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.
Ensemble Sangineto Tour. Ensemble Sangineto is touring the west coast, and has a few days open before a public concert with the Seattle Folklore Society on May 20th. The group has fantastic vocals with sublime harmonies, and performs with guitar, bowed psaltery, and Celtic harp, the latter two of which were made by renowned Italian luthier, Michele Sangineto, father of the two founding members. The ensemble performs Italian traditional, Celtic, Breton, medieval, and contemporary self penned compositions, and have performed at major festivals in Europe, as well as concerts and dances. If you have any interest in hosting them for a workshop, dance, lecture, or private concert from May 17-19th, please contact their agent Miki Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Final Call for Harp Tech. Steve Moss will be in Seattle (near Northgate) the first week of March, 2023, to regulate/repair both pedal and lever harps. By popular demand he has extended his stay and so he has a few spots left open. Please contact Susi Hussong, email@example.com, if you would like to be added to his list.
Looking for a Challenge in the New Year? Josh Layne has just released a new book featuring six pieces transcribed for lever harp (34 strings, fully levered): J.S Bach, Lute Prelude BWV 999; François Couperin, Le Dodo, ou L’ Amour au Berceau; Enrique Granados, Spanish Dance No. 5 (Andaluza) from 12 Spanish Dances; Marcel Tournier, Noël No. 1; Marcel Tournier, Soupir; John Thomas, The Minstrel’s Adieu to his Native Land. This book is available at Josh's online store at: https://www.joshlayne.com/store/?product=transcriptions-for-lever-harp-volume-2-downloadable-sheet-music-pdf. He describes the book as intermediate to advanced difficulty and you can get an idea of the difficulty level at this YouTube of The Minstrel's Farewell: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ci_HEn34KRM.
Harp Circle in Mid or South King County? Kathy Wilmering writes to ask "if there are any active harp circles in Seattle or south King County and when they meet". We do not currently know of any circles meeting in Seattle proper, or in South King County. But we do get inquiries about circles in that region. Perhaps it's time for a motivated group to form a new circle? If you are interested in attending or in facilitating a harp circle in that area, please contact Diane at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can at least start a list to see if there's a potential group out there!
Harp Technician in March. Harp tech Steve Moss is making his annual visit to Seattle March 2-5, 2023. Steve does regulations, restringing, and some repairs for both pedal and lever harps. Please contact Susi Hussong at email@example.com to get a spot on the schedule.
Featured Harp Music for December? In the days before Covid, when we used to have residential weekend harp events, twice a year we would release our group tunes from those events as Featured Music for the months of March and September. In June and December, we would feature music volunteered by one of the many composer/arrangers of harp music who live in our region. In this way we had music four times a year, covering all the seasons! Since we've not had a weekend event, we've been missing our Spring and Autumn music, but we have still published tunes for Summer and Winter. And Winter is coming up next month! If you have a winter or winter-holiday themed tune (either an original, or an original arrangement of a tune in the public domain), please contact Diane at firstname.lastname@example.org and let's talk about sharing it with Reigning Harps readers in December!
Lever Harp at Ceremony for Queen Elizabeth II. With the passing of Queen Elizabeth in September, we were presented with many days of solemn pageantry and beautiful music. But one of the most memorable was from the farewell ceremony in St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh, Scotland. Karen Matheson, traditional singer, and Catriona Mackay, harpist, did a touching rendition of Psalm 18, to the tune "Bays of Harris". Karen sang in Scottish Gaelic, and Catriona played a sensitive accompaniment, with the first verse treble part all in harmonics. You can see and hear this lovely musical tribute at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vh9jHko6ObQ.
Magical Strings Celtic Yuletide.
The extended Boulding family present their 4th Annual Celtic
Yuletide Concert again this year. These concerts sell out quickly so
contact the venue of your choice for tickets as soon as you can!
New Book by Mary Dessein. Mary Dessein, harp player formerly of Snohomish and now living on Whidbey Island, has news to share: her new book is now available in paperback on Amazon! "When I Was a Rock Star: Thoughts on Being Present in the World" is a collection of essays that describe Mary's many life experiences, including one, "A Harp and a Stone", inspired by one of our harp weekends. Congratulations to Mary! To see more about the book, visit: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BFWNGR9R/ref=sr_1_1?crid=317QVKLBB1YVO&keywords=When+I+was+a+rock+star&qid=1663730916&s=books&sprefix=when+i+was+a+rock+star%2Cstripbooks%2C147&sr=1-1.
More News from Seattle AHS Chapter. Our friends at the Greater Seattle AHS Chapter have more news about their plans going forward. After the current officers announced that there was a need to disband the chapter, much communication ensued. Pat Wooster has e-mailed all members to say that there is a way to keep the chapter alive in "bare bones mode" for the time being, eliminating some features that were difficult to maintain, and consolidating duties. Interested volunteers met on October 1st to plan a more streamlined approach for the future. We send our congratulations and best wishes to them!
Advance Notice! If you fancy a trip to beautiful New Zealand, you might want to plan for the first part of February and make a visit to a "weekend of harp, sun, and fun!" at Harp Fest NZ, Feb. 3-6 2023, in Auckland NZ. You can check out the instructors and performers on-line at www.harpfestnz.com. You'll notice our neighbors Josh Layne (from Victoria BC) and Elizabeth Volpe Bligh (from Vancouver BC) are on the list... looks to be a really great time in an amazing location!
Harp Workshops at Dusty Strings. Looking ahead to October, Lisa Lynne and Aryeh Frankfurter will be teaching workshops October 14 at the Dusty Strings Music School (at the retail shop in Fremont). Lisa will be teaching a workshop on playing by ear and composing, Aryeh will teach a workshop for harpers called Think Like a Rhythm Guitarist, and the two together will present a class on how to present a successful concert. All workshops are $50. For more info or to register, see www.dustystrings.com, click on Music School, then choose Workshops from the menu and scroll down to October dates.
Camac California Harp Festival 2022! Pacific Harps in Pasadena CA is hosting a 3 day Camac Harp Festival in November. The event will take place November 4-6 at the Pasadena Sheraton, and will feature displays of Camac pedal and lever harps, as well as performances and workshops by many well-known harp players. Genres include Classica, Jazz, Pop, Celtic, and Latin. Request more information from email@example.com.
Big Sky Harp Retreat Returns! Our harping friends in Montana are once again hosting a live harp retreat during the month of September. The 2022 Montana Harp Retreat will be held September 16-18 in Missoula, MT . (A beautiful time of year to visit Montana!) This year's presenter is Carol Kappus, well known Folk Harp Journal contributor and widely experienced harp player. For more info on the presenter, retreat schedule, and registration options, please visit www.bigskyharpsociety.org and click the 2022 retreat button at the top of the page.
Harp Retreat in Colorado. The Spanish Peaks Harp Retreat is returning live this year, Wednesday, September 21-Sunday, September 25 at the Community Centre, Walsenburg, Colorado. Presenters will be Nancy Thym, Bavarian and German Music; Beth Kolle, Celtic and Nordic Music; Kathy Wimmer, Harp and Pipe Workshop. Levels: Advanced, Intermediate, Advanced Beginner. For registration and more information see www.spanishpeaksharpretreat.com.
Magical Strings Fall Harp Classes. Philip Boulding will once again be offering a fall term of harp classes. E-mail Philip at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like info on these upcoming classes.
Verlene Schermer Workshops On-line. Verlene Schermer is continuing her series of Saturday Workshops via the internet. She has four great workshops coming up in August, and you can learn more about those at her website. She has also set up a new mailing list for those who would like to get info on her workshops ahead of time. If you'd like to get on that, you can visit www.verlene.com and click on the "Join Verlene's email list" link. There's an option to choose only to hear about workshops, or to also hear about performances or new books and recordings.
Josh Layne at World Harp Conference. Victoria BC's Josh Layne reports he is headed to the UK soon to perform the world premiere of his septet arrangement of Bochsa's Concerto No. 1 in D minor at the World Harp Congress in Cardiff, Wales (July 23-28). He says he'll be there for the entire congress, so be sure to say 'hi' if you're in attendance! His performance will be at 5 pm on Thursday, July 28th.
Events Going Live, Keeping On-line Option. Finally, we are starting to see some live music and in-person harp events happening again, after two-plus years of on-line only options. But not surprisingly, we notice that many activities are maintaining their internet participation choice, even as they return to meeting in person. This is happening from small groups, such as the local harp circles mentioned in our Calendar, who are allowing Zoom participation in their live meetings, to huge endeavors like the Somerset Folk Harp Festival, which has adopted a "hybrid" theme and registers both in-person and virtual attendees (see www.somersetharpfest.com for details). This situation is offering a lot of activity for those who are ready to get back to group interaction, and those who prefer, for whatever reason, to join in from their own home! We'll continue to add both types of events to our Calendar, so please, let us know about any that you feel would be of interest.
Seattle AHS Chapter May Be Closing. The officers of the Seattle Chapter of the American Harp Society sent out a memo recently saying that unless some new officers came forward to take over the leadership of the group, it would be necessary to close the chapter down. This has been an active chapter; not too many years back it hosted the national conference in Tacoma, and has published the informative Resonance newsletter for a long time. The Puget Sound Folk Harp Society is sorry to hear of this situation, but we do understand that it has been difficult to carry on with standard activities and events during these last couple of years! We'll try to keep everyone updated on further developments.
No PSFHS Retreat this Summer. As Covid restrictions begin to ease, we were all hoping that we could get back to some PSFHS events soon, such as the annual Retreat in June. However, word recently came from our Retreat venue that the building we use for lodging, dining, and harp playing is not going to be available this summer, because they have not found a way to retrofit it for adequate ventilation. So, with great disappointment, we've decided to delay the Retreat once more, and begin a search for another venue for 2023, or perhaps even a different type of program. Stay tuned for any developments... we'll keep you posted!
Harp Tent Returns to Skagit Valley Games! After a Covid hiatus, the Skagit Valley Highland Games will be open this year for one day on Saturday July 9th and there WILL be a harp tent. Becky Fox is stepping forward to organize the tent summer as Sally Verrinder retires from her many successful years of developing the harp tent program, and the plan is to fill the day with performances. Those interested in participating can contact Becky at email@example.com for more information.
National AHS Conference June 22-25. The 44th conference of the American Harp Society will be held in person this summer! Registration is already open for the conference, which will take place in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. For all the info, a list of presenters, and registration and hotel details, see the website at www.harpsociety.org/national-conference.
Free Harp Arrangement of Ukrainian Anthem. Shoreline WA harpers Anna Jenkins and Linda Khandro join music and art in their offering of the State Anthem of Ukraine. You will be able to download it for free through Melody’s Traditional Music at www.folkharp.com (please check back here for the complete link once it is fully uploaded). It includes an intermediate level solo harp arrangement, a watercolor cover print inspired by the colors of Ukraine’s flag, an English translation of the anthem’s words, and Anna’s and Linda’s comments!
Harp and Story. Beth Kolle sent word of this YouTube video that shows how harp can be used to accompany story... Alyssa Reit plays a beautiful accompaniment to the wonderfully told Irish tale of Oisin in Tir na n'Og. See the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOu6_oYVBr8.
YouTube Tour of Lyon & Healy Factory. If you have a spare half hour and are interested in how pedal harps are hand-crafted, there is a recent YouTube video which shows a close-up view of the Lyon & Healy factory in Chicago. A harp music fan and a harpist tour the factory, interview the crafts people, and show these beautiful instruments from lumber to finished product. See the video at https://youtu.be/k7FeC-cU4g0.
Modes in March. Verlene Schermer is
teaching a series of workshops in March that deal with all manner of
modes. There are 6 workshops total, but you can opt to take one or any
number of the individual classes. They'll be using her book, "Playing
and Improvising Modal Music" for the first 3 classes; it can be ordered
https://verlene.com/modal.html either hard copy or as a PDF.
Harp Ensembles in BC. The Vancouver Academy of Music is going to have two exciting harp ensemble programs. Instructors will be Rosanna Chiu and Joy Yeh who will teach a variety of music suitable for all levels. The children's ensemble will start February 24 and meet twice a month, with a concert on May 8 at the Koerner Recital Hall. To register see https://vancouveracademyofmusic.com/semester-courses/vam-childrens-harp-ensemble/. The adult ensemble will start April 7 and meet once a month, with a concert on June 11 at the Koerner Recital Hall. To register see https://vancouveracademyofmusic.com/semester-courses/20113/.
Seeking Rental Harp for Wedding. Alicia Jones (Bellingham WA/Seattle WA) is looking to rent a pedal (preferably) or lever harp for a wedding in Bellingham March 10-13. She is a former professional and experienced with lever and pedal harps. Please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 626-826-5604.
Sunita Staneslow and Uri Miles in Concert. Sunita and Uri (pipes, flute, whistle) presented a free on-line concert of Scottish music at the end of January, and if you missed it, the recording is at YouTube for all to see. Watch anytime by clicking this link: https://youtu.be/mOUO2fcwCMg . These concerts have no cost to attend, and the recorded Scottish Concert is available to everyone. But if you enjoy it, your contribution towards production costs and musician fees is much appreciated at https://hamars.uk/concert-contributions/.
New Harp Gathering Workshop. The Harp Gathering has posted another harp workshop video to their YouTube channel! This month features Sharlene Wallace and who will teach you all about the importance of scales. She will show you how to utilize them in performance and how to take a fun approach to practicing them. Be sure to check it out at https://youtu.be/qihUgbnwovc.
Harp Gathering Workshop. Another great workshop on the Harp Gathering Youtube Channel. Their description: "Are you noodling around with improvisation on the harp and need some help figuring out where to start? Well, this month's presenter, Anne Roos, has just the workshop for you...Harp Noodles!!! Join Anne as she guides you through the ins and outs of improvisation on the fly." Here is the Youtube link: https://youtu.be/BxOFpwwgE_Y. And this handouts link will make sense when you watch the video: https://harpgathering.com/assets/pdfs/2021_anne_r_handouts.pdf.
Lever Shifting for the Modern Harpist.
Amelia Romano has designed a new curriculum to equip lever harp
players with the tools to navigate, practice and perform chromatic
repertoire. She has two tracks planned:
The Monarch Cycle. Reader Marian Birch sent in a note about The Monarch Cycle, a modern "ceol mór" (great song) composed and performed on the Cláirseach (Irish wire strung harp) by Ann Heymann, and arranged for mixed harps ensemble by Marta Cook. This music was inspired by Michelle Madeline Dalquist (March 17th, 1987 – September 10th, 2021) and her long affinity with the Monarch butterfly. The composition is dedicated to Michelle's memory. This lovely piece was performed by many harpers around the world, including Marian herself. You can see and hear it at https://youtu.be/UlyerDdChxA.
Kantele Video. Seattle harper
Linda Khandro sent in this lovely clip of a well-known kantele player
performing Jean Sibelius's "Finlandia". The kantele (ancient instrument
of Finland) looks and sounds very much like a sideways wire-strung harp,
and it is fascinating to watch the player's hands in close-up, as she
plucks, changes "levers", and employs damping techniques very similar to
those harpers use. See the video at
Winterharp is Touring This Year! If you live in the lower mainland of British Columbia, you probably have heard and seen Winterharp, a wonderful holiday concert tradition that is back for this year! All through the month of December they will be enchanting audiences throughout BC. See the calendar at https://www.winterharp.com/concerts.php for the latest on venues and tickets.
Just in Time for Holiday Gifts! Luzma Ortiz is offering a sale on her beautiful harp jewelry. She says "Enjoy my BIGGEST SALE EVER!!! in celebration of my husband Alfredo Rolando Ortiz's 60 years with the harp (December 1961- December 2021). 20% off (items on sale excepted). Use CODE: 60 during check-out at www.HarpJewelry.com. (Offer valid until December 31st, 2021.)
The Harp Gathering's Christmas Tune Workshop. Join Kim Robertson as she presents her workshop "Christmas Chillout!" Kim will show you how to craft your own Christmas arrangements and offers valuable instruction on how to create gorgeous tunes from start to finish. See the workshop at https://youtu.be/48113ALb8V8.
Josh Layne's Harpist in the Wild. Josh Layne, of Vancouver Island BC, has been a very busy man recently! He filmed his own composition for the finale of his current Harpist in the Wild season: Nordic Spaces was filmed in front of a rising moon, and can be seen at https://www.joshlayne.com/nordicspaces/ . The sheet music for Nordic Spaces is available there as well. It's intermediate difficulty level, for pedal or 34+ string lever harp, key of E flat, and no lever or pedal changes. (There are some "special effects/extended techniques" in Nordic Spaces; Josh demonstrates those in some clips at the same page). Also, if you missed Episode 6, it featured the piece "Aurum Aqua" by Susan Dahl Graham, filmed at dawn with the rising sun turning the ocean to gold. You can see it at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4st6EvNLih4. The sheet music for Aurum Aqua is freely available to download and playing hints are given at Josh's Harp Tuesday episode at https://www.harptuesday.com/ep223/.
Eugene Holiday Market. The Holiday Market at the Lane Events Center in Eugene OR is open this year and they now have two stages for live music! There are harps in Eugene, and they do play at these stages from time to time... see the ever evolving calendar at https://www.holidaymarket.org/holiday_market-entertainment.html for names, times, and places!
Customer Service & Purchasing Job at Dusty
Strings. High quality musical instrument manufacturing company
seeks a full-time person to join our customer service and administrative
team. Responsibilities will include customer service and order-taking by
phone and email, purchasing and receiving duties assigned by our
purchasing manager (including occasional errands and infrequent large
deliveries that involve lifting and carrying), and assorted other tasks.
As a small company, we all wear many hats, and we hope to find someone
with a desire to contribute to the team by expanding their knowledge and
taking on other functions as opportunities arise. Please email four
items: a fully-completed application form, your resume, a cover
letter telling us what skills and experience you have that relate to
this position, and proof of COVID-19 vaccination,
A Fun Fiction Read. Jan-Joy Sax sends a note to recommend a book about a beginning harpist, following her dreams and a harpmaker! Jan-Joy says "As an audio book, it is entrancing, It is read by actors in England, who have a superb way of expressing the characters so that they seem real! And all the harp bits are accurate because it is written by a harpist: Hazel Prior is a harpist, and I wrote her an email, to which she responded. She is just starting her career as an author, and would appreciate any reviews from those who read and enjoyed her book. You can listen to a sample on Amazon, buy the paperback or read it on Kindle, however, the audible book is fabulous, and puts you right in the middle of this book, full of romance, action, fulfilling your almost lost dreams, and kindness, which shines through the characters, at least most of them (not the villain) There is even a Pheasant who is an engaging character!" You can check this book out by going to www.amazon.com and searching for Ellie and the Harpmaker.
Irish Harp Day 2021. On October 16 Ireland celebrated Harp Day and many many recorded contributions from all over the world were gathered to celebrate the diversity of the harp. To see/hear any of these compilations, see the Harp Day channel on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCS15CUtrFuyqbGkpPgbCpew.
Harpist in the Wild. Josh Layne has released a new episode of his YouTube series Harpist in the Wild; this one is of his original composition For the Earth: Song Without Words, and you can see/hear it at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-vF8SL1aUI. If you'd like to play it yourself (intermediate difficulty level, for pedal or 34+ string lever harp), the PDF sheet music is available for $5 CDN at his online store at www.joshlayne.com.
No PSFHS Winter Festival in 2022. Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and now the Delta variant, the PSFHS board of directors is exercising extreme caution and are sad to announce we have cancelled the Winter Folk Harp Festival at Seabeck in February 2022. We look forward to announcing the 35th Winter Folk Harp Festival for 2023 in late 2022. If you have any questions, please contact festival co-director Sally Verrinder at email@example.com. And stay tuned for information about the possibility of an in-person 2022 Summer Folk Harp Retreat in June at Camp Casey!
Kathy Chanik Video. Last month we
shared the sad news of the passing of Kathy Chanik, formerly of
Bremerton WA, and a harp festival goer extraordinaire. It was Kathy's
nature to watch and applaud from the audience, but she was also a
wonderful player. One of her friends posted a video of her playing a set
in a concert of the Washington (DC) folk harp society, where you can
hear her humor and talent. Go to the following link:
New CD for Aryeh Frankfurter. "Tunes for Patrons" is a collection of the less-often performed planxties of Turlough O'Carolan, those tunes he wrote in honor of his patrons and hosts as he traveled his native Ireland. To hear and/or purchase, see https://aryehfrankfurter.bandcamp.com/album/tunes-for-patrons-music-of-turlough-ocarolan?fbclid=IwAR3Fha3ZDCv7BHl8NwL9aUMZza5msmZJwY_jloG4u3a37odYsPCPy0_X_tE.
The Harp Gathering's Sunita Concert. In August, The Harp Gathering presented a premier of Sunita Staneslow in concert from Israel, and it is currently still on-line to view for free at https://youtu.be/WjVMb96MwOM. The Harp Gathering has many other workshop and concert videos posted, all free to enjoy.
New Website for David Michael. Port Townsend's David Michael (the former ferryboat harper) has a new website at www.DavidMichaelHarp.com. You can browse his catalog, purchase, download, and enjoy free streaming with CD quality sound, and even view his DVD collaboration with videographer Brian Noblet, "Four Seasons of Western Washington". He also has info about his new CD Skyburst, made in collaboration with other talented Northwest musicians. Congratulations to him on all his endeavors!
Dusty Strings Seeks Musical Instrument Technician. High quality musical instrument manufacturing company has an opening for a full-time musical instrument technician in a fast-paced and fun production shop. The position includes hardware installation, stringing, regulation, string winding, quality control, and other duties as assigned. We train beginners who show aptitude and desire. Traits sought: Experience at and desire to do technical, detailed handwork; Good musical ear and knowledge; Skill and experience using a variety of tools; Strong work ethic; Good communication skills. Please email four items: a fully-completed application form, your resume, a cover letter telling us what skills and experience you have that relate to this position, and proof of COVID-19 vaccination, barring medical or religious exemption. Salary is dependent on experience. No phone calls please. Download the Instrument Technician application here: https://manufacturing.dustystrings.com/about-us/employment.
Combined Website for Tina Tourin. Tina Tourin's team recently folded all of her many web resources into one site, where you can find pre-recorded lessons, webinars, and much more. Take a look at www.PlayHarp.com/tutorials/.
Remembering Kathy Chanik. Those of you who have been involved in the Western WA harp community for some time may remember the always smiling Kathy Chanik who lived for a number of years in Bremerton. Kathy was a frequent attendee at PSFHS events, a classically trained musician who loved hanging with the pedal harpists or the folk harpers, and a front row center audience member at nearly every harp conference in the country. Kathy, just 68, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly at her home in Fairfax, VA on August 18th. She is survived by her husband Marty (retired Vice Admiral Evan M. Chanik, who was the USS Carl Vinson Battle Group Commander in Bremerton when they lived there). Kathy will be missed by everyone who loved her harp playing and her enthusiasm. You can read more about her at: https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/fairfax-va/kathleen-chanik-10313946?utm_source=share_obit&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=obit_detail&utm_content=view_obit_button
Harp Classes On-line. On-line Zoom harp classes through Artichoke Music. See www.artichokemusic.org, classes listings, beginner to intermediate. Artichoke Music wants to help make harp education more available to the community at this time through Zoom group and private classes. Instructor: Tracey Rose Brown contact at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For Something Completely Different. Here are two YouTube videos that feature the harp and are pretty amusing. The first is the indefatigable Dan Veaner with a wonderful meditation on playing Pachelbel's Canon in D for countless weddings. See it at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtC7YWWlBbQ. The second is by a couple of classical violinists who go from instrument to instrument, seeing how difficult they are to learn. In "We Try to Learn the Harp in One Hour", we can see many of our own beginning questions and struggles, as well as some very good hints from their harpist teacher. Watch this one at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRZ1EDf2ybU.
Two Awards for Ann Heymann. We were sent news of Ann Heymann (long-time wire harp player and early music scholar) receiving TWO Lifetime Achievement Awards this month, independently, from both The Historical Harp Society of Ireland and The Somerset Folk Harp Festival in New Jersey. There is also a very comprehensive and interesting article about Ann and her work in the Summer Folk Harp Journal. Congratulations, Ann!
New Workshop from The Harp Gathering. The Harp Gathering has just posted a new workshop video on the HarpGatheringHarpFestival YouTube channel. See what harpist Dr. Diana Rowan has to say about suspensions and how that one extra note brings magic and mystery to your music! Watch at: https://youtu.be/fxxuKrUQEz4.
News from Seattle Harp Arts. Allison Austin writes to say: We would like to announce the changes in our name after our fifth anniversary in business: Austin Harp Arts has now become Seattle Harp Arts. We welcome John Carrington to our teaching staff for pedal and lever harp lessons. See our website (www.seattleharparts.com) for harp flash cards and a few fun ensemble pieces too! We are also carrying a variety of lever harps on consignment, and we are carrying full sets of all Dusty Strings harp strings. Individual strings are also available.
Dusty Strings Newest Invention! Dusty Strings has come up with a new string anchor that can save us all from "the knot" and those pesky string ends we save for splines which invariably jump out of "the knot" and land in the unreachable bowels of the harp somewhere. The new String Button is larger than the traditional string anchor so easier to hold and thread, are reusable, and do not effect tone quality. The String Button works for lever and folk harp tension with nylon and gut strings, also for pedal harp tension in the third octave and above. For details, see the info and the very funny "infomercial" at https://manufacturing.dustystrings.com/harps/accessories-hardware/tools-maintenance/string-buttons.
International Harp Therapy Program. The harp therapy program associated with Christina Tourin, IHTP, will be having Informational Open House Sessions online July 13 and July 14; August 10 and August 11. Application due date for the next program is September 1, 2021. For further details or to register, see www.HarpTherapyUSA.com.
Latin American Harp Technique. Angel
Toloso Moreno has posted a group of videos that show the essentials of a
number of harp techniques, and they are fascinating to watch and try to
apply. He writes "Essential Latin American Harp Vocabulary is a series
of instructional videos that allows us to learn the musical fundamentals
from Latin America, so that we can apply them on the harp. Please share
this info with other harp players, your students and harp lovers.
New Video from The Harp Gathering. A brand new harp workshop video presented by Denise Grupp-Verbon called “The Leader of the Band is the Left Hand.” It’s all about left hand technique and Denise also provides tips on arranging, bass lines and introductions. Check it out at https://youtu.be/1JrDBI2TsmA.
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 February 01, 2023