April 26, 2017

It wouldn’t be summer without OSAS!



The summer really gets started with the Ohio Scottish Arts School or OSAS, presented by the Scottish American Cultural Society of Ohio at Oberlin College in Oberlin, OH.  Each summer, for one week, the residents of this small college town get the joy of nearly continuous harp music (as well as pipe, fiddle, and dance music with drumming too!).

This year marks the 39th OSAS and it will be held June 24-30, 2017.  Really enhance the experience and kick off with participation in the Ohio Scottish Games the 23rd in Wellington, OH.


Coming to OSAS can be nearly a pilgrimage with some participants returning annually!  The days are filled with learning tunes from stellar instructors in the aural tradition, lectures from those same instructors on other related and fascinating topics, and a little processing time to relax or practice. It’s harpharpharp!  The evenings are filled with fun with the others jamming and sharing tunes we’ve learned, enjoying the evening air, snacks, and each evening also has a special event – the Instructor Concert, the Variety Show, every night, something wonderfully different and all OSAS.

If you’ve been to OSAS before, you’re calculating how you’re going to get there this summer.  If you’ve never been to OSAS before – you cannot conceive how much you are going to learn, how much fun you’re going to have, how much you are going to bore your non-OSAS friends with stories when you get home – for months!  You will laugh, you will work hard, you will have a great time, and you’ll start counting down to your next OSAS experience the day you get home. 

For all the details go to http://ohioscottishartsschool.com/  

Photos shamelessly stolen off the OSAS website - I'm always having too much fun to stop and take pictures!

April 19, 2017

First Harp Quest this summer!

Change is good

For 21 years we have enjoyed Harp Camp, first Marianna and Kris, and then later me too. Every year we used the feedback we got from participants the previous year to modify our offering, always with an eye to making it better.  We know how much the people who came enjoyed it and how much fun we have putting it together – but we felt it was time to make a bigger change – a shift.  We realized that while Camp is a fun thing to look forward to happening in the summer, our lives with our harps set us on a QUEST!  Our quests are each different as we seek to learn what our harp is there to teach us.

So, in 2017, we begin a new journey – a new HARP QUEST.  Plan to join us for our new Journey – becoming what we’re meant to be.

Harp Quest will remain easily accessible to harpers from anywhere and at any level.  Our focus will be a short and intense experience that we will each take with us into the coming months and years – perhaps not fully appreciating what we have learned until much later.  But secure in knowing that we will get there – each of us.  And we’ll make part of the journey together!

Harp Quest will occur in the beautiful and bucolic valleys of South Central PA 11 – 13 August.  The setting is pastoral and relaxing – just the thing to learn and grow and go a little farther on the road we travel.

Kris and I will be your Guides.  We are both looking forward to a very personalized time of sharing and learning.  We will have fun, support one another, and work together to get as much from our lever harps as we can!  We will expand technical skills and exercise our brains.  As always, we will work on building healthy self-esteem and encourage ourselves to try new things.  We start where we are and build on that. We’ll work individually and together experiencing three days of creativity, sharing, and fun.

A Quest requires a small but mighty band – space is limited.  We’re looking forward to traveling with you!  For more information or a reservation form, Contact us.

April 12, 2017

Summertime...and the learning's easy....



It is time to plan your summer harp activities!  Each year I share with you summer harp events that I enjoy and get a lot from attending.  So this year – let’s start with the Somerset Folk Harp Festival.

Wide ranging and diverse, the offerings at Somerset are top notch.  With presenters from well-known icons including Debra Hensen-Conant and Kim Robertson as well as perennial favorites Grainne Hambly and William Jackson – what’s not to love?!? 


Somerset’s diverse offerings assure that, no matter where you are on your harp journey, you will learn something.  With an immense exhibit hall, concerts, workshops, and a new venue, you will have to see it to believe it.  And as a very well attended festival, you’re going to see old friends and make some new ones! You'll also be up close and personal to some major "harp heroes" so how could you miss that chance?!

There are over 30 presenters offering workshops in a number of areas including jazz, Celtic, Latin, technique, and more.  The theme is Narrow your Focus, Expand your Horizon.  There are four days of content so you can really immerse yourself.  And of course, there are the concerts!  All included in your registration!

Are you thinking, “Well, I’m just a beginner and I’d be too intimidated”, I say to you – pish posh!  Workshop descriptions include a level so you can go into those with which you are most comfortable. In addition, workshops are hands on (you need your harp), demonstration (watch the tutor play), or lecture (no one plays you just learn!) so you'll know before you go!

And I hope you're not thinking that you could just jump online and get the same content?  While there are some good online opportunities, nothing will push you along your own harp lifeline like being in a room (or an entire hotel) of harpers learning not just in the workshops but in the hallways, over coffee, at lunch - you can't beat IRL* for becoming a better harper - after all, that's where the music happens!

Don't miss the early registration discount – but you’ll need to act fast!  Early Bird registration closes 1 May which is right around the corner. Check out the website for all the information you need but be sure you get there! http://www.somersetharpfest.com/index.html

*IRL - in real life, for those of you who spend less time online and more time IRL! 

April 5, 2017

Now, get out there!

So, now you know things you can do to be more prepared for the competition season - don't you want to put that to use?  There are a number of opportunities including the following Scottish Harp Society of America 2017 competitions:


April 29: Celtic Society of Southern Maryland Celtic Festival Harp Competition (St. Leonard, MD) http://www.cssm.org/events/festival/competitions/highland-harping/.  Judge: Sue Richards, Coordinator: Jen Narkevicius (harp (at) cssm.org)

May 6: 1ST Annual Scottish & Welsh+ HARP DAY (SWHD) Harp Competition (Fredericksburg, VA) http://www.shsa.org/event/swhd.  Judge: Sue Richards, Coordinator: Marilyn Newman (www.swHarpDay.org)

June 24:  Ohio Scottish Games (Wellington, OH) http://www.ohioscottishgames.com/competitions, Judge: Therese Honey, Coordinator: Linda Phillips (lphillips50 (at)frontier.com)
 
July 8: Grandfather Mountain Highland Games (MacRae Meadows (Linville) NC) http://www.gmhg.org/homepage.shtml and http://www.gmhg.org/harp.htm.  Judge: Jen Narkevicius, Coordinator: Moire Lattamore

July 14 - 16: Minnesota Scottish Harp Weekend (Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN) http://minnesotascottishharp.org/.  Judge: Seumas Gagne, Coordinator: Emily Taege (
September 9: US NATIONAL SCOTTISH HARP CHAMPIONSHIP(TM) Edinboro Highland Games (Edinboro, PA) http://www.edinboro.edu/events/highland-games/. Judges TBA, Coordinator: Maia Chisholm.  Title Sponsor: Clan Currie Society

September 23: Ligonier Highland Games (Ligonier, PA) http://www.ligonierhighlandgames.org/scottish-harping.html.  Judge: TBA, Coordinator: Melanie Sandrock

October 8: Scotland Connecticut Highland Games (Scotland, CT) http://scotlandgames.org/, information TBA

October 21 - 22: Stone Mountain Highland Games (Atlanta, GA) http://www.smhg.org/harping.php, Judge: TBA, Coordinators: (harping (at)smhg.org)

October 29: Central Virginia Celtic Festival (Richmond, VA) http://vacelticfestival.com/?page_id=237, Judge: TBA, Coordinator: Beth Dechent (edechent (at) gmail.com)

All of this information is correct as of posting to the best of my knowledge. If you are interested in participating in or attending these events, please check the websites and/or contact the coordinator for updated information.

March 29, 2017

Preparing for Competition - Mind



When you decide to compete you will need to prepare!  While you might think, “Oh, I’ll just plop myself down here,” you’ll feel so much more confident (and play so much better) if you spend some time getting ready ahead of time.  How much time? Well, that depends on you!

There are three areas in which to focus to maximize your time – Music, Body and Mind, this week – look at your Mind!

So here’s where the competition really occurs – in your head! On the day, will you feel ready?  What are you really concerned about?  Keep in mind that most of our music is from inside our heads so your preparation (or lack thereof) will show – mostly to you!

Be honest about why you are competing.  Is it very important to you that you win? Or do you just want to acquit yourself respectably? Are you focused on your performance or everyone else’s? Check in with your ego before the day so you can be prepared for any outcome...and learn from it.

Remember that the judge is looking forward to hearing you play and will share any gems to help your development as a musician – no one is looking badger you (unless you intend to do that to yourself – which is not very helpful).

Don't forget that this is one day.  Whether you play a personal best or instead are humbled to learn your fingers seem to have developed contrary minds of their own that have embarked on a petite version of the Hundred Years War with one another, tomorrow is another day....

Enjoy (and practice looking forward to) the social and fun atmosphere of being with other harpers.  Cheer them on and look forward to learning new tunes, meeting new people, laughing, smiling, and learning from the comments you get.

It’s just a competition – not an audition.  It won’t decide your fate for eternity.  Live a little, laugh a lot, love your harp! See you out there!