching account of his project to honor Civil War musicians in a cemetery near his home; to read it, please go to our Articles page.
Seeking Harp Friendly Housemate. Susan McLain is looking for a quiet, conscientious housemate to share her Victorian House in West Seattle. Ramp for moving harps in and out...you can use her L & H gold 23 to practice. Loves animals and has a fenced yard and dog door for pets. Room and a half for your use and your own bathroom. Call Susan at 206 932-1861. Available June 1st"
Show Off Seattle to Relocating Harp Player? Harpist (fiddler, and composer) Tina Larkin will be visiting Seattle May 12-16, considering possible relocation from Ohio. She is hoping that a local harp player might be able to either put her up for a night or act as tour guide for a day, so that she could get a better feel for the area. Can any of you help her out? She says: "I don't smoke anything, am very neat, and am a gourmet cook." You can check out her website at www.tinalarkin.com, and get in touch with her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
News About Highland Games Competitions. Sally Verrinder writes to announce: "This year is the FINAL Northwest Regional Scottish Harp Competition! At a meeting of adjudicators and tent coordinators, it was decided 2011 will be the very last competition at the three Northwest Highland Games. The harp tents will continue on next year with more fun activities, workshops and opportunities for harpers of all levels to participate and play. To end the competition, this year we will have two Beginner's categories: '17 and Under' and '18 and Over' in addition to the other categories. With the exception of the Beginners category, all other categories have been reopened to past winners. We'll also have harp circles each Saturday and Sunday after the competitions. It's always a fun time at the Highland Games! We would like to give heartfelt thanks to both the Puget Sound Folk Harp Society and to Dusty Strings for their continued generous support over the years - we couldn't have done it without you! For more information and links to the Games, go to www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org. If you need additional information, please contact Sally at email@example.com or 425-881-0952.
Account of DHC's Northwest Tour.
Deborah Henson Conant performed with the Tacoma Symphony last month to a
sold-out house, and she has written an interesting account of her visit
to the Northwest at:
Seeking String Chart. Barbara Dixon is seeking a string chart for a Andrew Thom "Adaryn" model harp. (Instructions from the builder are unclear and strings from Australia too expensive, so she is looking for Canadian or US equivalent strings.) If anyone has such a harp and knows the proper string gauges, please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ray Pool Mini-Workshop on YouTube. Ray Pool wrote to say "Dear Harp Friends, I prepared a video clip for YouTube that I'd like to share with you. It is a brief overview of information I published in my harmony study "3's a Chord." You may be an Adult Learner and would like to expand your understanding of music on the harp. The stepping stones to sight reading, playing from a fake book and improvisation are all strengthened with this information. You may have taken my workshop somewhere along the way. This is a reminder of the topics we studied. You may be a teacher and have students that would benefit from this study. You can pass the link on to them. Whatever the situation, I hope you'll find this clip interesting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmBvia892jI. Best wishes, Ray Pool."
In Memory of Cyndee Walket. Your editor writes: I belong to several on-line harp "lists", one of which is the Virtual Harp Circle, co-founded and co-moderated by Barbara Dixon of British Columbia and Cyndee Walket of South Carolina. These great cross-continental friends created a welcoming on-line space where harp players of every experience level can ask and answer questions, and chat about their harps and other interests. Early this month, we were all shocked and saddened to learn that Cyndee had passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. She was an accomplished musician, playing harp, hammered dulcimer, and bowed psaltery. She loved playing her Heartland Dreamweaver and her Andrew Thom harps, and was well known for hosting great "after-hours" music parties in her room at harp conferences. Cyndee also was an animal lover, working as a veterinary technician and vet clinic manager, volunteering in dog rescue organizations, and training handicap assistance dogs. Her bright spirit will be missed by all who knew her, and the outpouring of support from her "harp friends" has been moving. A Virtual Harp Circle member, RoJean Loucks, composed a lovely piece in Cyndee's memory, and kindly offers it to Reigning Harps readers for their personal use (of course, if you would like to record or publish it, please contact RoJean for the appropriate permissions). Thank you so much RoJean, for sharing this moving tribute. (To print out a copy of the music: Cyndee's Farewell: Adobe PDF format; to hear the music: Cyndee's Farewell: MP3 format.)
Therapeutic Harp CDs by Christine Grace Magnussen. Christine's On Wings of a Dove - Harp Music to Soothe the Soul CD is used throughout the world to bring calm to healthcare settings, anxious animals, holistic practices, home and office. Available in wholesale small quantities for gifting: www.peacecalm.com/products.html.
New Website All About Wire-Strung Harp. Sherri Williams writes to say "Here is a new website to check out. It is TOTALLY for the wire strung harp. It was put together by Cynthia Cathcart, her husband, and a couple of other wire harp players... http://www.wirestrungharp.com/index.html ".
Fort Worden Folk Harp Festival A Fine Success. The Festival's program director Harper Tasche reports, "This year's January festival was definitely something to be proud of, being our 25th annual winter folk harp weekend! Our 'silver anniversary' gathering was marked by excellent sessions led by Judith Cummings, Laurie Riley, Seumas Gagne, Anna Jenkins, and Harper Tasche, and a lovely ceilidh under the guidance of Patrice Haan. We had a full house, and the sound of 43 folk harps playing together in that big wooden room was a wonderful experience, and a wonderful memory, for all of us. Many thanks to all who attended, and especially to the legion of volunteers who made it all possible. Hope to see everybody at the Crystal Mountain Retreat in June!" (To see some snapshots from the festival, go to www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org and follow the link to Photos from Fort Worden - January 2011.)
Beware - Another Scammer at Work! Recently those with ads on our Harps for Sale page have been plagued by another blatant scammer. This inquiry (sent to many) has all the hallmarks of the typical scam... note the mention of her own shipping agent and insistence on using a money order. Do not reply to this individual, or any others with similar approaches!
From: Abby Baker <email@example.com>
Welsh Tune Names Revealed! Many of us
in this area (your editor included) first learned to play the harp in
the encouraging environment of Philip Boulding's group classes (new
series starting this month... see the Calendar for details). Most of us
began with Philip's arrangements of two tunes called Welsh Tune #1 and
#2. These have also been included in the Harper's Songbook handed out at
the Fort Flagler/Fort Worden and Crystal Mountain harp weekends since
2000. This January at Fort Worden we were delighted to have two
attendees from Texas, one of whom (Sallie Huffman) first learned to play
the harp while living in Wales. Sallie was kind enough to tell us the
actual Welsh titles of these two folk tunes! Welsh Tune #1 is the B part
of a tune called "Pwt ar y Bys" (pronounced roughly "poot are uh bees"
(and sometimes called by English speakers "Buttered Peas"!). Welsh Tune
#2 is called "Ffidl Ffadl" (pronounced (and meaning) Fiddle Faddle). If
you are interested in hearing tutorial versions of these by a Welsh harp
player, Delyth Jenkins, they can be found on YouTube:
Amazing Coincidental Backward Harp. Many of you know your editor is fond of images of harps being played wrong way 'round. (The "Related Links" button will take you to a whole gallery of these little gems!). How perfect could it have been that our Fort Worden 25th anniversary cake included a truly lovely example, on a marzipan medallion! People asked if we had ordered it that way... the answer is "no" which makes it all the more fun. And it tasted great too!
Harp-Friendly Irish Sessions in Sultan Continue; New Session in Renton to Begin. Matt Haverly writes to say the third Sunday Irish sessions at the Visitor's Center in Sultan are continuing into the new year; beyond offering an informal and inclusive session from 6:30 to 9 pm, Matt will also provide a free lesson (for harp, whistle, Irish flute, bodhran, mandolin, or guitar) prior to the session if you are interested (contact him for details). Starting in January, he will also be starting a new weekly Irish session on Wednesdays, 7-9 pm, at 201 Williams Ave in Renton, at an Irish pub called "A Terrible Beauty". For more info on any of the above, contact Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Irish TV Special on Wire-Strung Harp. TG4, the Irish language TV station, has posted Oidhreacht Dhonncha Uí Ámhsaigh (The Legacy of Denis O'Hempsey). This is a documentary featuring some of the best performers on the historical and modern wire-strung harp. You can watch it on-line at: http://www.tg4.tv/main.aspx?level=ceol. It's a one-hour documentary in three parts (watch them in order) featuring Ann Heymann, Alison Kinnaird, Bill Taylor, Paul Dooley and Laoise Kelly, Alain Stivell, Myrdhin, Nollaig Brolly, and Caoimhe Cooke. This is a great chance to see and hear some lovely instruments and amazing players. Enjoy!
New Christmas CD from Harper Tasche. "Wintermas Moon" features solo cross-strung harp playing beautiful extended improvisations on familiar Christmas carols, in Harper's lyrical signature style. Email email@example.com to ask about a sweet discount on multiple copies until December 24th, order single copies from www.harpcrossing.com, or listen to sound clips and download digitally from www.cdbaby.com/cd/harpertasche11.
Cold Weather Finger Woes. Last winter Diana Beaumont wrote in asking for recommendations for that winter-time bane of harp players, split and cracked fingers. A number of people answered her with good ideas, which bear repeating now that the cold is upon us again. Before cracks appear: try applying pure Vitamin E oil (just a drop) before retiring for the evening; consider taking liquid multivitamin/mineral complex and extra essential fatty acids (EFA's) plus drink plenty of water. Regularly: apply moisturizers such as creams with glycerin near the top of the ingredient list (Gold Bond Ultimate Softening Cream) or udder cream (Bag Balm). After splits appear: try super glue (fills the cracks and allows one to play if necessary) or New Skin (covers and protects the cracks and helps heal them). Thanks to all who submitted suggestions.
Samhain Harps at Galway Traders. On October 31st, the afternoon of Halloween itself, the cozy shop in Ballard called Galway Traders hosted a presentation that has become a treasured tradition, the welcoming of the Celtic New Year (Samhain) by a group of harpers. This year, Linda Khandro, Diana Beaumont, Chris Roe, Peter Berry, Laurie Riley, and Beth Kolle played for two hours for an enthusiastic audience. Irish music was particularly well represented, with many tunes by Turlough O'Carolan, plus some traditional jigs, reels, laments, and a lullaby. An interesting convergence brought us three double-strung harps (Linda's, Laurie's, and Beth's), and it was a treat to hear Laurie and Beth play some duets on their four rows of strings. Peter played on his lovely Irish wire-strung, as well as his Dusty Strings harp (serial number 001!), and honored us with the recitation of a poem about the bean-sidhe in honor of the season. Chris went to the trouble of tracking down an elusive Scottish tune called "Halloween" and played it for all to enjoy. Diana played a number of tunes composed in honor of the ladies, such as Eleanor Plunkett, Blind Mary, and Molly MacAlpin (aka Carolan's Dream). Linda played an original tune she composed in Ireland, and also instigated an "all-play" version of Star of the County Down so everyone could hear harps in ensemble. The time flew by... thanks so much to the harpers who volunteered their talents, and to Hugh, Evie, and Eileen at Galway Traders for their unfailing hospitality! (For a picture of the players, see www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org.)
In Memoriam. We are sad to inform you that harper Linda Haynes, of Ferndale WA, passed away at home on September 4th. Linda was an active member of the Skagit Valley Harp Circle, and also attended the Fort Worden Folk Harp Festival regularly. She played a lovely little harp made of purple-heart wood, which was handcrafted for her by her husband Jerry. Pat Edwards remembers "Linda liked to play modern (70s-80s) pop music and one year at Fort Worden she played her arrangement of Stairway to Heaven just three harpers after Jennifer Pratt-Walter played the same song. They were so different, but both delightful." Linda was a staunch environmentalist with a special interest in birds, both wild and domestic. In addition to playing the harp, she was an accomplished flautist and also played the hammered dulcimer. She will be greatly missed. Her family suggests that memorial donations be made to an environmental cause of your choice or to Whatcom Hospice.
New Web Site for Andrew Anderson. Seattle area harper (singer, and multi-instrumentalist) Andrew Anderson has a new web site at www.sonofandrewmusic.com. There are sound clips and videos as well as an events calendar and contact info.
New Officers for Greater Seattle AHS. Susi Hussong is the new President and Joyce Rice the new Secretary of the Greater Seattle Chapter of the American Harp Society. Thanks and appreciation go to outgoing officers Mark Andersen (president) and Lynn Andersen (secretary) for their years of service and stewardship during the preparations for the national AHS conference last summer in Tacoma.
Harps for Sale in Canada. If you are in Canada, or willing to drive north, you might want to check out the Canadian-only website at www.usedharpmart.com. Stephen Vardy has created this site to list used harps for sale in Canada; those in British Columbia may be of interest to harp players in the Pacific Northwest.
Interview with Seattle Opera Harpist.
The latest Seattle Opera program, distributed at their performances of
Lucia di Lammermoor, contained an interesting interview with Valerie
Mussolini Gordon, the opera's principle harpist. You can read it on-line
Good Weather, Good Times at PSFHS Picnic. On Sunday September 12, a hardy band of harpers ignored the weather forecast and headed to Seattle's Ravenna Park for the annual Puget Sound Folk Harp Society picnic. Despite the gloomy forecasts, the weather cooperated well (probably soothed by the harp music!)... no rain and some pleasant "sun breaks" made for a comfy afternoon. 20-25 people came and went from the park, enjoying the pot-luck goodies, the pinata, the good company, and several sessions of group harp playing. As always, the sound of the harps drew in joggers, dog-walkers, and parents with baby-strollers from around the park, and some good conversations resulted. Several commented they had never seen a harp up-close, let alone a dozen of them at once! It was a lot of fun... join us next year! (To see a few pictures from the picnic, go to www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org and follow the link to picnic photos.)
Change of Contact for SCCA Volunteers. Susan Greenwood is now coordinating volunteer musicians at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (a job ably done by Linda Allen for many years). Susan would like to hear from you if you would like to participate in the Healing Music Project at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance in October or November. Contact Susan for details at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New CD (and Address) for Nancy Davis. Nancy Davis, long of Spokane WA, has a new CD! "Blossoms and Briars; Songs of Love and Other Mischief" a CD of Celtic harp and song will be released in October. The CD was originally just going to be songs of love. But throw in a few fairies, a winged archer, a rebellion or two and a couple of saucy ladies in men's pants and things get a bit more complicated. Tracks include Both Sides the Tweed, Roger the Miller, The Wind that Shakes the Barley, Bushes and Briars, Ned of the Hill, When I Was a Young Maid, The Fisherman's Song, Martinmas Time, The Hills of Glenshee, The Fields of Athenry, King of the Fairies, The Queen of Hearts, Peggy and the Soldier and the Road to Drumleman. For more info please write to email@example.com. (Nancy will be moving from Spokane this November. Her new address will be 1982 N. 165th, Goodyear, Arizona 85395.)
New Studio Location for Leslie McMichael. Leslie has joined the faculty of Music Center of the Northwest, Seattle’s oldest community music school. Leslie will offer individual and group harp instruction through the Music Center’s thriving Suzuki Academy, and she also welcomes adult students on lever and pedal harp. Located in Seattle at 901 North 96th Street, MCNW programs bring musical experience to people of all ages , backgrounds and abilities. For more information, visit www.mcnw.org.
Gig Harbor Harp Gathering Space. Martha of Gig Harbor writes to say that she has a large, climate-controlled, sound-engineered space, suitable for harp circles, concerts, workshops, or other gatherings. She would be happy to discuss conditions with anyone who is interested in organizing a harp event in that area. Contact Martha at 253-326-4485.
Monthly Sultan Irish Session. Matt Haverly writes to say that on the 3rd Sunday of each month, there will be an Irish session at the Sultan Information Center, 302 Main Street, 6:30-9:30 pm. They are resuming meeting at that location for the rest of the colder parts of the year. Free lessons are available at 5:30 (please confirm with Matt in advance). Ideal for musicians/singers/dancers of all ages and skill levels. Harps are welcome! Contact Matt, Host of the Irish Sessions in Sultan, at SULTANIRISHMUSIC@LIVE.COM.
Jazzharp Website Gets Makeover. For those of you who enjoy jazzy harp music, take a look at the newly revamped www.jazzharp.org. Lots of information on upcoming performances and events, and their new "webshop" (button on the far right of the menu bar) where there are numerous jazz harp CD's for sale, as well as sheet music, and other gadgets. Enjoy.
New Book for Lap Harp from Harper Tasche! "A Lap Harp Standing Tall" is a collection of pieces for the 19-20 string harp (lowest note G below middle C), no levers required, written with the intermediate level player in mind. Whether the lap harp is your primary instrument and you're looking for music to expand your skills, or whether you're an accomplished player of larger harps and want something interesting to play on your travel harp, this is the book for you! Three pieces are never-before-published arrangements, two are Harper Tasche originals which appear only in this book, and three pieces are adapted from Harper's published music for 26-string harp. Titles include: The Mermaid's Song (traditional Scottish Gaelic "Oran na Maighdinn Mhara"), Carolan's Welcome, John Peel (traditional Cumbrian), The King of Love (hymn tune "St Columba"), Flora de Santa Cruz (traditional Andean), plus Ellen Magdalena, Another Double Shot, and Phase Oasis (all Harper Tasche originals). To order, send $20.70 (includes US shipping) to Harper Tasche, 1122 E Pike #1397, Seattle WA 98122.
Pierce County Harp Circle. Kate Freeburg, located in northeast Pierce County, is interested in starting a harp circle, and would like to hear from all those who might be interested in participating before setting times and locations. She is near the town of South Prairie... other towns near her location are Buckley, Bonney Lake, Puyallup, Orting, and Enumclaw (and Tacoma isn't all that far away). Anyone interested, please contact Kate at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oregon Harper 2010 All-Ireland Champ! AnnaLee Foster of Hillsboro OR has won first place in the harp competition at the 2010 Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann (Ireland's annual traditional music festival), which was held this year in Cavan, Ireland. AnnaLee played for several years with Janet Harbison's Irish Harp Orchestra and has returned to Oregon to teach in the "Irish style". For more information, see http://www.heritageharpcenter.com/content/view/16/62/. Congratulations AnnaLee!
Highland Games Competition Results. This summer's harp competitions at the local highland games have come to a close, and we are pleased to announce the winners! At the Skagit games preliminary contest, Margaret Graves won the beginner competition and Sally Verrinder won the intermediate competition. At the Enumclaw games preliminary contest, Sara Wilkinson and Makayla Humbarger tied in the advanced category, and Nan Pardew and Mary Fears, performing as a duet, took first in Harp & Voice while Cheryl Zabel took second. At the Enumclaw games final competition, Sally Verrinder won first place in intermediates, Nan Pardew and Mary Fears won first place in Harp & Voice, and Makayla Humbarger won first place in advanced after an exciting tie-breaker! Congratulations to all who competed this year, many thanks to the volunteers who coordinated and staffed the harp tents at Bellingham, Skagit, and Enumclaw, and a special thank you to Seumas Gagne and Laurie Riley and Penny McLeod DeGraff for their skilled adjudicating.
Harp Volunteers Sought for Next Summer. Kate Freeburg writes: "I know the Pacific Northwest Scottish Highland Games and Clan Gathering (in Enumclaw WA) for 2011 seems a long way off, but we will begin planning for those games now. Last year and this year they had stations for the young children to experience the various events at the "Isle of the Wee Bairns". The stations included piping, dancing, drumming, and harping as well as junior athletics. I would like to get some volunteers to help with the harp station. Last year I was able to spend about an hour and it was a lot of fun. It is basically letting the children pluck a few strings. If someone volunteers for a 3-hour shift (11-2) they would get a 1-day gate pass for the day they work. I provide a Dusty Strings FH26, so they do not need to worry that there would be damage to their personal harp. If anyone is interested they can contact me at email@example.com. Volunteers for the harp tent itself are always welcome as well. The dates for the 2011 Games are July 30 & 31."
Review of Francois Pernel Concert. Last month, we sent out an "extra" Reigning Harps update to let people know about a performance by visiting French harpist Francois Pernel. Our Puget Sound Folk Harp Society president, Harper Tasche, was able to attend and sent the following review: "I had the great pleasure of seeing, hearing, and meeting an outstanding "swing Celtic" harpist from Nantes (France) at a last-minute concert in Seattle last night, and wanted to introduce you if you aren't already familiar with him and his work. His music sounds something like a blend of Park Stickney, Kim Robertson, Sharlene Wallace, and Michael Rooney -- innovative, harmonically adventurous, and beautifully rhythmic interpretations of traditional tunes, original pieces, and completely re-imagined classical works. A few standouts of last night's performance were J. S. Bach's 'Badanerie' in a blazingly fast jazz treatment, a Mussorgsky piece (which I couldn't identify, and didn't catch the title) with dozens of swiftly-executed lever changes, a marvelous contemporary piece 'An Heol Tevzet' by Breton harpist-composer Kristen Noguès (d. 1997), and several fascinating and beautiful contemporary settings of O'Carolan tunes. François' website is www.la-harpe-libre.com, where you'll find dozens of videos and mp3 files for free download (click "laboratoire"). As a couple of samples of his work, I suggest http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqCQnhM2g5w&feature=player_embedded and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tGgI79l2Qs&feature=player_embedded. Hopefully we'll see much more of him at harp festivals everywhere, but please do enjoy his recorded work in the meantime."
Lever Harp Music, Half Price. Joyce Rice has a quantity of harp music that is being sold at half price for the benefit of the American Harp Society Greater Seattle Chapter. It is mostly lever harp music: several books by Sylvia Woods and Deborah Friou, collections by Ray Pool, Sam Milligan (Medieval to Modern), Kim Robertson, Daniel Burton and Bernard Andres, and a lot more by various composers and arrangers. Currently it is sorted and spread out on Joyce's ping-pong table for easy viewing. Anyone is welcome to give Joyce a call (206-937-0778) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and go to West Seattle to pick up some great buys.
Regional Harp Players Featured in New Book. Music-thanatologists in the Pacific Northwest are featured in the new book Music at the End of Life: Easing the Pain and Preparing the Passage (Praeger Publishers, 2010) by Jennifer Hollis. Hollis interviewed music-thanatologists in Portland and Eugene, Oregon, in Everett, Washington, and in Missoula, Montana, as well as in other cities across the country. Her research focuses on the field of music-thanatology, which uses live harp and vocal music to serve the needs of the dying. She explores the vocation or call of music-thanatologists, their relationship to the dying process, and the ways in which music-thanatology has been integrated into modern hospital and hospice settings. The book can be ordered on Amazon (at www.amazon.com) or through your local independent bookstore. Hollis blogs on this and similar topics at www.jenniferhollis.com.
Sultan Harper Plays in Hotmail Video & Ad. Matt Haverly of Sultan WA writes to report that he performed in a music video and short documentary which is part of a new Hotmail ad campaign. Creature Advertising, the ad agency for Microsoft, has put the completed music video, and accompanying 10-minute documentary on the makings of the video, on the Hotmail website. Entitled "The Four Leafs Project -- Four Strangers, Fourteen Instruments, Three Days", the video shows the process as four musicians of very different styles come together to create an original work. The film was done by MTV documentary film producer/director John Jeffcoat and his crew. Matt performs on harp and cello throughout, and there are interviews with all four of the musicians as well as the producer/engineer, Ryan Hadlock. Matt says, "Also, if you use Hotmail or MSN, keep your eyes open. If you see an ugly guy playing harp in a banner ad, it is probably me, as they paid me extra to use a 15-second continuous clip of me just playing harp. You may have already seen billboards on buildings, buses, and banner ads for "THE NEW BUSY" - this is a part of that ad campaign. The documentary really explains the concept for this particular multimedia project within the campaign." If you'd like to see the video and documentary (it requires Silverlite to be installed on your browser), go to http://windowslive.com/campaign/thenewbusy/. On the page that opens look for the "ORGANIZE SO THEY CAN IMPROVISE" link, then click on the "MUSIC VIDEO" or "DOCUMENTARY" links. Congratulations, Matt!
Bellingham Games Harp Tent Goes On. The Bellingham Highland Games Harp Tent, a Northwest regional harp tradition spearheaded by Eileen Warr-Marti since June 2000, will continue on, thanks to the willingness of Bellingham native Kathie Hardy, and wire harper Becky Fox, who have agreed to share the Bellingham Harp Tent duties next year! This year the Bellingham Harp Tent was a one day affair... Sunday morning, June 6, started out rainy, but up-beat. Kathie Hardy had the tent set up by 10:00 am. The official Harp Circle began at 1:00 with Molly Bauckham, Becky Fox, Kathie Hardy, Sally Verrinder, and Eileen Warr-Marti playing Scottish harp tunes and singing a few songs. Penny McLeod DeGraff made a special guest appearance and lead a few Gaelic Waulking Songs. Without a Competition the atmosphere was much more relaxed than usual. Kathie and Becky would love it if all the local harpers would turn out for the Harp Tent next year!
HOW'S YOUR HARP INSURANCE?
What would you do if your harp was accidentally damaged at a harp circle, a performance, a workshop or festival, or even while being moved in or out of your car? These are unfortunately common occurrences, despite how careful we all are about our harps. Having up-to-date knowledge about insurance coverage for your harp can make the all difference between a traumatic event, and a really expensive traumatic event!
Many people assume that their harps are covered by their homeowner's insurance policies, but that is quite often not the case. Many homeowner policies specifically do not cover musical instruments over a certain value, instruments which are damaged outside the home, musical instruments which are used for teaching, or instruments which are used in any type of public performance (even if you play for free at church or in an ensemble playing at a retirement facility). Most homeowner policies also will not cover any damage that occurs while your harp is getting from one place to another, and many insurance policies will only insure for the actual market value of your harp (regardless of replacement cost). If you don't find answers to these questions in your policy, call your insurance agent and ask.
Fortunately, economical harp insurance is available through membership in several harp-friendly organizations. The International Society of Folk Harpers and Craftsmen (ISFHC, www.folkharpsociety.org) offers a harp insurance program through Anderson Group Insurance, arguably the leading harp insurer in the United States (www.anderson-group.com). This may be the best choice for many Reigning Harps readers, as the ISFHC group policy offers the lowest minimum annual premium. As a nice additional benefit, being a member of the ISFHC also helps support the folk harp worldwide, and also gains you a subscription to the Folk Harp Journal.
The Anderson Group offers group policies to members of the ISFHC, the American Harp Society (www.harpsociety.org), and the World Harp Congress (www.worldharpcongress.org). Insurance rates, minimum premiums, and conditions of insurance vary between group policies, and membership dues also vary between organizations, so comparison shopping is recommended to find the best coverage at the best overall cost for each individual.
Anderson Group's harp insurance coverage is comprehensive, including professional use and damage occurring in transit. Your harp is also insured at "agreed value" (in other words, replacement value) rather than appraised value, which means that if it would cost $5,000 to replace your harp, even though you only paid $600 for it 20 years ago, you can insure your harp for $5,000. (Professional players might also want to take a look at their "performance liability" policy.)
Another popular musical instrument insurer is Merz-Huber (www.merzhuber.com). Merz-Huber offers individual musical instrument coverage, including school and college musical instrument policies, as well as additional group insurance programs to members of the American String Teachers Association (www.astaweb.com).
Nicer traveling weather is upon us, and with summer comes lots of extra harp festival and workshop opportunities. Please do take a few minutes to learn exactly what your current insurance policy will and will not cover, so you can bring your harp along without worry. If you find that you are not comfortable with the details of your coverage, do yourself a favor and protect your cherished investment with a good harp insurance policy before you need one. You'll be glad you did!
Harp in Ockham's Razor! Matt Haverly, harper (and multi-instrumentalist) from Sultan WA has been made a permanent member of the band Ockham's Razor. Known for their high-energy Celtic influenced performances, Ockham's Razor has performances scheduled throughout the region this summer (Tacoma, Seattle, Prosser, Graham, Hoquiam, Ocean Shores, and Bellingham in June and July). For more information, see the web site at www.ockhamsrazormusic.com... there is a calendar of gigs right on the main page.
Brava to Scottish Harper! Congratulations to Karen Marshalsay who just got a Distinction in her Trinity College (London) diploma exam (equivalent to an honors degree recital) - this is the first time this has been done using all Scottish traditional repertoire! For more information about Karen (and a sampling of some of her printed tunes and arrangements), see www.karenmarshalsay.com.
Remembering Lynne Wainwright Palmer. Mark Andersen, President of the AHS Greater Seattle Chapter, writes the following: "Dear Friends in the Harp World, I am very sad today to report the passing of Lynne Wainwright Palmer [Thursday, April 22]. Musicians all over the world will remember her as a great woman of the harp, outstanding composer and arranger, and beloved teacher following the steps of Carlos Salzedo. Her newly published music will be featured at the AHS Conference in Tacoma WA this summer, and a tribute concert and tea will be a highlight of the conference. We had all hoped beyond hope that Lynne would be there to receive the honor in person, but that was not to be. She touched the lives of so many people in a hugely positive way. Lynne loved her students, and was so very proud of their accomplishments. We will all miss her greatly." (In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the American Harp Society's memorial fund. If you would like to make a contribution please make your check payable to the American Harp Society, designate on the memo line that it is for the Lynne Wainwright Palmer fund, and send it to: Patti Warden, 365 Maple Ave NW, Renton WA 98057.)
O'Carolan Painting for Auction at Sotheby's. On May 6, Sotheby's is auctioning a large painting by 19th century artist James Christopher Timbrell. The painting is titled Carolan, The Irish Bard, and shows him seated and playing his harp, surrounded by a crowd of listeners. If you would like to see it, you can do so on the Sotheby's web site up until the date of the auction. Go to www.sothebys.com, enter "Timbrell" in the search box at the upper right, and when you get the listing, click on the thumbnail version of the painting to get a more detailed listing with an image you can enlarge, and zoom tools so you can inspect it closely. Quite interesting! The Sotheby's description is as follows: "A painting of the last great Irish harper-composer by James Christopher Timbrell (1807-1850), Carolan, The Irish Bard (lot 5), is estimated at £30,000-50,000 ($33,100-55,500). It depicts Turlough Carolan (1670-1738), who entertained the famous and wealthy in the big houses and castles throughout Ireland. One of Timbrell's most ambitious paintings, the present work was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1844 and places Carolan in a prominent position, commanding the attention of his attentive audience."
Olympia Harp Circle. Ray Simkins of Olympia has volunteered to be the organizer for a harp circle in Olympia WA. He has the list of names that Diane Butler formerly gathered, is currently working on finding a meeting venue, and would like to hear from any other harp players in the South Sound region who are interested. Please contact Ray at email@example.com.
Harp Scammer Alert. Beware of inquiries from the following e-mail address: Ruth Williams <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Messages suggesting a scam have been sent from this address to some people who have harps for sale on this site.
Update on Olympic Games Opening Ceremonies. Many thanks to Joe Blaszczak who read of the "harp mystery" at the opening ceremonies and wrote to confirm that Loreena McKennitt was indeed there and played on the black Troubadour harp that featured so prominently on television coverage. Joe attended the opening ceremonies and got this photo of Loreena on the stadium big-screen.
Recommendations for Finger Care.
Last month Diana Beaumont asked for help with cold weather finger
problems. Split finger and thumb tips resulting from cold weather/dry
heating can make playing one's harp uncomfortable. Here is the collected
wisdom from those kind souls who responded to Diana's inquiry about
Harp Mystery at Olympic Opening Ceremonies. Your editor writes: "Many of you may have watched the opening ceremonies and wondered, as I did, about the prominently displayed lever harp that was just to the left of every featured singer and speaker. I kept waiting for someone to play the harp, which looked like a L&H Troubadour. At one point there was an interlude of music by Loreena McKennitt, who plays a Troubadour, but she was not shown on-screen so I thought it must have been a recorded segment. There was also a large gold pedal harp just behind the speakers, and I could barely see a dark-haired harpist playing in some of the musical numbers, but could not tell who it was. So, I wrote to the Canada West Harp List, which has many members from Vancouver, hoping for the real story behind the harps. Vancouver Symphony harpist Elizabeth Volpe Bligh replied and gave this account: 'The orchestra music was pre-recorded by the Vancouver Symphony, so I was the harpist [heard] in the orchestral segments, for example, the Olympic hymn with soprano Measha Brueggergosman. (I don't know if there was any music performed live by the orchestra that was there.) The harpist [seen] onscreen [playing an Aoyama Monarch] is an excellent harpist, Alys Howe, a former student of mine...Loreena McKennitt was there, singing live, but I did not see her onscreen. It was very nice to see the harps so prominently displayed!' Elizabeth added 'we [Vancouver Symphony Orchestra] recorded all the National Anthems as well, so you will hear us every time there is a medal ceremony.'
"I couldn't believe that the networks would not have shown Loreena McKennitt at all, so I went searching on-line to try to confirm that she was actually there... sure enough! If you go to www.nbcolympics.com (if that website is still available after the Games end) and enter "Fiddlers from the East" into the search box at the top of the home page, you'll get a video of a tartan clad fiddler in a canoe silhouetted against the moon. Watch closely! About 40 seconds into the video Loreena with her Troubadour will appear for just a second or two.
New Gallery from Fort Worden Festival. Thanks to Valerie Day and Sally Verrinder, we have another gallery of photos from January's PSFHS Fort Worden weekend. To view it, just go to www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org and look for the links to photo galleries at the bottom of the page.
Artist Health Care Available. The Artist Clinic at Country Doctor Community Clinic offers artist-focused hours every Wednesday, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Artists of all disciplines can take advantage of this service. During a trial period, uninsured, low-income artists can apply for a voucher to help underwrite health appointment costs. The voucher program has been extended through June. The Artist Clinic is a partnership between Country Doctor clinics and the Washington Artists Health Insurance Project (WAHIP). To make an appointment, call 206-299-1600 and mention "WAHIP."
Report from the Fort Worden Folk Harp Festival. Program Director Harper Tasche writes, "Our 22nd annual festival on the west side of Puget Sound was a great success, wrapping up on January 17th after a weekend filled with harp workshops, a delightful céilidh, a wonderful morning of 46 harps all playing together, and of course the Great Harp Circle -- the heart and soul of the weekend -- where every participant played in turn for all of us. Facilities Director Barb McColgan Pastore and I would like to thank everyone who attended for giving the weekend a delightful cooperative spirit, thanks to our presenters who all did an excellent job, and special thanks to all the volunteers who helped ensure that the weekend flowed smoothly and that everyone enjoyed themselves." Thanks to Barbara McPherson and Bob Zawalich, there is a gallery of photos of the festival weekend for your viewing enjoyment at: www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org.
Celtic Ensemble Forming. Matt Haverly (host of the Irish sessions in Sultan WA) is putting together traditional Celtic ensemble(s) that will take on groupings of various sizes and type (large and small, instrumental and vocal). If you are interested in being a full or part time member and would like to be featured in any of these ensembles, please send an email with your name, instruments you play, vocal range, phone number, and a Youtube link to any Celtic performance with you in it, to: email@example.com. If you have a facebook profile and have some videos/pics of you doing Celtic music, please include a link to your profile page. If you are not currently a Celtic musician but you currently possess a musical proficiency that you would like to apply towards Celtic music, please feel encouraged to contact Matt as well.
Used Harp Strings Needed. Patrice
Fisher of New Orleans LA writes to say "we're looking for your slightly
used harp strings for the Guatemala harp project. if you are changing
your strings and they are less than 5 years old, please save them for
our project. We have built 32 harps in Guatemala since 2003. 18 of these
harps belong to the harp teaching project. We charge the students $10
per month to rent to own these harps. There is no place to buy harp
strings in Fuatemala and most of the students can't afford new strings.
If you can help us, could you please follow these simple guidelines: 1.
all strings are welcome, but we are especially looking for : 4th
Treasure Trove of Gaelic Songs. Scottish Gaelic songs can sound wonderful on the harp, and hearing them sung helps a lot with interpretation. Here's a great way to hear them! 2010 is "Bliadhna nan Òran", the "Year of Gaelic Song", on Radio nan Gàidheal. Each day, a different "Òran an Là" or "Song of the Day" is played and then the recording is added to their website, along with the lyrics, information about the song, bard, and performer. The song recordings range from some of the earliest audio recordings ever made to present day additions to the BBC archives of Gaelic song and are sung by a wide variety of talented singers young and old. As an example, Sìne Bhàn, song of the day for January 9th, is sung by the 1952 Mòd Gold Medal winner, Donald MacLeod of Islay. Unlike other Radio nan Gàidheal programs that disappear after a week, this treasure trove of recordings will be available for listening throughout the year. Each song can be accessed by clicking the date on the calendar at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00q2qzd. For more information about "Bliadhna nan Òran" and related programs, see http://www.bbc.co.uk/alba/oran/en/.
Holiday Harp-a-Thon Great Success. A grand total of $3518.50 was raised and contributed to Seattle Children's Hospital during December's 12-Hour Holiday Harp-a-thon. The 47 harp players who took part played many different styles of music, and the 36 20-minute sets ranged from solo to duo to large ensembles. Some harp players collaborated with friends and family members who sang or played flute, guitar, dulcimer, accordion, or bells, and the age range of the performers ranged literally from 8 to 80! The Harp-a-thon started at 8 am and went all the way to 8 pm, although sound tech folks Dan, Ginger, and Ole Grette and event organizer Leslie McMichael arrived early and stayed late. Silver Platters Music contributed gift certificates to the participants who gathered the highest total dollar amount of individual pledges (more than $500 gathered by Patti Warden) and the greatest number of individual pledges (31 donations collected by Jake Woodward). It was a day of siblings playing songs together, seasoned performers following debuts of new harp players, and music coming from the heart. One player was able to visit a schoolmate who was at the hospital following a bone marrow transplant and give him a private concert, and other performers shared their experiences as past patients at Seattle Children's. The day was long but very festive!
Kudos to all the musicians who gave of their time and talent: Henry Wend, Jake Woodward, Monica Schley, Lizzy LaBelle, Judith Cummings, Tessa King, Laurie Riley, Bianca Collings, MaKay Alldredge, Ole Grette, Gwen Lyons, Carol Stewart, Elaine Pierson, Paula Lalish, Bethany Eastman, Chloe Lauter, Diane Moss & Bob Zawalich, Clara McMichael, Erin Haas, Susan Haas, Diana Beaumont, Anna Jenkins, Mikel Oswalt Eng, Ginny Burger, Valerie Day, Liz Freeman, Madeleine Herczog, Patti Warden, Maddie Lyons, Dan & Ginger Grette, Ana & Katie Guthrie-Honea, Ava & Lauren Linvog, Lillie Moses, Rayna Shinn, Masami Cookson, Kate & Timmy & Jonny Kosaka, Katarina Shih, Mackenzie Norstrom, Emily Soth, Victoria & Michael MacBean, Rachel Rigsby, Leslie McMichael.
2009 and before
New CD from Healing Muses Benefits Nonprofit Mission. Patrice Haan of California writes to say: "I just received a box of the new CD which Healing Muses has made. I've been devoting myself to playing harp in hospitals in association with this non-profit for almost 5 years now. The mission of Healing Muses is to bring soothing live music, played on Celtic harp and wooden flutes, to Bay Area medical centers. The work is ever-more satisfying and moving. We play for chemotherapy centers, in family lounges, labs and waiting rooms and on various wards: surgery and post-surgery, cardiac monitoring, and most recently ICU. Recently I've been playing solo more often than not, and getting to do some room-to-room visits too. I have the pleasure of playing for patients and staff and families. Often people tell me their stories, sometimes they fall asleep, they cry, they hold still for a moment. I've experienced dancers and singers too; now, that's a lot of fun. While I've promoted the other CDs for Healing Muses (they're really really good!), this one is my special pet because I get to play all over it. Featuring repertoire from Celtic, American, Armenian and Sephardic traditions, it also includes two of my original tunes. All proceeds from CD sales benefit our work. I'd love it if you would check out "The Garden of Healing". We also have four other CDs on our website. To find out more, please go to www.healingmuses.org, click on "Sample Music" where you can listen to sound bytes. There is also an order form there which you can download."
New CD from Celtic Muse. Jennifer Pratt-Walter writes to say, "Dear friends, Celtic Muse (Jennifer Pratt-Walter and Valerie Blessley) are very pleased to announce that our newest joint recording, "Crossroads," has finally arrived! This album was born from our love of both Celtic and Scandinavian traditional music, with the actual Crossroad being the ocean that carried people from both sides, blending cultures, arts, and music and dance traditions. In this CD you will find some familiar tunes, such as "Skye Boat Song" and "The Parting Glass," several spirited Celtic jigs, and some unusual or eclectic pieces such as a wildly improvisational "Willow Bark Flute" and some choice haunting and tragic ballads. Valerie and I also composed our own unique versions of what the term "crossroads" meant to us, both musically and in imagery and feelings within us. Music textures, modes, and tempos form a lovely spiral between the Celtic land Scandinavian lands, with branches of new music reaching outward from the center. Featured instruments include two Celtic harps, flute, recorders, large and small kantele, pennywhistle, willow bark flute, and Appalachian dulcimer. CDs make an excellent gift for the holiday season: they are easy to wrap and mail, the music can be easily transferred to your personal listening devices, it's never too small or too big, is calorie-free, and it never goes out of style! Our earlier recordings "Wind and Wood" and "Merry and Bright," plus Jennifer's "Ancient Realms" and "Ancient Muse," and Valerie's "Northern Light" are also still available. Soundclips can be heard on CD Baby and Amazon.com. Pricing: One CD for $15, two for $28. Larger orders, plus wholesale orders are also available. For more information, or to order recordings, write Jennifer at Lyrica@comcast.net or Valerie at Blesses@pacifier.com. Thank you for your support of Independent Artists, and for buying locally made items!"
Focus on Youth and Master Classes. Elizabeth Volpe Bligh writes to remind us of these opportunities at the World Harp Congress in Vancouver BC in 2011. She wants to make sure that the information goes out early enough that the applicants have enough time to learn the repertoire and have a good chance to be accepted. The Focus on Youth deadline is June 15, 2010, and the information is posted on the web site www.worldharpcongress2011.com. Information on financial aid is on www.worldharpcongress.org. The Chair of the Focus on Youth Committee is Gianetta Baril. The master class details will be posted on the web site soon, but the repertoire and teachers are as follows: Isabelle Perrin (Bernard Andrès: Absidioles, Elegie, Duke or any Epices); Karen Vaughan (Britten: A Ceremony of Carols (we will provide the choir)); Jana Bouskova (anything Romantic or classical); Marie-Pierre Langlamet (Hindemith Sonata, Spohr Fantaisie, CPE Bach Sonata, Mozart Sonata, or anything they want to play for her); R. Murray Schafer/Judy Loman (The Crown of Ariadne - Ms. Loman and Mr. Schafer will choose which movements to work on). To apply, candidates must submit two identical recordings (CD or mini-disc) containing the repertoire of the desired master class. All performances at the Master Classes will be chosen from the recordings submitted. There can be no changes of music without specific permission from the Master Class Committee. Any changes must be followed by a second recording. If candidates wish to apply for more than one master class, they should send two separate CD's of each class's repertoire. The Chair of the Master Class Committee is Kaori Otake. Her contact information will be posted on the Master Class page of the web site www.worldharpcongress2011.com.
Yet Another Scam. Judith Cummings wrote to warn others of a scam that targets harp (or other music) teachers. The individual claims to be seeking harp instruction for foreign-born children over the summer while they are visiting this area. One of the clues is they ask for a lot of instruction hours, and want to pay in advance. (Eventually they need a refund, which you pay from your own account, and then of course their check or money order turns out to be bogus.) Best to ignore any such inquiry!
BSO Harpist Retires.
Here is a link to an interesting story about the retirement of Ann
Hobson Pilot, the first African American woman to play with the Boston
Symphony Orchestra, and their harpist for the last 40 years. Composer
John Williams has written a special harp piece for the occasion and
there is a sound clip available (it is, as they say in Boston, wicked
200-Year Old Sonata for Pedal Harp! Reigning Harps reader Elizabeth Paine found handwritten manuscripts by Danish composer Peder Schall whose works have never before been published, and has transcribed and edited a sonata for the enjoyment of modern harpists. This sonata is 17 pages long and would have been composed around 1800 for single-action pedal harp. This will be a great recital piece for intermediate to advanced intermediate pedal harpists of all ages. This new work can be purchased as a PDF download at www.thevirtualharp.com and will be available in printed form in a few months. For more information, please email Elizabeth at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Memoriam. With sorrow we inform you that Sue Shaffer, of Ocean Shores WA, passed away on September 13 after a long battle with cancer. Sue was an active harper who played for her church in Ocean Shores and who enjoyed encouraging others to take up the harp; her friend Peggy Nunley wrote: "she gave me a wonderful gift and that was the harp. If it wasn't for her, I would never have had the courage to try to learn to play." Sue attended the Crystal Mountain Folk Harp Festival and was a delightful addition to the retreat, always full of fun and sharing her love of music despite her illness. Our condolences go out to her husband Grant. The family suggests that memorial donations be made to the Marsha Rivkin Ovarian Cancer Research Center, 801 Broadway, Suite 701, Seattle, WA 98122.
Has Anyone Heard of
a Rondolin? Valerie Marcotte of Victoria BC sent in this
Virtual Harp Circle. Barbara Dixon of BC, a faithful Reigning Harps reader, is also co-moderator of the Virtual Harp Circle, a Yahoo Groups mailing list that is large, friendly, and especially helpful to beginners. Barbara invites anyone who is interested in more details or who would like details on how to join to contact her at email@example.com. (Barbara also designs and sells very cool decals for harps... check out the choices at www.harpdecal.com. )
Handy On-Line Chord Finder. Here's a useful (and free!) tool that helps identify or spell chords, and also plays them so you can hear what they sound like. If you go to http://www.looknohands.com/chordhouse/piano/, there are lists of triads and extended chords, and also different scales (including modes). It is designed for piano players but is very handy for harps... I got the link from www.jazzharp.org, which has a great on-line newsletter.
Another New Book from Laurie Riley. "More Roads Lead Home" is a sequel to All Road Lead Home, the continuing adventures from Laurie's journals describing life at home and on the road as a touring harpist in a motorhome with a dog, two cats, and harps! $13. Available from Laurie at 715 232nd St. SE, Bothell WA 98021-9306 until October, then it will be at the online store at www.laurieriley.com.
Congratulations to New SYS Members. Three students of Patricia Jaeger have been accepted into Seattle Youth Symphony this fall: Thy Huynh, harp, Joshua Morales, viola, and Kirk Roa, violin.
Happy Announcement from Katie Cashatt. Harper and fiddler Katie Cashatt, formerly of Seattle and currently of Vancouver WA, writes to say "We are happy to announce the arrival of our baby boy, Diego Joaquín Maximiliano Díaz-Cashatt! He had a rapid and easy birth at home on August 26, 2009 at 3:35 am. He weighed 8 pounds 4 ounces and measured 22 inches long." All our best wishes go out to Katie and baby Diego, as well as to big sister Carmen Diaz-Cashatt and proud dad Erick Diaz!
Highland Games Info Addendum. Apologies for not having complete information last month on the Highland Games harp competitions... we failed to report Rebecca Garcia took second place in the Enumclaw preliminary Intermediate competition. Also, we want to thank our judges by name: Molly Baukham and Becky Fox in Bellingham; Seumas Gagne and Laurie Riley at Skagit, and kudos to Seumas Gagne for handling all the judging at Enumclaw, as well as for presenting a wealth of information to interested onlookers in the harp tent!
Rare Harp Found in Dumpster! Carol
Levin sent a link to a New York Times article regarding a very valuable
antique harp that was discovered in a garbage dumpster... enough to send
shivers down the spine of any harp player. See the article at:
Harp Player Census. Elizabeth Paine is conducting a census of harp players. She wrote to the internet's "harplist": "I took a guess earlier today that there are probably fewer than a million harpists worldwide, and that put a burr under my saddle (so to speak), so I am now on a mission. Please visit my website at www.thevirtualharp.com, specifically the "Where in the World are You?" post, and put your first name, last initial, city/state and country in the comment box for that post. Or you can send me an e-mail to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Just please don't do both. If you send an email, please put HARPIST COUNT in caps in your subject line so I don't miss it. Please pass this message along. Tweet it, put it out on Facebook or MySpace, etc.--anything to get the word out. Thanks for your help! This will be an ongoing project, but I will post updates as it goes along."
Seattle Area Harp Repair/Regulation. Robyn Tarbet writes to say that after many years of private harp regulation and repairs, she will be retiring from working with harps for the time being (and also mentions that she has enjoyed helping so many area harp players and will miss doing so). Thanks Robyn, for all your excellent work. I did some investigation to find out what alternative harp services are available, and found that John Saba and David Haxton at Dusty Strings retail shop in Fremont can and do work on both Dusty and non-Dusty harps, but that there is quite a long waiting period due to the volume of work they handle. Please contact Molly Baukham at Dusty Strings (206-634-1662); she can help evaluate your harp's situation and determine the best course of action for your particular needs.
New Books from Laurie Riley. Four new
books are now available from Laurie Riley:
Dusty Strings News. The final printed issue of the Quarter Note, Dusty Strings' print newsletter, was mailed out in August. From now on, all the news about happenings at the music shop and school will be on-line. The website at www.dustystrings.com has been revamped, with more information that is easier to access. Check it out and enjoy! Also note the sign-up box for the new Dusty Strings Email List, where you can ask for the regular monthly announcements plus additional notices tailored to your specific interests. And finally, note the new harps... the new FH34 and FH36H all-solid models are available now! The FH34 is replacing the FH32 and has the same strings as the Ravenna 34, but has a FH32-style body with the new "hybrid stave" back (a rectangular body with facets added to the upper corners for a more comfortable, "stave-like" feel). The FH36H is the replacement for the FH36B; everything is the same except for, again, the hybrid stave.
Thoughts from Big Sky. Harper Tasche
posted a description of his experiences at July's Big Sky Harp Festival
in Montana to the Yahoo Groups "Harplist". It was one of the most
complete I had seen written about the festival, so I asked his
permission (which he kindly gave) to reproduce it in Reigning Harps for
those who were unable to attend. As it is quite long, it is posted on
Articles Page, and is well worth the time it takes to read! Also, if
you would like to see some of the fun that happened at Big Sky, Judy
Aslakson (formerly of Oregon, now of "wherever the RV takes us")
graciously gave permission to link to her slideshow of photos from the
festival... take a look at:
Silverdale Harp Circle Forming. Interested parties who would like to participate in a daytime/weekday harp circle in the Silverdale WA area are encouraged to contact Susan Miles at Soupymiles@aol.com. Please type "Silverdale Harp Circle" in the Subject line.
New Music Book from Harper Tasche. "A Folk Harp Going Places" is Harper's newest offering for 36-string harp, and includes a wide range of styles and moods. For the first time, Harper has written for a harp tuned in E-flat; there is one piece in G, and one in F, but the rest really do need E-flat tuning with full levers. When you hear his exuberantly chromatic cakewalk "Best Foot Forward" you'll know why! (There are no lever changes required while playing.) This music is all from Harper's CD "Provenance." The book is $17 plus shipping and applicable taxes, and is available at www.harpcrossing.com.
Small Harp Music Available for Download. Harper Tasche's "A Small Harp Speaking Dreams" for 26-string harp (to low C) has returned after a long absence. Each of the five pieces of music, paired with the full-length article or essay which appeared in the original book, is now available for electronic delivery at $3.75 apiece. Send an email to Harper at email@example.com and tell him which titles you would like (After Askadalen; An Indefinite Road; The Ash Grove; Mark's Farewell to Whidbey [voice and harp]; Spinning Star) and he'll email the PDF to you as an attachment upon receipt of your payment via PayPal, check, or money order.
Highland Games Harp Competition Results. Congratulations to everyone who participated in this summer's Highland Games harp tent circles and adjudications! In the Bellingham Preliminaries, Jonny Kosaka took first place in Beginners, Timmy Kosaka took first place in Intermediates, there were no Advanced competitors, and Eileen Warr-Marti & Annie Bishop took first place in Harp & Voice. In the Skagit Preliminaries, all competitors were in the Intermediate class; Diana Beaumont took first, Molly Baukham second, and Jason Kies third. In the Enumclaw Preliminaries, there were no Beginner competitors, Tim Smith took first in Intermediates, and Janna Bisceglia took first in Advanced. In the Competition Finals, Jonny Kosaka won the Beginner class, Timmy Kosaka won the Intermediate class, and Janna Bisceglia won the Advanced class. Our thanks to all the volunteers who helped make these competitions possible, to the harp tent coordinators, and to the judges.
New CD for Zeke Hoskin. Bellingham's Zeke Hoskin writes to say "As everybody who knows me knows well, I'm not a harp virtuoso. I did write one piece of flashy harp accompaniment, which I nailed in one take (the thirteenth, or thereabouts) on my album Lethal Reprieve. I'd hate to expect anybody to buy the whole album for one cut (the rest of the album is of course excellent and hugely entertaining and witty and has some hellacious good guitar on it, but no more super-harp), but now it is available for download cut by cut at Amazon and (soon) CDBaby and (probably) most other big music download sites." After some editorial questioning, Zeke confirmed that the name of the "super-harp" cut is Eagleharper. He also explains "They can buy the physical CD from me or CDBaby, but CDBaby takes plastic and I don't. I do have a web site, www.zekehoskin.com, where many of my lyrics and a few non-CD-quality recordings live. CDBaby only has my studio album, I have several less formal ones. I also sell sheet music, or at least I offer it for sale." Thanks for the announcement, Zeke, and the entertaining conversation... and congratulations on the CD!
Another New Article at Harp Spectrum. There is an interesting article posted at the Harp Spectrum web site at www.harpspectrum.org about the possibilities of harp distance-learning. A number of teachers describe their use of Skype to teach students who are not able to attend in-person lessons.
Congratulations to Leslie McMichael. Leslie McMichael was recently invited by 4Culture, the cultural services agency for King County, to join the 2009 Touring Arts Roster. Leslie's original score for the silent classic PETER PAN is performed live on three harps with film screenings, and she was accepted to the juried directory showcasing some of the region's most diverse and talented artists and ensembles available for touring.
New Articles on Harp Spectrum. The amazingly informative (and locally produced!) web site, Harp Spectrum, has just posted three new articles: "History of Latin American Harps" by Dr. Alfredo Rolando Ortiz; "The Eighth Pedal - Fact or Fiction?" by Mike Parker; and "Replacing the Strings" by Susann McDonald and Linda Wood Rollo. You can find links to these (and more) on the front page at www.harpspectrum.org.
Victory Review Goes On-Line. Victory Music, which has supported the Northwest acoustic music community for many years, has made the decision to publish their monthly Review as an internet e-zine only (though they will still print one paper issue per year, in May, for Folklife). Victory is a great resource for learning about local open mics, recording artists, concerts, etc., and you will be able to access the Review on-line at www.victorymusic.org.
New Concert Venue in Seattle. Greater Seattle AHS Chapter president, harpist and organist Mark Andersen, has received an appointment as Artist in Residence and Music Director to Daniel's Recital Hall at 5th and Columbia. The hall was formerly the First United Methodist Church sanctuary and it houses one of the finest pipe organs in the Seattle area, built in the American Classic style by Austin Pipe Organ Company of Hartford, CT. He will be playing a total of 14 concerts there this year. These concerts will be free to the public through a grant from the National Council for the Arts. The restoration and conversion of the building are being done by Kevin Daniels, CEO of Daniels Development. They are building the new skyscraper on the adjacent property behind the Ranier Club. Kevin is very arts-minded and the new recital hall will be a wonderful venue for harp programs. Mark reports that the acoustics there are absolutely fabulous! For more information see www.danielsrecitalhall.org (click Calendar for a list of noon-time concerts).
Mystery Harper Revealed. An internet discussion about an unnamed "amazing harp player" brought to my attention information on the current activities of Luke Brechtelsbauer. Those of you who were attending harp circles and festivals in the Seattle area six or seven years ago may have met Luke; he also was a regular busker with his harp at the Pike Place Market until he left town (to attend Clown College in California). If you remember him, you may be interested in this link: http://www.harpkit.com/Merchant2/laptest.htm. The second "testimonial" is a letter from Luke telling of his adventures with the harp, there is a picture of him (with harp) in full clown regalia in the circus, and a more recent video link showing that he can still play the strings off that well-traveled lap harp!
New CD for David Michael. Port Townsend harper David Michael has received great reviews on his new CD, Within, that he recently produced with long time friend Benjy Wertheimer. The music, for Celtic harp and esraj (a bowed Indian instrument), has been called an "improvisational masterpiece". Released on the Wertheimer's Wolf Cub label, Within may now be purchased online from CD Baby. If you don't want the CD package, you can download an mp3 of the whole recording for just $9.99 (as well as sample clips) at http://cdbaby.com/cd/bwdm. The selections on this CD were recorded as live improvisations using the ambient space of "the Cistern," the incredible sonic environment of an empty 2 million gallon underground reservoir in Fort Worden State Park (in Port Townsend, Washington). National Public Radio dubbed this space "the greatest musical instrument in the state of Washington," with a reverberation cycle of over 40 seconds. For more information on David, see his web site at www.purnimaproductions.com.
Konghou Article Available. Joyce Rice, who oversees the always interesting Harp Spectrum website, reports that a new article on the Chinese harp, konghou, from ancient times to today, is now available. Joyce combined information from two of today's foremost konghou players, Joy Yu Hoffman and Ping-qiu Yue, into an article that is "both informative and poetic". See this and many other fascinating harp articles at: www.harpspectrum.org
Latest Internet Harp for Sale Scam. Thanks to an alert harp seller who recognized a scam when she saw one, we have this latest example of how dishonest people try to cheat honest harpers! Note all the telltale signs (wanting "change" from an overpayment, wanting it via moneygram, involving a "shipper agent"). Ignore all such inquiries!
"Good to hear from you, Thanks for your prompt mail. I have been able to convince my client to pay that amount, he would like some recent pics too. My client has agreed to make out payment in a cashier check of $6,400 which is a refund payment of a cancelled order earlier made by my client's wife who is his marketing rep. Due to company policy this check has to be made out in this amount to you, because company policy only allows a refund payment on one cashier check. You are therefore required to deduct your cost price $1,200 and send the balance of $5,200 to my client's shipper agent in the US via Western union money transfer or moneygram transfer for him to be able to offset shipping charges and acquire space in time for shipping ."
New CD from Harper Tasche. Harper has finally made a CD using a regular 36-string harp! "Provenance" features iridescent, all-original works in Harper's full expressive range: joyous, introspective, stately, humorous, gentle, energetic, poignant, and evocative. Includes two pieces written for a wedding; two pieces commissioned in response to beautiful paintings by Redmond artist Ed Edelstein; and a suite of six pieces commissioned in response to exquisite verses by Colorado poet Kate Ellis (included in the 16-page CD booklet). Guest musician Jami Sieber adds her cello artistry to four tracks as well. The CD is $17 plus shipping and applicable taxes, available from www.HarpCrossing.com.
New Music Book from Harper Tasche. Harper Tasche's new "TheaSophia Suite" is a six-movement piece for 36-string (diatonic) harp and cello, interwoven with poetry by Kate Ellis. Interconnectedness, spirituality, health, death, and life are major themes in both the music and the text. Four of the six movements can be performed by solo harp; cello parts are included for four movements. The entire Suite is featured on Harper's CD "Provenance." The book is $17 plus shipping and applicable taxes, available from www.HarpCrossing.com.
Harps Welcome at Mid-Sommer Events. Joanne Graves of the Poulsbo Sons of Norway writes to say: "The Scandinavian community has a couple of mid-sommer events in the Puget Sound area each year. Part of the mid-sommer festival is an "allspel" which means "everyone plays". It would be so nice to have some harps come and join in the fun. Also, there is a Norwegian folk dance and music camp every summer in Mount Vernon, Washington. A group from Norway comes to teach dancing and music. The music is mostly fiddle and accordion, but I am sure if some harpers wanted to come they would be very welcome. The website for that is: www.seattlestemne.org. "
International Jazz Harp Foundation. March 2008 saw the inaugural issue of the newsletter of the International Jazz Harp Foundation. Headquartered in Europe, this group seeks to increase awareness of the use of the harp in nontraditional settings, particularly jazz, but also pop, rock, singer/songwriter, etc. To view their web site or sign up for the e-newsletter, go to www.jazzharp.org.
Award for Olympia Harpist. Graeme Smith of Olympia was selected by video audition to perform at "Expanding the Vision," the national conference of the Suzuki Association of the Americas, taking place in Minneapolis over Memorial Day weekend. Graeme, a high school junior and student of Leslie McMichael, will participate in harp master classes with Maria Luisa Rayan-Forero and Washington's own Jill Whitman, as well as play in the flute and harp performing ensemble. Congratulations, Graeme!
Congratulations to Flip Breskin! Bellingham musician and singer Flip Breskin has attended several Fort Worden festivals along with her husband, well-known harper and song-writer Zeke Hoskin. We got word that Flip was inducted into the Northwest Women's Hall of Fame on March 30th, for her efforts in community-building. Flip is a founder of the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, a stalwart at the Whatcom County Homemade Music Society, a frequent host of house concerts and other musical activities, a Block Watch captain, and editor of the Columbia (Bellingham) neighborhood association newsletter. As her nominator expressed "She combines this love and understanding, and expertise in music and people and community, and brings it all together." Congratulations Flip!
New Articles at Harp Spectrum. The wonderful Harp Spectrum web site (managed by Seattle harpist Joyce Rice) has four new interesting articles ready for viewing. (Go to www.harpspectrum.org; there is a "New Articles" block with links on the front page). One new article is "Early Scandinavian Sources to Harps and Harp Playing" by Sweden's Lia Lonnert, about Viking-era material, such as Gunnar playing the harp with his toes, and Aslaug, Daughter of Sigurd the Dragonslayer, along with some photos of really old stone carvings. Another new article is "Tips on Preparing Orchestral Harp Parts" by Elizabeth Volpe Bligh, which is a very thorough description of what an orchestral harpist needs to do to prepare a harp part. Another is about a "New Invention: The Harp Pedal Display Unit" in which South African harpist Amarillie Ackermann describes an electronic display that shows the current state of the 7 pedals of a pedal harp. Finally, Beat Wolf, a Swiss harp builder, has rewritten his article on The Louis XVI harp based on new research. Enjoy all this and more on the extensive web site!
Interesting Harp E-Zine. Deborah of the Emerald Harp Circle in Oregon wrote in about this on-line newsletter, written by Susan Zevenberger, "which contains all sorts of wonderful and useful information for harp students. Go to www.myharpsdelight.com and then click on "free newsletter" from the list. If you like what you find, you can subscribe to this free e-zine so that it is sent to you once a month in the future."
Tara Harp Protest. Last September, hundreds of people, including harp players, gathered to form a giant human harp on the hill of Tara in Ireland, to protest the government's plan to run a highway through this historically and archeologically important area. Many of the professional harp players in Ireland have signed a petition to protest this plan. You can see aerial pictures of the harp at http://www.tarawatch.org/?p=521 (sadly, they got the strings going the wrong way, but that's understandable given the size of the area covered... each little dot in the harp is a person!)
Update Your Harper's Songbook. Do you have a Puget Sound Folk Harp Society "Harper's Songbook"? These are the three-ring binders handed out to you when you attended either the Fort Flagler/Fort Worden or Crystal Mountain Folk Harp Festivals, from 2000 to now. New group tunes are added to the book at each festival, and if we miss a festival, we don't have those tunes at all. It makes playing together difficult when everyone's book is slightly different. As a service to our harp community, PSFHS is offering a Supplement to the tunebooks that will include all the group tunes presented since the books were new, printed one tune per page so they can be inserted in alphabetical order with the original music. We have a list of everyone who has ever received a book, but we don't have everyone's contact information. So here's what you need to do... if you have a book, please e-mail Diane at firstname.lastname@example.org, put the word TUNEBOOK in the subject line, and include your name as it appears on your book. Your name will be checked against our list of tunebook holders, and you will receive a link to a web page where you will be able to print out all the music you need to bring your book up to date!
Eastside Harp Circle Debut Performances! Congratulations to the Eastside Harp Circle who debuted as a performance ensemble at two events in December, playing for residents of Sunrise Assisted Living and Aegis of Bothell. Ann Jenkins wrote to say of the Sunrise appearance "There were 7 of us performing and our program lasted nearly an hour. We worked hard and really pulled it off - which both thrilled and amazed us! There were 6 ensemble pieces and we each did a solo or two. The residents seemed to really enjoy it - some sang along!" Brava to the members for their gift of music during the holiday season!
New CD for Linda Khandro. Linda, formerly of Seattle, recently relocated to her native British Columbia, is pleased to announce a new collaborative CD called Tethys, of original compositions and improvisations with harps (Linda), flutes (Ann Lindquist), and kotos (Shiho Kurauchi). Together they are called ShAnLi. If you would like a copy of this new release before the holidays, please mail to the address below: $20 will cover one CD and postage within the US. For more than one, please include an additional $1 per CD for packaging and postage. Please make checks out to Linda Khandro and mail c/o Camille Barrat, 2334 W. Plymouth St., Apt # 1, Seattle WA 98199.
New CD from Laura Zaerr. University of Oregon harp instructor Laura Zaerr has a new CD, Dreamland, which can be ordered from her web site at www.laurazaerr.com. “Take me to your Dreamland in a rowboat of pearl, with oars wrought of silver to show me your world.” Laura’s gift for blending rich poetic imagery with lyrical musical phrases creates a varied set of lullabies to inspire the child of your heart. Soprano Laura Berryhill with flutists Diane Hawkins and Melanie Place add depth to the velvety sounds of the harp. The album carries an international theme as well. "If You Come from China" is written for adoptive families of all shapes and sizes. Part of the proceeds of each CD sale will help fund the Chengde Social Welfare Institute in China, which is home for 40 children who are not up for adoption.
Second CD for Strings of Compassion. Strings of Compassion offers harp music at bedside at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Eugene OR. During the past twelve months, they have offered more than 1000 hours of service, which is provided without cost to patient, family, or insurance company. Their work is supported by donations and by CD sales, and their latest, From the Deep Earth, is now available. For ordering details and other information, see www.peacehealth.org/stringsofcompassion or call 541-685-1748.
Healing Songs CD from Harrison Medical Center. Edith Enns writes to say: "Just wanted to let everyone know that Harrison Medical Center (in Bremerton WA), where I work in Occupational Therapy/Hand Therapy, has almost completed their first Music CD - comprised of employees and volunteers. It is the first in what we hope to be a series and it is titled, "Healing Songs". The musicians are playing harp, flute, violin, cello , guitar and piano. It has been a great ride and we are excited to present this by the end of November. Harrison has hired a harpist , Dana Sheppard, and she is in charge of Complementary Therapies ( art, pet, aroma, etc.). It is a wonderful step for Harrison and their patients. Anyone wanting a CD can contact Harrison Medical Center at 360-377-3911 and ask for Complimentary Therapies. It will also be available in our in house gift shop for $15.00."
FHJ Sheet Music Available. Jerry Brown (ISFHC Librarian and owner of Music Makers' Kits) has completed a wonderful service... he has scanned the sheet music out of the first 100 Folk Harp Journals and made it available on a CD (or as a PDF download). For more information, go to www.musikits.com, click on "Books" in the menu, then on "Harp Books" and you'll see the CD in the list; price is $14.95.
Arts & Music Opportunities Listing. The city of Seattle has a web site at www.seattle.gov/arts/0pportunities. The Opportunities site is a one-stop shop for the latest arts-related jobs, funding sources, calls for artists, and training opportunities, and is worth checking regularly if you are interested in city sponsored gigs, grants, etc.
New Funding Source for Seattle Musicians. A new pilot funding program of the Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs... "smART ventures is intended to create new access for individuals and groups not served by our other funding programs. We've designed smART ventures to be flexible, inclusive and simple. You can apply anytime with an innovative idea or one-time opportunity. The program provides support ranging from $500 to $1,000 with the goal of expanding arts and cultural participation, particularly among diverse and underserved communities. Before applying, you must have your proposal idea reviewed by a project manager. Contact Steven Larson, (206) 615-1801 to discuss applying, and to be connected to a project manager."
Volunteer Musicians Needed at Whidbey General Hospital. The Music Therapy program at Whidbey General Hospital in Coupeville WA includes services of Barbara Dunn, a board-certified music therapist, and a volunteer program in which musicians provide a healing atmosphere of live music throughout the hospital. If you are interested in joining the program or performing at specific events, contact Barbara Dunn at 360-678-7656 ext. 8436.
Rare Harp Documents On-Line. Seamus Taylor writes to remind us that he has created a web site containing facsimile copies of rare works on the Irish and Highland harp. All of this is available free of charge, but donations to the upkeep of the site are much appreciated! The site includes or has plans to include eventually: R. B. Armstrong, "The Irish and The Highland Harps" David Douglas, Edinburgh, 1904, 266 pages (BOTH sections, issued as one book); Edward Bunting, "The Ancient Music of Ireland" W. Power and Co, Dublin, (Vol. I) and Williamson, London, (Vol, II), 150 pages; Edward Bunting, "The Ancient Music of Ireland" Hodges, Dublin, 1840, 220 pages; Dr. George Petrie, "The Complete Collection of Irish Music" (ed. C. V. Stanford) Boosey & Co., London and NY, 1903, 427 pages; John Gunn, F.A.S.E., "An Historical Enquiry respecting the Performance on the Harp in the Highlands of Scotland (etc.)" Ballantyne, Edinburgh, 1807, 120 pages. For more information, see: http://www.hiddenglen.com/index.php/Music/Music4.
Downloadable Sheet Music. West Coast Harps has available Alison Vardy's own compositions plus her arrangements of traditional music from many cultures. There is music from her CDs as well as new compositions and arrangements. New music is coming on board all the time - three levels of challenge! Simply download and print. Unique Honesty Box payment/subscription system. Learn more about the Sheet Music Downloads at: http://www.westcoastharps.com/sheet-music/about.htm.
New Collections of Harp Ensemble
Music. Louis Lynch writes to say: "Fellow Harpists and Harpers, I am
writing to let you know of a new music book published by Harrisburg Harp
Orchestra, a nonprofit ensemble of 32 harpists in Harrisburg,
Pennsylvania. As you know, harp music for ensembles is not easy to find.
For our Harrisburg concerts, we have been using all original
compositions. Other ensembles have heard our music and asked for copies.
So two collections of our work, one for summer and one for Christmas,
are being published. The first, "A Garden Symphony" is now available. It
includes music for four harp parts, each with extractable solo sections.
We also use hammered dulcimer, oboe, flute, and trombone, so the four
parts are adaptable for other ensembles. Our music for the orchestra
covers the following harps and players:
Harp Music on Web Radio. Twice a week (Thursday at 11 am PST and Sunday at 10 pm PST) you can listen to an hour of harp music on internet radio. The Harpestry program is available on-line at www.krvs.org from Lafayette LA, where host Valerie Green seeks out harp music of all styles for our listening pleasure!
Seeking Therapeutic Harp Players. Dana Sheppard writes to say "I'm currently taking the program with Bedside Harp to become a therapeutic harpist, and am interested in connecting with others doing this work in the Seattle area. I live in Kitsap County (Bremerton), and am playing in a hospital there." If any of you who have studied with MHTP, IHTP, Chalice of Repose, or other programs would like to correspond with Dana, you can contact her at email@example.com.
This page was last updated on July 02, 2019