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 email@example.com for submission guidelines.
PSFHS Winter Festival Registration Closed. Thanks to all for your interest in the Puget Sound Folk Harp Society's Winter Folk Harp Festival. The festival is currently at capacity and registration is now closed.
Music for Healing and Transition Classes. (Note change of date from last announcement.) Music for Healing and Transition has scheduled a new cycle of classes starting March 8th & 9th, 2014 in Federal Way, WA. MHTP provides training and certification for musicians to become Certified Music Practitioners (CMP® ). CMPs® bring live acoustic music to the bedside for those who are critically or chronically ill or who are transitioning from life to death. Please visit our website for details (dates specific to each module will be updated in the next week): www.mhtp.org or contact Cheryl Zabel, Washington Area Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org, 253-307-0999.
Pedal Harp Sought. The Snowman Foundation ( www.snowmanfoundation.org ) is a Portland-based nonprofit that endeavors to find musical instruments for young musicians in need. Their "Play it Forward" program tries to match donated used instruments with eager students. Recently they've had a request for a pedal harp. If anyone has, or knows of, a pedal harp languishing unplayed that could be donated to a worthy young harpist, please contact project manager Amy Johnson at email@example.com or 503-318-3582 for more information.
Olympia Harp Circle Up and Running! Jean Stewart writes to say that a harp circle has formed in the Olympia area and has dates planned for meetings from January until June. Many attempts have been made to form a circle in/near Olympia over the last several years, so it is great to hear that this one is now active! If you live in that vicinity and are interested in a friendly harp get-together, contact Jean at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-943-0164 for details and directions.
New CD for Magical Strings. Magical Strings is celebrating 35 years of Celtic Yuletide Concerts with a new CD, Longing for Ireland , a soulful compilation of their best compositions that will send you to the heart of the Magical Isle! This new album is now for sale on their website at www.magicalstrings.com.
Dates Set for 11th Dusty Strings Harp Symposium! Mark your calendars for the next Symposium, October 10-12, 2014. Plans are well underway for this special event, with presenters and performers Kim Robertson, Erik Ask-Upmark, Patrick Ball, Aryeh Frankfurter, and Lisa Lynne. There will be concerts at the Dusty Strings main stage and at the Triple Door downtown, and many specials are being arranged with local retailers so that participants can enjoy the best of the Fremont neighborhood during their stay. We'll keep you posted as details develop and when registration opens this summer!
In Need of Harp Regulation, Repair? Harp technician Steve Moss (see www.mossharpservice.com) will be visiting the Seattle area the week of February 11. If you would like to get on his schedule for harp regulation, repair, restringing (lever or pedal), please contact Susi Hussong at email@example.com.
New CD for the Kosaka Brothers! KosakaBoys (Timmy, age 16, and Jonny, age 12) has released a Christmas Harp album "He Came". The CD is available at various stores including the Enchanted Harp in Puyallup, and at their concerts (see December calendar for dates). Also available online at www.KosakaBoys.com, Amazon, CD Baby, Google Play, etc.
Music for Healing and Transition Classes. Music for Healing and Transition has scheduled a new cycle of classes starting March 15th & 16th, 2014 in Federal Way, WA. MHTP provides training and certification for musicians to become Certified Music Practitioners (CMP® ). CMPs® bring live acoustic music to the bedside for those who are critically or chronically ill or who are transitioning from life to death. Please visit our website for details: www.mhtp.org or contact Cheryl Zabel, Washington Area Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org, 253-307-0999.
Winter Folk Harp Festival Waiting List Available. The annual PSFHS January harp weekend is now full, but don't despair! We often have a cancellation or two before Festival time, so if you send your registration quickly there is still a chance. Registrations are placed on a waiting list by postmark date, and we'll let you know ASAP if a space opens up for you. For more information contact Sally (email@example.com) or Harper (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance Seeks Volunteer Musicians. Susan Greenwood from Seattle Cancer Care Alliance writes "Please consider playing for us at the SCCA Clinic and occasionally Hutch School. Be it twice a month or twice a year, we’d love to have you. In addition to playing in the lobby/waiting areas of our outpatient clinic, we also have special events throughout the year that need a volunteer musician or two. For example: Semi-annual service of remembrances (family and friends of patients we’ve lost in the previous 6 months are invited to participate); Annual Holiday Open House for patients and families (this year’s is Saturday, December 14th); Holiday sales open house at Shine, our cancer specialty store. I hope to hear from you soon, especially if you’re able to provide even an hour’s worth of holiday cheer to our upcoming Holiday Open House for patients and caregivers." For more information, a volunteer brochure, or an application form, please contact Susan Greenwood at email@example.com.
Double-strung Harp Retreat (March 14-16) with Laurie Riley. The retreat will be at a large beach house on Whidbey Island. Several double-strung rental harps have been built especially for this retreat, for those who need them. Instruction for all skill levels! No one is too beginner or too advanced! Is the double strung hard to play? Not at all. What does a double strung harp do? Because it has two full rows of strings so your hands never meet, you can play your big-harp arrangements on a small harp without changing the arrangement, and you can also get special effects such as echoing, doubling, overlapping, and much more. So come and find out what it's all about! Please contact Laurie at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Great Turnout at Galway Traders! On November 3rd a long-time tradition of welcoming Samhain (the Celtic new year) with harp music continued at Galway Traders in Ballard. Six local harpers (Nan Pardew, Cynthia Rice Kuni, Sile Harriss, Peter Berry, Seumas Gagne, and Linda Khandro) shared their talents with a happy and cozy audience. There was a good mix of harp types (two wire strung (one floor, one lap), two gut strung, two nylon single course, one nylon double strung) and a great variety of music presented, spanning from the 10th to the 21st century -- fast dance music to slow laments and airs, plus harps used to accompany singing and stories. Thanks to the players who volunteered their time, and to Galway Traders for their unfailing support and hospitality. For a photo, see www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org.
Registration for PSFHS Winter Folk Harp Festival Now Open. Plans are final for our winter festival, January 24-26 2014. Please see the information brochure and registration form by going to www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org and following the link you'll find there.
PSFHS Co-Sponsors Samhain Harps at Galway Traders. Galway Traders Irish Imports (7518 15th Ave NW in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle) will host a free harp performance on Sunday, November 3, 2-4 pm, to celebrate Samhain (the Celtic New Year). This year's players are Cynthia Kuni, Linda Khandro, Nan Pardew, Peter Berry, Seumas Gagne, and Sile Harriss. Come enjoy beautiful harp music in a cozy and informal setting! Please contact Diane at email@example.com for more information. (And remember, Daylight Savings Time ends that Sunday, so be sure to "fall back" so you arrive at the correct hour!)
Largest Recorded Harp Orchestra.
And we think we have a big harp gathering when we get 40+ harps playing
together at our Winter Festival! Here's a video of the recent
Guinness-record holding harp ensemble; unfortunately, you can't hear them
too well for the clapping-along audience, but it's an impressive sight to
see 420 Paraguayan style harps in one spot:
Seattle's "Serenaders" Seek Harp Player for Holiday Performances. The volunteer youth chamber ensemble Serenaders have been performing since 1974. They are presently 8 players on harp, violin, viola, cello, bass, and orchestra bells, and could add another harp player (either lever or pedal) and one or two violins, as they play for lonely seniors this season. Contact Patricia Jaeger at 206-525-7682 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The dates this December to perform (always 7-8 PM) are Dec. 5, Aegis of Northgate; Dec. 10, Northaven Retirement; and Dec. 18,Victoria Park Senior Apartments. Besides traditional Christmas carols they will also offer "Walking in the Air", "Morningtown Ride", "The Teddy Bears' Picnic", "The Navy Hymn", and "America the Beautiful", all arranged by Mrs. Jaeger.
Magical Strings 35th Year of Celtic Yuletide Concerts. The tradition continues, as Magical Strings announces its 35th triumphant year of annual Celtic Yuletide Concerts taking place throughout Puget Sound in December 2013! Three generations of the Boulding family performers are joined by the world class Tara Academy of Irish Dance, acclaimed vocalist Colleen Raney with soulful Irish songs and Dublin-born guitarist Colm MacCárthaigh, Canadian fiddler Jocelyn Pettit, and Matt Jerrell with his impeccable percussion, all creating a remarkable celebration to kindle the light of Yuletide. For details about the performances, see the December Calendar, or visit www.magicalstrings.com.
Record Turnout at PSFHS Picnic! Despite early morning thundershowers, and the forecast of the same at any time, the largest group yet turned out for the annual Puget Sound Folk Harp Society Potluck Picnic on September 15. It was a little difficult to count, what with all the moving around between tasty treats, hula-hooping, and pinata-swatting, but several counts confirmed 19 people there with harps, and a few welcome family members too! Northwesterners are not deterred by a little rain; most came prepared with layers of clothes to put on over their tropical garb, as well as tarps, plastic bags, and even a roofed shelter. But the harp music seemed to keep the showers at bay as we snacked and chatted, laughed and sang, and played our harps together for the better part of the afternoon. Just as clean-up time approached, we heard the first rumbles of thunder... packing up happened in record time, and the last few cars were leaving the parking lot as the deluge began! If you'd like to take a look at a gallery of photos (our thanks to Bob Zawalich, Diana Beaumont, and Maria Wilson), see http://tinyurl.com/psfhs-picnic-2013.
Seattle Harp Player Takes Her Lever Harp to New Levels. Seattle's Carol Levin is known as being the harpist in the all-female jazz band, The Mood Swings (see http://moodswingsjazz.org/ for a great photo). Recently she has found even more innovative ways to use her lovely Dusty FH-36! Last spring, she was the only lever harpist who joined the Dr. Who Fan Orchestra for a world-wide video compilation of "Amy's Suite". She worked with the arranger to adapt the pedal harp score, and can be seen in the center of the montage between 1:32 and 2:14 at the YouTube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNBadCgPuBo. A long-time Dr. Who fan, Carol is already hard at work learning her part for the 50th Anniversary Fan Orchestra offering! And she has only recently returned from a week-long improvisers' workshop in Amsterdam. She writes "This involved 18 people from all over the world working with five incredible faculty in small and large ensemble free improvisation. Talk about bravery - at the first session they asked us to introduce ourselves - with a three-minute solo. Yikes!" Carol reports that she was able to rent a Camac Baby Blue from Brenda dor Groot, VP of the International Jazz Harp Foundation, and the harp came with a bag of effects pedals, which were another new aspect to explore. Congratulations to Carol on her harp adventures!
New CD for Patrice Haan. Patrice Haan, harper, singer, poet and songwriter, has released her third solo album of originals, We Must Be Arrows. We Must Be Arrows takes us straight to the heart of desire and creation. Like arrows, we use the things of our world and our life experience to launch ourselves to that which we most long to realize. At once antique and modern, the 14 songs of We Must Be Arrows represent a broad spectrum of styles: from ballads and meditative tone poems to a simply silly paean for tea which will be recognized by attendees of the Winter Folk Harp Festival. Increasingly, recognized for her songwriting, We Must Be Arrows showcases Patrice’s growing skill in vocal arranging. Joined by a talented cadre of musicians including David Morris (Musica Pacifica, The King’s Noyse) on cello and viola da gamba, Tony Marcus (Cats & Jammers, Cheap Suit Serenaders) on guitar, harpers Maureen Brennan (Wake the Dead) and Diana Rowan, and Rick Elmore (tuba), Patrice has also assembled two choirs for a four-part hymn to the angel of music and the startlingly original title song. You can hear samples at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/patricehaan1. If you're interested in purchasing a copy, send a note via www.PatriceHaan.com or email@example.com.
Marta Cook & Devin Shepherd House Concert. Seumas Gagne writes to say "Please join me in welcoming Marta Cook and Devin Shepherd in their first concert appearance together in Seattle on Wednesday, October 9th, at 7 pm. Each is a champion as a solo performer, and together they will open your eyes to the possibilities of fiddle and harp together. You don't have to take my word for it, though. You can visit their page on Sound Cloud to hear for yourself: https://soundcloud.com/devinandmarta. Seating is limited at this intimate house concert at a private home near Northgate Mall in Seattle, so please purchase or reserve your tickets by phoning me at 206-297-8398 or emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets are $15 if you pay in advance by credit card over the phone, $18 if you pay at the door by cash or credit card. Address, directions, and parking information will be given at the time tickets are reserved or purchased."
Great News on Stolen Harps!
Lisa Stine was the victim of a burglary and lost numerous harps. All have
been recovered except one! Please be on the lookout for the remaining harp (for sale, on EBay, Craigslist, etc.). If you
believe you've seen it, please contact: (530) 265-5599 or the Nevada
County Sheriff at (530) 265-1471:
PSFHS Annual Potluck Picnic. Join us on Sunday, September 15, between 11:00 am and 4:30 pm, for the PSFHS Annual Potluck Picnic and Harp Circle at Seattle's Ravenna Park (Picnic Shelter #1). Wear your Hawaiian togs, bring a dish to share and your harp and bench, and come share the fun. Last year's Hawaii theme was so popular (and festive!) that we voted to do a repeat this year. Friends and family are always welcome. Schedule: 11:00 Gather & setup at Shelter #1; 12:00 Potluck picnic lunch; 1:00 Eileen's piñata (if you have small items to contribute in advance to our piñata, please contact Eileen: email@example.com); 1:30 Harp Circle / Jam Session; 4:30 Clean-up and fond farewells. Bonus points if you play an Islands tune at the harp circle! More bonus points if you bring an Islands-themed centerpiece for the picnic table! Also enjoy the Harper-phernalia Table: Bring harp tchotchkes to trade or any harp music you'd like to give or sell. We'll provide plates, cups, plastic "silverware", and some beverages (no alcohol, park rules). The park entrance is about a mile north of the UW at NE 58th Street and 20th Avenue NE. Note that you cannot drive south on 20th NE to the park entrance as the bridge is pedestrian-only, so approach from the south. This Google map shows the entrance to the parking area and grassy field near Shelter #1: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=2000+NE+58th+St,+Seattle,+WA+98105. There's a roof over the shelter, so we'll be there, rain or shine!
Samhain Harps at Galway Traders. Galway Traders Irish Imports in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle continue their tradition of hosting a free harp presentation on Sunday, November 3, from 2-4 pm, in celebration of Samhain (the Celtic New Year). The Puget Sound Folk Harp Society helps to sponsor this annual event by arranging the players. If you are a harper with a confident repertoire of at least four tunes (or harp-accompanied songs or stories) from the Celtic tradition and you would like to volunteer to play for this year's event, please contact Diane at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Save the Dates! The Puget Sound Folk Harp Society's next Winter Folk Harp Festival will be January 24-25-26, 2014. (This is the festival which was formerly held at Fort Flagler and Fort Worden, now at Camp Brotherhood.) Details and registration information will be available November 1st at www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org. Plan ahead to come join the fun!
New Thormahlen CD! Sharon and Dave announce the release of their new CD, Live From the Harp Shop! It includes 15 of their favorite performance tunes. You can read all about it (and hear some samples) here: http://www.thorharp.com/pages/LiveFromtheHarpShop.htm. To rrder send a check for $10 plus $3 shipping to: Sharon Thormahlen, 1876 SW Brooklane, Corvallis OR 97333. Or call or email with a Visa, Mastercard, or Discover card number to 541-753-4334 or email@example.com.
A Touching Tribute. Deborah Henson Conant has posted a lovely eulogy for Martin Jarman, the man who spent years moving instruments for the harpists (and players of other delicate yet bulky instruments) of Boston. Her insights about the debt owed to those who support the music community are well worth reading: http://www.hipharp.com/blog/2013/08/29/the-man-who-moved-harpists/.
Own a Piece of Harp History! In preparation for her move to Hawaii, Sylvia Woods is selling the harp that is famously pictured on the cover of her "Teach Yourself" book (the same harp she used to win the All-Ireland harp prize in 1980). It is a Witcher Celtic 32, and is being auctioned off on E-Bay (search for Famous Witcher Celtic 32-String Harp). The auction ends September 4th!
Photo Collage from Somerset 2013. To those who attended, or wished they could have attended, this year's Somerset Harp Festival in New Jersey, you might be interested to view the photo collage, set to the closing song from the Saturday night concert, created by organizer Kathy D'Angelo and her husband Dennis Gormley. Many images of familiar faces at a very successful gathering! See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Glcmgo5ZrK0.
New Music Project for Tina Larkin. Tina Larkin, a harper, fiddler, and composer who resided for a time in our area, sends news of a project she is involved in: she is seeking to fund a Kickstarter music project for a very good cause, Healing and Reconciliation for Jews and Germans. The fundraising ends Sept 6 and every donation helps. Pledges starts at only $1. For the story of this project, see http://kck.st/14k6e0w.
Skagit Valley Highland Games Harp Tent, July 13-14, 2013. Audiences enjoyed not only perfect weather but non-stop music provided by a total of twenty-eight musicians. These included solo performances, a duo, a trio, an educational lecture/demonstration of Celtic Music, two harp circles, and two performances by Slighe nan Gaidheal's Seirm. Instruments included nylon and wire-strung harps, guitar, fiddle, whistle, and flute; vocals were in sung in Scottish Gaelic, Welsh, and English. Local harpers also assisted folks who were interested in trying the harp. Volunteers who made the tent happen were Eileen Warr-Marti, Susan Easthouse, and Sally Verrinder. Mark your calendars for next year's Skagit Valley Highland Games July 12-13, 2014. It's the 20th anniversary so it will be a big one! Contact Sally at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Bellingham Highland Games Harp Tent 2013. Kathie Hardy writes to report: "Bellingham Highland Games 2013 was a big success! We share a big tent with the Bellingham Storytellers Guild, and audiences enjoyed nearly nonstop entertainment with harpers on the hour and storytellers on the half hour. This year we were delighted to have performances by new harpers Celci Volluz and Violet Harris, as well as Eileen Warr-Marti, Susan Easthouse, Becky Fox, and Kathie Hardy. In 2014 we will have 45" sets at the top of each hour, alternating harpers and storytellers, to decrease the frequency of transition time between harpers and storytellers, when we typically lose audience. We now have a solid 8' X 12' raised wood stage so performers have a flat DRY surface! We have two amps that remain set up throughout the games for plenty of instrument and voice sound projection. A harp mic is available. Harpers who desire a performance space for next year please contact Kathie Hardy at 360-319-7081 or email@example.com. Performance slots will be given out on a first come, first served basis - from one tune to a 45" set. Performance spaces not filled in advance will be filled by the "resident harpers" (willing harpers who come for the day or the weekend). New harpers or those with limited performance experience are especially encouraged to come and give it a try! This is a supportive atmosphere with an appreciative audience! And there is always a fun BBQ dinner at Kathie Hardy's house Saturday night for harpers and storytellers. Please mark your calendars for next year - the Bellingham Games are held the first full weekend in June!"
Sally Maxwell 1935-2013. We have lost a major influence in the harp community, Sally Maxwell. A graduate of the University of Oregon, Sally Maxwell originally studied harp with her mother before continuing her studies in Paris, France, and Los Angeles. Returning to Eugene, she became professor of harp at the University of Oregon. Her three decades of teaching made the University of Oregon Music School one of the leading harp performance programs in the country. Performing many years for the Eugene Symphony, she also served as President of the American Harp Society, and founded the American Harp Society Foundation, a nonprofit organization with the mission of furthering harp education through specific endowment based scholarships. A service in Sally's memory takes place at 3 pm on Sunday, August 18, 2013 at Central Lutheran Church on 18th and Potter Street in Eugene. An endowment for harp has been established in Sally's name within the American Harp Society Foundation. Donations may be given to the Sally Maxwell Endowment, AHS Foundation, c/o Connie Robertson 313 Goodpasture Island Rd, Eugene, OR 97401.
In Memoriam. Harp maker Steve Green, builder of Steen Harps, passed away on Friday July 26th at his home near Roderfield, West Virginia. The folk harp world was the better for his lovely instruments, which many play and treasure. Our thoughts go out to his wife Doris and their family.
Harp Music You Don't Need Any More? Patrice Fisher of New Orleans organizes an educational program for harp students in Guatamala. She is making a trip there in November, and is seeking harp music books to take to the program there. If you have any sheet music or music books for harp you are no longer using, consider donating it to this worthy cause. Please mail them to Patrice Fisher at 921 Stewart Ct., New Orleans, LA 70119. If you mail them early enough, you can use the "media mail" rate which is very reasonable.
Young Harp Players Performance Opportunities. "The volunteer youth ensemble Serenaders has brought cheerful music to senior facilities since 1974, and was in two newspaper articles because the harps (sometimes five!) made Serenaders unique. If you know someone aged 5 through 21 who would like to be part of this group, please telephone Patricia Jaeger, the director, at (206) 525-7682 and ask for a leaflet about us. We begin rehearsals for three December performances in Seattle's north end, on September 7 at 2:00 pm. We could use a singer, either boy or girl, to sing not only the words of some traditional Christmas carols, but also "America the Beautiful", "The Teddy Bears' Picnic", and "Walking in the Air". Other musicians needed are those who can play Orchestra Bells (loaned free to piano students), Violin, Flute, Viola, Cello, and Bass. Members often fulfill high school graduation requirements for community service, and over the years have won places in youth symphonies, as well as scholarships to colleges and conservatories. Benefits of this small ensemble include increased poise in performance, keen ability in pitch improvement, as well as making new friends. Harp players can use Patricia's studio harps in rehearsals, and music and green performance vests are loaned. We all donate our time and music to help seniors feel less lonely."
Harp Blog by Laurie Riley. Seattle-area harp player Laurie Riley writes a blog for musicians at www.laurierileymusic.wordpress.com. Recent posts include: "The Folk Process" (how tunes morph over time), "Music is a Language", "How Fast is Too Fast?", "The Student-Teacher Relationship" and much more. New posts appear approximately once a month. Coming up in future posts: "What is Talent?", "Easy Memorizing", "Self-Teaching vs. lessons", "Self Promotion" and more. You can follow her blog by going to the home page and clicking on "Follow/Subscribe" on the bottom of the page.
Harp Retreat in Montana this Fall. "Greetings from the Big Sky Harp Society! We welcome you to join us at our upcoming annual retreat. The Montana Harp Retreat will be held September 27-29 at the C’mon Inn in Bozeman, Montana. Workshops, harp circles, fellowship, and a community harp concert will make this a delightful time for harp players across the state and region. Registration fees and forms will be out shortly, but in the meantime up-to-date information can be found on our website, http://www.bigskyharpsociety.org/.
Sylvia Woods Relocating to Hawaii. Well-known California harp maven Sylvia Woods is moving permanently to Hawaii and reorganizing her business (Sylvia Woods Harp Center) so that she can run it from her new home. Some serious sales are happening as a result. If you are interested, you can read all about it by clicking on the Hawaiian shirt on the home page of www.harpcenter.com.
Pacific Northwest Wire-Strung Harp
Retreat. Nan Pardew writes to say: The site and dates for this year's
Wire-Strung Harp Retreat have been finalized-we'll be staying at the
Orchard House at Camp Burton on Vashon Island, from Saturday, Oct. 12 to
Sunday, Oct. 13 (http://campburton.com/orchard_house.html). I am asking
for a non-refundable deposit of $35.00 by September 30 to secure your
place at the retreat. (If there are special circumstances that make this
an issue, please contact me privatelyand we can work something out.) The
balance of the site cost, after everyone's deposits, will be split among
the attendees. We will each be bringing our own bedding and food plus an
item to share for the potluck dinner. I will provide tea/coffee and jam
session snacks. If you plan to attend, please let me know by Sept. 15, so
I can coordinate our
New Harp CD. Anela Lauren writes to say: I've just released my second independently-produced harp CD and thought it might be interesting to your group. It's called "Harpin' on the Dead" - beautifully recorded interpretations of Grateful Dead favorites featuring the Celtic harp and a full band. It's been well received and reviewed on CD Baby - http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/anelalauren2 and will be on David Gans' nationally syndicated radio show "The Grateful Dead Hour". The cover artwork alone is worth checking out; it was commissioned by artist William Giese.
Crystal Mountain 2013. A small but enthusiastic group of harp players gathered for the PSFHS annual retreat at Crystal Mountain on the weekend on June 7-9. After a cold spring and some late snow, we were thrilled to have a lovely sunny weekend to enjoy our beautiful location in the mountains, and to fill our cozy co-op lodge with harp music from morning until the wee hours. Moderated sessions, impromptu solo and ensemble performances, and late-night jam sessions kept us (and our harps) busy, and the still-open ski area provided an opportunity to take the gondola to the summit for an incomparable view of Mt. Rainier! For some photos from the weekend, see the gallery at http://tinyurl.com/crystal2013.
Disability in Music Seminars. These seminars are being planned for Seattle and surrounding area the last two weeks of September. Learn how someone’s disability is in their music and how to use it in your music to communicate with someone with challenges. The group seminar is a one-time 3-hour session, learning and practicing with your instrument. Christina Cotruvo, CCM, has 25 years experience coaching musicians with challenges and providing her audio music description method, No-C-Notes, for the blind. Please email Christina (with any questions and if you are interested in this course so we can quickly firm up plans with set dates and cost) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lever Harp Regulations & Repairs. For the last few weeks, we've been gathering info on resources in the Western Washington area for having our harps regulated (if they have levers), repaired when needed, or restrung (if you don't want to take that on yourself). Next month that will be compiled in an article with a list of contacts. In the meantime, it would be great to hear from you! What harp services are you most in need of? How far do you (or would you be willing to) travel to have your harp taken care of? Where have you received harp services in the past, and how did that work for you? Any ideas you could add to the upcoming article would be appreciated... just reply to email@example.com.
Dusty Strings Family Open Mic. Dusty Strings is hosting a Thursday evening all-ages open mic this summer. "Original and traditional genres welcome. Join the fun and participate in a brand new experience or try out that song you just finished writing or finally got down pat and play it for the first time in public. It's fun (and good for your chops!)" Dates are July 11, 18, 25 and August 1, 8. Sign-up starts at 6 p.m. at the school entry. Open mic is 6:30-8:30 p.m. $5 Suggested Donation to Solid Ground, "Building Community to End Poverty".
Two Harp Adventures! Reigning Harps readers Diana Beaumont and Shawnmarie Stanton both shared great stories about their recent adventures with their harps. Diana decided to take her harp on a Hawaiian vacation, and she shares her trials, tribulations, and eventual triumph in an article you can find here. Shawnmarie performed with her harp in a music video by Seattle's Tea Cozies, and she explains the filming process, complete with fog machine, blindfold, and baby goats in a story here. Thanks so much to both of them! And if you have harp adventures to share, we'd love to see them... please send them any time to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Crystal Mountain Retreat Registration. The Puget Sound Folk Harp Society's summer retreat at Crystal Mountain (June 7-9, 2013) is now closed to regular registration. If you would like to inquire about available spaces from last-minute cancellations, contact event director Diane Moss at email@example.com by Wednesday June 5th.
New YouTube Links for Featured Harp Music. For years now, Reigning Harps has been publishing quarterly "Featured Harp Music". This popular offering has included a PDF score for you to print, as well as a Sibelius Scorch file that allowed you to see and hear the music as it played. Unfortunately, more and more people report being unable to access the Scorch player with their current browsers. So, we've made a change! From now on, we'll pair the standard printable PDF of our Featured Music with a YouTube video where you can see and hear the playback... sadly, we'll no longer have the ability to control playback speed, but at least we'll have a reliable way to provide the tune to those who want to hear it. Try it out on our new Featured Harp Music for June, a lovely arrangement of "Blind Mary" by Harper Tasche.
Dusty Strings Free 4 All! Dusty Strings has begun a new free monthly series on the third Sunday of the month, 1-2 pm, 6/16, 7/21, 8/18, 9/15. Instructors will provide introductions to various instruments (including harp, ukulele, hammered dulcimer, and bodhran). Molly Bauckham will be teaching the harp segment. No experience or instruments needed! Please call 206-634-1662 for more info.
New CD & Rio Tour for Josh Layne. BC harpist Josh Layne has had an extremely busy month - he released a new CD (Passage: Music for Solo Harp), did a tour to promote it, and traveled to Brazil to perform at the Rio Harp Festival! You can read more about all his adventures at his web site, www.joshlayne.com.
Physiology and Harping. Here's an interesting article about the physical aspects of harp playing, with some good basic information for staying injury and pain-free while playing. Though aimed at pedal harp players, almost all of the guidelines would apply to lever harp players as well. The article is translated from the French, and the illustrations still have French labels, but are quite clear in showing the difference between healthy and harmful postures: http://www.physiotherapy-for-musicians.com/harparticle.html.
FHJ Reviews for Local Artists. The summer 2013 edition of the Folk Harp Journal contained excellent reviews of two local harpers' CDs. Both Seumas Gagne's "Baile Ard" and David Michael's "After the Rain" received high praise. Congratulations!
New Website and CD for Kathie Hardy. Kathie writes to say "I am pleased to announce that my new website is up and running at www.celticharp.info! Also, I finished my CD: MERMAID. I expect to have copies available for sale at the Bellingham Highland Games June 1st and 2nd at Hovander Park in Ferndale. They will be available on CDBaby and at Amazon.com on June 7th."
Upcoming MHTP Classes. MHTP (Music for Healing and Transition Program) has space available for new students who are instrumentalists and/or singers interested in training to become a Certified Music Practitioner (Therapeutic Musician). Providing therapeutic music at the bedside is VERY fulfilling work. And new work opportunities continue to develop. Training may begin with the upcoming Module 3, on June 22nd and 23 in Federal Way. Please see the website ( www.mhtp.org ) and/or contact Cheryl Zabel directly for further information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Orphan Harp Comes Home. "Adirondack Harper" Martha Gallagher sent in this interesting story about her harp, which has its roots in the Seattle area: "I am very excited that I am bringing The Orphan Harp 'home' to Seattle. The concept of this harp came to me two years ago when Ray Mooers was giving me a tour of the Dusty Strings workshop. They always try to build a harp all from the same tree, even the same piece cut from the tree; it doesn't always work out, so there are pieces left, well, harpless. I was really intrigued by these 'orphans' and blurted out something like, 'I'd love to have an Orphan Harp; a harp made from the mismatched, homeless pieces!' The concept was a challenge to the makers because different kinds of woods have different 'voices'. Dusty Strings rose to the challenge, building me The Orphan Harp, which looks and sounds fabulous! I rarely name my harps; I just haven't related to them in that way. This harp, however, claimed her own name before she even arrived at my home. Her name is Hope." Martha will be playing in Seattle May 10-12; see the Calendar for details.
Harp Circle List. For years Reigning Harps has maintained a list of Pacific Northwest harp circles (by which we mean, anything between Alaska and Northern California!). Recently we've shared our information with Peggy Coates of "Dorveille" -- she is compiling a list of harp circles throughout the United States, and welcomes listings. See her current list at http://dorveille.com/links-resources/harp-community/harp-circles/.
Seattle International Film Festival Includes Film with Local Harp Music. "After Winter, Spring" is an official selection of SIFF 2013, and the soundtrack includes an excerpt from Harper Tasche's "TheaSophia Suite" for harp and cello. This beautiful, award-winning documentary by Judith Lit is about the interaction of centuries-old traditional agriculture and modern agribusiness as it is unfolding in rural France. Screening details available in the calendar (May 19 & May 20); tickets for individual films go on sale May 2 via www.siff.net.
Remembering Carlos de la Vega. Carlos de la Vega, a harper from Bellingham WA, passed away unexpectedly on March 28 of this year while recovering from injuries received when he was struck by a car last January. A proud member of the Clan Baird Society, Carlos was a regular participant at the Highland Games harp circles in Bellingham and Mt. Vernon, where he was always happy to join in with his Triplett Zephyr harp. He will be missed.
In Memoriam - Grainne Yeats. Grainne Yeats, Irish harper, singer, and historian, passed away on Thursday, April 18. Well known as a harp teacher and performer, she generously shared her interest and love of the Irish harp, recording a dual album of all the music transcribed at the Belfast 1792 gathering of traditional Irish harpers. Married to Michael Yeats (son of the poet W.B. Yeats), she was the mother of four children, one of whom is also a talented harp player. She contributed an article on O'Carolan to our local harp resource, Harp Spectrum, which you can see here http://www.harpspectrum.org/folk/yeats_short.shtml. Our condolences go out to her family, friends, and students.
House Concerts? The Puget Sound Folk Harp Society gets occasional queries from touring harp players who wish to perform in our area. We are building a list of possible concert venues, and we would like to add a section on house concerts. If any of our readers would be interested in adding their names to a list of potential house concert sites, please contact us at email@example.com.
Harp Exhibit at Museum of Making Music. "The Harp: A Global Story of Man, Music & Medicine" runs March 23-September 30 in Carlsbad CA (near San Diego). "The exhibit features intricate, alluring artifacts, sound samples of harps used in a variety of musical styles, and hands-on harps for visitors to experience. It illustrates the harp's place in treating pain, autism, and dementia, and proffers insight into how the harp traveled with ancient civilizations across every continent on the planet." Seattle's role in the global harp experience is represented by three instruments from Dusty Strings, and recorded music by Harper Tasche. For more information see http://www.museumofmakingmusic.org/harp.
New Tutorial Videos by David Michael. Port
Townsend's "ferry boat harper" David
Michael has published a series of video lessons on modes. He says:
"In my view, it is much easier for most people to get the feel of a
mode by listening to its character, rather than analyzing the
relationship of half steps and whole steps. Because most musicians are
already very familiar with the Ionian mode (major) and Aeolian (minor) and
because the Lochrian mode is too weird to be useful in my book, I wanted
to focus on the other 4 standard western modes:"
Loreena McKennitt in Seattle August 15th? Alert reader Linda Khandro sent in this breaking news. According to Loreena McKennitt's web site (see http://www.quinlanroad.com/welcome/latestnews.asp) there is the possibility of a concert in Seattle on August 15th, for which tickets will go on sale in late April. Linda says if the Seattle date falls through, she's up for carpooling to Vancouver BC, though tickets are going fast!
"Harp Video" Music Now Available. If you have seen the "virtually every make and model" harp videos on Dusty Strings' website, you know that Harper Tasche arranged and performed music for each size of harp (recorded in a single day!) as a side-by-side comparison of tone and overall volume between one harp and the next. This music is heard as each video shows a 360-degree view of the harp being played (see http://tinyurl.com/DStrVideos-HT ). These arrangements were previously unpublished, but Harper's beautiful version of the Welsh hymn "Calon Lan (Shining Heart)" featured on the 34- and 36-string harps is now available digitally as a PDF for $3.75. To order Harper's "Calon Lan" arrangement, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remembering Jay Gelzer. On December 29, 2012, Seattle harper Jay Gelzer passed away on her beloved houseboat after a short battle with recurring breast cancer. Jay was one of the early folk harp players in our area, making music with her wire-strung harps since the mid-80's (and kindly encouraging new players, such as your editor). Jay was also a clinical psychologist with a private practice in Seattle, a gifted writer who belonged to the Northwest Haiku Society, a Mensa member, and a dedicated mother. You can read the obituary, which contains some of her haiku, at http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/seattletimes/obituary.aspx?n=jay-gelzer&pid=162526739. Our condolences go out to her family and friends.
Camp Brotherhood Book Available for Loan. Diana Beaumont writes to say "For anyone who attended [the PSFHS Winter Festival at] Camp Brotherhood and met Father Treacy when he spoke briefly to our group about how Camp Brotherhood came about, I have an inscribed copy of his book "Wild Branch on the Olive Tree." It is a real heart-warmer and tells of his vision and that of his friend Rabbi Levine to embrace our differences, to find our common ground, in the spirit of collaboration rather than competition. I am willing to lend it to any who may wish to borrow it. Contact Diana Beaumont at email@example.com or 425-225-5337.
Visiting Harp Player Seeks Info/Contacts. Danielle Paus, a harp player from Maine, recently got in touch to ask for some information about performance opportunities in the Seattle area. She'll be on tour with an ensemble in Oregon the week of April 14-21, but has some time free in Seattle on Friday April 12 and Saturday April 13. She would be very interested in doing a house concert and/or workshop on those days, if anyone is available to host, or simply connecting with other harp players and sharing some music. Danielle has played classical harp since childhood, but currently concentrates on lever/Celtic harp with an interest in Irish and Norwegian music; you can hear samples from her new CD at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/daniellepaus and visit her website at www.daniellepaus.com. She's currently in Ireland, but if anyone has any suggestions or ideas for her for those two days, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and they'll be forwarded to her. Thanks!
Olympia Area Harp Teachers? We've had inquiries about harp instruction in or near Olympia WA. There are currently no harp teachers in our directory for the Olympia area... is there anyone teaching there? Olympia harpers, do you know of anyone? Please reply to email@example.com and let us know if you have any leads!
Sharping Levers Revealed. Biagio Sancetta, who recently moved to Whidbey Island WA, wrote an excellent study of sharping levers which was published on the always-interesting Dorveille web site. To find out about the various styles of sharping levers and the pros and cons of each, see http://dorveille.com/harps/materiality/sharping-levers/.
Youth Harp Positions Open in Serenaders. Founder and Director of Serenaders (since 1974) is Patricia Jaeger who also arranges and loans all music for the group. Interested young harpists (and others) who would like to do community service in a small, very friendly group are encouraged to call Patricia at 206-525 7682 before the 2013-2014 season begins with the first rehearsal on September 7. Up to three violinists and four pedal or lever harp players (no accidentals needed in these arrangements) can join, using harps at Patricia's studio for rehearsals, and bringing own harp to three performances in December, and three in March, each year. A set of Orchestra Bells, played with mallets, can also be loaned with no charge to someone with at least a year of piano study who joins Serenaders. Request a free brochure about Serenaders from Patricia at firstname.lastname@example.org.
YouTube Lesson on Mixolydian Mode. Port Townsend harper David Michael writes to say "I recently created a little 5-minute YouTube lesson on how the Mixolydian mode is the one that most approximates the natural overtone series, using harmonics to demonstrate. I also show my alternative technique for playing harmonics. The sound is soft so turn the volume all the way up. I was recently in Hawaii and here I am seen sitting in my friend's garden, playing her harp. It is so much easier to SHOW this, than explain it with words alone. I've always thought Mixolydian was the most magical of all the modes. Maybe that's why so much Celtic music is written in it. Please watch! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXJaRmZCmi4. This is the first YouTube I've ever posted by myself and it is an experiment. I haven't mentioned it to anyone except to harpists so I'm curious how many of you will check me out. Please do leave your comments at the Youtube site!"
Healing Musician Webinars. Stella Benson has a number of upcoming webinars; for the current schedule, see http://www.healingmusician.com/styled/schedule.html.
PSFHS Winter Festival 2013 a Rousing Success. Director Harper Tasche writes, "Thanks to everybody who helped make our 27th annual January gathering such a wonderful experience! This year's Festival was jam-packed with excellent instruction from all of our presenters, lots of musical hilarity and beauty at our Saturday night party, and a wonderful first experience with our new hosts at Camp Brotherhood. Next year's dates will be announced soon -- hope to see you there in January 2014!"
Winter Festival Inspires Poetry. Jennifer Pratt-Walter of Vancouver WA was inspired by the lovely environment and excellent musical company at the PSFHS Winter Festival to write a poem, which she has kindly shared with us... please see it and a photo from Camp Brotherhood at www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org. More photos from the weekend will be gathered soon into a gallery for everyone to enjoy.
In Memoriam - Chris Caswell. On January 21, 2013, legendary harper and harpmaker Chris Caswell passed away at age 60 after a recurrence of colon cancer. He leaves behind many friends, fans, colleagues, and students who have enjoyed his musical skills since he began building and playing Celtic harps in the early 70's. He performed and recorded with Robin Williamson and his Merry Band, as well as with Danny Carnahan in the duo Caswell/Carnahan, was an instructor at Lark in the Morning Music Camp every year since its beginning until last summer, and built more than 1000 harps for musicians all around the world. A detailed obituary can be found at: http://sebastopol.towns.pressdemocrat.com/2013/01/news/obituary-chris-caswell/. For a sample of his contribution to the harp world, with photos of Chris and his harps throughout his career, accompanied by his own playing of a beautiful lament on one of his wire-strung harps, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=vpoTk4DHCbs.
Make a Visit to Dorveille. Dorveille is a harp-centered web site maintained by Peggy Coates of the Portland OR area. Her non-commercial site at www.dorveille.com is devoted to exploring the harp, and includes lots of useful and regularly updated information on types of harps, construction, history, myths, where to buy new and used harps, online lessons, discussion lists, conferences, etc. as well as articles on harp players, books, music, and so on. Currently there is a wonderful compilation of all sorts of apps for harper/ists (and other musicians too), including metronomes, music theory trainers, and tune recognition software. There is also a very helpful checklist of reasons for why your harp might be making a buzzing sound!
Healing Musician Webinars. Stella Benson of the Healing Musician's Center is offering a number of webinars between February and April; please see the web site at www.healingmusician.com for the schedule and details.
Spokane Area Harp Players? Susan Miles, recently relocated to the Spokane Valley area from the west side of the Puget Sound, is seeking other harp players (or musicians interested in playing with harp players) for organizing a possible harp circle or jam session. She is happy to volunteer her home for a gathering spot. If you are interested or have any suggestions for her, please contact her at Soupymiles@aol.com.
Fun Videos by Former Seattle Harper.
Luke Brechtelsbauer is a harper who resided in Seattle for some time,
often playing his harp at the Pike Place Market and in various sessions
about town. He's had many travels since then, but we were just sent an
update that includes a few new videos of him playing on a borrowed Dusty
36, with his usual flying fingers and an amazing knack for lever-flipping.
Harp Circles in Big Sky Country. The newly formed Big Sky Harp Society has had a busy winter, organizing harp circles in three locations in their very large state. Their recent newsletter described the gatherings: The Western component of BSHS had a large turnout of 12 members on November 10 in Missoula to play together for a few hours; harpers gathered from around the Central Montana region to welcome the Christmas season with a harp circle in Helena on December 1st; the first Eastern Harp Circle happened on a snowy, stormy day in November, and seven harp players braved the roads and the wind and got together. Keep up the good work, BSHS, and keep up posted on your activities!
Harp Adjudications in Bellevue at Performing Arts Festival. Judy Thiel writes to announce: "Now that the busyness of the holidays is behind us, I hope that you and your students are thinking about participating in the Performing Arts Festival which will be the first week in April at St. Andrew's Lutheran Church in Bellevue. The harp adjudicator will be Jill Whitman. To accommodate the busy lives of you and your students we will be double scheduling the harps on Friday and Saturday. What that means is that all the harp classes will be scheduled for Friday afternoon and again on Saturday morning. When your students send in their registrations, they will need to indicate whether they want to play on Friday or Saturday. The adjudicator will not determine placements until Saturday noon when all students have finished playing. (Harp concerto entries will be adjudicated by the piano adjudicator on Tuesday. This is necessary so they can qualify to play in the Concerto Playoff concert on Friday evening at 7 pm.) Registration is now open at our website www.pafenorthwest.org. Please contact me if you have questions. Thank you." Judy Thiel, Board President, Performing Arts Festival/Eastside, Judythiel@msn.com.
Congratulations on Video! Susan McLain writes to say "A video of mine was chosen by the American Harp Society's magazine 'The Harp Column' as one of the top 33 don't miss harp youtube videos. I am giving a lesson to Karen Ford on a Dusty Strings FH36B. It's called: Karen Ford's Lesson On Harp Technique with Susan McLain (find it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRt1pbY93j0). The magazine described it: 'What do taffy, kitty litter, nose picking, and a knitting needle have in common? Watch Karen Ford's harp lesson and you'll find out! Taught by Susan McLain, this 13 minute lesson is on Salzedo's Conditioning Exercise Number One. Salzedo technique hand and arm position, finger action, closing, and raising are demonstrated both by the instructor and the adult student. It's actually very helpful seeing Ford have her hand corrected and adjusted, if only to appreciate the minute details of using correct technique, not just for Salzedo players, but for any method of study.' "
Local Harpist to Teach and Perform in Holy Land. Local harpist Ruthann Ritchie has been invited by Sunita Staneslow to present and perform at the Holy Land Harp Gathering in Israel this coming October. You can find out more about this harp gathering and tour at www.holylandharp.com. Congratulations Ruthann!
PSFHS Winter Festival. The annual Puget Sound Folk Harp Society winter folk harp festival is now closed to registrations; thanks so much for your interest. If you would like to discuss the possibility of taking a cancellation spot (if any occur) please contact festival director Harper Tasche at email@example.com.
In Need of Harp Regulation, Repair? Harp technician Steve Moss (see www.mossharpservice.com) will be visiting the Seattle area in February. If you would like to get on his schedule for harp regulation, repair, restringing (lever or pedal), please contact Susi Hussong at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dress Your Harp for Christmas! In need of a holiday decor, or perhaps a stocking stuffer for a harp player? Barb Dixon designs harp decals that can be positioned and removed from the harp soundboard without damaging the finish... holiday, Celtic, floral, and other fun designs are available. See the selection at her website, www.harpdecals.com.
New CD with Harpist Juliet Stratton. The Seattle Girls' Choir has just released a new album featuring Juliet and her harp in performances of John Rutter's Dancing Day and James Bingham's Processional and Carols, which will be available for purchase at concerts and on the Seattle Girls' Choir Website at www.seattlegirlschoir.org.
Leslie McMichael On Tour. Leslie
writes to report "I got to take my Peter Pan score on tour in NY and MA
just before Thanksgiving and did five shows in five cities in five days.
It was drive, play, sleep, drive, play sleep! Not quite the level of
Deborah Henson Conant on tour with Steve Vai in Europe but fun all the
same! The Boston Globe was kind enough to cover the Coolidge Corner
performance. Here’s a link:
New CD for Winterharp, Plus Holiday Concerts. The ensemble Winter Harp has a new CD just out: The Bullfighter's Daughter. It features their Spanish-style pieces including the Girl in the Red Skirt which was performed at the World Harp Congress. The CD is mostly harps, bass and percussion, with some violin, flute and vocals. You can hear excerpts on the Winter Harp website at www.winterharp.com. There also you can find the holiday concert schedule for Vancouver, Victoria, and other locations in BC. Winter Harp is delighted to announce that both Kim Robertson and Patrick Ball will be performing with them during December; tickets are selling quickly so check soon if you want to hear this well-known group!
Newly Discovered Life-Form Named After
Harp! Seattle harp player Linda Khandro wrote to tell us about
this newly discovered creature (besides harps and percussion, Linda is
also passionate about stars, rocks, and sea life!). See the story of the
"harp sponge" at:
Christine Grace Magnussen CD. Christine writes to announce her CD of peaceful, relaxing harp music: "Give peace this holiday and year around with 'On Wings of a Dove - Harp Music to Soothe the Soul' ". For more info, see www.peacecalm.com.
PSFHS Winter Folk Harp Festival Registration Opens Nov. 1. Festival director Harper Tasche writes, "Claim your spot at the Puget Sound Folk Harp Society's 27th annual January gathering, January 25-27 2013 -- and our first Festival at a beautiful facility near Arlington WA. We have a great lineup of workshops planned, along with our usual fabulous ceilidh and jam sessions, and full participant registration is $10 less than last year! Download your registration form (available November 1) at www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org, and mail it in soon -- this Festival usually sells out, so don't delay!"
Great Music at Galway Traders. On Sunday, October 28th, a full audience squeezed into the cozy space at Galway Traders, in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, to enjoy two hours of harp music in celebration of Samhain, the Celtic New Year. Players Laurie Riley, Seumas Gagne, Harper Tasche, Linda Khandro, Nan Pardew, and Peter Berry entertained and educated with a variety of harp types (lever, wire, double) and musical selections. Besides jigs, reels, airs, and laments, we were also treated to songs, sing-alongs, and recitations... the time flew by! Many thanks to those who played, those who listened, and the welcoming ladies at Galway Traders, Eveline and Eileen, for hosting. For a photo of the players, see www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org.
Last Minute Symposium Change. Adam Burdick of Dusty Strings Music School reports that New York's Marta Cook, scheduled to teach at this weekend's Harp Symposium, is unable to get to Seattle due to travel complication caused by Hurricane Sandy. Seumas Gagne will step in to fill her workshop and concert slots.
Welcome Big Sky Harp Society! A new harp society has formed in Montana, including both pedal and lever harp players, and with three different regional groups (West, Central, and East) with coordinators and harp circles in each. This energetic group has a newsletter, a web site, and plans for an annual retreat. For more information and to keep track of what's happening there, see http://bigskyharpsociety.yolasite.com/.
Get Well Wishes to Juliet Stratton. On October 21st, a man on the run from police crashed his car into a number of vehicles in SeaTac WA, including one being driven by local professional harpist, Juliet Stratton. Her Lyon & Healy pedal harp was in the car with her, and the force of the impact turned her car completely upside down! Miraculously, Juliet was able to walk away from the wreckage, though she was not allowed to check on the condition of her harp until much later when police had cleared the crime scene. You can read a full report and see photos of the frightening wreck at:
Juliet reported later that she is still being treated for lingering pain and numbness, that her harp sustained quite a lot of cosmetic damage but she is hoping it is structurally sound and will have a L&H technician confirm its condition. Her car (as anyone can see from the photos) was a total loss. Our wishes for a full recovery go to Juliet... we are so glad she did not suffer greater injury, and at the same time, so sorry for the shock she must have had! (Juliet mentioned that her harp bench braced her harp when the car flipped and prevented it from falling near her head; restraints to hold/cushion your harp during travel, to prevent it from becoming a "flying object", are a wise idea.)
MHTP Washington Classes. Cheryl Zabel, MHTP Washington Area Coordinator, writes to announce Music for Healing and Transition Classes for Washington are scheduled for 2013, with the first module happening in February! To become a Certified Music Practitioner (therapeutic musician), please visit the website www.mhtp.org for details on the process. This is very fulfilling work, whether with elderly, memory care, critical care, or hospice patients. If you have any questions, please contact Cheryl at email@example.com.
Musician Volunteers at SCCA. Mindy Danylak is the new coordinator for the Volunteer Healing Music program at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. Over the past several months, the Volunteer Services office has done a major overhaul on the Healing Music program – both to ensure that you have a rewarding volunteer experience and to become more compliant with the regulatory agencies that can survey the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance at any time. If you are interested in performing, please contact Mindy at firstname.lastname@example.org and she can provide you with a revised application form.
Harp Adjudications at PAFE. The 2013 Performing Arts Festival of the Eastside will be held April 2 through 6. The festival's mission is to provide a positive educational and performance opportunity for students of the arts. There will be harp adjudications for Grade 4 through Adult in Solo, Ensemble, and Concerto performance. Solo and Ensemble Harp adjudications are scheduled for Friday afternoon on April 5 and Saturday morning on April 6. The Concerto Playoff will be on Friday evening, April 5, and the Recognition Concerts on Saturday and Sunday, April 13 and 14, at 2 and 5 pm. All events will be held at St. Andrew's Lutheran Church in Bellevue. Judy Thiel is the Harp Chairperson, and reports they are planning to ''doublebook'' the harp scheduling this year. What that means is that harp students may sign up for solo and ensemble adjudications on either Friday or Saturday. All awards and placement will be given after the adjudicator finishes on Saturday. (The entry form will have a comment section. Please have your students use that comment section to indicate whether they want to perform on Friday or Saturday.) Judy says, "We realize that some of your students have Saturday conflicts while others have challenges transporting harps on Friday. Hopefully this will make the festival more 'doable' for everyone. Harp Concertos will be adjudicated by a piano adjudicator earlier in the week so a winner can participate in the Playoff on Friday evening." For more information on the harp adjudications at the festival, see http://pafenorthwest.org/Festival2013/HarpDiv2013/default.aspx. And if you have questions, contact Judy directly at email@example.com.
PSFHS Facebook Page. Puget Sound Folk Harp Society has its own Facebook page now! If you "do" Facebook, please go to your Facebook page, 'search' for Puget Sound Folk Harp Society in the search box at the top and 'Like' us (the big 'Like' box at the top of our page). We'll be giving you reminders and updates on our events and sharing pertinent information. This is not a replacement for the PSFHS web site or for Reigning Harps newsletter, but just a wonderful addition for those active in social media. While you're there, take a look at the awesome pictures from our Hawaiian-themed picnic last month. It was sure fun!
Samhain Harps at Galway Traders. Galway Traders Irish Imports in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle will host a free harp performance on Sunday, October 28th, 2-4 pm, to celebrate Samhain (the Celtic New Year). The Puget Sound Folk Harp Society helps sponsor this annual event; this year's players are Peter Berry, Seumas Gagne, Sile Harriss, Linda Khandro, Nan Pardew, Laurie Riley, and Harper Tasche. Come enjoy beautiful harp music in a cozy and informal setting! Please contact Diane at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
PSFHS Annual Picnic. On September 9th, about 15 harpers (and their harps) gathered in Seattle's Ravenna Park for our 6th annual potluck picnic. Despite a few clouds and some breezy moments, those in attendance participated enthusiastically in the Hawaiian theme, wearing their best luau outfits and donning hair flowers and leis. A lot of harp music, some great potluck food, and much laughter was shared! Thanks to all who had a hand in the planning, decorations, set-up and clean-up. And thanks to all who attended! For some pictures of the fun, see the gallery at http://tinyurl.com/95fftxs.
PSFHS Winter Festival Registration. Registration for the PSFHS Winter Folk Harp Festival at Camp Brotherhood (just north of Arlington WA) opens on November 1st. Registration materials will be available on that date at www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org.
Congrats to Harp Spectrum! Joyce Rice writes that "The new Harp Column has an article called '10 Web Sites Every Harpist Should Visit', and those of us responsible for the Harp Spectrum website were pleased to see ours at #4! It ends with 'Overall, the site is a joy to read through and is a great reference source, so it would be worth your time to take a moment to browse through their impressive collection.' " Harp Spectrum is available to all at www.harpspectrum.org.
34th Season of Celtic Yuletide Concerts. Magical Strings will celebrate the holiday season with their beloved annual tradition of Celtic Yuletide concerts, taking place all around the Pacific Northwest from November 30 to December 20. For a list of performances and ticket information, see http://magicalstrings.com/Calendar.html.
Website Updates for Josh Layne. Vancouver BC harpist Josh Layne has redesigned his website at http://www.joshlayne.com/... lever harp players may be interested in a number of his "Harp Tuesday" tutorials which focus on techniques for all harps, or lever harps in particular.
Annual PSFHS Harp Picnic. Join the fun on Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012, at the Puget Sound Folk Harp Society's annual picnic at Ravenna Park's Shelter #1, 11:30 am to 4:30 pm. Free, all harpers welcome! This year there's a Hawaiian theme, so dress the part, bring your harp and harp bench, a dish to share, and your own beverages (no alcohol please, due to park rules). Here's the schedule:
11:30 - Arrive at the park (watch for our
orca-logo signs near the park entrance and our banner at the shelter), set
up harps and food
The park entrance is about a mile north of the UW
at NE 58th Street and 20th Avenue NE;
it can be reached by car from the south side of the 20th Ave. pedestrian
bridge. This Google map shows the entrance to the parking area and grassy
field near Shelter #1:
Group Lessons Now Available with Harper Tasche in Seattle. Come join the back-to-school fun! Harper Tasche is now offering 90-minute group lessons twice monthly on Capitol Hill, beginning September 4th. Each session will be 7:30-9:00 pm, and will include warm-up exercises, scales and arpeggio workouts, a featured tune in lead-sheet format to learn and arrange each month, and the (completely optional) opportunity to play a solo for the group and receive feedback. The cost is $30 for a single session or $50 per month (two sessions prepaid). To register, or for more information, contact Harper via email@example.com or call 206-329-4599.
In Memory of Mark Bolles. The folk harp world lost one of its original creative thinkers this summer with the passing of Mark Emery Bolles. Mark was a celebrated Bay Area musician, who died suddenly last July of a cerebral hemorrhage. Born in New York City, he came west to San Francisco in 1966 where he attended various Bay Area schools, both public and experimental. He was a talented guitarist who performed with a number of bands. But in the folk harp world, he was most famous as a musical craftsman, making both harps and harpsichords (as "Markwood") that were prized for their craftsmanship. He was also a clever inventor, creating a number of devices and computer programs used in the production of high quality instrument strings. His numerous articles in the Folk Harp Journal on the subject of harp-building and string-band design inspired and informed many harp builders. He later sold the "Markwood" name to Laurie Neilsen, who has produced tens of thousands of harp strings and customized string sets using the system he invented. Many of us folk harp players have benefited from his creativity. Donations can be made in Mark's memory to the San Francisco Community Music Center, 544 Capp St., San Francisco, CA 94110, or online at www.sfcmc.org.
Music Thanatology Courses 2013. Applications are now being accepted for the Music-Thanatology Training Courses at Lane Community College in Portland OR. Music-thanatology is a professional field within the broader subspecialty of palliative care. It is a musical/clinical modality that unites music and medicine in end of life care. The music-thanatologist provides prescriptive deliveries of music at the bedside, utilizing harp and voice to serve the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of people who are terminally ill or dying, and their loved ones. Training Prerequisites: Proficiency on a musical instrument, preferably harp; Basic music theory skills, including the ability to notate music. Next two-year training begins in September, 2013; admission by application only. Deadlines for applications are: Cycle I - January 15, 2013 (Interview Weekend for Successful Applicants - February 9/10, 2013); Cycle II – April 15, 2013 (Interview Weekend for Successful Applicants – May 18/19, 2013). For more about the training or to apply, see www.Lanecc.edu/ce/careertraining/musicthanatology. To learn more about Music-Thanatology see www.mtai.org.
Free E-Book About Celtic Harp. South American harpist Eliseo Pinto has released a free book, the result of his research into the history of the Celtic harp. Though it is sometimes obvious that English is not his native language, it is obvious that Mr. Pinto has done a tremendous amount of work delving into the historical records and tracing the history of the Celtic harp throughout the centuries. This is a valuable resource which he is offering at no cost at http://www.smashwords.com/books/download/210054/1/latest/0/0/the-celtic-harp.pdf.
Annual PSFHS Harp Picnic. Join us on Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012, for the Puget Sound Folk Harp Society's annual picnic at Ravenna Park's Shelter #1, from 11:30 am to 4:30 pm. Free, and all harpers welcome! This year at our annual outdoor "hang-out-with-harpers and play" picnic, we will have a Hawaiian theme, so get out your Aloha shirts and your grass skirts, wear a coconut bra if you dare, and maybe practice up on a Hawaiian tune for the harp circle! Bring your harp and harp bench, a dish to share (any cuisine) for the potluck lunch, and your own beverages (no alcohol please, due to park rules). Here's the planned schedule:
11:30 - Arrive at the park (watch for our
orca-logo signs near the park entrance and our banner at the shelter), set
up harps and food
The park entrance is about a mile north of the UW
at NE 58th Street and 20th Avenue NE;
it can be reached by car from the south side of the 20th Ave. pedestrian
bridge. This Google map shows the entrance to the parking area and grassy
field near Shelter #1:
There's a roof over the shelter, so we'll be there, rain or shine! For more information about the picnic, contact Beth Kolle at 206-282-3262 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Eileen Warr-Marti at email@example.com.
Get Ready for the Harp Symposium! Whom does Deborah Henson-Conant contact for coaching when she needs to polish up her harp skills? Marta Cook and Maeve Gilchrist, of course (see the blog at http://www.hipharp.com/blog/category/rockharp-diaries/). And we're all in luck, as both Marta and Maeve will be here in November to teach at the Dusty Strings Harp Symposium! Register now for a chance to study with them, as well as with world-renowned players Laurie Rasmussen, Harper Tasche, and Park Stickney. There will also be body-care instruction from Jan Kingston (Feldenkrais practitioner) and Carol Duffy (hand therapist), jams and open mics, and evening concerts. Three days of harp activities and instruction for just $225! All the details and registration form are now available at www.dustystrings.com -- on the menu in the right margin, click "concerts & events" and then use the links in the resulting smaller menu for "Harp Symposium" "Symposium Concerts" "Symposium Presenters" and "Symposium Schedule". Or, simply call 206-634-1662 to request the Symposium brochure!
Local Harp Music in Feature Film. Harper Tasche is pleased to announce that his piece "Featherspirit", for harp and cello, has been selected for use in the upcoming documentary "After Winter, Spring" by New York filmmaker Judith Lit. The film is a beautifully told story about the way of life of traditional farmers in the southwest of France, as they deal with the pressures of modern agribusiness. "After Winter, Spring" is expected to be released for screenings at selected film festivals worldwide beginning in the fall of 2012. Congratulations Harper!
New Harp Duet Book! Anna Jenkins writes to say "I'm excited to tell you that, after six years of collaboration with Sharon Thormahlen, we are very close to publishing our harp duet book, "Cabin Fever for Two"! This is my first full book of arrangements and I am delighted to have these two-part tunes finally in print. Please take a look at the cover of our book, "Cabin Fever for Two," and read a little more about it from my website at http://www.peaceharp.com/products.html. Very soon I'll be ordering books from the publisher to sell locally (or I can mail to some of you who are afar) and would like some idea of how many books to request. If you're interested in purchasing "Cabin Fever for Two," just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org (no need to send a check at this time) and I'll include your book in my order from Afghan Press." Congratulation to both Anna and Sharon on this accomplishment; their duets together are always beautiful and we thank them for sharing!
Welcome Laura Welker. Laura Welker, of western Montana, attended our PSFHS retreat at Crystal Mountain in June. She was excited to make the acquaintance of so many other harpers, and hopes to be able to join us at more of our events in the future. Laura has been playing the harp since 2001, and has recorded a CD ("Aura of the Celtic Harp") and published a book of her arrangements (also available as individual pieces); for sample tracks and more information see her website at www.laurawelker.com. (Her website is her own design, and she would be willing to exchange web design services for harp lessons via Skype, if there are any instructors out there interested in a trade.)
What Kind of Harp Is That??? Harp guitars? Harp pianos? Auto-harps? Many things with the word "harp" in their names, but not the ones we expect! For a great look at all sorts of non-harp harps, see the new article at Harp Spectrum, compiled by Joyce Rice: http://www.harpspectrum.org/non/WhatKindOfHarp.shtml.
Skagit Games Harp Tent Report. Sally Verrinder writes to say "A big ‘thank you’ to everyone who joined us and participated at the Harp Tent at the Skagit Valley Highland Games in mid-July. We provided appreciative audiences with ‘round the clock’ harp music from Seumas Gagne, Becky Fox, Harper Tasche, Molly Bauckham, Linda Khandro, Jill McDavit, Kathie Hardy, Jennifer-Pratt-Walter & Valerie Blessley (Celtic Muse), Nancy Chouinard, and Jason Kies, with guest appearances from Welsh singer Eric Bowen and Slighe nan Gaidheal’s performance group Seirm. Becky Fox and Harper Tasche did double-duty, lecturing on the history of the harp in the Culture Tent. We introduced about 8 new folks to the harp during our Sunday morning ‘Try the Harp’ session and our audience section was full most of the weekend. Extra thanks go to Becky Fox and Susan Easthouse who helped staff the Harp Tent from decorating before the Games opening to tear down after closing and everything in-between. Susan also helped some of the performers take home a little extra cash by offering to sell their CDs. We would also like to thank the Celtic Arts Foundation for supporting the harpers with such a nice large tent with a very spacious stage. We had a very fun and successful Harp Tent this year and are already looking forward to next year!"
Dusty Strings Harp Symposium Dates and Presenters Announced. Save the dates! Dusty Strings will have a Harp Symposium this fall, November 2-4, 2012. Presenters include Marta Cook, Maeve Gilchrist, Laurie Rasmussen, Park Stickney, and Harper Tasche. More information will appear as it develops at http://tinyurl.com/harpsym2012 .
Random Acts of Harping. Congratulations to some of our local harp players who decided to take part in the Random Acts of Harping weekend, June 23 and 24. Beth Cachat and Barbara McPherson took their harps to the farmers' market near Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park and played for the enjoyment of passers-by. Beth says "we got over our nerves and had a good time. Later in the day, Linda Khandro and Valerie Day joined us for a bit. We let wide eyed children try a gliss - huge hit, and several folks took our picture." It's great to give people a chance to see and hear a harp "up close"!
Apartment Sought. Biagio Sancetta expects to move to the Puget Sound area around mid-September and would be grateful for any leads on living quarters. Student harper, hobby harp designer/builder, newly retired, age 62, non-smoker, non-drinker, but an excellent cook. Location is flexible (although prefers the West Sound), but quiet and seclusion are high priority. A privately-owned 400-600 sq. ft. apartment around $500-$700 per month would be ideal! Please contact Biagio at email@example.com or his cell phone 804-384-8989 with any and all ideas.
Still a Chance to Attend Local Harp Camps. Leslie McMichael writes to say there are still a few openings at the Vashon Island Harp Camp; she says "I could still welcome a few more middle-to-high school age players for the youth session August 10-11, and adults for August 12-13. All playing levels welcome, and great classes led by Laura Zaerr, Judith Cummings and me!" For more details, contact Leslie at firstname.lastname@example.org. And there are also still a few spaces available at the Magic Hill Harp Camp, July 20-22, organized by Phil and Pam Boulding of Magical Strings; for all the details about that (as well as a slide show of last year's camp), see http://www.magicalstrings.com/HarpCamp.html.
Twenty Years on the Job! Who would have thought it? (Not me, that's for sure!) But this year marks the 20th anniversary of Reigning Harps editorship for yours truly, Diane Moss. The newspaper was created (and named) by Sile Harriss, who began gathering a regional mailing list in the late 80's. When Sile moved away in 1992, I volunteered to take over the job "for a year" (!). In the last two decades, the newsletter has grown from a one-page sheet mailed out quarterly to about 75 people (subscription $10/year), to a 6 page newsletter mailed quarterly to over 300, to its current incarnation as a free on-line newsletter updated weekly and visited by thousands, sponsored by the Puget Sound Folk Harp Society. But the one thing that has stayed the same is that it is you, the readers who contribute the news, who make it happen! For a look at the very first issue that I ever sent out, in June of 1992, click here!
Skagit Games Harp Tent. Many harp activities will be going on at the Games Harp Tent this year, July 14 and 15 (see Calendar for daily schedule). Bring your harp and join our two Harp Circles plus Group Tunes sessions, one for each day of the Games. We have performances by Northwest harpers throughout both days, and a Celtic Jam towards the end of each day where all instruments are welcome. Come and visit with friends, or help audience members have their first taste of harp-playing. If you bring your harp to participate, please contact Sally Verrinder at email@example.com for a gate pass. And bring along a copy of the new Celtic Tunes Lead Sheets (find the link at www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org), as we will be playing from it during our Harp Circle and Celtic Jam sessions.
Third Sunday Harp Circle in the Summer! For many years, the Third Sunday harp circle has taken a summer vacation as the library where we meet was not open on Sundays during the summer months. But that has changed this year, and the Mountlake Terrace library has kindly allowed us to reserve a meeting space for June, July, and August. So if you are in the mood for a summer harp get-together, come join us on June 17, July 15, or August 20, from 2-5 pm, for an afternoon of low-pressure music making. Contact Diane at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Celtic Tunes Lead Sheet Booklet Now Available. Beth Kolle has compiled and arranged a collection of tunes which are available for use at the Highland Games harp tents this summer (see the Calendar listings for June 2 and 3, and July 14 and 15). Beth has also most generously allowed the booklet to be posted on our Puget Sound Folk Harp Society web page, for the use of other harp groups, harp circles, etc. To print out your copy, see the link at www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org.
Save That Date - October 13! The nationally acclaimed show "Legends of the Celtic Harp" will be in the Seattle area on Saturday, October 13. Three of the premier Celtic harpers in the world (Patrick Ball, Lisa Lynne, Aryeh Frankfurter) take you on a dramatic musical journey deep into the myths, legends, and history of the Celtic Harp. More details will appear as they develop, but for now, get it on your calendar!
PSFHS Tunebooks. Those who have attended a Puget Sound Folk Harp Society (formerly ORCA Chapter) festival or retreat since the year 2000 have received a free tunebook of group tunes from those events. We have had several "supplements" over the years so that people can keep their books current, and since 2007 we have posted our group tunes on-line for ease of access and updating. To make finding these tunes even simpler, we've created a new link to an archive of those group tunes. The link can be found at www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org near the bottom of the page.
Harp Concerts, Anyone? The Puget Sound Folk Harp Society gets occasional inquiries from harp players planning to tour in our area, asking if we can help refer them to appropriate venues. We are gathering a list of resources so that we can quickly provide information, and would like your help. If you know of any good places (small theaters, community halls, concert series at churches or schools, decent sized coffee houses, etc.) please make a list of them and send them to us at email@example.com. Also, there is some interest in house concerts as well; if you know of anyone presenting harp-friendly house concerts, or if you yourself would be interested in hosting such a concert, use the address above and let us know. Thanks!
Music Retail Sales Person Wanted. Dusty Strings Music Shop, home of Dusty Strings folk harps and many other fine instruments, has an opening for a part-time retail sales person (4 days per week). The right person for this position will have excellent communication skills, enjoy working with the public, and complement our current team of friendly and knowledgeable staff. A love of music and a desire to learn and talk about musical instruments is a must. Harpers are encouraged to apply! Please apply in person Mon.-Sat. 10-6, or Sun. noon-5, at 3406 Fremont N., Seattle.
Updated Website for Enchanted Harps. Enchanted Harps in Puyallup WA has an all-new look to its website. Check out the changes at http://enchantedharp.com/. Besides photos of all the tempting harps, new and used, there is a list of sheet music, and also an events listing with upcoming classes.
Watch Seattle Times for Harp-estra. Leslie McMichael writes to say a photographer from the Seattle Times attended the Sgt. Harpo's "Lonely Harps Club" Harp-estra, a 25-harp benefit concert for YouthCare, a community based agency serving Seattle's homeless and at-risk youth. Watch the Times on May 6th, in the "Picture This" column, for a photo of the participants, or see http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/picturethis/. Congratulations to Leslie for organizing this worthy effort!
Congratulations to New ISFHS Chapter. The Willamette Valley Folk Harp Society has been born! Harpers in the Eugene OR area have re-organized as a new chapter of the International Society of Folk Harpers and Craftsmen, and will have their first meeting May 20th, 3 pm, Eugene Hotel's Dining Room. Officers are: Mary DeMocker, President; Lucia Hardy, Vice President; Amy Raven, Secretary; Noah Brenner, Treasurer.
Classical Gas. In March, Deborah Henson-Conant (with her new short hair-do!) did a concert at the Shedd Institute in Eugene OR. The surprise of the evening was her special guest star, Mason Williams. The two of them did several numbers together, including his famous guitar piece, Classical Gas... it's fun to watch the levers that must be flipped to keep up with the guitar! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vXtywOlayc
Registration for PSFHS Summer Retreat Opens. Registration is now open for the Puget Sound Folk Harp Society's annual Summer Retreat at Crystal Mountain. This cozy family-style gathering offers a weekend of harp activities in the mountains for a very affordable price. For details and a registration form, see the link at www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org.
Local Harp Adjudication Opportunity. The Performing Arts Festival of the Eastside is a fun and educational experience for young performers in the Greater Eastside areas of metropolitan Seattle. This year's festival runs from April 10-April 22 and includes adjudications and concerts. There is a harp division (solo and ensemble) which the festival organizers would like to enlarge. The harp adjudication categories include adult students. If you are a harp teacher with interested students, you might take a look at their web site, and think about the possibility of preparing for next year's festival... here is the link to the harp information: http://www.pafenorthwest.org/Festival2012/HarpDiv2012/default.aspx.
New CD for Seumas Gagne. Those of you unable to attend last month's CD release concert in Seattle still have a chance to hear some of the great music the large and appreciative audience enjoyed! Seumas's debut CD, Baile Ard, is available for purchase or digital download on CD Baby. There are twelve tracks which include both traditional arrangements and original compositions, with strong vocals in Scottish Gaelic, and the harp always in the forefront. For more information, and to listen to some samples, visit http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/seumasgagne and enjoy!
Our Harp Community Loses a True Friend. It is with sorrow that we bring news of the passing of a great supporter of harp activities in the Seattle area. Hugh C. Murray, musician, psychiatrist, and for 30 years co-owner of Galway Traders, the Irish import shop in Ballard, died on Monday January 16. Hugh was the son of Irish immigrants, and his own mother played the harp; this, plus his passion for traditional Celtic music, led to his unfailing hospitality toward harpers. Galway Traders has hosted the Samhain harp presentation every autumn at the shop since the mid-80's, and generously donated to the local harp society. A celebration of Hugh's life will be held at an Irish wake on Sunday, February 5th, from noon to 3 pm at FX McRory's (near Occidental and King, in Pioneer Square). Harp players (with or without harps; there will be a session) are most welcome to attend. We extend sincere condolences to Hugh's wife, Eveline, and to their family. (An obituary with photos can be found at http://funeralscoop.org/dr-hugh-c-murray/.)
Final Festival at Fort Worden. Despite chilly weather (and a snowy ride home for some of the participants!), the PSFHS Winter Festival, January 13-15, created some warm memories. Our last festival at historic Fort Worden, on the shores of Puget Sound in Port Townsend, was the usual fun mix of workshops, jam and reading sessions, our traditional 40+ member harp circle, a memorable ceilidh with all manner of presentations from those in attendance, and free time for socializing with friends old and new. For some photos from this event, visit the gallery at http://tinyurl.com/7fkue4z (click Slideshow in upper left). And for information on the site of next year's winter festival, see this letter written by Winter Festival Director and PSFHS President Harper Tasche, which explains the reasons for the move. We hope to see you at our new venue in 2013!
Congrats to Leslie McMichael! Music from Leslie McMichael's “Peter Pan” CD has been selected for broadcast on nationally syndicated radio program The Score. Host and producer Edmund Stone will feature two selections from Leslie's harp score on the show's latest edition devoted to “New Scores for Silent Films.” A list of stations broadcasting The Score is at www.thescore.org. In Seattle, tune in to Classical KING FM 98.1 on Saturday, February 11 at 4 pm. Leslie is excited that her harp music for Peter, Wendy, and the Lost Boys will be on the air all over!
Folk Harp on The Big Bang Theory. For those of you who are fans of the television program "The Big Bang Theory", you may have noticed that the character Amy has been depicted playing a lever harp recently, and the buzz in the on-line harp forums was that it appeared she was really playing it, not doing the fake-looking "wave your hands at the strings" thing while someone else provided the harp track. The most recent issue of the Sylvia Woods Harp Center newsletter contained the answer... not only did they provide the harp for the program, but also harp lessons to Mayim Bialik who plays Amy! You can read the story here: http://tinyurl.com/swbigbang.
Music Thanatology Training.
Applications are now being accepted for the Lane Community College Music-Thanatology
Training beginning September 2012. Application deadline is May 1st, 2012.
Students receive over 500 contact hours in this two year, non-degree
training, which includes 19 monthly didactic weekend intensives in
Portland OR and weekly clinical internships working alongside MTAI
certified music-thanatologists in hospitals and hospices in the Pacific
Northwest. This certification preparation training is designed to prepare
students to meet the Standards and Competencies of Music-Thanatology
Association International (MTAI), the professional organization and
independent certification body for music-thanatology worldwide. For more
Music Can Change Lives. Susan
McLain of Seattle wrote to share a wonderful message she got during the
holidays: "Here is a letter I received on Christmas Eve. It's a reminders
that our work as musicians has rewards more powerful than other trappings
of success... the ability to touch people in profound ways. I remember
this gig from 1989. When I received the note on Christmas Eve of 2011, 22
years later, my joy could not have been greater had I won any Grammy or
music award. We harpists have put our hearts and souls into our work.
Let's remind each other how worthwhile our gifts are and share the
splendor of what our sweat and hard work really accomplishes...
transcendent moments that touch others for a lifetime!
Still Room on the Celtic Music Cruise to Alaska June 3-10. There is still room to sign up for the cruise, which leaves from Seattle on June 3. There will be workshops, concerts, pub sessions, three city stops, and the always spectacular scenery. Philip Boulding will give a special presentation on the Magic and Mystery of the Ancient Celtic Bards. More information is available at: http://magicalstrings.com/MS_Celtic_Cruise.html.
Plan Now for Féis 2012. Slighe nan Gaidheal, Seattle’s Scottish Gaelic cultural society, has announced the presenters for its bi-annual Féis! Féis Seattle 2012, will be held June 13-17, 2012, at historic Fort Worden located along the Admiralty Inlet on the Olympic peninsula near Port Townsend, Washington, and will include instruction in Gaelic language, song, and traditional instruments including the harp. Cynthia Cathcart, harp presenter, is an expert on the wire-strung harp of Scotland and Ireland, and her classes will provide traditional techniques and repertoire to players of wire-, nylon-, or gut-strung harps. Plan ahead to attend this immersion into the Gaelic tradition. For more information, see http://www.slighe.com/topic.php?topic_id=4.
Congratulations to the Boulding Family. Long time harp player, teacher, and performer Philip Boulding, of Magical Strings, had the great pleasure and honor of walking his daughter Brittany down the aisle earlier this year. For a lovely photo, see http://magicalstrings.com/.
Decorating Your Harp for the Holidays. Reigning Harps reader Barbara Dixon of www.harpdecals.com has some great holiday designs among her selection of removable soundboard decals, just right for those December gigs when you want to dress up your harp without any permanent modifications!
New CD for Leslie McMichael. Harp CDs make great gifts! In addition to "Snowfall -- Harp Solos for Christmas" and "A Northwest Classical Christmas" (available as a bonus to supporters of KING FM), Leslie McMichael is thrilled to announce a new release -- her "Peter Pan" soundtrack, all original music for harp, just in time for the holidays. Details at www.pluckmusic.com.
Winterharp Concerts Include Patrick Ball. For those in the lower mainland of BC, Winterharp concerts are a long-standing tradition! This year, Patrick Ball is joining the ensemble for an even greater harp presence... for description, concert schedule throughout December, and ticket information, see their web site at www.winterharp.com.
Last PSFHS Winter Folk Harp Festival at Fort Worden. Just imagine this: your favorite folk harp friends, and the same quality harp sessions you've come to expect every January, but at a lower price, with individually climate-controlled meeting and sleeping rooms, NO STAIRS, and a full bathroom for every two people! After years of searching and weeks of deliberation, the Puget Sound Folk Harp Society's Board of Directors has voted unanimously to move the Winter Folk Harp Festival from Fort Worden in Port Townsend, to the Warren Center at Camp Brotherhood, located in the foothills of the Cascades near Arlington, starting in January 2013. This festival has been on the Olympic Peninsula for the past 25 years (first at Fort Flagler, and more recently at Fort Worden), but the Festival's new home is on a 200-acre forested farm with beautiful views, and offers numerous (and much-needed) facilities upgrades along with a more stable and affordable fee structure. If you have questions, see the longer explanation here or email Winter Folk Harp Festival program director and PSFHS President Harper Tasche at firstname.lastname@example.org. See you at Fort Worden for our farewell Festival in January 2012, and at Camp Brotherhood starting in January 2013!
Samhain Harps Play In the Celtic New Year. On October 30th, six harpers entertained an appreciative audience at Galway Traders in Ballard in celebration of Samhain (the Celtic New Year). Beth Kolle, Maggie Olwell, Jo Anthony, Jason Kies, Nan Pardew, and Andrew Anderson volunteered a wonderful variety of music, with melodies from Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, as well as Manx, Breton, and Galician tunes. For some photos of the players, see www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org. (The Puget Sound Folk Harp Society co-sponsors this event every autumn, and we want to extend our thanks to everyone at Galway Traders for their cooperation and hospitality, and send our special thoughts to proprietors Hugh and Eveline Murray during this difficult time of Hugh's illness.)
Seeking Celtic Cruise Cabin Mate. Barbara Dixon of Vancouver Island and creator of www.harpdecals.com has a request. She is interested in the Celtic Cruise that is departing from Seattle to Alaska next June (for details see http://www.celticmusiccruise.com) and is considering signing up for it. However, being single, she has no travel partner and the rates are prohibitive for solo travelers. She is wondering if anyone from the Puget Sound area would like to share a cabin? If you want to discuss details, contact Barbara at email@example.com.
Harp Solo on KING-FM Holiday CD. Leslie McMichael writes that she contributed a solo harp track to a holiday music CD which will be released by KING-FM just before Thanksgiving. This CD will not be for sale but is offered as a premium for contributors to the station. (Seattle's venerable classical music radio station made the move from commercial radio to public radio model earlier this year, and you can still be a Founding Member if you join in 2011.) Leslie continues, "all harp players and music lovers should consider helping sustain KING FM as members!" Visit www.king.org for details about membership and the holiday CD featuring music by different Puget Sound artists and performing groups.
Harpists For Peace. Nancy Chouinard writes to tell us that she also played for an hour on September 11, 2011 Harpists for Peace, in front of the Heritage House shop near the Fraser River bank in Ladner BC.
Harp Technique and Repertoire Hints On-line. Victoria harpist Josh Layne has recorded a series of videos explaining many harp techniques and also explorations of a number of pieces from the harp repertoire. The repertoire is more aimed at pedal harp, but many of the technique videos (harmonics, trills, rolled and broken chords, etc.) are also appropriate for lever harp players. This is a great resource, and all free! Take a look at: http://www.joshlayne.com/harptuesday/index.html.
PSFHS Picnic Thwarts Forecast! Despite the gloomy weather forecasts which predicted a downpour all day, harp music kept the rain drops away as an optimistic group gathered to enjoy a day of music and companionship in Seattle's lovely Ravenna Park. About two dozen people attended this annual free event, and by our count, at least 18 of those were harp players and 15 of them brought harps along, so there was plenty of music-making that went on from the time we arrived until the last of us left the park. The potluck selections were particularly tasty this year, with some delicious sandwiches, salads, and desserts. The harp-trinket give-away made for some funny moments, and bargains galore were snapped up from the "buck-a-book" music box. Thanks to all who attended, and to PSFHS events chair Eileen Warr-Marti for organizing! For some pictures of the fun, go to www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org and follow the link to the picnic photo gallery.
Harp Cruise Anyone? Next June, there are plans for a Seattle-Alaska "Celtic Cruise", which will include workshops, concerts, sessions and ceilidhs on-board, as well as the usual cruise ship fun and port visits. The northwest's own Magical Strings will be among the featured performers, and Phil Boulding will be providing harp instruction to beginners and intermediates in workshops, as well as private lessons to more advanced students. For more information on the cruise itself, see http://www.celticmusiccruise.com and for more information on the harp instruction opportunities, contact Phil Boulding at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Peace Harp Hour on September 11. A number of local harp players took part in the annual "Harpists for Peace" observation, held this year on September 11. As a prelude to our autumn meeting, PSFHS board members Harper Tasche, Sally Verrinder, Eileen Warr-Marti, and Diane Moss played together for an hour in Shoreline. Bellingham harp player Kathie Hardy played for an hour near the labyrinth walk in Fairhaven Park, and Mill Creek's Diana Beaumont played for an hour at Wilmot Park in Woodinville. If anyone else contributed to this world-wide event (see www.harpistsforpeace.org), write in and let us know where you played!
The Power of Music. Though this
is not a new speech, it may be new to some of you, and is certainly worth
reading. It is the welcome address made by Karl Paulnack to the incoming
class of the Boston Conservatory, in which he explores the place and power
of music in society, citing personal examples that lead him to believe
musicians can "save the planet". You can find the text at:
Inside Peek at Historical Harp-Building. Here's a link to an interesting photo story by David Kortier describing his replication of the Bunworth harp (the original is at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston): http://kortier.com/subpages/bunworth.htm.
WHC Program On-Line. The Vancouver World Harp Congress committee has posted the entire program for download, including biographies and extensive program notes, on the website at http://www.worldharpcongress2011.com/program.html, as well lists of performers, etc. For those who were unable to attend, this is a great way to catch up on what happened there!
Get Well Wishes. In the airport on his way to the Somerset harp festival, Dr. Alfredo Ortiz (Latin-style harp master) suffered a bad fall and a fractured knee. His injury required surgery and he will be unable to travel or perform for some time. His upcoming Seattle visit has been canceled (please see the Calendar for Sept. 3 for more information from Dusty Strings about refunds, etc.). The Puget Sound Folk Harp Society and all of his friends and fans in this area wish him a speedy and complete recovery!
Local Harpers at Folklife. Seirm, the singers and instrumentalists of Slighe nan Gaidheal (Seattle's Scottish Gaelic Society), performed at Folklife at the end of May, and the organizers have posted a sound clip from the performance on their web site! The clip opens with Seirm's harp players (Nan Pardew, Sally Verrinder, Eileen Warr-Marti, and Jason Kies) performing a set of Scottish tunes which begins with Bunessan (aka Morning Has Broken), followed by Come By the Hills, and ending with a rousing version of Glenlivet. To hear this, go to: http://www.nwfolklife.org/streaming05272011.php. Then scroll down toward the bottom of the page to Center House Theater, 9:25 pm. Bravo, Seirm harpers!
WHC 2011. The World Harp Congress in Vancouver BC just wrapped up at the end of July, and by all reports it was an amazing gathering... congratulations to the Vancouver organizing committee who planned and successfully completed this ambitious undertaking! Some clips of various programs and performers have been posted on Youtube... go to www.youtube.com and search on Vancouver Harp Congress to see some samples.
Scottish Highland Games Harp Competition. Congratulations to all those who took part in this summer's harp competition. This year's finalists are as follows: Bellingham – no competition. Mt. Vernon – Intermediate 1st place Maggie Olwell, 2nd place Noelle Kramer; Advanced 1st place Jason Kies. Enumclaw Preliminaries – Beginner 1st place Avonlea Knoedler; Advanced 1st place Janna Bisceglia, 2nd place Makayla Humbarger. Enumclaw Finals – Beginner 1st place Avonlea Knoedler; Advanced 1st place Janna Bisceglia, 2nd place Jason Kies. Thanks to all who helped organize this year's competition and harp tent activities (Sally Verrinder, competition coordinator; Becky Fox and Kathie Hardy, Bellingham tent coordinators; Terry Hergesheimer, Mt. Vernon tent coordinator; Kate Freeburg, Enumclaw tent coordinator). And of course, thanks to the judges, without whom a competition is not possible (Seumas Gagne at Mt. Vernon, Michael MacBean at Enumclaw). To see some photos from the competitions, go to www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org.
New CD for Patrice Haan. Patrice sends her best to all her friends in the Puget Sound area, and is happy to report that she has just released a new CD! "Bluest Blue" is Patrice Haan’s newest album of original songs. Suffused with lakes and the sea, half of the collection of song-paintings features harp and voice, and half showcases piano and voice. The album represents a broad spectrum of styles from meditative tone poems to jazzy blues and swing. Intuitive and poetic, "Bluest Blue" was completed with the considerable support and talent of these musicians: Rene Worst: bass, Jeff Sanford: saxophone, Tony Marcus: guitar on 'Penelope' & 'Wake Up', Jennifer Scott: piano on 'Edge of the Se'a & 'Penelope', Shira Kammen (vielle), David Morris (viola da gamba) and Julian Smedley (violin) on 'Golden Time', Dan Reiter: cello on 'Thetis Lake', and Brian Rice: percussion on 'Edge of the Sea'. David and Julian also played on 'Altars'. The album is available directly from Patrice. Please write to her at Patrice@TuxedoRecords.com. (It also should be available soon from CDBaby.)
Crystal Mountain 2011. The Puget Sound Folk Harp Society's annual Crystal Mountain retreat was held June 12-14, and twenty-plus harpers had a great time playing, visiting, eating, laughing, and learning... all surrounded by beautiful forest and mountain scenery. For the second time in 15 years, there was so much snow in the mountains in June that the ski area was still operating, but the road was clear enough for us to gain access to our cozy lodge where we could enjoy the snowy views. Everyone shared musical creativity and good-natured fun, which made for a delightful weekend. An amazing coincidence was the unexpected reunion of two college friends who hadn't seen each other for nearly 40 years! Thanks to all who attended and helped make it a success; if you'd like to see some photos from our weekend together, go to www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org and toward the bottom of the page, follow the link to "Photos from Crystal Mountain - June 2011".
Save the Date for PSFHS Annual Picnic. The Puget Sound Folk Harp Society's annual potluck picnic will be held in Seattle's Ravenna Park again this fall. Mark your calendar for September 18, and plan to spend part of the day visiting (and playing) with harp players from all around the region. Free, of course... just bring your harp and a dish to share! More details will be announced as the date nears.
In Memory. I'm sorry to have to inform you that one of our long-time Reigning Harps readers, Ellen McAtee of Bellevue WA, passed away on June 15th. Ellen studied harp with Pamela Vokolek, and also once served as the Greater Seattle area AHS Chapter vice-president. Our condolences go out to her family and friends.
New Location for Enchanted Harps. Enchanted Harps in Puyallup WA is planning a move in July to a new and larger location, just three blocks north of their original place. If you've never been there to see the wonderful selection of lever and pedal harps, including the beautiful Camac harps from France, you should make the trip! The new address is 210 North Meridian, in Puyallup. Best of luck to them in their new shop!
David Michael's New Book. Port Townsend harp player David Michael writes to say "Dear fellow harpists/harpers, Ever since bureaucrats from Washington State Ferries booted me and my Celtic harp off the ferryboats for reasons of “Homeland Security” in 2007, I’ve been busy writing a memoir. Now it’s finally finished and published in paperback. The book is called: 'BUSKER – Tales of a Renegade Harpist'. For those unaware of the word busker, I supply the definition right on the back cover: A person who brings music or any kind of performance art to a public place and entertains in exchange for donations. Highlights of my book include: Outlandish and often comical details of my forty-year career entertaining around the globe…from cafés on the isle of Crete to the walking streets of Scandinavia and the ferryboats of Puget Sound; Selections from the media maelstrom touched off by the actions of WSF and the saga of my struggle with the nation’s largest ferryboat bureaucracy. Brilliant pieces of satire by many fine writers are included; An exploration of the much maligned/beloved art of busking and the lifestyle of a street performer. Through my personal experiences, historic anecdotes and a look at other famous buskers, I make the case that busking plays a vital cultural role in society; A gritty and humorous travelogue of my five summers of street music exploits and misadventures in Europe; Colorful coming-of-age stories from my teen years, venturing through the turbulent sixties’ culture of anti-war uprisings and psychedelic voyages before breaking into the seventies when I honed my music performance skills from an Israeli kibbutz to the seamy underbelly of Hollywood Boulevard; A bonus section entitled 50 HOT TIPS FOR BUSKERS with invaluable pointers and lessons for novice and expert buskers alike. Fun for all—even for those with no interest in trying their hand at it! Also Included: a bonus sampler CD with 73 minutes of my best music. My music publishing company has formed a subsidiary—Purnima Press—to publish this book. To order, please send $20 per copy + $4 shipping 1st copy, $2 each additional copy to: Purnima Productions, PO Box 317, Port Townsend WA 98368. Or if you want to use a credit/debit card, order from Amazon. And see my new site: www.renegadeharpist.com . 'BUSKER – Tales of a Renegade Harpist' is dedicated to buskers everywhere: those seekers of beauty and spreaders of mirth—all the brave souls willing to traverse 'improper channels' in order to share their creative spirit."
Performance, Authenticity, and America's
Got Talent? Last March when she was in town for a performance
with the Tacoma Symphony, Deborah Henson Conant was invited to the Seattle
auditions for the TV show "America's Got Talent". (This had to remain a
secret until the episode aired, which it recently did.) Those of you who
watched know that Deborah was "buzzed" (rejected) within seconds of
beginning her piece, and took some fairly harsh criticism from the panel
of judges. In her blog, Deborah has been reflecting on this experience in
a very interesting exploration of what it means to be a working performer
and at the same time remain true to your own artistic vision... see her
Complete Cross-Strung Article Now Available. Seattle's Harper Tasche writes to say: "Hi everybody! Those who have received the current Folk Harp Journal already know this, but I thought it would be worth announcing that another article about cross-strung harps is now in print. It appears on pg. 48-51 of FHJ Issue #151 (Summer 2011), entitled A Brief History of the North American Cross-Strung Harp. Beginning with Robbie Robinson's published description and drawings of a Welsh cross-strung harp in 1982, this article offers an annotated timeline of the cross-strung movement in the United States and Canada up to the present day. Anyone who would like to read the unabridged version of the article (including numerous additional archival images) can send me an email, and I'll be happy to email you the eight-page pdf file (915KB) for free. (As the author of the article, I'd like to thank John Metras, Verlene Schermer, and M. Diane Moss for valuable feedback. I'd also like to offer my thanks to Skye Hurlburt, Elizabeth Paine, Claudia Freeman, Dan Speer, Valerie Blessley, Roger Muma, M. Diane Moss, Kathy LaBerge, and Mark Sickich for sharing their photos.)" Contact Harper at email@example.com to ask for this informative article.
New Seattle Chapter AHS Officers. Congratulations to the new slate of officers for the local chapter of the American Harp Society, just elected in May: President, Judith Cummings; Vice President, Alishia Joubert; Secretary and Resonance Editor, Joyce Rice; Treasurer, Crystal Oman; Membership, Susan Haas.
Donations of Used or New Lever Harp Strings Needed. Patrice Fisher, who is President of the New Orleans Chapter of the American Harp Society, has a mission to build lever harps and provide harp instruction for students in Guatemala (for more info on this project, see http://www.patricefisher.com/guateteach.html). Because the strings and hardware are the most expensive part of the harps they build, Patrice is always accepting donations of new or used lever harp strings, and hardware such as replaced levers, pegs, etc. She'll be making a trip to Guatemala in August and would be happy to take supplies with her then. Her instructions follow: 1. if you can, put the strings in the same envelopes from which you just removed your new strings; 2. if it is too late for that, put them in separate zip lock bags, according to octave; 3. if you can, send a string inventory of what you are sending (it is easier to write you a receipt for your taxes that way; 4. in any case, send what you have, especially lever harp strings, to 921 Stewart Ct., New Orleans, LA 70119. Patrice mentions that she can also use some pedal harp strings, but is unable to use wire-strung harp strings.
Remembering Civil War Musicians on Memorial Day. Harper Tasche wrote a touching account of his project to honor Civil War musicians in a cemetery near his home; to read it, please go to our Articles page.
Seeking Harp Friendly Housemate. Susan McLain is looking for a quiet, conscientious housemate to share her Victorian House in West Seattle. Ramp for moving harps in and out...you can use her L & H gold 23 to practice. Loves animals and has a fenced yard and dog door for pets. Room and a half for your use and your own bathroom. Call Susan at 206 932-1861. Available June 1st"
Show Off Seattle to Relocating Harp Player? Harpist (fiddler, and composer) Tina Larkin will be visiting Seattle May 12-16, considering possible relocation from Ohio. She is hoping that a local harp player might be able to either put her up for a night or act as tour guide for a day, so that she could get a better feel for the area. Can any of you help her out? She says: "I don't smoke anything, am very neat, and am a gourmet cook." You can check out her website at www.tinalarkin.com, and get in touch with her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
News About Highland Games Competitions. Sally Verrinder writes to announce: "This year is the FINAL Northwest Regional Scottish Harp Competition! At a meeting of adjudicators and tent coordinators, it was decided 2011 will be the very last competition at the three Northwest Highland Games. The harp tents will continue on next year with more fun activities, workshops and opportunities for harpers of all levels to participate and play. To end the competition, this year we will have two Beginner's categories: '17 and Under' and '18 and Over' in addition to the other categories. With the exception of the Beginners category, all other categories have been reopened to past winners. We'll also have harp circles each Saturday and Sunday after the competitions. It's always a fun time at the Highland Games! We would like to give heartfelt thanks to both the Puget Sound Folk Harp Society and to Dusty Strings for their continued generous support over the years - we couldn't have done it without you! For more information and links to the Games, go to www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org. If you need additional information, please contact Sally at email@example.com or 425-881-0952.
Account of DHC's Northwest Tour.
Deborah Henson Conant performed with the Tacoma Symphony last month to a
sold-out house, and she has written an interesting account of her visit to
the Northwest at:
Seeking String Chart. Barbara Dixon is seeking a string chart for a Andrew Thom "Adaryn" model harp. (Instructions from the builder are unclear and strings from Australia too expensive, so she is looking for Canadian or US equivalent strings.) If anyone has such a harp and knows the proper string gauges, please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ray Pool Mini-Workshop on YouTube. Ray Pool wrote to say "Dear Harp Friends, I prepared a video clip for YouTube that I'd like to share with you. It is a brief overview of information I published in my harmony study "3's a Chord." You may be an Adult Learner and would like to expand your understanding of music on the harp. The stepping stones to sight reading, playing from a fake book and improvisation are all strengthened with this information. You may have taken my workshop somewhere along the way. This is a reminder of the topics we studied. You may be a teacher and have students that would benefit from this study. You can pass the link on to them. Whatever the situation, I hope you'll find this clip interesting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmBvia892jI. Best wishes, Ray Pool."
In Memory of Cyndee Walket. Your editor writes: I belong to several on-line harp "lists", one of which is the Virtual Harp Circle, co-founded and co-moderated by Barbara Dixon of British Columbia and Cyndee Walket of South Carolina. These great cross-continental friends created a welcoming on-line space where harp players of every experience level can ask and answer questions, and chat about their harps and other interests. Early this month, we were all shocked and saddened to learn that Cyndee had passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. She was an accomplished musician, playing harp, hammered dulcimer, and bowed psaltery. She loved playing her Heartland Dreamweaver and her Andrew Thom harps, and was well known for hosting great "after-hours" music parties in her room at harp conferences. Cyndee also was an animal lover, working as a veterinary technician and vet clinic manager, volunteering in dog rescue organizations, and training handicap assistance dogs. Her bright spirit will be missed by all who knew her, and the outpouring of support from her "harp friends" has been moving. A Virtual Harp Circle member, RoJean Loucks, composed a lovely piece in Cyndee's memory, and kindly offers it to Reigning Harps readers for their personal use (of course, if you would like to record or publish it, please contact RoJean for the appropriate permissions). Thank you so much RoJean, for sharing this moving tribute. (To print out a copy of the music: Cyndee's Farewell: Adobe PDF format; to hear the music: Cyndee's Farewell: MP3 format.)
Therapeutic Harp CDs by Christine Grace Magnussen. Christine's On Wings of a Dove - Harp Music to Soothe the Soul CD is used throughout the world to bring calm to healthcare settings, anxious animals, holistic practices, home and office. Available in wholesale small quantities for gifting: www.peacecalm.com/products.html.
New Website All About Wire-Strung Harp. Sherri Williams writes to say "Here is a new website to check out. It is TOTALLY for the wire strung harp. It was put together by Cynthia Cathcart, her husband, and a couple of other wire harp players... http://www.wirestrungharp.com/index.html ".
Fort Worden Folk Harp Festival A Fine Success. The Festival's program director Harper Tasche reports, "This year's January festival was definitely something to be proud of, being our 25th annual winter folk harp weekend! Our 'silver anniversary' gathering was marked by excellent sessions led by Judith Cummings, Laurie Riley, Seumas Gagne, Anna Jenkins, and Harper Tasche, and a lovely ceilidh under the guidance of Patrice Haan. We had a full house, and the sound of 43 folk harps playing together in that big wooden room was a wonderful experience, and a wonderful memory, for all of us. Many thanks to all who attended, and especially to the legion of volunteers who made it all possible. Hope to see everybody at the Crystal Mountain Retreat in June!" (To see some snapshots from the festival, go to www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org and follow the link to Photos from Fort Worden - January 2011.)
Beware - Another Scammer at Work! Recently those with ads on our Harps for Sale page have been plagued by another blatant scammer. This inquiry (sent to many) has all the hallmarks of the typical scam... note the mention of her own shipping agent and insistence on using a money order. Do not reply to this individual, or any others with similar approaches!
From: Abby Baker <email@example.com>
Welsh Tune Names Revealed! Many of us
in this area (your editor included) first learned to play the harp in the
encouraging environment of Philip Boulding's group classes (new series
starting this month... see the Calendar for details). Most of us began
with Philip's arrangements of two tunes called Welsh Tune #1 and #2. These
have also been included in the Harper's Songbook handed out at the Fort
Flagler/Fort Worden and Crystal Mountain harp weekends since 2000. This
January at Fort Worden we were delighted to have two attendees from Texas,
one of whom (Sallie Huffman) first learned to play the harp while living
in Wales. Sallie was kind enough to tell us the actual Welsh titles of
these two folk tunes! Welsh Tune #1 is the B part of a tune called "Pwt ar
y Bys" (pronounced roughly "poot are uh bees" (and sometimes called by
English speakers "Buttered Peas"!). Welsh Tune #2 is called "Ffidl Ffadl"
(pronounced (and meaning) Fiddle Faddle). If you are interested in hearing
tutorial versions of these by a Welsh harp player, Delyth Jenkins, they
can be found on YouTube:
Amazing Coincidental Backward Harp. Many of you know your editor is fond of images of harps being played wrong way 'round. (The "Related Links" button will take you to a whole gallery of these little gems!). How perfect could it have been that our Fort Worden 25th anniversary cake included a truly lovely example, on a marzipan medallion! People asked if we had ordered it that way... the answer is "no" which makes it all the more fun. And it tasted great too!
Harp-Friendly Irish Sessions in Sultan Continue; New Session in Renton to Begin. Matt Haverly writes to say the third Sunday Irish sessions at the Visitor's Center in Sultan are continuing into the new year; beyond offering an informal and inclusive session from 6:30 to 9 pm, Matt will also provide a free lesson (for harp, whistle, Irish flute, bodhran, mandolin, or guitar) prior to the session if you are interested (contact him for details). Starting in January, he will also be starting a new weekly Irish session on Wednesdays, 7-9 pm, at 201 Williams Ave in Renton, at an Irish pub called "A Terrible Beauty". For more info on any of the above, contact Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Irish TV Special on Wire-Strung Harp. TG4, the Irish language TV station, has posted Oidhreacht Dhonncha Uí Ámhsaigh (The Legacy of Denis O'Hempsey). This is a documentary featuring some of the best performers on the historical and modern wire-strung harp. You can watch it on-line at: http://www.tg4.tv/main.aspx?level=ceol. It's a one-hour documentary in three parts (watch them in order) featuring Ann Heymann, Alison Kinnaird, Bill Taylor, Paul Dooley and Laoise Kelly, Alain Stivell, Myrdhin, Nollaig Brolly, and Caoimhe Cooke. This is a great chance to see and hear some lovely instruments and amazing players. Enjoy!
New Christmas CD from Harper Tasche. "Wintermas Moon" features solo cross-strung harp playing beautiful extended improvisations on familiar Christmas carols, in Harper's lyrical signature style. Email email@example.com to ask about a sweet discount on multiple copies until December 24th, order single copies from www.harpcrossing.com, or listen to sound clips and download digitally from www.cdbaby.com/cd/harpertasche11.
Cold Weather Finger Woes. Last winter Diana Beaumont wrote in asking for recommendations for that winter-time bane of harp players, split and cracked fingers. A number of people answered her with good ideas, which bear repeating now that the cold is upon us again. Before cracks appear: try applying pure Vitamin E oil (just a drop) before retiring for the evening; consider taking liquid multivitamin/mineral complex and extra essential fatty acids (EFA's) plus drink plenty of water. Regularly: apply moisturizers such as creams with glycerin near the top of the ingredient list (Gold Bond Ultimate Softening Cream) or udder cream (Bag Balm). After splits appear: try super glue (fills the cracks and allows one to play if necessary) or New Skin (covers and protects the cracks and helps heal them). Thanks to all who submitted suggestions.
Samhain Harps at Galway Traders. On October 31st, the afternoon of Halloween itself, the cozy shop in Ballard called Galway Traders hosted a presentation that has become a treasured tradition, the welcoming of the Celtic New Year (Samhain) by a group of harpers. This year, Linda Khandro, Diana Beaumont, Chris Roe, Peter Berry, Laurie Riley, and Beth Kolle played for two hours for an enthusiastic audience. Irish music was particularly well represented, with many tunes by Turlough O'Carolan, plus some traditional jigs, reels, laments, and a lullaby. An interesting convergence brought us three double-strung harps (Linda's, Laurie's, and Beth's), and it was a treat to hear Laurie and Beth play some duets on their four rows of strings. Peter played on his lovely Irish wire-strung, as well as his Dusty Strings harp (serial number 001!), and honored us with the recitation of a poem about the bean-sidhe in honor of the season. Chris went to the trouble of tracking down an elusive Scottish tune called "Halloween" and played it for all to enjoy. Diana played a number of tunes composed in honor of the ladies, such as Eleanor Plunkett, Blind Mary, and Molly MacAlpin (aka Carolan's Dream). Linda played an original tune she composed in Ireland, and also instigated an "all-play" version of Star of the County Down so everyone could hear harps in ensemble. The time flew by... thanks so much to the harpers who volunteered their talents, and to Hugh, Evie, and Eileen at Galway Traders for their unfailing hospitality! (For a picture of the players, see www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org.)
In Memoriam. We are sad to inform you that harper Linda Haynes, of Ferndale WA, passed away at home on September 4th. Linda was an active member of the Skagit Valley Harp Circle, and also attended the Fort Worden Folk Harp Festival regularly. She played a lovely little harp made of purple-heart wood, which was handcrafted for her by her husband Jerry. Pat Edwards remembers "Linda liked to play modern (70s-80s) pop music and one year at Fort Worden she played her arrangement of Stairway to Heaven just three harpers after Jennifer Pratt-Walter played the same song. They were so different, but both delightful." Linda was a staunch environmentalist with a special interest in birds, both wild and domestic. In addition to playing the harp, she was an accomplished flautist and also played the hammered dulcimer. She will be greatly missed. Her family suggests that memorial donations be made to an environmental cause of your choice or to Whatcom Hospice.
New Web Site for Andrew Anderson. Seattle area harper (singer, and multi-instrumentalist) Andrew Anderson has a new web site at www.sonofandrewmusic.com. There are sound clips and videos as well as an events calendar and contact info.
New Officers for Greater Seattle AHS. Susi Hussong is the new President and Joyce Rice the new Secretary of the Greater Seattle Chapter of the American Harp Society. Thanks and appreciation go to outgoing officers Mark Andersen (president) and Lynn Andersen (secretary) for their years of service and stewardship during the preparations for the national AHS conference last summer in Tacoma.
Harps for Sale in Canada. If you are in Canada, or willing to drive north, you might want to check out the Canadian-only website at www.usedharpmart.com. Stephen Vardy has created this site to list used harps for sale in Canada; those in British Columbia may be of interest to harp players in the Pacific Northwest.
Interview with Seattle Opera Harpist.
The latest Seattle Opera program, distributed at their performances of
Lucia di Lammermoor, contained an interesting interview with Valerie
Mussolini Gordon, the opera's principle harpist. You can read it on-line at:
Good Weather, Good Times at PSFHS Picnic. On Sunday September 12, a hardy band of harpers ignored the weather forecast and headed to Seattle's Ravenna Park for the annual Puget Sound Folk Harp Society picnic. Despite the gloomy forecasts, the weather cooperated well (probably soothed by the harp music!)... no rain and some pleasant "sun breaks" made for a comfy afternoon. 20-25 people came and went from the park, enjoying the pot-luck goodies, the pinata, the good company, and several sessions of group harp playing. As always, the sound of the harps drew in joggers, dog-walkers, and parents with baby-strollers from around the park, and some good conversations resulted. Several commented they had never seen a harp up-close, let alone a dozen of them at once! It was a lot of fun... join us next year! (To see a few pictures from the picnic, go to www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org and follow the link to picnic photos.)
Change of Contact for SCCA Volunteers. Susan Greenwood is now coordinating volunteer musicians at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (a job ably done by Linda Allen for many years). Susan would like to hear from you if you would like to participate in the Healing Music Project at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance in October or November. Contact Susan for details at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New CD (and Address) for Nancy Davis. Nancy Davis, long of Spokane WA, has a new CD! "Blossoms and Briars; Songs of Love and Other Mischief" a CD of Celtic harp and song will be released in October. The CD was originally just going to be songs of love. But throw in a few fairies, a winged archer, a rebellion or two and a couple of saucy ladies in men's pants and things get a bit more complicated. Tracks include Both Sides the Tweed, Roger the Miller, The Wind that Shakes the Barley, Bushes and Briars, Ned of the Hill, When I Was a Young Maid, The Fisherman's Song, Martinmas Time, The Hills of Glenshee, The Fields of Athenry, King of the Fairies, The Queen of Hearts, Peggy and the Soldier and the Road to Drumleman. For more info please write to email@example.com. (Nancy will be moving from Spokane this November. Her new address will be 1982 N. 165th, Goodyear, Arizona 85395.)
New Studio Location for Leslie McMichael. Leslie has joined the faculty of Music Center of the Northwest, Seattle’s oldest community music school. Leslie will offer individual and group harp instruction through the Music Center’s thriving Suzuki Academy, and she also welcomes adult students on lever and pedal harp. Located in Seattle at 901 North 96th Street, MCNW programs bring musical experience to people of all ages , backgrounds and abilities. For more information, visit www.mcnw.org.
Gig Harbor Harp Gathering Space. Martha of Gig Harbor writes to say that she has a large, climate-controlled, sound-engineered space, suitable for harp circles, concerts, workshops, or other gatherings. She would be happy to discuss conditions with anyone who is interested in organizing a harp event in that area. Contact Martha at 253-326-4485.
Monthly Sultan Irish Session. Matt Haverly writes to say that on the 3rd Sunday of each month, there will be an Irish session at the Sultan Information Center, 302 Main Street, 6:30-9:30 pm. They are resuming meeting at that location for the rest of the colder parts of the year. Free lessons are available at 5:30 (please confirm with Matt in advance). Ideal for musicians/singers/dancers of all ages and skill levels. Harps are welcome! Contact Matt, Host of the Irish Sessions in Sultan, at SULTANIRISHMUSIC@LIVE.COM.
Jazzharp Website Gets Makeover. For those of you who enjoy jazzy harp music, take a look at the newly revamped www.jazzharp.org. Lots of information on upcoming performances and events, and their new "webshop" (button on the far right of the menu bar) where there are numerous jazz harp CD's for sale, as well as sheet music, and other gadgets. Enjoy.
New Book for Lap Harp from Harper Tasche! "A Lap Harp Standing Tall" is a collection of pieces for the 19-20 string harp (lowest note G below middle C), no levers required, written with the intermediate level player in mind. Whether the lap harp is your primary instrument and you're looking for music to expand your skills, or whether you're an accomplished player of larger harps and want something interesting to play on your travel harp, this is the book for you! Three pieces are never-before-published arrangements, two are Harper Tasche originals which appear only in this book, and three pieces are adapted from Harper's published music for 26-string harp. Titles include: The Mermaid's Song (traditional Scottish Gaelic "Oran na Maighdinn Mhara"), Carolan's Welcome, John Peel (traditional Cumbrian), The King of Love (hymn tune "St Columba"), Flora de Santa Cruz (traditional Andean), plus Ellen Magdalena, Another Double Shot, and Phase Oasis (all Harper Tasche originals). To order, send $20.70 (includes US shipping) to Harper Tasche, 1122 E Pike #1397, Seattle WA 98122.
Pierce County Harp Circle. Kate Freeburg, located in northeast Pierce County, is interested in starting a harp circle, and would like to hear from all those who might be interested in participating before setting times and locations. She is near the town of South Prairie... other towns near her location are Buckley, Bonney Lake, Puyallup, Orting, and Enumclaw (and Tacoma isn't all that far away). Anyone interested, please contact Kate at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oregon Harper 2010 All-Ireland Champ! AnnaLee Foster of Hillsboro OR has won first place in the harp competition at the 2010 Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann (Ireland's annual traditional music festival), which was held this year in Cavan, Ireland. AnnaLee played for several years with Janet Harbison's Irish Harp Orchestra and has returned to Oregon to teach in the "Irish style". For more information, see http://www.heritageharpcenter.com/content/view/16/62/. Congratulations AnnaLee!
Highland Games Competition Results. This summer's harp competitions at the local highland games have come to a close, and we are pleased to announce the winners! At the Skagit games preliminary contest, Margaret Graves won the beginner competition and Sally Verrinder won the intermediate competition. At the Enumclaw games preliminary contest, Sara Wilkinson and Makayla Humbarger tied in the advanced category, and Nan Pardew and Mary Fears, performing as a duet, took first in Harp & Voice while Cheryl Zabel took second. At the Enumclaw games final competition, Sally Verrinder won first place in intermediates, Nan Pardew and Mary Fears won first place in Harp & Voice, and Makayla Humbarger won first place in advanced after an exciting tie-breaker! Congratulations to all who competed this year, many thanks to the volunteers who coordinated and staffed the harp tents at Bellingham, Skagit, and Enumclaw, and a special thank you to Seumas Gagne and Laurie Riley and Penny McLeod DeGraff for their skilled adjudicating.
Harp Volunteers Sought for Next Summer. Kate Freeburg writes: "I know the Pacific Northwest Scottish Highland Games and Clan Gathering (in Enumclaw WA) for 2011 seems a long way off, but we will begin planning for those games now. Last year and this year they had stations for the young children to experience the various events at the "Isle of the Wee Bairns". The stations included piping, dancing, drumming, and harping as well as junior athletics. I would like to get some volunteers to help with the harp station. Last year I was able to spend about an hour and it was a lot of fun. It is basically letting the children pluck a few strings. If someone volunteers for a 3-hour shift (11-2) they would get a 1-day gate pass for the day they work. I provide a Dusty Strings FH26, so they do not need to worry that there would be damage to their personal harp. If anyone is interested they can contact me at email@example.com. Volunteers for the harp tent itself are always welcome as well. The dates for the 2011 Games are July 30 & 31."
Review of Francois Pernel Concert. Last month, we sent out an "extra" Reigning Harps update to let people know about a performance by visiting French harpist Francois Pernel. Our Puget Sound Folk Harp Society president, Harper Tasche, was able to attend and sent the following review: "I had the great pleasure of seeing, hearing, and meeting an outstanding "swing Celtic" harpist from Nantes (France) at a last-minute concert in Seattle last night, and wanted to introduce you if you aren't already familiar with him and his work. His music sounds something like a blend of Park Stickney, Kim Robertson, Sharlene Wallace, and Michael Rooney -- innovative, harmonically adventurous, and beautifully rhythmic interpretations of traditional tunes, original pieces, and completely re-imagined classical works. A few standouts of last night's performance were J. S. Bach's 'Badanerie' in a blazingly fast jazz treatment, a Mussorgsky piece (which I couldn't identify, and didn't catch the title) with dozens of swiftly-executed lever changes, a marvelous contemporary piece 'An Heol Tevzet' by Breton harpist-composer Kristen Noguès (d. 1997), and several fascinating and beautiful contemporary settings of O'Carolan tunes. François' website is www.la-harpe-libre.com, where you'll find dozens of videos and mp3 files for free download (click "laboratoire"). As a couple of samples of his work, I suggest http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqCQnhM2g5w&feature=player_embedded and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tGgI79l2Qs&feature=player_embedded. Hopefully we'll see much more of him at harp festivals everywhere, but please do enjoy his recorded work in the meantime."
Lever Harp Music, Half Price. Joyce Rice has a quantity of harp music that is being sold at half price for the benefit of the American Harp Society Greater Seattle Chapter. It is mostly lever harp music: several books by Sylvia Woods and Deborah Friou, collections by Ray Pool, Sam Milligan (Medieval to Modern), Kim Robertson, Daniel Burton and Bernard Andres, and a lot more by various composers and arrangers. Currently it is sorted and spread out on Joyce's ping-pong table for easy viewing. Anyone is welcome to give Joyce a call (206-937-0778) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and go to West Seattle to pick up some great buys.
Regional Harp Players Featured in New Book. Music-thanatologists in the Pacific Northwest are featured in the new book Music at the End of Life: Easing the Pain and Preparing the Passage (Praeger Publishers, 2010) by Jennifer Hollis. Hollis interviewed music-thanatologists in Portland and Eugene, Oregon, in Everett, Washington, and in Missoula, Montana, as well as in other cities across the country. Her research focuses on the field of music-thanatology, which uses live harp and vocal music to serve the needs of the dying. She explores the vocation or call of music-thanatologists, their relationship to the dying process, and the ways in which music-thanatology has been integrated into modern hospital and hospice settings. The book can be ordered on Amazon (at www.amazon.com) or through your local independent bookstore. Hollis blogs on this and similar topics at www.jenniferhollis.com.
Sultan Harper Plays in Hotmail Video & Ad. Matt Haverly of Sultan WA writes to report that he performed in a music video and short documentary which is part of a new Hotmail ad campaign. Creature Advertising, the ad agency for Microsoft, has put the completed music video, and accompanying 10-minute documentary on the makings of the video, on the Hotmail website. Entitled "The Four Leafs Project -- Four Strangers, Fourteen Instruments, Three Days", the video shows the process as four musicians of very different styles come together to create an original work. The film was done by MTV documentary film producer/director John Jeffcoat and his crew. Matt performs on harp and cello throughout, and there are interviews with all four of the musicians as well as the producer/engineer, Ryan Hadlock. Matt says, "Also, if you use Hotmail or MSN, keep your eyes open. If you see an ugly guy playing harp in a banner ad, it is probably me, as they paid me extra to use a 15-second continuous clip of me just playing harp. You may have already seen billboards on buildings, buses, and banner ads for "THE NEW BUSY" - this is a part of that ad campaign. The documentary really explains the concept for this particular multimedia project within the campaign." If you'd like to see the video and documentary (it requires Silverlite to be installed on your browser), go to http://windowslive.com/campaign/thenewbusy/. On the page that opens look for the "ORGANIZE SO THEY CAN IMPROVISE" link, then click on the "MUSIC VIDEO" or "DOCUMENTARY" links. Congratulations, Matt!
Bellingham Games Harp Tent Goes On. The Bellingham Highland Games Harp Tent, a Northwest regional harp tradition spearheaded by Eileen Warr-Marti since June 2000, will continue on, thanks to the willingness of Bellingham native Kathie Hardy, and wire harper Becky Fox, who have agreed to share the Bellingham Harp Tent duties next year! This year the Bellingham Harp Tent was a one day affair... Sunday morning, June 6, started out rainy, but up-beat. Kathie Hardy had the tent set up by 10:00 am. The official Harp Circle began at 1:00 with Molly Bauckham, Becky Fox, Kathie Hardy, Sally Verrinder, and Eileen Warr-Marti playing Scottish harp tunes and singing a few songs. Penny McLeod DeGraff made a special guest appearance and lead a few Gaelic Waulking Songs. Without a Competition the atmosphere was much more relaxed than usual. Kathie and Becky would love it if all the local harpers would turn out for the Harp Tent next year!
HOW'S YOUR HARP INSURANCE?
What would you do if your harp was accidentally damaged at a harp circle, a performance, a workshop or festival, or even while being moved in or out of your car? These are unfortunately common occurrences, despite how careful we all are about our harps. Having up-to-date knowledge about insurance coverage for your harp can make the all difference between a traumatic event, and a really expensive traumatic event!
Many people assume that their harps are covered by their homeowner's insurance policies, but that is quite often not the case. Many homeowner policies specifically do not cover musical instruments over a certain value, instruments which are damaged outside the home, musical instruments which are used for teaching, or instruments which are used in any type of public performance (even if you play for free at church or in an ensemble playing at a retirement facility). Most homeowner policies also will not cover any damage that occurs while your harp is getting from one place to another, and many insurance policies will only insure for the actual market value of your harp (regardless of replacement cost). If you don't find answers to these questions in your policy, call your insurance agent and ask.
Fortunately, economical harp insurance is available through membership in several harp-friendly organizations. The International Society of Folk Harpers and Craftsmen (ISFHC, www.folkharpsociety.org) offers a harp insurance program through Anderson Group Insurance, arguably the leading harp insurer in the United States (www.anderson-group.com). This may be the best choice for many Reigning Harps readers, as the ISFHC group policy offers the lowest minimum annual premium. As a nice additional benefit, being a member of the ISFHC also helps support the folk harp worldwide, and also gains you a subscription to the Folk Harp Journal.
The Anderson Group offers group policies to members of the ISFHC, the American Harp Society (www.harpsociety.org), and the World Harp Congress (www.worldharpcongress.org). Insurance rates, minimum premiums, and conditions of insurance vary between group policies, and membership dues also vary between organizations, so comparison shopping is recommended to find the best coverage at the best overall cost for each individual.
Anderson Group's harp insurance coverage is comprehensive, including professional use and damage occurring in transit. Your harp is also insured at "agreed value" (in other words, replacement value) rather than appraised value, which means that if it would cost $5,000 to replace your harp, even though you only paid $600 for it 20 years ago, you can insure your harp for $5,000. (Professional players might also want to take a look at their "performance liability" policy.)
Another popular musical instrument insurer is Merz-Huber (www.merzhuber.com). Merz-Huber offers individual musical instrument coverage, including school and college musical instrument policies, as well as additional group insurance programs to members of the American String Teachers Association (www.astaweb.com).
Nicer traveling weather is upon us, and with summer comes lots of extra harp festival and workshop opportunities. Please do take a few minutes to learn exactly what your current insurance policy will and will not cover, so you can bring your harp along without worry. If you find that you are not comfortable with the details of your coverage, do yourself a favor and protect your cherished investment with a good harp insurance policy before you need one. You'll be glad you did!
Harp in Ockham's Razor! Matt Haverly, harper (and multi-instrumentalist) from Sultan WA has been made a permanent member of the band Ockham's Razor. Known for their high-energy Celtic influenced performances, Ockham's Razor has performances scheduled throughout the region this summer (Tacoma, Seattle, Prosser, Graham, Hoquiam, Ocean Shores, and Bellingham in June and July). For more information, see the web site at www.ockhamsrazormusic.com... there is a calendar of gigs right on the main page.
Brava to Scottish Harper! Congratulations to Karen Marshalsay who just got a Distinction in her Trinity College (London) diploma exam (equivalent to an honors degree recital) - this is the first time this has been done using all Scottish traditional repertoire! For more information about Karen (and a sampling of some of her printed tunes and arrangements), see www.karenmarshalsay.com.
Remembering Lynne Wainwright Palmer. Mark Andersen, President of the AHS Greater Seattle Chapter, writes the following: "Dear Friends in the Harp World, I am very sad today to report the passing of Lynne Wainwright Palmer [Thursday, April 22]. Musicians all over the world will remember her as a great woman of the harp, outstanding composer and arranger, and beloved teacher following the steps of Carlos Salzedo. Her newly published music will be featured at the AHS Conference in Tacoma WA this summer, and a tribute concert and tea will be a highlight of the conference. We had all hoped beyond hope that Lynne would be there to receive the honor in person, but that was not to be. She touched the lives of so many people in a hugely positive way. Lynne loved her students, and was so very proud of their accomplishments. We will all miss her greatly." (In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the American Harp Society's memorial fund. If you would like to make a contribution please make your check payable to the American Harp Society, designate on the memo line that it is for the Lynne Wainwright Palmer fund, and send it to: Patti Warden, 365 Maple Ave NW, Renton WA 98057.)
O'Carolan Painting for Auction at Sotheby's. On May 6, Sotheby's is auctioning a large painting by 19th century artist James Christopher Timbrell. The painting is titled Carolan, The Irish Bard, and shows him seated and playing his harp, surrounded by a crowd of listeners. If you would like to see it, you can do so on the Sotheby's web site up until the date of the auction. Go to www.sothebys.com, enter "Timbrell" in the search box at the upper right, and when you get the listing, click on the thumbnail version of the painting to get a more detailed listing with an image you can enlarge, and zoom tools so you can inspect it closely. Quite interesting! The Sotheby's description is as follows: "A painting of the last great Irish harper-composer by James Christopher Timbrell (1807-1850), Carolan, The Irish Bard (lot 5), is estimated at £30,000-50,000 ($33,100-55,500). It depicts Turlough Carolan (1670-1738), who entertained the famous and wealthy in the big houses and castles throughout Ireland. One of Timbrell's most ambitious paintings, the present work was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1844 and places Carolan in a prominent position, commanding the attention of his attentive audience."
Olympia Harp Circle. Ray Simkins of Olympia has volunteered to be the organizer for a harp circle in Olympia WA. He has the list of names that Diane Butler formerly gathered, is currently working on finding a meeting venue, and would like to hear from any other harp players in the South Sound region who are interested. Please contact Ray at email@example.com.
Harp Scammer Alert. Beware of inquiries from the following e-mail address: Ruth Williams <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Messages suggesting a scam have been sent from this address to some people who have harps for sale on this site.
Update on Olympic Games Opening Ceremonies. Many thanks to Joe Blaszczak who read of the "harp mystery" at the opening ceremonies and wrote to confirm that Loreena McKennitt was indeed there and played on the black Troubadour harp that featured so prominently on television coverage. Joe attended the opening ceremonies and got this photo of Loreena on the stadium big-screen.
Recommendations for Finger Care.
Last month Diana Beaumont asked for help with cold weather finger
problems. Split finger and thumb tips resulting from cold weather/dry
heating can make playing one's harp uncomfortable. Here is the collected
wisdom from those kind souls who responded to Diana's inquiry about
Harp Mystery at Olympic Opening Ceremonies. Your editor writes: "Many of you may have watched the opening ceremonies and wondered, as I did, about the prominently displayed lever harp that was just to the left of every featured singer and speaker. I kept waiting for someone to play the harp, which looked like a L&H Troubadour. At one point there was an interlude of music by Loreena McKennitt, who plays a Troubadour, but she was not shown on-screen so I thought it must have been a recorded segment. There was also a large gold pedal harp just behind the speakers, and I could barely see a dark-haired harpist playing in some of the musical numbers, but could not tell who it was. So, I wrote to the Canada West Harp List, which has many members from Vancouver, hoping for the real story behind the harps. Vancouver Symphony harpist Elizabeth Volpe Bligh replied and gave this account: 'The orchestra music was pre-recorded by the Vancouver Symphony, so I was the harpist [heard] in the orchestral segments, for example, the Olympic hymn with soprano Measha Brueggergosman. (I don't know if there was any music performed live by the orchestra that was there.) The harpist [seen] onscreen [playing an Aoyama Monarch] is an excellent harpist, Alys Howe, a former student of mine...Loreena McKennitt was there, singing live, but I did not see her onscreen. It was very nice to see the harps so prominently displayed!' Elizabeth added 'we [Vancouver Symphony Orchestra] recorded all the National Anthems as well, so you will hear us every time there is a medal ceremony.'
"I couldn't believe that the networks would not have shown Loreena McKennitt at all, so I went searching on-line to try to confirm that she was actually there... sure enough! If you go to www.nbcolympics.com (if that website is still available after the Games end) and enter "Fiddlers from the East" into the search box at the top of the home page, you'll get a video of a tartan clad fiddler in a canoe silhouetted against the moon. Watch closely! About 40 seconds into the video Loreena with her Troubadour will appear for just a second or two.
New Gallery from Fort Worden Festival. Thanks to Valerie Day and Sally Verrinder, we have another gallery of photos from January's PSFHS Fort Worden weekend. To view it, just go to www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org and look for the links to photo galleries at the bottom of the page.
Artist Health Care Available. The Artist Clinic at Country Doctor Community Clinic offers artist-focused hours every Wednesday, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Artists of all disciplines can take advantage of this service. During a trial period, uninsured, low-income artists can apply for a voucher to help underwrite health appointment costs. The voucher program has been extended through June. The Artist Clinic is a partnership between Country Doctor clinics and the Washington Artists Health Insurance Project (WAHIP). To make an appointment, call 206-299-1600 and mention "WAHIP."
Report from the Fort Worden Folk Harp Festival. Program Director Harper Tasche writes, "Our 22nd annual festival on the west side of Puget Sound was a great success, wrapping up on January 17th after a weekend filled with harp workshops, a delightful céilidh, a wonderful morning of 46 harps all playing together, and of course the Great Harp Circle -- the heart and soul of the weekend -- where every participant played in turn for all of us. Facilities Director Barb McColgan Pastore and I would like to thank everyone who attended for giving the weekend a delightful cooperative spirit, thanks to our presenters who all did an excellent job, and special thanks to all the volunteers who helped ensure that the weekend flowed smoothly and that everyone enjoyed themselves." Thanks to Barbara McPherson and Bob Zawalich, there is a gallery of photos of the festival weekend for your viewing enjoyment at: www.pugetsoundfolkharpsociety.org.
Celtic Ensemble Forming. Matt Haverly (host of the Irish sessions in Sultan WA) is putting together traditional Celtic ensemble(s) that will take on groupings of various sizes and type (large and small, instrumental and vocal). If you are interested in being a full or part time member and would like to be featured in any of these ensembles, please send an email with your name, instruments you play, vocal range, phone number, and a Youtube link to any Celtic performance with you in it, to: email@example.com. If you have a facebook profile and have some videos/pics of you doing Celtic music, please include a link to your profile page. If you are not currently a Celtic musician but you currently possess a musical proficiency that you would like to apply towards Celtic music, please feel encouraged to contact Matt as well.
Used Harp Strings Needed. Patrice
Fisher of New Orleans LA writes to say "we're looking for your slightly
used harp strings for the Guatemala harp project. if you are changing your
strings and they are less than 5 years old, please save them for our
project. We have built 32 harps in Guatemala since 2003. 18 of these harps
belong to the harp teaching project. We charge the students $10 per month
to rent to own these harps. There is no place to buy harp strings in
Fuatemala and most of the students can't afford new strings. If you can
help us, could you please follow these simple guidelines: 1. all strings
are welcome, but we are especially looking for : 4th
Treasure Trove of Gaelic Songs. Scottish Gaelic songs can sound wonderful on the harp, and hearing them sung helps a lot with interpretation. Here's a great way to hear them! 2010 is "Bliadhna nan Òran", the "Year of Gaelic Song", on Radio nan Gàidheal. Each day, a different "Òran an Là" or "Song of the Day" is played and then the recording is added to their website, along with the lyrics, information about the song, bard, and performer. The song recordings range from some of the earliest audio recordings ever made to present day additions to the BBC archives of Gaelic song and are sung by a wide variety of talented singers young and old. As an example, Sìne Bhàn, song of the day for January 9th, is sung by the 1952 Mòd Gold Medal winner, Donald MacLeod of Islay. Unlike other Radio nan Gàidheal programs that disappear after a week, this treasure trove of recordings will be available for listening throughout the year. Each song can be accessed by clicking the date on the calendar at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00q2qzd. For more information about "Bliadhna nan Òran" and related programs, see http://www.bbc.co.uk/alba/oran/en/.
Holiday Harp-a-Thon Great Success. A grand total of $3518.50 was raised and contributed to Seattle Children's Hospital during December's 12-Hour Holiday Harp-a-thon. The 47 harp players who took part played many different styles of music, and the 36 20-minute sets ranged from solo to duo to large ensembles. Some harp players collaborated with friends and family members who sang or played flute, guitar, dulcimer, accordion, or bells, and the age range of the performers ranged literally from 8 to 80! The Harp-a-thon started at 8 am and went all the way to 8 pm, although sound tech folks Dan, Ginger, and Ole Grette and event organizer Leslie McMichael arrived early and stayed late. Silver Platters Music contributed gift certificates to the participants who gathered the highest total dollar amount of individual pledges (more than $500 gathered by Patti Warden) and the greatest number of individual pledges (31 donations collected by Jake Woodward). It was a day of siblings playing songs together, seasoned performers following debuts of new harp players, and music coming from the heart. One player was able to visit a schoolmate who was at the hospital following a bone marrow transplant and give him a private concert, and other performers shared their experiences as past patients at Seattle Children's. The day was long but very festive!
Kudos to all the musicians who gave of their time and talent: Henry Wend, Jake Woodward, Monica Schley, Lizzy LaBelle, Judith Cummings, Tessa King, Laurie Riley, Bianca Collings, MaKay Alldredge, Ole Grette, Gwen Lyons, Carol Stewart, Elaine Pierson, Paula Lalish, Bethany Eastman, Chloe Lauter, Diane Moss & Bob Zawalich, Clara McMichael, Erin Haas, Susan Haas, Diana Beaumont, Anna Jenkins, Mikel Oswalt Eng, Ginny Burger, Valerie Day, Liz Freeman, Madeleine Herczog, Patti Warden, Maddie Lyons, Dan & Ginger Grette, Ana & Katie Guthrie-Honea, Ava & Lauren Linvog, Lillie Moses, Rayna Shinn, Masami Cookson, Kate & Timmy & Jonny Kosaka, Katarina Shih, Mackenzie Norstrom, Emily Soth, Victoria & Michael MacBean, Rachel Rigsby, Leslie McMichael.
2009 and before
New CD from Healing Muses Benefits Nonprofit Mission. Patrice Haan of California writes to say: "I just received a box of the new CD which Healing Muses has made. I've been devoting myself to playing harp in hospitals in association with this non-profit for almost 5 years now. The mission of Healing Muses is to bring soothing live music, played on Celtic harp and wooden flutes, to Bay Area medical centers. The work is ever-more satisfying and moving. We play for chemotherapy centers, in family lounges, labs and waiting rooms and on various wards: surgery and post-surgery, cardiac monitoring, and most recently ICU. Recently I've been playing solo more often than not, and getting to do some room-to-room visits too. I have the pleasure of playing for patients and staff and families. Often people tell me their stories, sometimes they fall asleep, they cry, they hold still for a moment. I've experienced dancers and singers too; now, that's a lot of fun. While I've promoted the other CDs for Healing Muses (they're really really good!), this one is my special pet because I get to play all over it. Featuring repertoire from Celtic, American, Armenian and Sephardic traditions, it also includes two of my original tunes. All proceeds from CD sales benefit our work. I'd love it if you would check out "The Garden of Healing". We also have four other CDs on our website. To find out more, please go to www.healingmuses.org, click on "Sample Music" where you can listen to sound bytes. There is also an order form there which you can download."
New CD from Celtic Muse. Jennifer Pratt-Walter writes to say, "Dear friends, Celtic Muse (Jennifer Pratt-Walter and Valerie Blessley) are very pleased to announce that our newest joint recording, "Crossroads," has finally arrived! This album was born from our love of both Celtic and Scandinavian traditional music, with the actual Crossroad being the ocean that carried people from both sides, blending cultures, arts, and music and dance traditions. In this CD you will find some familiar tunes, such as "Skye Boat Song" and "The Parting Glass," several spirited Celtic jigs, and some unusual or eclectic pieces such as a wildly improvisational "Willow Bark Flute" and some choice haunting and tragic ballads. Valerie and I also composed our own unique versions of what the term "crossroads" meant to us, both musically and in imagery and feelings within us. Music textures, modes, and tempos form a lovely spiral between the Celtic land Scandinavian lands, with branches of new music reaching outward from the center. Featured instruments include two Celtic harps, flute, recorders, large and small kantele, pennywhistle, willow bark flute, and Appalachian dulcimer. CDs make an excellent gift for the holiday season: they are easy to wrap and mail, the music can be easily transferred to your personal listening devices, it's never too small or too big, is calorie-free, and it never goes out of style! Our earlier recordings "Wind and Wood" and "Merry and Bright," plus Jennifer's "Ancient Realms" and "Ancient Muse," and Valerie's "Northern Light" are also still available. Soundclips can be heard on CD Baby and Amazon.com. Pricing: One CD for $15, two for $28. Larger orders, plus wholesale orders are also available. For more information, or to order recordings, write Jennifer at Lyrica@comcast.net or Valerie at Blesses@pacifier.com. Thank you for your support of Independent Artists, and for buying locally made items!"
Focus on Youth and Master Classes. Elizabeth Volpe Bligh writes to remind us of these opportunities at the World Harp Congress in Vancouver BC in 2011. She wants to make sure that the information goes out early enough that the applicants have enough time to learn the repertoire and have a good chance to be accepted. The Focus on Youth deadline is June 15, 2010, and the information is posted on the web site www.worldharpcongress2011.com. Information on financial aid is on www.worldharpcongress.org. The Chair of the Focus on Youth Committee is Gianetta Baril. The master class details will be posted on the web site soon, but the repertoire and teachers are as follows: Isabelle Perrin (Bernard Andrès: Absidioles, Elegie, Duke or any Epices); Karen Vaughan (Britten: A Ceremony of Carols (we will provide the choir)); Jana Bouskova (anything Romantic or classical); Marie-Pierre Langlamet (Hindemith Sonata, Spohr Fantaisie, CPE Bach Sonata, Mozart Sonata, or anything they want to play for her); R. Murray Schafer/Judy Loman (The Crown of Ariadne - Ms. Loman and Mr. Schafer will choose which movements to work on). To apply, candidates must submit two identical recordings (CD or mini-disc) containing the repertoire of the desired master class. All performances at the Master Classes will be chosen from the recordings submitted. There can be no changes of music without specific permission from the Master Class Committee. Any changes must be followed by a second recording. If candidates wish to apply for more than one master class, they should send two separate CD's of each class's repertoire. The Chair of the Master Class Committee is Kaori Otake. Her contact information will be posted on the Master Class page of the web site www.worldharpcongress2011.com.
Yet Another Scam. Judith Cummings wrote to warn others of a scam that targets harp (or other music) teachers. The individual claims to be seeking harp instruction for foreign-born children over the summer while they are visiting this area. One of the clues is they ask for a lot of instruction hours, and want to pay in advance. (Eventually they need a refund, which you pay from your own account, and then of course their check or money order turns out to be bogus.) Best to ignore any such inquiry!
BSO Harpist Retires.
Here is a link to an interesting story about the retirement of Ann
Hobson Pilot, the first African American woman to play with the Boston
Symphony Orchestra, and their harpist for the last 40 years. Composer John
Williams has written a special harp piece for the occasion and there is a
sound clip available (it is, as they say in Boston, wicked hard!):
200-Year Old Sonata for Pedal Harp! Reigning Harps reader Elizabeth Paine found handwritten manuscripts by Danish composer Peder Schall whose works have never before been published, and has transcribed and edited a sonata for the enjoyment of modern harpists. This sonata is 17 pages long and would have been composed around 1800 for single-action pedal harp. This will be a great recital piece for intermediate to advanced intermediate pedal harpists of all ages. This new work can be purchased as a PDF download at www.thevirtualharp.com and will be available in printed form in a few months. For more information, please email Elizabeth at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Memoriam. With sorrow we inform you that Sue Shaffer, of Ocean Shores WA, passed away on September 13 after a long battle with cancer. Sue was an active harper who played for her church in Ocean Shores and who enjoyed encouraging others to take up the harp; her friend Peggy Nunley wrote: "she gave me a wonderful gift and that was the harp. If it wasn't for her, I would never have had the courage to try to learn to play." Sue attended the Crystal Mountain Folk Harp Festival and was a delightful addition to the retreat, always full of fun and sharing her love of music despite her illness. Our condolences go out to her husband Grant. The family suggests that memorial donations be made to the Marsha Rivkin Ovarian Cancer Research Center, 801 Broadway, Suite 701, Seattle, WA 98122.
Has Anyone Heard of
a Rondolin? Valerie Marcotte of Victoria BC sent in this amazing
Virtual Harp Circle. Barbara Dixon of BC, a faithful Reigning Harps reader, is also co-moderator of the Virtual Harp Circle, a Yahoo Groups mailing list that is large, friendly, and especially helpful to beginners. Barbara invites anyone who is interested in more details or who would like details on how to join to contact her at email@example.com. (Barbara also designs and sells very cool decals for harps... check out the choices at www.harpdecal.com. )
Handy On-Line Chord Finder. Here's a useful (and free!) tool that helps identify or spell chords, and also plays them so you can hear what they sound like. If you go to http://www.looknohands.com/chordhouse/piano/, there are lists of triads and extended chords, and also different scales (including modes). It is designed for piano players but is very handy for harps... I got the link from www.jazzharp.org, which has a great on-line newsletter.
Another New Book from Laurie Riley. "More Roads Lead Home" is a sequel to All Road Lead Home, the continuing adventures from Laurie's journals describing life at home and on the road as a touring harpist in a motorhome with a dog, two cats, and harps! $13. Available from Laurie at 715 232nd St. SE, Bothell WA 98021-9306 until October, then it will be at the online store at www.laurieriley.com.
Congratulations to New SYS Members. Three students of Patricia Jaeger have been accepted into Seattle Youth Symphony this fall: Thy Huynh, harp, Joshua Morales, viola, and Kirk Roa, violin.
Happy Announcement from Katie Cashatt. Harper and fiddler Katie Cashatt, formerly of Seattle and currently of Vancouver WA, writes to say "We are happy to announce the arrival of our baby boy, Diego Joaquín Maximiliano Díaz-Cashatt! He had a rapid and easy birth at home on August 26, 2009 at 3:35 am. He weighed 8 pounds 4 ounces and measured 22 inches long." All our best wishes go out to Katie and baby Diego, as well as to big sister Carmen Diaz-Cashatt and proud dad Erick Diaz!
Highland Games Info Addendum. Apologies for not having complete information last month on the Highland Games harp competitions... we failed to report Rebecca Garcia took second place in the Enumclaw preliminary Intermediate competition. Also, we want to thank our judges by name: Molly Baukham and Becky Fox in Bellingham; Seumas Gagne and Laurie Riley at Skagit, and kudos to Seumas Gagne for handling all the judging at Enumclaw, as well as for presenting a wealth of information to interested onlookers in the harp tent!
Rare Harp Found in Dumpster! Carol
Levin sent a link to a New York Times article regarding a very valuable
antique harp that was discovered in a garbage dumpster... enough to send
shivers down the spine of any harp player. See the article at:
Harp Player Census. Elizabeth Paine is conducting a census of harp players. She wrote to the internet's "harplist": "I took a guess earlier today that there are probably fewer than a million harpists worldwide, and that put a burr under my saddle (so to speak), so I am now on a mission. Please visit my website at www.thevirtualharp.com, specifically the "Where in the World are You?" post, and put your first name, last initial, city/state and country in the comment box for that post. Or you can send me an e-mail to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Just please don't do both. If you send an email, please put HARPIST COUNT in caps in your subject line so I don't miss it. Please pass this message along. Tweet it, put it out on Facebook or MySpace, etc.--anything to get the word out. Thanks for your help! This will be an ongoing project, but I will post updates as it goes along."
Seattle Area Harp Repair/Regulation. Robyn Tarbet writes to say that after many years of private harp regulation and repairs, she will be retiring from working with harps for the time being (and also mentions that she has enjoyed helping so many area harp players and will miss doing so). Thanks Robyn, for all your excellent work. I did some investigation to find out what alternative harp services are available, and found that John Saba and David Haxton at Dusty Strings retail shop in Fremont can and do work on both Dusty and non-Dusty harps, but that there is quite a long waiting period due to the volume of work they handle. Please contact Molly Baukham at Dusty Strings (206-634-1662); she can help evaluate your harp's situation and determine the best course of action for your particular needs.
New Books from Laurie Riley. Four new
books are now available from Laurie Riley:
Dusty Strings News. The final printed issue of the Quarter Note, Dusty Strings' print newsletter, was mailed out in August. From now on, all the news about happenings at the music shop and school will be on-line. The website at www.dustystrings.com has been revamped, with more information that is easier to access. Check it out and enjoy! Also note the sign-up box for the new Dusty Strings Email List, where you can ask for the regular monthly announcements plus additional notices tailored to your specific interests. And finally, note the new harps... the new FH34 and FH36H all-solid models are available now! The FH34 is replacing the FH32 and has the same strings as the Ravenna 34, but has a FH32-style body with the new "hybrid stave" back (a rectangular body with facets added to the upper corners for a more comfortable, "stave-like" feel). The FH36H is the replacement for the FH36B; everything is the same except for, again, the hybrid stave.
Thoughts from Big Sky. Harper Tasche
posted a description of his experiences at July's Big Sky Harp Festival in
Montana to the Yahoo Groups "Harplist". It was one of the most complete
I had seen written about the festival, so I asked his permission (which he
kindly gave) to reproduce it in Reigning Harps for those who were unable
to attend. As it is quite long, it is posted on the
Articles Page, and is well worth the time it takes to read! Also, if
you would like to see some of the fun that happened at Big Sky, Judy
Aslakson (formerly of Oregon, now of "wherever the RV takes us")
graciously gave permission to link to her slideshow of photos from the
festival... take a look at:
Silverdale Harp Circle Forming. Interested parties who would like to participate in a daytime/weekday harp circle in the Silverdale WA area are encouraged to contact Susan Miles at Soupymiles@aol.com. Please type "Silverdale Harp Circle" in the Subject line.
New Music Book from Harper Tasche. "A Folk Harp Going Places" is Harper's newest offering for 36-string harp, and includes a wide range of styles and moods. For the first time, Harper has written for a harp tuned in E-flat; there is one piece in G, and one in F, but the rest really do need E-flat tuning with full levers. When you hear his exuberantly chromatic cakewalk "Best Foot Forward" you'll know why! (There are no lever changes required while playing.) This music is all from Harper's CD "Provenance." The book is $17 plus shipping and applicable taxes, and is available at www.harpcrossing.com.
Small Harp Music Available for Download. Harper Tasche's "A Small Harp Speaking Dreams" for 26-string harp (to low C) has returned after a long absence. Each of the five pieces of music, paired with the full-length article or essay which appeared in the original book, is now available for electronic delivery at $3.75 apiece. Send an email to Harper at email@example.com and tell him which titles you would like (After Askadalen; An Indefinite Road; The Ash Grove; Mark's Farewell to Whidbey [voice and harp]; Spinning Star) and he'll email the PDF to you as an attachment upon receipt of your payment via PayPal, check, or money order.
Highland Games Harp Competition Results. Congratulations to everyone who participated in this summer's Highland Games harp tent circles and adjudications! In the Bellingham Preliminaries, Jonny Kosaka took first place in Beginners, Timmy Kosaka took first place in Intermediates, there were no Advanced competitors, and Eileen Warr-Marti & Annie Bishop took first place in Harp & Voice. In the Skagit Preliminaries, all competitors were in the Intermediate class; Diana Beaumont took first, Molly Baukham second, and Jason Kies third. In the Enumclaw Preliminaries, there were no Beginner competitors, Tim Smith took first in Intermediates, and Janna Bisceglia took first in Advanced. In the Competition Finals, Jonny Kosaka won the Beginner class, Timmy Kosaka won the Intermediate class, and Janna Bisceglia won the Advanced class. Our thanks to all the volunteers who helped make these competitions possible, to the harp tent coordinators, and to the judges.
New CD for Zeke Hoskin. Bellingham's Zeke Hoskin writes to say "As everybody who knows me knows well, I'm not a harp virtuoso. I did write one piece of flashy harp accompaniment, which I nailed in one take (the thirteenth, or thereabouts) on my album Lethal Reprieve. I'd hate to expect anybody to buy the whole album for one cut (the rest of the album is of course excellent and hugely entertaining and witty and has some hellacious good guitar on it, but no more super-harp), but now it is available for download cut by cut at Amazon and (soon) CDBaby and (probably) most other big music download sites." After some editorial questioning, Zeke confirmed that the name of the "super-harp" cut is Eagleharper. He also explains "They can buy the physical CD from me or CDBaby, but CDBaby takes plastic and I don't. I do have a web site, www.zekehoskin.com, where many of my lyrics and a few non-CD-quality recordings live. CDBaby only has my studio album, I have several less formal ones. I also sell sheet music, or at least I offer it for sale." Thanks for the announcement, Zeke, and the entertaining conversation... and congratulations on the CD!
Another New Article at Harp Spectrum. There is an interesting article posted at the Harp Spectrum web site at www.harpspectrum.org about the possibilities of harp distance-learning. A number of teachers describe their use of Skype to teach students who are not able to attend in-person lessons.
Congratulations to Leslie McMichael. Leslie McMichael was recently invited by 4Culture, the cultural services agency for King County, to join the 2009 Touring Arts Roster. Leslie's original score for the silent classic PETER PAN is performed live on three harps with film screenings, and she was accepted to the juried directory showcasing some of the region's most diverse and talented artists and ensembles available for touring.
New Articles on Harp Spectrum. The amazingly informative (and locally produced!) web site, Harp Spectrum, has just posted three new articles: "History of Latin American Harps" by Dr. Alfredo Rolando Ortiz; "The Eighth Pedal - Fact or Fiction?" by Mike Parker; and "Replacing the Strings" by Susann McDonald and Linda Wood Rollo. You can find links to these (and more) on the front page at www.harpspectrum.org.
Victory Review Goes On-Line. Victory Music, which has supported the Northwest acoustic music community for many years, has made the decision to publish their monthly Review as an internet e-zine only (though they will still print one paper issue per year, in May, for Folklife). Victory is a great resource for learning about local open mics, recording artists, concerts, etc., and you will be able to access the Review on-line at www.victorymusic.org.
New Concert Venue in Seattle. Greater Seattle AHS Chapter president, harpist and organist Mark Andersen, has received an appointment as Artist in Residence and Music Director to Daniel's Recital Hall at 5th and Columbia. The hall was formerly the First United Methodist Church sanctuary and it houses one of the finest pipe organs in the Seattle area, built in the American Classic style by Austin Pipe Organ Company of Hartford, CT. He will be playing a total of 14 concerts there this year. These concerts will be free to the public through a grant from the National Council for the Arts. The restoration and conversion of the building are being done by Kevin Daniels, CEO of Daniels Development. They are building the new skyscraper on the adjacent property behind the Ranier Club. Kevin is very arts-minded and the new recital hall will be a wonderful venue for harp programs. Mark reports that the acoustics there are absolutely fabulous! For more information see www.danielsrecitalhall.org (click Calendar for a list of noon-time concerts).
Mystery Harper Revealed. An internet discussion about an unnamed "amazing harp player" brought to my attention information on the current activities of Luke Brechtelsbauer. Those of you who were attending harp circles and festivals in the Seattle area six or seven years ago may have met Luke; he also was a regular busker with his harp at the Pike Place Market until he left town (to attend Clown College in California). If you remember him, you may be interested in this link: http://www.harpkit.com/Merchant2/laptest.htm. The second "testimonial" is a letter from Luke telling of his adventures with the harp, there is a picture of him (with harp) in full clown regalia in the circus, and a more recent video link showing that he can still play the strings off that well-traveled lap harp!
New CD for David Michael. Port Townsend harper David Michael has received great reviews on his new CD, Within, that he recently produced with long time friend Benjy Wertheimer. The music, for Celtic harp and esraj (a bowed Indian instrument), has been called an "improvisational masterpiece". Released on the Wertheimer's Wolf Cub label, Within may now be purchased online from CD Baby. If you don't want the CD package, you can download an mp3 of the whole recording for just $9.99 (as well as sample clips) at http://cdbaby.com/cd/bwdm. The selections on this CD were recorded as live improvisations using the ambient space of "the Cistern," the incredible sonic environment of an empty 2 million gallon underground reservoir in Fort Worden State Park (in Port Townsend, Washington). National Public Radio dubbed this space "the greatest musical instrument in the state of Washington," with a reverberation cycle of over 40 seconds. For more information on David, see his web site at www.purnimaproductions.com.
Konghou Article Available. Joyce Rice, who oversees the always interesting Harp Spectrum website, reports that a new article on the Chinese harp, konghou, from ancient times to today, is now available. Joyce combined information from two of today's foremost konghou players, Joy Yu Hoffman and Ping-qiu Yue, into an article that is "both informative and poetic". See this and many other fascinating harp articles at: www.harpspectrum.org
Latest Internet Harp for Sale Scam. Thanks to an alert harp seller who recognized a scam when she saw one, we have this latest example of how dishonest people try to cheat honest harpers! Note all the telltale signs (wanting "change" from an overpayment, wanting it via moneygram, involving a "shipper agent"). Ignore all such inquiries!
"Good to hear from you, Thanks for your prompt mail. I have been able to convince my client to pay that amount, he would like some recent pics too. My client has agreed to make out payment in a cashier check of $6,400 which is a refund payment of a cancelled order earlier made by my client's wife who is his marketing rep. Due to company policy this check has to be made out in this amount to you, because company policy only allows a refund payment on one cashier check. You are therefore required to deduct your cost price $1,200 and send the balance of $5,200 to my client's shipper agent in the US via Western union money transfer or moneygram transfer for him to be able to offset shipping charges and acquire space in time for shipping ."
New CD from Harper Tasche. Harper has finally made a CD using a regular 36-string harp! "Provenance" features iridescent, all-original works in Harper's full expressive range: joyous, introspective, stately, humorous, gentle, energetic, poignant, and evocative. Includes two pieces written for a wedding; two pieces commissioned in response to beautiful paintings by Redmond artist Ed Edelstein; and a suite of six pieces commissioned in response to exquisite verses by Colorado poet Kate Ellis (included in the 16-page CD booklet). Guest musician Jami Sieber adds her cello artistry to four tracks as well. The CD is $17 plus shipping and applicable taxes, available from www.HarpCrossing.com.
New Music Book from Harper Tasche. Harper Tasche's new "TheaSophia Suite" is a six-movement piece for 36-string (diatonic) harp and cello, interwoven with poetry by Kate Ellis. Interconnectedness, spirituality, health, death, and life are major themes in both the music and the text. Four of the six movements can be performed by solo harp; cello parts are included for four movements. The entire Suite is featured on Harper's CD "Provenance." The book is $17 plus shipping and applicable taxes, available from www.HarpCrossing.com.
Harps Welcome at Mid-Sommer Events. Joanne Graves of the Poulsbo Sons of Norway writes to say: "The Scandinavian community has a couple of mid-sommer events in the Puget Sound area each year. Part of the mid-sommer festival is an "allspel" which means "everyone plays". It would be so nice to have some harps come and join in the fun. Also, there is a Norwegian folk dance and music camp every summer in Mount Vernon, Washington. A group from Norway comes to teach dancing and music. The music is mostly fiddle and accordion, but I am sure if some harpers wanted to come they would be very welcome. The website for that is: www.seattlestemne.org. "
International Jazz Harp Foundation. March 2008 saw the inaugural issue of the newsletter of the International Jazz Harp Foundation. Headquartered in Europe, this group seeks to increase awareness of the use of the harp in nontraditional settings, particularly jazz, but also pop, rock, singer/songwriter, etc. To view their web site or sign up for the e-newsletter, go to www.jazzharp.org.
Award for Olympia Harpist. Graeme Smith of Olympia was selected by video audition to perform at "Expanding the Vision," the national conference of the Suzuki Association of the Americas, taking place in Minneapolis over Memorial Day weekend. Graeme, a high school junior and student of Leslie McMichael, will participate in harp master classes with Maria Luisa Rayan-Forero and Washington's own Jill Whitman, as well as play in the flute and harp performing ensemble. Congratulations, Graeme!
Congratulations to Flip Breskin! Bellingham musician and singer Flip Breskin has attended several Fort Worden festivals along with her husband, well-known harper and song-writer Zeke Hoskin. We got word that Flip was inducted into the Northwest Women's Hall of Fame on March 30th, for her efforts in community-building. Flip is a founder of the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, a stalwart at the Whatcom County Homemade Music Society, a frequent host of house concerts and other musical activities, a Block Watch captain, and editor of the Columbia (Bellingham) neighborhood association newsletter. As her nominator expressed "She combines this love and understanding, and expertise in music and people and community, and brings it all together." Congratulations Flip!
New Articles at Harp Spectrum. The wonderful Harp Spectrum web site (managed by Seattle harpist Joyce Rice) has four new interesting articles ready for viewing. (Go to www.harpspectrum.org; there is a "New Articles" block with links on the front page). One new article is "Early Scandinavian Sources to Harps and Harp Playing" by Sweden's Lia Lonnert, about Viking-era material, such as Gunnar playing the harp with his toes, and Aslaug, Daughter of Sigurd the Dragonslayer, along with some photos of really old stone carvings. Another new article is "Tips on Preparing Orchestral Harp Parts" by Elizabeth Volpe Bligh, which is a very thorough description of what an orchestral harpist needs to do to prepare a harp part. Another is about a "New Invention: The Harp Pedal Display Unit" in which South African harpist Amarillie Ackermann describes an electronic display that shows the current state of the 7 pedals of a pedal harp. Finally, Beat Wolf, a Swiss harp builder, has rewritten his article on The Louis XVI harp based on new research. Enjoy all this and more on the extensive web site!
Interesting Harp E-Zine. Deborah of the Emerald Harp Circle in Oregon wrote in about this on-line newsletter, written by Susan Zevenberger, "which contains all sorts of wonderful and useful information for harp students. Go to www.myharpsdelight.com and then click on "free newsletter" from the list. If you like what you find, you can subscribe to this free e-zine so that it is sent to you once a month in the future."
Tara Harp Protest. Last September, hundreds of people, including harp players, gathered to form a giant human harp on the hill of Tara in Ireland, to protest the government's plan to run a highway through this historically and archeologically important area. Many of the professional harp players in Ireland have signed a petition to protest this plan. You can see aerial pictures of the harp at http://www.tarawatch.org/?p=521 (sadly, they got the strings going the wrong way, but that's understandable given the size of the area covered... each little dot in the harp is a person!)
Update Your Harper's Songbook. Do you have a Puget Sound Folk Harp Society "Harper's Songbook"? These are the three-ring binders handed out to you when you attended either the Fort Flagler/Fort Worden or Crystal Mountain Folk Harp Festivals, from 2000 to now. New group tunes are added to the book at each festival, and if we miss a festival, we don't have those tunes at all. It makes playing together difficult when everyone's book is slightly different. As a service to our harp community, PSFHS is offering a Supplement to the tunebooks that will include all the group tunes presented since the books were new, printed one tune per page so they can be inserted in alphabetical order with the original music. We have a list of everyone who has ever received a book, but we don't have everyone's contact information. So here's what you need to do... if you have a book, please e-mail Diane at firstname.lastname@example.org, put the word TUNEBOOK in the subject line, and include your name as it appears on your book. Your name will be checked against our list of tunebook holders, and you will receive a link to a web page where you will be able to print out all the music you need to bring your book up to date!
Eastside Harp Circle Debut Performances! Congratulations to the Eastside Harp Circle who debuted as a performance ensemble at two events in December, playing for residents of Sunrise Assisted Living and Aegis of Bothell. Ann Jenkins wrote to say of the Sunrise appearance "There were 7 of us performing and our program lasted nearly an hour. We worked hard and really pulled it off - which both thrilled and amazed us! There were 6 ensemble pieces and we each did a solo or two. The residents seemed to really enjoy it - some sang along!" Brava to the members for their gift of music during the holiday season!
New CD for Linda Khandro. Linda, formerly of Seattle, recently relocated to her native British Columbia, is pleased to announce a new collaborative CD called Tethys, of original compositions and improvisations with harps (Linda), flutes (Ann Lindquist), and kotos (Shiho Kurauchi). Together they are called ShAnLi. If you would like a copy of this new release before the holidays, please mail to the address below: $20 will cover one CD and postage within the US. For more than one, please include an additional $1 per CD for packaging and postage. Please make checks out to Linda Khandro and mail c/o Camille Barrat, 2334 W. Plymouth St., Apt # 1, Seattle WA 98199.
New CD from Laura Zaerr. University of Oregon harp instructor Laura Zaerr has a new CD, Dreamland, which can be ordered from her web site at www.laurazaerr.com. “Take me to your Dreamland in a rowboat of pearl, with oars wrought of silver to show me your world.” Laura’s gift for blending rich poetic imagery with lyrical musical phrases creates a varied set of lullabies to inspire the child of your heart. Soprano Laura Berryhill with flutists Diane Hawkins and Melanie Place add depth to the velvety sounds of the harp. The album carries an international theme as well. "If You Come from China" is written for adoptive families of all shapes and sizes. Part of the proceeds of each CD sale will help fund the Chengde Social Welfare Institute in China, which is home for 40 children who are not up for adoption.
Second CD for Strings of Compassion. Strings of Compassion offers harp music at bedside at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Eugene OR. During the past twelve months, they have offered more than 1000 hours of service, which is provided without cost to patient, family, or insurance company. Their work is supported by donations and by CD sales, and their latest, From the Deep Earth, is now available. For ordering details and other information, see www.peacehealth.org/stringsofcompassion or call 541-685-1748.
Healing Songs CD from Harrison Medical Center. Edith Enns writes to say: "Just wanted to let everyone know that Harrison Medical Center (in Bremerton WA), where I work in Occupational Therapy/Hand Therapy, has almost completed their first Music CD - comprised of employees and volunteers. It is the first in what we hope to be a series and it is titled, "Healing Songs". The musicians are playing harp, flute, violin, cello , guitar and piano. It has been a great ride and we are excited to present this by the end of November. Harrison has hired a harpist , Dana Sheppard, and she is in charge of Complementary Therapies ( art, pet, aroma, etc.). It is a wonderful step for Harrison and their patients. Anyone wanting a CD can contact Harrison Medical Center at 360-377-3911 and ask for Complimentary Therapies. It will also be available in our in house gift shop for $15.00."
FHJ Sheet Music Available. Jerry Brown (ISFHC Librarian and owner of Music Makers' Kits) has completed a wonderful service... he has scanned the sheet music out of the first 100 Folk Harp Journals and made it available on a CD (or as a PDF download). For more information, go to www.musikits.com, click on "Books" in the menu, then on "Harp Books" and you'll see the CD in the list; price is $14.95.
Arts & Music Opportunities Listing. The city of Seattle has a web site at www.seattle.gov/arts/0pportunities. The Opportunities site is a one-stop shop for the latest arts-related jobs, funding sources, calls for artists, and training opportunities, and is worth checking regularly if you are interested in city sponsored gigs, grants, etc.
New Funding Source for Seattle Musicians. A new pilot funding program of the Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs... "smART ventures is intended to create new access for individuals and groups not served by our other funding programs. We've designed smART ventures to be flexible, inclusive and simple. You can apply anytime with an innovative idea or one-time opportunity. The program provides support ranging from $500 to $1,000 with the goal of expanding arts and cultural participation, particularly among diverse and underserved communities. Before applying, you must have your proposal idea reviewed by a project manager. Contact Steven Larson, (206) 615-1801 to discuss applying, and to be connected to a project manager."
Volunteer Musicians Needed at Whidbey General Hospital. The Music Therapy program at Whidbey General Hospital in Coupeville WA includes services of Barbara Dunn, a board-certified music therapist, and a volunteer program in which musicians provide a healing atmosphere of live music throughout the hospital. If you are interested in joining the program or performing at specific events, contact Barbara Dunn at 360-678-7656 ext. 8436.
Rare Harp Documents On-Line. Seamus Taylor writes to remind us that he has created a web site containing facsimile copies of rare works on the Irish and Highland harp. All of this is available free of charge, but donations to the upkeep of the site are much appreciated! The site includes or has plans to include eventually: R. B. Armstrong, "The Irish and The Highland Harps" David Douglas, Edinburgh, 1904, 266 pages (BOTH sections, issued as one book); Edward Bunting, "The Ancient Music of Ireland" W. Power and Co, Dublin, (Vol. I) and Williamson, London, (Vol, II), 150 pages; Edward Bunting, "The Ancient Music of Ireland" Hodges, Dublin, 1840, 220 pages; Dr. George Petrie, "The Complete Collection of Irish Music" (ed. C. V. Stanford) Boosey & Co., London and NY, 1903, 427 pages; John Gunn, F.A.S.E., "An Historical Enquiry respecting the Performance on the Harp in the Highlands of Scotland (etc.)" Ballantyne, Edinburgh, 1807, 120 pages. For more information, see: http://www.hiddenglen.com/index.php/Music/Music4.
Downloadable Sheet Music. West Coast Harps has available Alison Vardy's own compositions plus her arrangements of traditional music from many cultures. There is music from her CDs as well as new compositions and arrangements. New music is coming on board all the time - three levels of challenge! Simply download and print. Unique Honesty Box payment/subscription system. Learn more about the Sheet Music Downloads at: http://www.westcoastharps.com/sheet-music/about.htm.
New Collections of Harp Ensemble
Music. Louis Lynch writes to say: "Fellow Harpists and Harpers, I am
writing to let you know of a new music book published by Harrisburg Harp
Orchestra, a nonprofit ensemble of 32 harpists in Harrisburg,
Pennsylvania. As you know, harp music for ensembles is not easy to find.
For our Harrisburg concerts, we have been using all original compositions.
Other ensembles have heard our music and asked for copies. So two
collections of our work, one for summer and one for Christmas, are being
published. The first, "A Garden Symphony" is now available. It includes
music for four harp parts, each with extractable solo sections. We also
use hammered dulcimer, oboe, flute, and trombone, so the four parts are
adaptable for other ensembles. Our music for the orchestra covers the
following harps and players:
Harp Music on Web Radio. Twice a week (Thursday at 11 am PST and Sunday at 10 pm PST) you can listen to an hour of harp music on internet radio. The Harpestry program is available on-line at www.krvs.org from Lafayette LA, where host Valerie Green seeks out harp music of all styles for our listening pleasure!
Seeking Therapeutic Harp Players. Dana Sheppard writes to say "I'm currently taking the program with Bedside Harp to become a therapeutic harpist, and am interested in connecting with others doing this work in the Seattle area. I live in Kitsap County (Bremerton), and am playing in a hospital there." If any of you who have studied with MHTP, IHTP, Chalice of Repose, or other programs would like to correspond with Dana, you can contact her at email@example.com.
This page was last updated on December 31, 2013