October 27, 2011

SHSA US National Scottish Harp Championship

Come to Richmond Saturday, October 29, 2011 for the
US National Scottish Harp Championship

The Scottish Harp Society of America's US National Scottish Harp Championship will be hosted at The Meadow Highland Games outside Richmond, Virginia and is open to all SHSA members. This year's judges are the renowned Ann Heymann and Sharon Knowles. Rules and categories are available on www.shsa.org. For more information on the 2011 Championship, visit http://www.meadowceltic.com/.

The day's Official Schedule of Competition -

9:30 am Onsite Registration/Sign-in
10 am SHSA Nationals Competition begins
Noon Lunch break
1 pm SHSA Nationals Competition continues

If time allows, after the competition there will be Open Mic/Judges performances.

Special thanks to the Title Sponsor of the National Scottish Harp Championship of America - Clan Currie Society.  The Clan has generously agreed to sponsor the National competition through 2014. It is especially rewarding to be supported by a clan with such an ancient and distinguished history of Gaelic poets and musicians.

Robert Currie, president of the Clan Currie Society, described this as partnership as a perfect fit, saying “The founders of our Clan were the celebrated MacMhuirich bards of Medieval Scotland and the instrument of the Bard was the clarsach."  The MacMhuirichs served for over 700 years as professional poets to the Lords of the Isles and later to the MacDonalds of Clanranald among other prominent Highland clans and families.

Over the past several years Clan Currie has sharpened its focus on the arts and not only sponsors our competition, but also has established an annual harp scholarship at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow, Scotland.  To learn more about Clan Currie, go to: http://www.clancurrie.com/
Be sure to thank competition organizer Jo Morrison and welcome the 2012 organizer Denis Sadat while you are registering, volunteering or audiencing!

October 19, 2011

Stepping through our week – Day Eight The Road Home

Our last day came and it was time for us to depart.

But no dry hustle back to the airport on a Harp in the Highlands and Islands tour! Along the way we saw even more of Scotland’s back roads. We had a lesson on listening to traditional music along the way as well. It was sad to say goodbye, but we had a wonderful time throughout the week.

I hope you’ll think about joining us for the 2012 Harp in the Highlands and Islands tours!  At nearly every road sign we pass, I'm likely to chime in with, “there’s a tune for that!” – don’t you wish you knew those tunes?!?

October 12, 2011

Stepping through our week – Day Seven Highland Spirit

On this day we took a laid back Sunday start. After a more leisurely breakfast we headed for Ballindalloch Castle – home to Lady Clair McPherson Grant-Russell. She graciously allowed us to once again have our harp event in her dining room. And, as harpers, we were glad to be granted the honor and privilege of being invited to play in someone’s home. And what a home!

After touring the castle and seeing some incredible artifacts, we met in the Dining Room and learned a tune specifically related to the Castle. One of two people poked in and enjoyed observing our playing too. When we were done playing it struck us how very fortunate we were to have been invited to play there.

We enjoyed lunch in the tea room and then headed back for individual lessons during which we worked on earlier tunes, new tunes, technique and theory.

But we were not done yet! We all made ready for a lovely, homemade dinner in the style of hospitality for which Scotland is famous. David and Heather invited us into their home for a traditional dinner on our final evening.  Before we arrived for dinner we got to take in some of Morayshire - a lovely coastal area with some quaint villages:

Heather made us a magnificent banquet and we all ate ‘til we were full to burstin’! I only wish any of us had had the presence of mind to take a picture – but again – if you want to see it, you’ll have to come with us next time!

October 5, 2011

Stepping through our week – Day Six Royal Deeside

Today was travel in a different direction – geographically, historically, politically – and wend to the Royal Deeside. It is called the Royal Deeside because of the area’s close association with the Royals. It seems trite to say that the scenery is breathtaking, but it is! And we took it all in as much as possible spectacular bridges, enchanting castles, and captivating landscapes! But rather than prattle on about them, let me show you some of the sites of our day:
Corgarff Castle
Crathie Kirk, the beautiful church the
Queen attends when in residence at Balmoral

Delgatie Castle
We were permitted to play in the Withdrawing Room at Delgatie Castle - a lovely room with a warm atmosphere.  After we had shared a couple of new tunes, we had some of the award winning scones made by Joan (the lady of the house).  These were a not to be missed treat!
After another full day of sites, history, stories, meeting real people where they live, and learning another tune, we headed back to the Dowans for another delicious dinner before repairing to bed to prepare for the next day of possibilities!