June 27, 2012

The week at OSAS

I am at OSAS, busy meeting new people, seeing old friends, teaching as well as I can, playing as much as I can muster, trying to learn new tunes, and not sleeping enough! 

This is a week of scintillating learning, sharing, laughing, playing, sessioning, dancing, and hanging out with other harpers as well as cool people who play fiddle, dance, play pipes, drum, and play assorted other instruments.  Fortunately, although I'm running around like crazy, Sara Walthery has very graciously created some photo collages:

If you've been to OSAS before but weren't able to come this year, dig out the tunes from your summer and brush them up and remember the great times you had. 

And if you've never been before, I sure hope you figure out a way to work it into your schedule - it is WAY too much:
  • Fun
  • Learning Tunes
  • Playing
  • Playing the Harp :-)
  • Learning Tunes
  • Making friends
  • Learning Dances
  • Learning Tunes
  • Learning pipe stuff
  • Learning fiddle stuff
  • Learning Tunes
  • Jamming
  • Laughing
  • Growing
And I'll be trying to remember to take more photos to share with you - but sometimes I get too caught up in the fun and forget I even have a camera! 

Thanks for understanding!  See you soon.

June 20, 2012

What will you do on your summer vacation? Swananoa

Swananoa is an event that I have never gotten to - but I am looking forward to the time that I do make the trip.  However, I have heard such great things about it that I invited Mike Conners to write the blog post this week and tell us all about it.  Hopefully he will inspire you to give it a go!

Mike learned a great deal
 from Willaim Jackson
My annual summer North Carolina harp tradition is the Grandfather Mountain Highland games near Boone (this year July 12-15) followed by the Swannanoa Gathering near Asheville (July 15-21). I have been told that Grandfather is the largest Scottish highland gathering in the world. This year’s harp leader/judge is Jo Morrison with the workshop on Friday and the contest on Saturday. http://www.gmhg.org/.
Immediately following Grandfather comes Celtic Week at the Swannanoa Gathering at Warren Wilson College. It is total immersion with some of the most noted vocalists and instrumentalists in the world. I study harp there annually with William Jackson and Grainne Hambly. Although one can register for up to four classes a day, I opt for two so I can have time to practice while I am there.  I prefer that to being overloaded with new material on the spot that I might not to get to learn when I get home. In addition to harp I have in past years enjoyed daily bodhran classes, “pennywhistle for the complete beginner” and Robin Bullock’s bouzouki class. This year I’ll take a DADGAD guitar class. Swannanoa Celtic week is the place for fiddle, flute and tin whistle, harp, fretted instruments, reeds, song and folklore, percussion, and dance. The staff/performers are friendly and accessible.
Grainne Hambly gives
a fantastic workshop

There are a variety of afternoon “potluck” classes, afternoon slow sessions directed by the guest artists, evening concerts, and literally dozens of sessions happening simultaneously outdoors all night long across campus with the Blue Ridge Mountains as a backdrop; complete with a snack cart, wine and local craft brew beer truck, vendors hall and hundreds of great Celtic musicians to listen to and jam with. Continuing education credits are offered for teachers, the food is great, and the instruction outstanding. Can you tell I’m excited about the upcoming Swannanoa Gathering? Here is a link to a PDF of the Celtic Week catalog. http://www.swangathering.com/catalog/cl/celtic-week.html

June 13, 2012

What will you do with your Summer Vacation? Harp Camp!

Join us for “Lever Harp Camp 2012″ August 17th, 18th and 19th in Glenville, PA, Harp Camp is easily accessible to harpers from anywhere and at any level.  Harp Camp is always fun!  We have a great group that is small so we learn a lot, laugh a lot, and have a great time. 

Instructors Kris Snyder and I have put together a format tailored to you. No frustration of either information that you aren’t ready for, or waiting for people with less experience to understand what is being presented.  Our capped enrollment means that each workshop you take will be geared toward your proficiency and comfort level.

Workshops this year will include an in-depth exploration of Fake Books – what they have to offer – how to use them to build your repertoire quickly or to use them for creating your own arrangements. We’ll spend time on mechanical issues that come with the harp: changing strings, adjusting levers. Other activities include: games, “High Tea”, Creative and Directed Ensemble and Continuing Educations Units are available to graduates of the Music for Healing & Transition Program!
Early Bird Special -

Locals before June 15th: $200

Out-of-towners before June 15th: $230 (if choosing to stay with a local student, otherwise $200).

After June 15th: $250/$280 ($280 is for the out-of-towner staying with a local student)

Rentals available: $30 rental fee, + $50 returnable deposit.

You may participate in our convenient payment program.  Please email me to reserve your place today! jentheharper@gmail.com

June 6, 2012

We interrupt our regularly scheduled blogpost...

So, sometimes you learn something you have to share immediately - and this is it.  Mike Conners is a teacher at North Carolina's Penn-Griffin School for the Arts (disclaimer - he's also a friend of mine).  Heb recently introduced his hobby, harping, to his students as club.

You might also recall that Mike won the 2011 Scottish Harp Society Travel Scholarship which he put to use improving his repertoire and experience, which he took back to his students. Here's Mike in Scotland (photo unceremoniously ripped off his blog: Miketheharper.blogspot.com!)

But the point of this post is not that Mike plays the harp, but rather to highlight his students' project - raising money to buy more harps for the club.  They made the news (watch the video and read a short report here):


They need more harps, including a pedal harp.  This is a really great opportunity for the students to learn a great deal - about music, about fundraising, about community, about community service.

These kids have already saved $2,200 from donations.  They gig to make money too!  But, as we all know - to buy more lever harps and a pedal harp will require more than a couple of gigs.  So, I'd suggest we chip in -

To donate contact Mike Connors at 336-819-2870 or send mail to:

Penn-Griffin School for the Arts, 825 East Washington Street, High Point, NC 27260.

Please write “harp donation” on the memo line and make checks payable to Penn-Griffin School for the Arts. Donations are tax deductible - and I'm sure if you have a harp you'd like to donate, they'd be happy to hear from you.

(PS, I would have loved to share a photo of the kids playing, and while I have no compunction with asking Mike for forgiveness for pillaging graphics from his blog, I'm not tangling with the tv station and their lawyers! Just check out the video!!)