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Upcoming Christmas Performances

Upcoming Performances

It seems like the Christmas season is quickly approaching and the performances are starting to line up!  There’s an almost 2 week span in early December where I have rehearsals and performances almost every day.  While I’m sure more events and performances will be added to my calendar when all is said and done, I wanted to go ahead and share the ones I know.

 

Georgia Philharmonic

I’ll be performing with the Georgia Philharmonic in their annual Christmas program in early December for two performances.  Both concerts will be at the Roswell United Methodist Church in Roswell, Georgia and feature the RUMC choir.  This will be my first time performing with the Georgia Philharmonic and I’m very much looking forward to working with them!

Friday December 7, 2018 at 7:30 pm

Sunday December 9, 2018 at 3:00 pm

 

Roueche Chorale

Last year I had the wonderful experience of performing with the Roueche Chorale’s Candlelight Service of Lessons & Carols up in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  I’m thrilled to have been asked to return this year and am excited to perform with the chorale and ensemble again!  Both performances will be at the Ridgedale Baptist Church in Chattanooga.

Thursday December 13, 2018 at 7:00 pm

Friday December 14, 2018 at 7:00 pm

 

Cherokee Chorale

Another new ensemble (to me) this year is the Cherokee Chorale in Canton, Georgia.  I’ll be performing with the chorale and ensemble in two concerts in mid-December, both at the Canton First United Methodist Church.  This will be the first time for me to perform so close to where we live, so I’m excited for the opportunity to meet and perform with more local people and maybe even some neighbors.

Saturday December 15, 2018 at 5:00 pm

Sunday December 16, 2018 at 3:00 pm

 

 

Keep an eye out here and on my Facebook page for any updates regarding these performances or others that I might add to to my calendar!

 

What Else?

Other Christmas Things?

While I had been in the process of preparing a Christmas recital in early December, I made the decision to forego the Christmas recital this year as my professional commitments began to build up.  That said, I have created and prepared a few Christmas arrangements and pieces that I hope to record and have available for viewing/listening on my website as Christmas approaches.  As always, keep an eye out here and on my Facebook page for updates!

Continued Recovery & the New Store

As mentioned in a previous post, work on my arrangements and items for my new store had to be shelved after my accident, until I was able to get back to playing and working on my music regularly.  I started physical therapy a few weeks ago and have gotten back to playing regularly.  Recovery seems painfully slow, but I do notice a difference since starting PT last month and my therapists assure me that I’ll be back to 100% in no time!

My attention is divided among several projects and things that I’m working on, but my current goal is to start having a few of my arrangements available for purchase on my store by the beginning of the new year.  The first available arrangements will be a few of the hymns that can be heard on my Inspirations CD.

What’s in the Works for Next Year?

For the summer of 2019, I have been asked to be the guest instructor at a week-long harp retreat again.  I don’t know that my involvement has been made known to those who attend the retreat just yet, so I won’t be officially announcing it until I know that it’s ok.  I’m excited for another full week of teaching, I had such a great time at the camps I taught at this year.

With a busy schedule pushing me to forego a Christmas recital this winter, I’m already looking ahead to performances in 2019.  Right now, I’m trying to decide between doing a couple of full recitals in the late spring, or focusing my performances towards videos and online viewing.  If I do full recitals like I did earlier this year, I’m already thinking of a few really fantastic pieces that I would love to perform and share with my audiences!  I’ve always been one for playing the less traditional pieces (not wanting to play the same things as everyone else), so some of the pieces are really wonderful and unique.  If I decide not to do full recitals, I have plans to get back to recording a lot more videos in the coming year.

For my students, I’m hoping to put on another Masterclass in the spring.  I’m in early planning stages, having just sent out some feelers to my students to see if there is interest or feedback from the Masterclass earlier this year.  After the class we had back in February, I got some immediate feedback that was very positive, so I’m hoping to build on that and continue offering this opportunity for my students to perform and learn.

I’m sure there are things I’m forgetting, but I’ll be sure to give updates as info becomes available!

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An Understandable Delay?

After I got back from my week at the Summer Harp Academy, I was looking forward to a lull in performances and travel to really focus on readying arrangements to put on my new store and preparing for my Christmas recital(s).  But life had other plans for me apparently!

 

I miss riding already. 🙁

I’ve taken horseback riding lessons for awhile now and the Friday after I got home from SHA, I fell off a horse for the first time.  People fall off of horses all the time and walk away fine, so even as I was falling off, I didn’t think much of it.

Long story short is that I broke 5 of the vertebrae in my lower spine.  I’m incredibly lucky that I did not have to have surgery and shouldn’t have any lasting effects from this, but I am in the middle of a long and painful recovery.  I like to think that I’m actually ahead of the recovery estimate though.  The neurologist estimated about a month until I’m able to get around by myself, and 2-3 months before life really can get back to normal.  I’m a week shy of one month today and while I am hobbling a bit and need to hold onto something for support, I’m able to get around fairly well by myself.

 

 

Thank you to Skylar and Marisa!
Tasty, tasty food from my student and her family!

I’ve been extremely blessed that my parents were able to immediately come over from Alabama and spend almost 2 full weeks taking care of me while my husband had to leave for a long business trip that he could not avoid.  Since then, my husband has been working from home to take care of me.  One of my newest students and her family came over and dropped off a whole bunch of really really tasty food for my parents and I to eat during that first week or so, which was so very unexpected and sweet of them to do!  I need to ask them for the recipe to the enchilasagna so that my husband can try it too!  Then a few days ago, I received a gorgeous bouquet of flowers from the Georgia Chapter of the American Harp Society.  Again, so sweet and unexpected!  It’s so wonderful to be part of such a great and caring community of harpists in this area.

 

The flowers look so perfect, they almost don’t look real!

Luckily, I didn’t have to take very much time off from teaching before I resumed lessons with my students, and I already had a bit of a break over these couple of months from performances.  I haven’t been able to play the harp since the accident and likely won’t be able to really get back to playing my own solos for another month or so, but there has been no hindrance to my teaching and other duties.  The only delay has been with preparing for my Christmas recital (I’ll likely still have time to prepare for that once I am able to get fully back to practicing, keep an eye here for recital updates) and working on finalizing my arrangements for my store.  I very much work on arranging while sitting at the harp so that I’m able to try things and write down what I play.  While I’m unable to spend much time at the harp, I’ve put progress on my arrangements on hold.  Again, keep an eye on my site for updates of when I will begin having arrangements available for purchase.  Hopefully the delay shouldn’t be much more than another month or so!

 

Stay tuned for updates about my Christmas recital(s) and for items to start popping up on my new store.  In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to contact me in you’re interested in Harp Lessons or hiring me for an upcoming event.  My recovery should not impede my ability to perform beyond September at the absolute latest, and I anticipate getting back to playing even earlier than originally predicted!

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Summer Harp Academy 2018

This past week, I had the absolute joy of spending 8 days up at Lake Junaluska NC, assisting with the Summer Harp Academy.  SHA is a week-long intensive harp camp, led by Elzbieta Szmyt and Jan Jennings.  Ela is one of my teachers from Indiana University, so it was fantastic to get to see and spend time with her.  I had never met Jan before last week, but her reputation preceded her and it was great getting to know her a bit throughout the week.

 

Lake Junaluska and the Lambuth Inn

We spent the week at Lake Junaluska NC, which is a large complex of buildings and hotels arranged around a lake in the mountains.  The scenery was beautiful (I get to go to the nicest places!) and the hotel we stayed at – the Lambuth Inn – recently underwent a multi-million-dollar renovation.

The Lambuth Inn
The view from just the parking lot!
Beautiful!

 

Throughout the Week

For the students, the week was filled with private lessons with Ela and Jan, masterclasses with Ela, harp ensemble, and several workshops and seminars led by Ela and Jan.  My job there was to assist Ela and Jan, move harps as needed, prepare rooms for whatever was scheduled next, tune harps (so much tuning!), and help students with anything they might want or need extra help with.  I also taught private sight reading lessons to about half of the students, while Aubrey (the other assistant) taught the other half.  We both ended up participating in some of the student harp ensembles as well, which is great because I love harp ensemble!

Ela called on my student April to help demonstrate something during a workshop.
Most students performed in at least one Masterclass, if not more.
Sometimes students would practice wherever they could find a place in the hotel…such as in front of the bathrooms.
A couple evenings, we moved 10 harps into the lobby and spent a few hours “jamming” with harp ensemble and sight reading.
Ensemble rehearsal, led by Ela.
All of the students for the 2018 SHA.

 

This is a short I video I took from one of the student ensemble rehearsals.  The piece they’re working on is “O’Carolan’s Concerto,” written by a famous Irish harper.

 

Faculty Recital

On Tuesday evening, we moved a couple harps to a local church for a faculty recital.  Ela and Jan both performed several pieces, while Aubrey and I each performed one solo.  Aubrey and I also each performed a duet with Ela.

Just one of the many reasons I love my car…2 full size concert grand pedal harps!
The Waynesville NC First United Methodist Church was beautiful and had fantastic acoustics for a harp recital.
Jan received about 20 random song titles from audience members, then improvised an almost 15 minute long medley of as many titles as she could. It was so impressive!

One of my students who attended the camp recorded this video of my solo.  I performed “Mallorca” by Isaac Albeniz, which I transcribed for the harp several years ago.

 

The duet that Ela and I performed is “Off She Goes & She’s Gone,” a medley of two Irish tunes, arranged by Deborah Henson-Conant.  I’ve always loved playing it, so I jumped on the chance to play it with Ela!  Here are clips from each of the tunes:

 

Student Recital

For the students, the week culminated in a student recital at the same local church on Saturday afternoon.  All of the ensembles performed their pieces, and each of the 17 students performed the solo that they had been focusing and working on during the week.

Ready for the student recital!

My student April attended SHA this year for the 2nd time and if there were awards given, I think she would definitely have received “Most Improved” by the end of the week!  She spent the week working on “Intermezzo” by Snoer, a nice piece that I came across a few months ago and thought would be a nice challenge for her.  She performed “Intermezzo” in the student recital on Saturday and wow-ed everyone with her talent!

So here is April Zhao, performing “Intermezzo” by Johannes Snoer!

 

Where to From Here?

I’m still recovering from the week at camp…I’m so tired!  But I’m looking forward to having some downtime in the coming weeks and months.  I have quite a few projects in the works, including getting some arrangements available for purchase from my new store.  I’m also starting 2 new harp students this week, so I’m really looking forward to getting to work with them.  I’ve tentatively planned a Christmas/Winter recital in early December, so I might start preparing for that soon.

In the meantime, it will be nice to not have to travel for awhile.  This summer has been busy, I certainly won’t complain about a chance to rest!

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New Store & An Updated Site

A New Store!

After hinting at it for many months, my new store is now live!  For now, there are no products on the store and it is mostly serving as a placeholder until I’m able to get everything ready to receive orders.  Very soon, I plan to start offering sheet music available for purchase and download, as well as albums and recordings in the future.

You may notice that the store redirects to a separate website, The Citadel Music.  This will be name for the publishing and printing of my works.

A  (rather lame) placeholder logo until the real one is finalized.

I’m very excited to finally get this store up and running.  For now, it’s an empty store, but I plan to have items start popping up for purchase within the next month.  Next week I will be away for 8 days again, assisting at the Summer Harp Academy.  Once I’m back though, keep an eye out for new things!

 

Updated Website

To better link my personal website and The Citadel Music website, I’ve updated my personal site in content and layout.  The biggest change was the overall style, but there are a few new additions strewn throughout the site as well.  One new addition is the Videos page now includes a few videos from my Spring recitals.

There may be some more tweaks and changes to the site in the coming weeks, so please excuse the mess if you happen to be checking out my site when I’m in the process of adjusting things!

 

Anything Else?

For now, not really!  This summer has been almost flying by, with so many things going on.  As I said above, next week I’ll be up in North Carolina assisting at the Summer Harp Academy.  I’m really looking forward to spending the week with a great bunch of young harpists (including 2 of my own students), as well as one of my favorite people in the world/former teacher Elzbieta Szmyt!

After I return from SHA (and take a few days to recoup, I’m sure), it’ll be time to crack down on making some items available on The Citadel Music store.  I’ve also started 2 new harp students in recent weeks, while one of my long-time students will be returning to lessons after a couple months off.  I’ll be happy to use the lull in travel to work on the store and start preparing for a Christmas recital this Winter.  I hope to perform Christmas recitals both in Alabama and Georgia and include several of new arrangements of Christmas tunes that I’ll be creating in the coming months.

As always, keep an eye on this spot and my Facebook page for updates!

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Adult Harp Retreat 2018 Videos

You can find the post about the week here!

 

My first arrival at Smithgall Cabin.  From the carport where I left my car (I elected not to ford the river to the parking lot) and across the bridge to the cabin.

You can hear the rushing of the water that we heard at all times throughout the week.  I loved it!!!  The weird jingling sound in this video was my car keys hanging out of my pocket…I have a lot of keychains. 😉

 

The first large ensemble rehearsal on Monday morning.  Rachel was leading the ensemble in a piece called “Wild Mountain Thyme.”

 

Wednesday afternoon with the oboist.  Robin volunteered to play first on this beautiful piece.

 

Some scenery.  This is from the deck of Smithgall Cabin.  It sits up above the intersection of the two “creeks,” so this is where they come together.

 

Standing on the balcony/deck of Creekside Cabin…where I then proceeded to lock myself out and had to bang on the door until someone noticed and let me in!

 

This small foot bridge was off to the side from the cabins, so I didn’t notice it at first.  Beautiful view from over the water!

 

Dover Cabin’s small ensemble piece, in rehearsal for the concert.  The piece is “Les Pins de Charlannes” by my grand-teacher Renié!

 

A short scan of the large ensemble performing “Wild Mountain Thyme” in the Saturday evening concert.  I was trying to be discreet from the front row, which is why the bad angle.

 

Rachel filled in as a third harp (due to a student being unable to attend at the last minute) for the Creekside Cabin small ensemble piece “La Llorona.”

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Adult Harp Retreat 2018

This past week, I had the immense pleasure of spending just shy of 8 full days in the beautiful mountains of north Georgia, teaching at the Adult Harp Retreat.  Every year, a group of adult harp students travel from upstate New York and south Florida and all spaces in between to spend a week enjoying and studying the harp.  Two professional teachers are brought in to teach lessons and masterclasses, as well as lead ensembles and give evening presentations.  The students are almost all “hobby” harpists, from a wide variety of backgrounds, experiences, and playing levels.

Back in October, I was asked to be one of the instructors for the 2018 Adult Harp Retreat and I’ve been looking forward to it ever since.  The retreat is organized by Judy Smith, who also attends as a student, and she works very hard to plan and organize this retreat every year.  Leading up to the week of the retreat, I was in touch with Judy and my fellow teacher Rachel Brandwein to make sure that we planned a fantastic week for all of the students.

To save on loading times, I made a separate posts with my videos from the week.  You can see them here.

Smithgall Woods

The Adult Harp Retreat took place at the Smithgall Woods State Park.  The 3 cabins that we stayed and played in were far into the woods of the north Georgia mountains, surrounded by breathtaking scenery.  After stopping at the visitor’s center and receiving a code, I drove through the gate and almost 2 miles of this:

The AHR made use of 3 cabins in the woods.  After passing the first of the cabins (Creekside), I continued on to Smithgall Cabin, which is where I stayed during the week.

To follow the road along to the last of the cabins (Dover), you actually have to drive through the constantly-rushing creek (which is quite a bit more than what I would actually call a “creek”).  My car is very very low to the ground, so I elected to stay in the carport and never drove across.

Smithgall Cabin sits above the intersection of the two “creeks”, so we got to spend the whole week hearing the constant flow of water.  Despite the relatively small area of water, the flow down the mountain was constant and actually fairly loud.  To help with loading of this page, I put all of my videos on a separate page.  You can go there to see videos I took throughout the week, which include several where you can hear how loud the water actually was.

From where I parked, there was a long foot bridge over the water and to the cabin.  This is a picture taken looking back towards that bridge and the cabin.

Here are some other general scenery pictures, before I get into the events of the week.

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And here are some pictures from inside Smithgall Cabin, before the others started to arrive.

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Sunday

On Sunday, everyone arrived and gathered in Smithgall Cabin (it’s the largest and central of the 3 cabins we used) for a meet-and-greet and dinner.  Afterwards, we went over the schedule and everyone was invited to play their easy piece that they pull out when someone says “Oh, you play the harp? Play something for me!”

Monday

After breakfast, everyone moved their harps into Smithgall Cabin for large ensemble rehearsal.  Rachel and I each were in charge of leading 2 of the large ensemble pieces.  Of course, I never managed to take any pictures of myself doing things…so here’s Rachel leading the first large ensemble rehearsal!  There’s also a video from this first rehearsal.

After lunch, I made the trek to Dover Cabin and spent the afternoon teaching private lessons.  During what was supposed to be free time, I spent about half of it talking with students about things they’re working on and questions they had, followed by helping a student with some of her music.  After dinner and dessert performances (when anyone who wants to can perform a piece just for the sake of an opportunity to perform), Rachel and I presented an evening of duets.  Having never even met before (let alone played together), the students got to see what it was like for us to try putting ensemble music together on the fly, as well as what our process would be if we were going to continue working together.  It was amazing fun because Rachel and I worked together really well.  It’s rare to find someone who can feel the unwritten dynamics and expressions the same as you, so it was all smiles Monday evening for me at that wonderful experience.

Tuesday

All of Tuesday morning and most of the afternoon, I continued teaching private lessons at Smithgall and Creekside.  On Monday, several students had shown interest in a demonstration of loading/unloading a harp from a car, so I volunteered to do demonstrations for small groups during free time on Tuesday and Wednesday.  After dinner, Rachel led a small workshop on sight reading.  There weren’t any extra harps for me to participate, so I sat in and watched/listened.

Wednesday

Wednesday morning was another large ensemble rehearsal until lunch.  That afternoon, the students had the opportunity to play a piece with an oboist that they had prepared.  (The oboist is somewhat behind the pillar on the left side of the picture below.)  Free time again for me was more harp loading/unloading demonstrations.  Students had a break that night after dinner by watching a movie, while Rachel and I hung out on the deck of Smithgall Cabin.

Thursday

Thursday morning was more large ensemble rehearsal.  After lunch, I taught a Masterclass for half of the students.  During free time, one of the students asked me to give her an extra private lesson.  We spent a little over a half hour working on jazz music, so it was a lot of fun!  I used the last half hour of free time to finally have a chance to just go to my room and sit.  After dinner and dessert performances, I gave a long presentation on basic harp repair and maintenance, unintentionally keeping everyone too long after bedtime!  Oops!

And I somehow managed to not take any pictures on Thursday….oops again!

Friday

Friday morning was finally my chance to work with the small ensembles.  Each of the 3 cabins was divided into a small ensemble of 3-4 harpists, with a piece of their own to work on.  I did a lot of running from one cabin to the next that morning!  After lunch, I taught another Masterclass for the other half of the students who hadn’t been in the Masterclass on Thursday.  During free time, I helped one of the students practice loading/unloading her own harp into her car, since she’d come to one of my demonstrations where I did it with my own harp in my own car.  On the way back to my cabin, I got sidetracked into another extra private lesson.  After dinner, I gave an – again unintentionally – overly long presentation on arranging music for the harp, showcasing and performing a variety of my own arrangements.  This picture is from the Dover Cabin small ensemble rehearsal.

Saturday

Ah, the day of the big concert!  In the morning, we had a last large ensemble rehearsal.  After lunch, harps were loaded up and moved to the First Presbyterian Church in Cleveland, Georgia.  Once harps were unloaded and tuned, we had a mini-rehearsal and run-through of the program.  It was an early dinner at Smithgall Cabin before right back to the church for a wonderful concert.  The students performed 4 large ensemble pieces and the 3 small ensemble pieces.  Rachel and I performed 2 of the duets that we had most enjoyed playing together on Monday evening.  After the concert, we gathered for a late night get-together at Smithgall for celebratory ice cream cake, wine, and conversation.  The 2 non-cake pictures below were from rehearsal.  I swear I actually did things!  I just couldn’t take pictures of myself when I was conducting. 😉  There are also a few videos from the concert and rehearsal.

Sunday

After a late night and an early morning, everyone loaded up and headed home!

 

All in all, it was a great week and I had a lot of fun!  I was very tired when I got home (and to be honest, I still am!) but every minute of it was worth it!  I met some wonderful people and new friends while I was there.  I’m so happy I got to be a part of it!

Don’t forget to check out my separate post of videos from the week!

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Spring 2018, in Review!

Finally!  A chance to breathe!  It’s been a crazy few months, but things have finally settled down for the time being.  I thought I’d take some time to talk about highlights from the past few months, so prepare yourself for pictures, stories, and maybe even a video or two!

 

Masterclass

 

Picking up where I left off in my post in early February, some of my students gathered at my parents’ home in Athens, Alabama for a fantastic Masterclass in mid-February!  It was a wonderful and casual opportunity for each of the students there to perform a couple of their solos for one another, without the stress and audience of a full student recital.  Each performance was followed by feedback from me and a sort of mini “group lesson” on each piece.  After the performances, I spent some time talking about a few topics that students had suggested, topics that are hard to take time to discuss in-depth during lessons, but are important for everyone.  This was the first Masterclass for each of the students in attendance and I received some very positive feedback.  I’m hoping to continue having Masterclasses once every 6-12 months, depending on schedules.

The Masterclass was recorded for students who were unable to attend.  As always, I forgot to ask someone to take pictures, so here’s an action shot from the recording.

Masterclass
Thank you to my parents for hosting the Masterclass!

Performance in Alpharetta

 

The weekend after the Masterclass, I performed at the Alpharetta Presbyterian Church as part of their Kirkin of the Tartan celebration.  It was such an awesome celebration of the church’s Scottish heritage and as I always do, I really enjoyed having a change to perform some of my beloved Celtic music.  It was also a joy to perform in such a beautiful location and show my appreciation for the church’s willingness to host my solo recital there in late April.  Unfortunately, I ultimately had to cancel the recital and was unable to perform there again, but I’m hoping to arrange for another performance sometime later this year!

Alpharetta Presbyterian Church
Such a beautiful church!

Bernstein in Montgomery

 

Speaking of beautiful churches!  At the beginning of March, I spent a few days down in Montgomery, Alabama for rehearsal and performance with the Montgomery Chorale.  In celebration of Leonard Bernstein’s 100th birthday this year, I performed on the chamber arrangement of Bernstein’s gorgeous Chichester Psalms.  The original composition is for full orchestra with 2 harps, whereas the chamber arrangement is written for 1 harp, 1 organist, and 1 percussionist.  This performance included 8-9 percussionists, along with myself on harp and the organist.  The Chorale choir and director were absolutely fantastic to work with and the First Methodist Church of Montgomery where we performed was probably one of the most beautiful churches I’ve ever had the opportunity to play in.

First Methodist Church of Montogomery
Built in the 1920s, I believe.
First Methodist Church of Montgomery
Even more beautiful inside! I took a lot of pictures, though this was taken by my parents.

Here is an excerpt of the 2nd Movement of the Chichester Psalms, as I performed it with the Montgomery Chorale.  This video was taken by my mom, so it’s very centered on me. 🙂

AHS Evaluations, Day 2

 

Mid-March marked the 2nd day for the American Harp Society Evaluations.  Each of the students that had performed for me on Day 1 in early February returned to perform for me again, demonstrating in what ways they had improved during the weeks between.  It was really great to see how much of my feedback and advice had been taken to heart and I saw tremendous improvement in all of the students.  Different teachers may have different opinions sometimes, but I was thrilled that the students’ normal teachers took my feedback into consideration as well.  There was a wide range of student ages and levels that performed, while many of the younger students performed in a recital for friends and family.

AHS Evaluations
Several of the students who performed in the AHS Evaluations Recital.

Preparing for Recitals

 

Between teaching and performances, I was working hard towards my 3 recitals in Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia.  As you can see from my last post, the Georgia recital was unfortunately cancelled, but the Tennessee and Alabama recitals went off without a hitch!

Here are a few pictures while preparing…

Changing Strings
My regularly scheduled, full string change! Nothing better than the sound of new wires!
Changing Felts
New felts too!
Ori on the Harp
I just had to take this cute picture of Ori…before promptly telling him to NEVER climb my harp again.

Tennessee Recital

 

Before moving to Georgia, I was pianist at Blackman United Methodist Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.  My husband and I were thrilled to visit in March and see some of our old friends at the church, where I played for a church service in the morning before the church graciously hosted the first of my recitals that afternoon.  The audience was small, but filled with family and friends from the church.  Most of my husband’s family that were there had never seen me play the harp before, so it was great to show them a bit of what I do.

Here is my Tennessee performance of Grandjany’s transcription of “Pavane et Bransles,” the piece that I played to begin each of my recitals. I’m having difficulty converting the videos from my Tennessee recital to an editable format, so there is no video to accompany the audio for this one.

Alabama Recital

 

Hope Church in Madison, Alabama hosted the second of my recitals.  There was a big turn-out for this recital, with a full audience of church members and friends that they had invited from elsewhere.  I was so happy to see so many people in attendance when hardly anyone there had ever met me.  It’s difficult to advertise and promote a harp recital in general, let alone somewhere you don’t live.  I think it’s a testament to the welcoming and kind nature of Hope Church that they were so inviting.

Here’s a clip of my Alabama performance of Renié’s amazing “Ballade Fantastique,” a piece that follows completely the short story “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe.  This clip is just the beginning of the almost 15 minute long piece.

And Last, but Not Least…

 

My months of endlessly busy weekends wrapped up this past weekend with a wedding up in North Carolina.  The forecast called for 60%+ chance of rain most of the day, but it held out and the sun came out long enough for a beautiful outdoor wedding.  Outdoor weddings are always a gamble for me with the harp, as I can’t take the instrument outside in certain weather conditions, so I’m grateful the weather held off long enough for me to perform.  The couple asked for several specially requested songs that I made my own arrangements for, so it’s always fun to play something new!

NC Wedding
I did get my own little tent for the ceremony, just in case the rain decided not to hold off long enough.

What Comes Next?

 

While I’m definitely happy to have a break from the non-stop busy weekends for awhile, I’m already looking forward to what I’ll be doing in the coming months!

As I believe I’ve mentioned before, I will be a guest instructor for the Adult Harp Retreat in mid-June, spending about 8 days at a lodge in the Smithgall Woods State Park in the north Georgia mountains.  The students at the retreat are all adults, coming from a variety of locations and backgrounds and playing levels.  I’m really looking forward to working with each of them one-on-one in private lessons, as a group in masterclasses, and leading them in one of my favorite things…harp ensemble!

Recently added to my schedule, I’ll also be spending about 8 days in mid-July up at Lake Junaluska, North Carolina as an assistant instructor at the Summer Harp Academy.  I’m especially excited to be at SHA because it is a week-long camp for pre-college and college age students, run by one of my former teachers and favorite people in the world…Elzbieta Szmyt!  One of my younger teen students, April, attended SHA last summer and will be returning this year as well, so I’m also looking forward to spending time with her!

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Quick Note About Recitals

Boy, have things been busy for me the last few months!  With just a couple things coming up in the next few weeks, things are finally going to start winding down for a bit.

I’ll make a longer post about all the various traveling and performances I’ve done over the past few months later, but I wanted to make a quick post to say that my recital on April 22nd in Alpharetta, Georgia has been cancelled.

An issue has come up that has caused me to cancel the recital on the 22nd.  Having performed the recital in recent weeks in Alabama and Tennessee for two very wonderful audiences, I feel satisfied with my performances and do not plan to reschedule the Alpharetta recital at this time.  However, I am in the early stages of planning for a Christmas/Winter recital later this year, so stay tuned for details of future performances!

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Recital Details

On 3 Sunday afternoons in 3 different states, I’ll be presenting solo harp recitals full of some of my favorite classical harp repertoire.  Selections will include some of the most beautiful and most difficult pieces I have performed over the years.  All recitals are free and open to the public, so all are welcome and invited to attend!

THE ALPHARETTA, GEORGIA RECITAL ON APRIL 22ND HAS BEEN CANCELLED.  SEE THIS POST FOR DETAILS.

You can click on the state names below for links to the corresponding Facebook event pages.

Tennessee

Sunday, March 18th
Blackman United Methodist Church
4380 Manson Pike
Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Alabama

Sunday, April 8th
Hope Church
1661 Balch Road
Madison, Alabama

Georgia CANCELLED

Sunday, April 22nd
Alpharetta Presbyterian Church
180 Academy Street
Alpharetta, Georgia

Recital Details Graphic

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Things are Underway!

Things are finally kicking off around here!  My previous post mentioned the calm before the storm, referring to the last few weeks before things started to get really busy for me.  I’m now a couple weeks into that and things are just going to get busier!

 

Student’s New Harp & A Weekend of Lessons

One of my students has been on the lookout for a really good pedal harp for several months now and a couple weeks ago, I was able to set her up with the perfect harp down in Alpharetta.  Two students with two new pedal harps in the last two months…how exciting!

Congratulations, Julianna!

The following weekend, I spent a few days up in the Nashville area teaching lessons.  Julianna had her first lesson on her awesome new pedal harp, so we spent time going over some “proper pedal techniques” and looking at some new types of repertoire that she’ll now be able to play.

First lesson on a new harp!

I also spent an entire day with one of my other students, in what I referred to as a sort of intensive harp “day camp” focusing on some problem areas and general performance practice and stage presence.  I took my 85 with me so that we were able to play together, including a couple of fun harp duets.

I pulled into the driveway with a loaded-down car, ready for a full day of the harp!

 

AHS Evaluations

This past weekend, I had the fantastic experience of serving as the adjudicator for Day 1 of the Georgia Chapter of the American Harp Society’s Auditions & Evaluations.  Students from a wide variety of ages, levels, and backgrounds came and performed solos for me while I wrote down my impressions and suggestions for improvement.  Afterwards, I had a few minutes with each student to go over my feedback with them.  In March, we’ll all get together for Day 2, where each of the students will once again perform the same solos for me, showing me in what ways they did (and possibly didn’t) use my feedback to improve.  I’ll once again provide my feedback on their performance, then many of them will perform solos in a recital.

I’m thrilled to have been asked to be a part of this event and send so much appreciation to Ellen Foster, the Chapter President, for all of the work that she has done and will continue to do for the event.  I thoroughly enjoyed spending a long day viewing performances from such a variety of students (would you believe no two students performed any of the same pieces?) and I’m really looking forward to Day 2 when I get to hear how all of the students have improved.

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Pencil and paper ready to go, just waiting for the first student to arrive.

 

My Newest Fan

Last week, we added a new member to our family.  Meet Ori!  He’s already one of my biggest fans and decided to get up close and personal with my harp the first time he saw me practice.

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Since then, he’s decided on a less obtrusive spot to spend my practice time.  More often than not, I find him curled up under my bench while I’m playing.  Once the other kitties get used to his arrival in our family, I’m sure I’ll have all 4 kitties listening to me practice!

What’s Next?

So much!  I’m only just getting started!

Next weekend is my student Masterclass.  All of my students in the area are preparing their solos, so I’m really looking forward to what will be a new experience for all of them.  I’m also preparing a mini-workshop on some particular topics that students are interested in, such as tips for memorization.  I hope to record the Masterclass for students who are unable to attend.

The weekend after, I’ll be performing at the Alpharetta Presbyterian Church Kirkin of the Tarten celebration services.  I love Celtic music, so I’m always excited for any opportunity to play a bit of Scottish music.

The following weekend, I’ll be spending a couple days down in Montgomery Alabama in rehearsal and performance of the chamber arrangement of Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms.  The two harp parts for the full orchestra version are not easy, so this chamber arrangement where both harp parts are basically smooshed into one is a real challenge!  I can’t wait for this performance, it’s such a wonderful and beautiful choral piece.  This will also be my first time performing with the Montgomery Chorale.

The weekend after that will be Day 2 for the AHS Evaluations!

Followed the next weekend by Recital #1 in Murfressboro, Tennessee.  Stay tuned for all of the official details for my upcoming recitals.

And on and on from there!

 

Project in the Works

I know I like to say cryptic things about big projects in the works…but keep an eye on my website and Facebook  page for news about an upcoming project that I’m working on.  On top of everything else going on, I’m cracking down on one of the big projects that was displaced by our sudden move to Georgia last year.  Stayed tuned!