A few days ago I got a video from my performance last summer at a great little harp festival called “Somerset.” When I say, “little festival,” there are actually hundreds of people who attend Somerset Folk Harp Festival each year – harp players, spouses – and a big room full of harp builders, composers, repair-folks and people who create everything from harp jewelry to harp travel-gear.
Most of the harpists at this festival play the ‘lever harp’ (as opposed to the big concert harp). Many of them are people who have started the harp after their 40’s – some in their 50’s, 60’s and even 70’s or 80’s – so they’re passionate musicians with a rich life experience outside of the harp, and I love teaching, coaching and performing at this festival because I love discovering all the different ways people come to this instrument and integrate it into their lives.
The Festival is spearheaded by a passionate harpist-singer, Kathy DeAngelo with a staff of dedicated, surprisingly happy and helpful assistants and volunteers.
The piece I’m playing in this video, “You Have a Voice” is originally from a one-woman musical called “What the Hell are you Doing in the Waiting Room for Heaven?” and it’s also a part of my “World Harp Ensemble” project – creating simple, beautiful ensemble music that’s easy to learn and rehearse so players can focus on ensemble listening-and-playing rather than note-learning.
Each piece includes a part for a visiting soloist. The goal is for musicians of all levels to be able play together with a visiting professional (like me!) – so that when I tour, I can play WITH the local tribe of harpists instead of just playing FOR them – and WITH the audience as well.
In this video, the audience didn’t have their harps, so I asked them to just sing instead, providing the background harmonies. You can learn more about the World Harp Ensemble here ( http://www.WorldHarpEnsemble.com )