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.
Harp at Mt. Vernon Habitat for Humanity Store! Becky Deryks wrote to say "Of all the unlikely places in the world to run across a harp, this pretty much beats all: the Habitat for Humanity Resale Store here in Mount Vernon WA." The donor brought it in, said it was custom made for her 30 years ago, she paid $3000 for it when new. Unknown maker, no visible labels. From photos Becky took it appears to be 38 strings with full old-style Loveland levers, a round-back soundbox and small "animal" feet, similar to a Pilgram Clarsach, but with a Celtic style neck and custom carved pillar. Soundboard appears to be spruce, with some horizontal separations in the grain of the low octaves. 62” high, 30” from pillar to the back, and approx 18” wide at the base. A very few superficial blemishes to the wood. No case or stool, but it is outfitted for an electric pickup, and has all strings and a tuner. Becky says "Please be aware that the store staff know NOTHING about this instrument, or about harps in general; none of them had even SEEN one close up until this one came in... the poor thing looks pretty woeful amidst all the used sofas, bookcases, lighting fixtures, and building materials". The store is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, for contact info and address, see https://skagithabitat.com/skagit-habitat-store/.
Ancient Harp-like Instrument Rediscovered. Luthier Tharun Sekar has recreated a 2000 year old design for a Tamil (southern India) instrument called a "yahz". The finished instrument is a beautiful bird-shaped creation, somewhat like the African kora in that the strings run between the neck and a drum-like soundbox below, but with wire strings. You can see and hear the results in this article in Smithsonian Magazine: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/hear-sound-ancient-indian-instrument-180977426/.
Harp Jewelry for Mothers' Day.
Luz Marina Ortiz (wife of Latin harp expert Alfredo Rolando Ortiz)
has extended her Mothers' Day sale to May 16. See the various designs,
with discounts and more, at
New Book from Sharon Thormahlen.
Sharon writes to say she has a new book of original music, Beneath
PSFHS Summer Folk Harp Retreat. We are disappointed to have to announce that the PSFHS board of directors has decided to cancel this June's retreat, normally held at Camp Casey on Whidbey Island. Because the Camp itself does not have its large building open currently, and there are no guarantees about how quickly the Washington State opening phases or vaccination schedule will progress, it seemed safer to roll our reservation deposit forward to next year. We are now scheduled at Camp Casey for June 10-12, 2022, and with any luck at all, we hope to gather then for a mask-free reunion!
Can You Help a Harp Find Shelter? Gaye has a special request regarding housing for a homeless harp. She owns a very early Lyon & Healy Style 23 harp, made about 1900. It has a cracked neck so is not currently playable, and she is considering repairing and/or selling. But in the meantime it MUST be moved quickly from Woodinville WA to other secure storage, thus it is in need of transport and a temporary home. Do any of our readers, perhaps near Woodinville, have a ride and a safe spot for this antique instrument while Gaye decides its long-term fate? If so, please contact her at email@example.com.
Harp Regulations/Repairs in June. Harp technician Steve Moss has finalized his schedule and will be in Seattle for harp regulations and repairs Monday June 21 through Thursday June 24. If you have harps that need attention, please contact Susi Hussong at firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to Steve's schedule. (If you contacted Susi about this earlier and have NOT heard back from her, please resend your message... she changed computers and we all know what that is like!).
New Name for Austin Harp Arts in Edmonds WA. Austin Harp Arts has been recently rebranded to Seattle Harp Arts. Located in Edmonds WA, the store location, ownership, and services remain the same, but is now offering more harp inventory. The store is currently open by appointment only. See the current harp inventory at https://www.seattleharparts.com/. The shop is located at 110 W. Dayton St. Suite #104, Edmonds WA 98020.
Free Workshop from the Harp Gathering. The generous folks at the Harp Gathering have posted another free workshop, a second one with the wonderful Rachel Hair. You can find it at https://youtu.be/oVlsHe34WmM.
If You Want to Get (or Continue Getting) Reigning Harps Updates by E-mail. Dear Readers, you may have noticed that you did not receive a February update in your e-mail (the first one I have ever failed to send!). I apologize - outgoing servers blocked my normal sending with a BCC on Feb. 1, and ever since. The only sure cure is to migrate our updates to a mailing program, as these can keep up with all the spam blocking and privacy regulations. So beginning April 1st, the update will be sent via MailChimp. Everyone must "opt in" to this, even if you've received our messages for years. So please, if you want to keep getting your updates, write a "send updates" message to email@example.com and we'll get you signed up for this new method of managing technology! Thanks so much for your patience while this gets set up and worked out!
Harpist in the Wild. The always energetic Josh Layne of Victoria BC has a new YouTube series called Harpist in the Wild, which combines his love of nature and of music. You can see the first episode at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8iO5D3Gosf8&feature=youtu.be .
Celtic Cruise to Alaska in 2022. Golden Bough is being optimistic and planning two summers ahead for a return to Celtic Cruising. This small group tour to Alaska comes complete with lessons, workshops, ceilidhs, and all other things delightful after a long C0vid shutdown. For all info, see http://goldenboughmusic.com/AlaskaCelticCruise2021.htm.
Harps in the Glen, plus Harp Tours in Scotland and Israel. Sunita Staneslow is also looking ahead to travel opening up. She her website at www.sunitaharp.com for details on upcoming late summer workshop with Kim Robertson, plus possible future tours of Scotland and of Israel/Palestine with harp interest.
Spanish Peaks Harp Retreat. Also planning for autumn with the Spanish Peaks (Colorado) festival at the end of September. Featuring Celtic and Appalachian Music, the instructors will be Aine Minogue: Irish music; Kelly Stewart: Scottish and Welsh music; Jaimee Joroff: Advanced Beginners; Tim Cummings: Pipes and Harps; Julie Norem-Hawley: Harp Circle. See all the latest information at www.spanishpeaksharpretreat.com.
Need a Good Laugh? Don't we all? Active harplist member Dan Veaner has been posting many YouTube videos of himself playing harp during the pandemic, and with each one, his skill as an audio/video editor grows. Recently he posted one that reached a new high! Check out his version of The Lion Sleeps Tonight, arranged for harp, guitar, bass, and chimpanzees, at https://youtu.be/IB80oHhZnsA.
Great Triple Harp Video. Double-strung player Linda Khandro forwarded this link. Many of you have probably seen Robin Huw Bowen perform on his Welsh triple-strung harp, but this video features some wonderful close-ups of his hands so you can actually see what he is doing. Plus he speaks Welsh throughout which is lovely to hear (and it is well subtitled in English so no info lost). Many of the techniques he uses (other than the use of the chromatic inner row) would be do-able on a double strung harp, so it is fascinating to watch and hear. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjpjIzI3DCA&feature=emb_logo.
Video Lessons from Elizabeth Volpe.
Elizabeth (former principal harpist with the Vancouver BC Symphony
Orchestra, writes: I've been adding a number of teaching videos to my
YouTube channel, as part of various lessons and classes I've been
teaching. Some are about technique, and others are pieces that my
students are working on. I decided to make them all publicly accessible,
in case they could help anyone else." Thanks for the generous thought,
Elizabeth! See them at:
Useful Info About Listener Perception. There have been many articles about how a player's body movement can affect the sound of the instrument being played. This interesting article describes a study in which listeners were surveyed about the effect, with really fascinating results. You can read the article at Do a Musician’s Physical Movements and Gestures Affect How Musical We Think They Are? - Bulletproof Musician (just click out of any pop up offers for other courses, etc.).
New Blog Post for Laurie Riley. Laurie has a thoughtful article about the perception of "easy" and "difficult" musical skills, and the danger of playing skills reaching a plateau if not challenged. See it at www.laurierileymusic.com.
New Workshop from the Harp Gathering. The friendly folks at the Harp Gathering have posted another new workshop, this one with Sharon Thormahlen, about learning to sight read a piece of music and memorize it completely. See the video at https://youtu.be/21DU2WJVsQM. Be sure to check back often as all of their videos are free of charge and available for all to enjoy!
Workshops by Verlene Schermer. In
February Verlene is offering the following, all times PST:
Who Is Listening to the Harp? Sometimes you hear stories about how people have played their harps outdoors and have "charmed" animals... playing therapy harp at the zoo, or even luring wildlife from the woods. This YouTube video is an interesting twist on that story! This harp player is so concentrated on playing her piece, she doesn't notice who it is that is coming to listen more closely. She gets quite a surprise! See https://youtu.be/9Xd8xq06FCw.
Do You Need Repair, Restringing, or Regulation? Susi Hussong reports that harp technician Steve Moss will resume his travel schedule in February and will be stopping in Seattle if there is a demand. If you think your harp(s) need any work, please contact Susi at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Free Lead Sheet Workshop! For
Christmas, the crew at the Harp Gathering posted this wonderful workshop
with Robbin Gordon-Cartier about playing with lead sheets. They say "Robbin
is such a lovely, bubbly person and a fantastic instructor so please
tune in when you have the opportunity! While you are on The Harp
Gathering YouTube Channel, be sure to "Like" and "SUBSCRIBE" to our
channel! Link to Harp Gathering Channel:
Harper's Hall Ensemble. Verlene Schermer worked hard to put together a virtual ensemble video for her harp group's Christmas presentation this year. It's fun to see and hear the harps playing together, thanks to her editing job, even if Christmas has passed. You can watch the video on YouTube at https://youtu.be/tVGYHNfIxPY".Scottish Harp Competition. The Princess Margaret of the Isles Memorial Prize for Celtic Harp (USA) is now open for entries. The competition is open to all players aged 18 and over. Deadline to enter is February 20, 2021. Winners will be notified before March 16, 2021. The competition recital will take place in Charleston, South Carolina on Saturday, April 16, 2021. Each of the 4 entries chosen to come to Charleston to compete will receive $1,000 and hotel accommodations for 2 nights. Chosen entrants will compete for the grand prize of an additional $2,000.
How to enter: Candidates should prepare a 20 minute recital. The recital should include: a variety of Scottish tunes and styles, traditional and contemporary, including own arrangement of a piece from The Patrick McDonald Collection, and a new composition (or compositions) by the candidate. To enter candidates should record their recital and submit in MP3 format. The recording should include a short announcement before each track. A cover email should include a short description of each track in the order of recording. Please thoroughly check your recording before sending it in. To enter please submit your entry by email, with MP3 file attachments via WeTransfer or Dropbox, to Kim Perkins at Kimperkinsharp@gmail.com. Deadline for entries is February 20, 2021. Four successful candidates will then be selected to perform in Charleston in front of an audience and an independent judge on April 16, 2021.
About the competition. Now in its fourth year in North America, the Princess Margaret of the Isles Memorial Prize for Senior Clàrsach is organized by Clan Donald Lands Trust as part of its program of support of the Gaelic performing arts. The prize is named after Princess Margaret of Scotland, the daughter of King Robert II and the wife of John, Lord of the Isles, who was a great patron of the arts.
About the Patrick McDonald Collection.
Each year we will ask candidates to include an arrangement from the
Collection of Highland Gaelic Airs by Patrick McDonald. First published
in 1784, the collection contains the tunes to many Gaelic songs of that
period from all over Scotland. The book’s two introductions give
invaluable descriptions of both the music and way of life at this time.
McDonald gives reference to tunes in the collection which he remembers
as being the ancient harp music played in the Highlands. The clàrsach
had already fallen out of use by this time but it was still within
living memory, so the references are invaluable today to harp players
seeking original tunes.
Remembering Patricia Jaeger. Long-time Seattle harp "mover and shaker" Patricia Jaeger passed away on November 13th, 2020. She was 90 years old. She earned a Master of Music degree from Eastman School of Music, primary instruments violin and viola, but also played and taught harp for many years in Seattle, both privately and in the public schools. She was always accepting of "pedal-free" harps and was the teacher of many of the first folk harp players in our area. She was also the proprietor of Herald Music (now offered through Melody's Music) which published many of her solo and ensemble harp arrangements. She was a founding member of the Seattle area AHS Chapter, and a co-founder of the Harp Spectrum web site. She was always happy to help with questions from Reigning Harps readers about the history of harps in the Pacific Northwest, and kept a vast file of harp-related clippings that she was eager to share. Her son Tony requests no flowers, please, and suggests any memorial gifts be made to Eastman School of Music, or to Saint Dunstan's Episcopal Church in Shoreline WA, where she was a member, and where she arranged for a number of harp events to be held. Her life long dedication to her music was an inspiration, and she will be greatly missed.
World Harp Day Marathon. The organizers of World Harp Day have made a video compilation available on-line. It is a five-hour video, with 80 harpists from all over the world playing short pieces from their own cultures, to show the variety of music that can be performed on the harp. This video is now available for viewing (or just listening as you go about your day at home), along with more information about the project, at www.worldharpday.com. Enjoy!
Happy Birthday, Harp Tuesday! Josh Layne, of Victoria BC, has been doing his YouTube lesson series, Harp Tuesday, for ten years as of December 1, 2020. Congratulations to Josh for all his work and creativity in doing these short lessons on a vast variety of harp subjects and at many levels too, some for lever harp, some for pedal harp, and some general harp interest. To see the entire list of episodes chronologically, as well as divided by subject, plus all the latest Josh has to offer, see https://www.harptuesday.com/.
Christmas Presents Perhaps? Word comes from Luz Marina Ortiz, that there are many good sale prices on her lovely harp-themed jewelry available now at www.HarpJewelry.com. And Alfredo Ortiz adds that there is also a discount on his CDs and printed music available at www.AlfredoHarp.com. Good shopping!
Amazing Chocolate Harp! This YouTube video shows (in condensed time) the construction of a large chocolate sculpture in the form of a harp. This chocolate artist could probably build a real harp, based on the structure and the care he employs while assembling this masterpiece... supportive interior struts, laminated soundboard, multi-section neck, stave back... it is really fascinating to watch! See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHOn_6wcN2k&feature=youtu.be .
Spokane Harpers On-line. This
year's Spokane Folk Festival, as so many others, turned into an on-line
event. Several performances featured harpers and you can see them at the
PSFHS Winter Folk Harp Festival. Due to complications arising from COVID-19, we will not be holding what would have been our 35th annual in-person Winter Folk Harp Festival in February 2021. We explored options for a similar virtual event, but given the abundance of harp workshops and harp circles already being presented online, we agreed that it would be best to give the Winter Festival a pass for this coming year. We'll certainly miss the camaraderie of being together and hearing 42 harps playing all together in one room, but let's all hope to meet for the Summer Folk Harp Retreat next June at Camp Casey, and again for our next planned Winter Festival in February 2022, at the Seabeck Conference Center. If you have any questions, please contact Sally at email@example.com.
Generous Offer from Canada. Jeanne de la Mare wrote: "Will you please take a moment to look at my Celtic harp compositions at www.canadianharpmusic.ca? You are welcome to read, hear, and download any compositions for your pleasure or that of your students. The music is copyrighted, but other than publishing it, feel free to play it in any setting. I hope these works will bring you, your students. and friends happiness in this difficult time. If you find pleasure playing these works, I would be very pleased to hear from you, and ask you to pass this website on to your harpist friends."
In Memory. We are so sorry to have
to forward this sad news, and let you know that Mi-Yong Gilman passed
away on October 2, 2020. Mi-Yong was a frequent and welcome participant
at PSFHS events, cheerful and ready to participate in whatever workshop,
jam session, band scramble, or harp circle was next on the schedule.
Always willing to share her music and her sense of humor, she was an
inspiration, and will be sorely missed. For an interesting account of
her life, and some wonderful photos, please see:
New Concert Video Online from Harper Tasche. Harper writes, "This is a 47-minute concert set I recorded on October 3rd, intended for Dusty Strings' 2020 'virtual' Harp Seattle. The program is all original music for the 36-string and 26-string harp, in a wide range of styles." This is being offered as the ultimate sliding-scale video concert: the 'box office' link (below) allows you to donate whatever amount seems good to you, and Harper will email you the secret YouTube link directly. Harper adds, "if PayPal doesn't work for you, or if you're unable to donate for whatever reason, email me via firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll figure it out." The box office link is: https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/harpertasche.
PSFHS Zooming Picnic. Twenty-two harp players joined together for an afternoon's companionship and music. PSFHS board members Eileen Warr-Marti, Beth Kolle, and Anna Jenkins coordinated and organized a good get-together, with a harp "circle" (actually more like a grid), a tune leader, and a nostalgic slide show of picnics past! Thanks to everyone who attended and who helped make this virtual picnic a reality!
PSFHS Logo on a Mask. Back when "this" all started, who knew we'd all be sewing and buying and collecting masks for this long? But just in case you need another for your car or your purse, we have added a mask with the PSFHS harp-orca to the assortment of logo wear you can find at https://www.cafepress.com/PSFHSLogoWear. (These items are all sold at cost, and thanks to Becky Szymanski for minding the store!)
Whatcom County Harpers? We've had an inquiry from a harp player who has recently moved to Blaine WA, right at the border. She is wondering if there are any other far-north Washington harpers she might contact, and eventually get together with, once we can do such things again. If anyone up that way, or slightly further south in Skagit County, has any ideas for her, please reply to email@example.com and we'll compile them. Thanks!
Harp Seattle 2020. Dusty Strings is excited to offer their bi-annual event, Harp Seattle, entirely online for the first time ever in Dusty Strings' history! Throughout October, you can register for workshops with Harper Tasche, Kim Robertson, Nicolas Carter, Rachel Hair, Monica Schley, Jessica Gallo, and more. See the information page that explains the event at https://store.dustystrings.com/t-3-ms-harpseattle.aspx. From there you will find links to any other info you need, including the registration page, the Harp Seattle Facebook Group, and the Harp Seattle email list.
PSFHS Picnic. Because of King County's quarantine phase, we cannot all meet in person this year, but we still want to get together and play! So we are having a Zoom Picnic on Sunday, September 13, 2020, from noon to 2:00 pm. You will need to install Zoom on your device or computer beforehand. Then e-mail picnic tech wizard Anna at firstname.lastname@example.org for an invitation by Sept. 12, at the latest. She will provide full details, but do plan to have your harp tuned, PSFHS tune book ready if you have one, the Celtic Tunes Lead Sheet booklet (print from www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org, down near the bottom of the main page), and/or your solo tune ready to go. If you like, bring your picnic snack and beverage of choice, and maybe your best face mask to show off. Weather and wi-fi permitting, feel free to play outside. As is the norm at our picnic, you will be able to call a tune, lead a tune, or play a tune solo when your turn comes around. For other questions, please e-mail picnic coordinator Eileen at email@example.com.
Reigning Harps Security. After the recent BIG Windows updates, your editor was having a hard time getting to the Reigning Harps website, even though she does all the publishing for it, due to it not having a security rating. (You can tell because our URL says http instead of https. Rest assured, our web site has nothing on it that poses a security risk. The entire web site is display text; nothing is taking your information, or keeping track of your visits in any way. To get a security rating would cost us a monthly fee which we really can't justify. So even if your browser says Reigning Harps is "unsecured," it is safe; please try to work around any blocks to visiting us. Thank you!
News from Camp Casey. The camp where we hold our summer harp retreat, Camp Casey on Whidbey Island, has recently reopened for groups of up to ten people. We still couldn't hold our retreat there with those numbers, but it is good to know they can start operating again. They say "Camp Casey Conference Center welcomes back small gatherings, with new safety measures in place. The coronavirus outbreak forced the Whidbey Island landmark into a 19-week closure, the longest in its history since opening to the public as a conference center in 1956." All our best to them, and fingers crossed for next summer!
Free Workshop. The Harp Gathering is pleased to announce their 3rd Harp Gathering workshop installment. This one features Mr. Frank Voltz teaching all about inversions and how to apply them to the harp. Here is the link: https://youtu.be/vxw737K7Aoc.
Stolen Harps. Anna Boser of Berkeley CA had two harps stolen in early August. Please keep an eye out for harps for sale notices abut such harps. The harps are: 1. A Rick Rubarth 35 string fully levered Merlin harp; 2. A maple 26 string Harpsicle with no levers. Identifying marks on the Merlin: "The harp had some scratches at the top of the back of the soundbox. The very tip of the top of the harp has been bumped and the varnish damaged. The case was green canvas with yellow faux-velvet inside. The case had a whole bunch of music in it (though that probably would not be still in the pocket - but you never know)." Contact Anna with any info at firstname.lastname@example.org or 510-703-1396.
Irish Festival Workshops and Concerts. Similar to last spring's Edinburgh Harp Festival, the Irish Cairde na Cruite is now available for your viewing and enjoyment. See all the delights offered at https://www.cairdenacruite.com/festival.
Web Site Crash. In July reigningharps.com suffered a serious web crash that appeared to originate at the host server. We were able to get pages back fairly quickly but lost navigation buttons and many links. We think most everything is restored now, but would appreciate your help... if you visit the web site and come across any dead end pages or links that take you nowhere, could you please report them? Thanks so much!
Two Free Video Lessons. The Harp Gathering harp festival is sharing some of this year's virtual workshops with everyone on YouTube. You can view Denise Grupp-Verbon teaching Finger Puzzles and Shapes at the Harp at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2hok3Cjb_Y. And you can view Nicholas Carter teaching La Paloma at https://youtu.be/BRIWom7LQnU. Learn more about the Harp Gathering and their plans for next year at www.harpgathering.com.
New Lever Harp Book. Josh Layne has just finished a new book! "Transcriptions for Lever Harp" consists of music by Bach ('Toccata' from the Toccata and Fugue, 'Aria' from the Goldberg Variations, 'Prelude No. 1'), Handel (an obscure but beautiful 'Chaconne'), Naderman (the first two of his 7 Progressive Sonatas), and Godefroid (his take on 'The Last Rose of Summer'). The PDF is available on his website at https://www.joshlayne.com/store/?product=transcriptions-for-lever-harp-volume-1-downloadable-sheet-music-pdf. He has also recorded a short video talking about the book and playing through a small section of each of the seven pieces: https://youtu.be/uNyShG1uSq4.
Verlene Schermer Workshops. Verlene will be offering 7 workshops in August; you can read all about them at her website https://verlene.com/calendar.html#Aug.
New Harp Composing Book. Yolanda Kondonassis has released a new book "The Composer's Guide to Writing Well for the Modern Harp". The book features 22 detailed chapters on a full spectrum of topics, including technical logistics, chromaticism, notation, context, resonance management, special effects, and more. You can see details and ordering info on her website at https://www.yolandaharp.com/for-composers. [Editor's Note: If you look at the third heading down on the above web page, you'll see "Special Effects" and a detailed note about my husband Bob Zawalich and his work. Other than being very proud of him for his cooperation with Ms. Kondonassis, I want to assure you that neither of us, nor Reigning Harps, derive any profit from the sale of her book.]
Andreas Vollenweider. The innovative harpist and multi-instrumentalist shares a message of hope and gratitude in these confusing times, and also shares some improvisational music in a mini-concert from his home studio in Switzerland. See https://youtu.be/XzZm0OhWrOQ.
Magical Strings on Bandcamp. Magical Strings (Phil and Pam Boulding) now have a Bandcamp site where you can listen to and purchase many of their albums, including some which have never before been released as digital downloads. Check it out at https://magicalstrings.bandcamp.com/.
Interesting Musical Combination. We received a lovely note from Hilary de Vries of Black Isle, Scotland, about her new recording. She says "it is called ‘Cherry Blossom After Rain’ and is a collection of music I composed in response to a series of poems by poet Robert MacLean. The music draws on the Japanese setting of the poems and my own Scottish background and is played on wire-strung harp." You can find more information on her website at www.hilarydevries.com.
Harpers Keep Doing It For Themselves! Another wonderful video compilation by Harps Northwest (which sounds like it should be from around our way, but is actually in northwest England!) who put together a video of 109 harp players doing Sylvia Woods' arrangement of Pachelbel's Canon. Even if you think of this as "an old chestnut" it is inspiring to see so many players of so many differing abilities coming together like this! See https://harpsnorthwest.org.uk/harps-for-harmony.html.
And For the Rest of Us Too! Harps for Hope is an Irish organization that has put together a wonderful series of videos of Irish harpers playing Irish traditional tunes to comfort all during the pandemic. It culminates in a compilation of 200 student players (mostly children but not all) doing a cheerful rendition of Fanny Power, a tune we all think of as a happy one. You could spend a long time at this web site! See https://www.harpireland.ie/showevent/harps-for-hope/.
Update on Playing "Together" on Zoom, Skype, etc. It seems that, due to sound latency, the one thing that works for harp circles, bluegrass jams, Irish sessions, or other group playing, is for everyone to be muted except for a lead player (this lead position can rotate, of course). Each player follows along with the lead, basically playing a duet. No one but the lead can be heard by the other players. A few people have reported some success using the program JamKazam with the video turned off, sound only, IF the other players live nearby. But for now, for harps at a distance, the only choice seems to be the one leader at a time model. (PS - the compiled pieces, like the Pachelbel and Fanny Power above, are recorded separately to a "click track" then edited together to make a video/audio presentation.)
Lovely Video by Josh Layne. Josh says "Two weeks ago I spent the weekend recording and editing a video of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies' Farewell to Stromness. Written for solo piano as part of the 'Yellow Cake Revue' (a set of songs plus two piano interludes that Davies wrote to protest a proposed uranium mine on the Orkney islands in 1980) it's a beautiful piece that I think sounds wonderful on the harp. Since I, too, live on an island I thought it was fitting to pair it with footage I've filmed over the past few years of the beautiful Vancouver Island shorelines and the birds and animals that live here. Very happy with how it turned out!" See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rK_5aewygVI&feature=youtu.be.
Dusty Strings Open By Appointment. Dusty Strings Music Shop is now open by appointment for instrument purchases and rentals and will continue to offer curbside pickup for pre-paid items. To schedule an appointment, email email@example.com and include your name and phone number. They will then contact you to schedule a 30-minute appointment or a pickup time.
Brand New CD for Lisa and Aryeh. While in lockdown at home in Oregon, Lisa Lynne and Aryeh Frankfurter have completed a new recording called Harmony House. For sound samples and ordering info, see https://lisalynne1.bandcamp.com/album/harmony-house.
Somerset Class. Laurie Riley writes to say she "will be offering a virtual "Play Pain Free for a Lifetime" workshop for the Virtual Somerset Harp Festival. It's wonderful that Somerset has gone on line this year, enabling attendance at the workshops and concerts, without having to travel! Laurie will also have a virtual vendor booth, with a short video introducing the Smart Stand for small harps. Many vendors will be doing these virtual booth tours. This is going to be fun! Sign up at http://www.somersetharpfest.com."
Balcony Concerts. Seumas Gagne wrote to tell us that he is doing live harp and song sunset concerts from his balcony most evenings and sharing live on Facebook. If you visit his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/seumasgaelicmusic you'll see instructions to connect and some previous concerts too.
Edinburgh Harp Festival. The very first harp event that went on-line and also made itself FREE still has workshop and concert videos available to see and hear at https://www.harpfestival.co.uk/the-videos. They also have a very polite "ask" for donations, if you can, to support both the artists and the festival itself. These are some very useful classes and lovely performances; so enjoy them while they are still on-line.
Looking for a Challenge? Some of you may remember Luke Brechtelsbauer who lived in Seattle for a time and used to busk with his harp at the Pike Place Market. He's been centered in New Orleans for a while now and is a frequent instructor at the New Orleans Pop & Jazz Harp Festival. This year they put one of his lever harp workshops on YouTube, and the good thing is you can repeat it over and over! If you'd like to learn Luke's lever harp arrangement of the "Muskrat Ramble", please see https://tinyurl.com/lukebmuskrat. (To hear the slow version of the whole tune first, go to about 8:05 in the video, then go back to the beginning to learn step by step.)
New YouTube Channel and New Harp Model for Magical Strings. Phil and Pam Boulding have started a new channel to share the music they've been creating during stay-home time. You can see it at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoypSPgpjYGe7gBribby0yw. You'll notice their hour-long Mothers' Day concert is one of the selections; during that concert Phil featured a new harp model, which is a more compact version of the Concert Oladian.
Harps in Ashland OR? We've had inquiries from some folks looking for harp activities in the Ashland area. They've had no reply from the Rogue Valley Harp Circle listed in our Harp Circles section. Does anyone out there know of any good harp contacts or groups currently active in or near Ashland? Please reply to firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll get it to those who have asked. Thanks!
Inspiring Video! Now here's something that a lot of us probably wish we had done, especially on those days when we feel we just never get any better at playing our harps. This YouTube video documents a brand new harper's progress, with a quick clip every week for a year! It's enough to motivate a person to go practice! See https://youtu.be/Oq37YOlSVhc.
On-line Lessons. Tracey Rose Brown, who usually teaches at Artichoke Music in Portland OR, is accepting harp students for online tutoring at this time. She is comfortable teaching various genres and has toured as a full-time feature harp player for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. Contact her at email@example.com or 503-439-6237.
Harp Seattle 2020. Dusty Strings has decided to cancel the in-person event and instead offer a "virtual" Harp Seattle this October! They are working out the details and technical aspects of delivering the same quality of experience online, and this year's scheduled presenters will still be taking part, including Kim Robertson, Harper Tasche, Nicolas Carter, Rachel Hair, Monica Schley, Jessica Gallo, Cathy Madden, and more! Details about the registration process for this virtual event will be forthcoming soon.
Harp Circle Changes. Due to
canceled meeting sites, etc., there are changes to the usual monthly
harp circles in our area:
Stepping Out. A member of the internet's harplist posted this quick and fun piece he composed during the quarantine... he performs from his driveway at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tguW7UYeecY&feature=youtu.be.
Dusty Strings Helps With PPE. The Dusty Blog has a wonderful story of how they helped organize the creation of critical face shields for local medical workers. See https://manufacturing.dustystrings.com/blog/making-protective-face-shields-hospital-workers.
Making Virtual Music Together. Dusty Strings also organized an on-line play-along of The Water Is Wide, a lovely tune which expresses the sadness of separation, and the creativity needed to get together! Beautiful to listen to, and fun to watch for the familiar faces. See https://manufacturing.dustystrings.com/blog/quarantune-final-project.
Dusty Strings Music School. The music school and retail shop remains closed but some teachers (Molly Bauckham, Tudy McLain, and Monica Schley) are offering on-line harp lessons. You can schedule weekly, bi-weekly, or occasional "one-off" lessons. Rates range from $40 for thirty minutes to $80 for one hour depending on the teacher. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your phone number and the name of the teacher with whom you'd like to begin lessons, and they will contact you as soon as possible to answer any questions and enroll you.
Learn a Tune by Ear. For his 184th (!) episode of Harp Tuesday, Josh Layne experiments with teaching a tune by ear. If you'd like to learn Down By The Salley Gardens with Josh, please see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WgCbshpFUQ.
Dusty Strings Closed. Dusty Strings Retail Shop and Music School sent out a note saying they were closed until further notice due to the stay-at-home order. All concerts, workshops, lessons, etc., canceled or postponed.
Long Distance Lessons. In this time of "social distancing" more people are turning to Skype and other platforms for music lessons. Josh Layne of Victoria BC has been teaching via Skype for 10 years and has shared some of his experience in a YouTube video to help others who might want to begin teaching this way; see the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kcJakZTWdqc&feature=youtu.be. Another resource discussing the same topic is presented by Noa Kageyama (the "Bullet Proof Musician") and Tim Topham in a talk about how to optimize your on-line lessons; see https://bulletproofmusician.com/tim-topham-on-how-to-maximize-your-effectiveness-when-teaching-lessons-online/.
And Long Distance Festival. We were so disappointed to hear that the Edinburgh Harp Festival had been canceled, but then came this great announcement! "THE EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL HARP FESTIVAL IS GOING ONLINE! We are thrilled to announce that we WILL have a harp festival from the 3rd-8th April - the VIRTUAL Edinburgh International Harp Festival! Whilst we cannot all be together this year in Edinburgh, the EIHF still wants to give you the chance to experience some happy harping. From the evening of Friday the 3rd of April until the evening of Wednesday the 8th of April, we will be uploading daily videos. You will be able to learn some tunes/skills with our 1 pm harp tutor videos AND every evening at 7.30 pm you will be able to enjoy some fantastic harp music videos. No registration is needed, the videos are free, and will be available to view after they are premiered meaning that they will be accessible in all time zones. Videos will be viewable on our: website at https://www.harpfestival.co.uk/, YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/edinharpfest, or Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/EdinburghInternationalHarpFestival/." What a wonderful and generous thing to do!
And Long Distance Harp Music. Beth Stockdell, editor of the Folk Harp Journal, sent out a message from the ISFHC promoting World Harp Healing Hour. Play some harp music every Friday evening at 6 pm ET (or in your own time zone) until further notice to send some positive intent into the world, and to foster a sense of unity during this time when we can't get together to play.
And Long Distance Harp Ensembles.
Italy's Celtic Harp Orchestra posted an inspiring video of them playing,
in living rooms, back yards, and balconies. Yet edited together, it is a
touching ensemble piece, especially given the frightening situation in
Italy. As they posted "We are locked down because of the
coronavirus quarantine, yet we won't stop playing together!" You can see
this video at
Interview with Lynne Aspnes. Noa Kageyama does an interesting session with harpist Lynne Aspnes on the particular value of gesture and breathing for harp players and the application to other instruments. See https://bulletproofmusician.com/lynne-aspnes-on-singing-breathing-and-the-value-of-cultivating-a-diverse-range-of-musical-influences/.
PSFHS Winter Folk Harp Festival. 42 harpers had a delightful weekend at the 34th annual Winter Folk Harp Festival at the beautiful Seabeck Conference Center in early February. We enjoyed two fun all-plays from our Harpers’ Songbook with Anna Jenkins; learned more technique and the history of a Polish mazurka and a lullaby from our two new group tunes with Harper Tasche; gained confidence and learned new strategies to calm down the jitters from performance anxiety with Kathy Wilmering; explored how and when to add a little beauty and sparkle to our favorite Celtic tunes using ornamentation with Judith Cummings; and discovered ways to get more out of our practice time by starting off with easy-at-first warm-up exercises with Harper Tasche’s ‘Finger Warmers’. One companion joined us for our meals and for the very fun céilidh Saturday night. Hope to see everyone at the Summer Retreat in June on Whidbey Island! To see a group shot of the happy harpers and a gallery of nice photos from the weekend, see www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org.
Job Opening at Dusty Strings. Earlier this month, Dusty Strings announced an opening at their main office in Interbay (near the Ballard Bridge in Seattle). The job consists of purchasing, coordinating repairs, and customer service. Please see the full job description and the application process at https://manufacturing.dustystrings.com/about-us/employmentcontact.
Harp Classes in Olalla WA. The School of Magical Strings is currently offering beginning and intermediate classes in Celtic Harp in Olalla. The five-week term begain February 25 but perhaps an interested student could arrange joining late by contacting the instructor, Philip Boulding. Classes are held Tuesdays at the “Magic Hill” Studio on the Kitsap Peninsula (10 minutes from the Southworth ferry dock). The beginning class meets from 6:00 – 7:30 pm, with the intermediate class scheduled for 7:30 – 9:00 pm. The method of instruction is based upon a very practical ‘hands-on’ approach to learning by ear. The class fee for the five-week term is $150 plus a $10 registration fee. Harps are available for rent or purchase. For more information please write to email@example.com.
Aryeh Frankfurter and Lisa Lynne Workshops. Aryeh and Lisa teach beginners' workshops where they provide harps. These are often held in libraries; some are free to attend. Here is the list of workshops, plus a few concerts, in March. Please e-mail Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org for complete information if you are interested in one of these events: Mar 05 - Lincoln City Cultural Center; Mar 06 - Manzanita; Mar 07 - Lake Oswego at Mary's Woods; Mar 08 - Corvallis Folklore Society Concert & Workshop; Mar 11 - Lake Oswego; Mar 12 - McMinnville house concert; Mar 13 - Maupin Library; Mar 14 - Dalles Library; Mar 26 - Tillamook Library; Mar 27 - Tillamook Library; Mar 28 - Seaside Library; Mar 29 - Newport Library.
Nicolas Carter Next October. Nicolas Carter, South American Harpist, is planning on being in the Seattle area October 8 and 11, 2020. He would be available to perform at a house concert, present a workshop, etc. Born in Minnesota and raised in Paraguay where he learned to play the Paraguayan harp, he creates unique performances blending his musicianship with his skills as a theatre artist and storyteller. If you think you might be interested in hosting such an event, you can find more info and see videos at www.nicolascarter.com.
Perfect Example of Harp Scam. One of our alert readers forwarded this message she got in reply to her "harp for sale" ad. Those selling harps should beware of and ignore anything that sounds like this!
"From: CaseyJ Lunsford
I am sincerely happy you still have it available for sale, i have gone through all the information about it on the page it posted and am very pleased with it present condition, Please kindly keep it away from other buyers and consider it sold to me. I am a serious buyer and i just contacted the shipping company whom will come to your door step for the pickup, we reached an agreement which is okay with me, I will issue out a check in your name tomorrow and send it out to your address ,the check will cover your selling price and my shipper shipping charges, as soon as you receive the check please take it to your bank for clearance. The check is 100 % okay and will definitely clear fine for the full amount issued on it, Please i need you to get it ready for shipment as soon as you have the check, as soon as i read from you the check is cleared in your bank i will inform the shipper to come for the pickup, i will be very glad if you prepare the bill of sales and every document ready, when my shipper arrived for the pickup they will pickup the documents for me. Finally as soon as you have the full fund in your account please deduct your selling price and have the balance transfer to the shipper on the information i will forward you when is time... the shipping charges should be transfer to the shipper without no delay and all transfer charges is to be deducted from my money. More so, I will need the requested below details for pickup and payment arrangement: Full Name; Full Address; City; State; Zip Code; Country; Mobile Number; Agreed price."
Welcome to the Board! The Puget Sound Folk Harp Society is delighted to announce that Anna Jenkins, of Shoreline WA (formerly of Kirkland) has accepted our invitation to join the Board of Directors. Anna will be taking the vacant position created when founding director Harper Tasche stepped down last May. Anna is very active in the area's harp community; currently she is the long -time leader of the Eastside Harp Circle, she teaches lever harp, composes and arranges for harp (just finished 3rd book of harp duets with Sharon Thormahlen called "Beautiful Dreams for Twin Harps"), arranges for and performs with folk/pop trio Nasty Woman, performs with The Band of Poets (a group that combines music with spoken word), and performs in Resonance Harp Duo with harpist Mona Terry. And after all this, she reports enjoying playing tunes with friends and family whenever the opportunity arises! Welcome, Anna!
Interested in Hosting a House Concert? Nancy Thym, historical harps, and her partner Thilo Viehrig , historical violins, may be in the Seattle area at the end of February, and if so would be open to doing a house concert. If you would be interested in hosting this duo, you can see an (older) poster at http://www.tapaconline.org/shows/14mar2012/thyme-viehrig that gives a good explanation of their program. If you'd like to speak to Nancy about details, contact her at email@example.com.
Tourin in Vancouver/Portland. Christina Tourin, Founder and
Director of the International Harp Therapy Program, Rainbow of Sound,
Emerald Harp, and so much more, will be in the Vancouver WA/Portland OR
area from March 11th-14th. You won’t want to miss this rare opportunity
with Christina as she offers:
Harp Workshop in BC. Registration is now open for the 21st Annual Spring Celtic Harp Workshop is April 17 & 18 in West Kelowna BC , this year with with Sharlene Wallace. The inimitable Sharlene Wallace from Toronto will guide the workshop on the theme of LIGHT! Begins on Friday April 17, with a full day's activities, including a evening concert with Sharlene, Caroline Mackay, and Aaron Ord. For a registration brochure, contact Caroline Mackay at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Irish Harp Curriculum. For the first time ever, Ceol Cascadia Irish Music Summer Camp (July 19th thru 25th this year), at Evergreen State College in Olympia, will have Irish Harp classes. Eimear Coughlan from Ireland will be on hand this year to teach Intermediate and Advanced harp all week. More information regarding the camp and registration can be found at http://www.cascadiairish.org/classes/harp.
Harp Accompaniment Example. This video is an interesting example of how very simple harp accompaniment (only two chords) can back up more complicated melody, in this case, a bluesy jazzy song. Multi-instrumentalist and music teacher Edem Garro, of Omaha, Nebraska, composed the song “What Drives You” for a contest (now over) sponsored by Lincoln automobiles. Edem did not win the competition, but finishing in the top four of 1600 entries is a victory in itself! See the performance at https://youtu.be/FOZF_JjVvZY.
New Album from Spookytree. Debra Knodel & Jane Valencia have released their first album in a very long time! WINTERGIFT is a celebration of the beauty, magic, and mystery of winter. This album is a compilation of beloved winter season tracks from across their albums, plus five brand new never-before-heard tracks. Featured are nylon-strung and wire-strung harps. You can listen to the album entirely for free at: https://janevalencia.bandcamp.com/album/wintergift.
Harp Ad Scammer. The latest scam approaches on the "Harps For Sale" ads was by someone called Paul Vintner. Beware!
Forest Halls Radio. Episode 42 of Jane Valencia's streaming radio show features the mystery and magic of the Bear in Celtic folklore. The second hour is a re-airing of Episode 21, "New," which focuses on music sent to Jane from the artists themselves. The harp appears in the music of Maire Ni Chathasaigh with Chris Newman and with the Casey Sisters, OMNIA, Spookytree, Kris & Lark, Diana Stork and Portia Diwa, and a bardic poem composed and spoken by Kevan Manwaring. The show streams Sundays from noon to 2 pm at http://voiceofvashon.org/forest-halls-celtic. You can listen to a program there "On Demand" for the following two weeks.
Summer Festivals Gearing Up. It's already time to think about summer harp festivals! The Harp Gathering in Ohio in May has its 2020 website up at www.harpgathering.com. And July's Somerset Festival in New Jersey has their 2020 site up at www.somersetharpfest.com. Enjoy browsing!
Planning Way Ahead. Golden Bough is planning another Celtic Music Cruise to Alaska, June 12 - June 19, 2021. The Celtic Music Cruise to Alaska is a private group excursion, sailing on the Holland America Cruise Line out of Seattle on June 12 and returning on June 19. While at sea, there will be workshops, concerts, dances, events. While in port you will be free to explore Alaska and all its beauty. Featuring, along with Golden Bough, Magical Strings (harp and hammered dulcimer); Jim Hinton (folklorist, traditional singer, composer); Cheryl Hinton (museum anthropologist and lecturer); Sam Keator (group dancing). The above artists will be teaching workshops on Celtic harp, Celtic fiddle, penny-whistle, hammered dulcimer, guitar, mandolin, bodhran, singing, and dancing. For more info, see http://goldenboughmusic.com/AlaskaCelticCruise2021.htm.
Harp Tech Appointments. Steve Moss will be performing harp regulations in Seattle from February 5th-10th. Contact Susi Hussong for more information and an appointment by phone at 206-783-9493 or email at email@example.com.
High Spirits Music Camp in April. Caroline MacKay writes to say "save the dates" as her annual Spring Retreat (with the inimitable Canadian Harp goddess Sharlene Wallace teaching) will be held in West Kelowna BC on Friday and Saturday, April 17 and 18th, 2020. The workshop will include a concert on the Friday night. All details will follow in due course.
UNESCO Recognizes Irish Harping. Peter Berry writes to share some uplifting news: Irish harping has been recognised by UNESCO as an important symbol of Ireland’s living heritage. The musical instrument has been added to the organisation’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. In a statement, UNESCO said: “Irish harping is at the heart of the identity of the people of the island of Ireland. The harp is Ireland’s national symbol and has been played for more than 1,000 years; its bell-like sounds and music captivate all those who hear it and are celebrated in Irish mythology, folklore and literature.”
New Cycle of MHTP Training Begins. A new cycle of CMP Modules starts on March 13, 2020. The Onsite Partner will be Saint Francis Hospital in Federal Way, Washington.Please visit www.mhtp.org site for important instructions and details about everything to do with registering for these Modules. All registrations are handled directly through the MHTP website.
Job Opening at Dusty Strings. Dusty Strings Music Store and School has an opening for a sale associate specializing in harps. 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 general knowledge of string instruments combined with a specialized background in harps, a drive to learn, and an ability to easily engage with customers is a must. Apply in person Mon.-Sat. 10:30 to 6:00, or Sun. 12:00 to 5:00, at Dusty Strings Music, 3406 Fremont N., Seattle, 98103.
PSFHS Festival Waiting List. The 2020 Winter Folk Harp Festival at the Seabeck Conference Center is full with a short wait list. If you would like to be on the wait list, please complete a registration form (get one at www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org ) and send it, along with a check, to the address on the form. Your check will not be deposited unless you are guaranteed a spot on the participant’s list. Please contact Sally at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
This page was last updated on May 02, 2021