Workshops By Day
 Workshop Listings By Title:

Workshop Focus Areas
     Arranging & Accompaniment
     CEU List
     Harpers' Escape (Sun.)
     Heavenly Harp (Sun.)
     Historical Harp
     Improv & Composing
     Lectures & More
     Sacred Harp
     Skills & Technique
     Therapeutic Harp
     Youth Harp Program
 Schedule Downloads
     Excel file
 More Great Stuff
     Harp Parking
     Harp Pool Loaner Program
     Harp Regulation
     Harp Tastings
     Private Lessons?
     Saturday Banquet
     Somerset's Got Talent


heavenlyharpAdd-on to your festival weekend
The Heavenly Harp Sunday Special

Worship and Spirituality through the Heavenly Harp
Join in this Sunday all-day event.

Explore the many facets of harps and spirituality, regardless of whether you are playing for a Baptist, Methodist, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Episcopal, Jewish, or any other kind of service, or even at a hospital or nursing home. No matter the particular style of worshp, create a sacred presence with the harp.

About the Presenters   Itinerary   Registration

Find the "Rite" Stuff for your Sacred Music toolbox with these Presenters

The Heavenly Harp Presenters:
Rhett Barnwell, Robbin Gordon-Cartier, Joanna Mell, Sam Milligan, Sunita Staneslow

rhett barnwellRhett Barnwell, Organizer & Director

Rhett Barnwell is a harpist and multi-instrumentaliist (organ, french horn, cello, piano) as well as composer, conductor and choir director. He has concentrated on music for healing, sacred and meditative purposes, and has played for numerous events in churches, hospices, nursing homes and hospitals. He has also published a number of compositions and arrangements for the harp which are distributed internationally through Seraphim Music. He has studied at the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music in Rome, Italy, the Abbey of St. Pierre, Solesmes, France, and Westminster Choir College. In 2014 and 2015, Somerset hosted Rhett's Liturgical Harp Conference at the festival.

In addition to programming this Sunday Special, Rhett will be presenting a workshops at Somerset throughout the weekend.
Rhett's bio page & schedule.

robbin gordon-cartierRobbin Gordon-Cartier

Robbin Gordon-Cartier teaches an extensive and very successful harp program in the East Orange School District's Cicely Tyson's School of the Performing Arts where she works to bring the harp to the attention of a wide variety of young people. She has been director of Somerset's Teacher Symposium as well as its Youth Harp Program. She appears at many harp events throughout the country as workshop presenter and motivational speaker. She plays frequently at churches and gospel events. Robbin will also be presenting throughout the weekend at Somerset.
Robbin's Somerset bio page & schedule.

joanna mellJoanna Mell

Joanna Mell has been playing harp for more than 30 years. In addition to performing concerts and presenting educational programs, Besides her gigs and teaching, Joanna has developed her Heart of God Harpers program which provides therapeutic harp music for those suffering in mind, body and spirit. She trains harpers to provide this music. She has an incredible assortment of music books and CDs made available through her publishing company Deep Peace Music. In 2013 presented workshops at the Harp in Worship Conference.
Besides her Heavenly Harps workshop, Joanna will also be presenting throughout the weekend at Somerset and has a table in the Exhibit Hall. She currently is back in the Bucks County, PA area and shares her music on a regular basis with hospice patients and her church, Immanuel Leidy's Church in Souderton.
Joanna's Somerset bio page & schedule.

robbin gordon-cartierSam Milligan

Sam Milligan is an esteemed icon in the harp world and recipient of Somerset's Lifetime Achievement Award. One of his many harp passions are historical harps and he has a particular affinity for medieval and Renaissance music. He and Rhett have co-presented at other harp events on early music so we are delighted Sam can share his musings on Eary Spanish Sacred music at our Heavenly Harp Sunday Special.
Sam's Somerset bio page & schedule.

sunita staneslowSunita Staneslow

Sunita Staneslow is an incredibly gifted harpist who is well known to the Somerset audience as one its most popular presenters. Her musical talents span many genres of music and we're honored to be tapping her expertise on Hebrew traditions for our Heavenly Harps Sunday with her workshop on the Psalms of David.
Besides her Heavenly Harps workshop, Sunita will also be presenting throughout the weekend at Somerset and performing in concert.
Sunita's Somerset bio page & schedule.


gold angelHeavenly Harp Schedule

Some Workshop Descriptions to follow!

8am: Celtic worship service with Debbie Brewin-Wilson

9:00-9:15am   Introduction & Welcome: (Rhett Barnwell)

9:15 – 10:30 Sunita Staneslow – Psalms of David

Psalms have been perhaps the most influential book of the Bible and have inspired countless hearts for two thousand years. The harp and the music of the harp are directly connected to the Psalms. Sunita will give an overview of the history of the Psalms and how they play an important role in the Jewish tradition. You will learn to play several gorgeous melodies from both the Christian hymnal and Jewish tradition. Psalms can be played in churches, synagogues, for healing services and in hospitals. The perfect music to play anywhere!


10:45am-12pm Sam Milligan – Early Sacred Music

As a noted historical harp expert Sam Milligan will regale you with charming Medieval music that embraces both the Christian and the Sephardic traditions of Spain. If you don’t have levers on your harp, there’s no lack of wonderful music you can play and Sam will prove it to you and inspire you to expand your repertoire to this genre.

12 -1pm  LUNCH

1:00-1:15pm  Musical Meditation

Faculty will do a short “centering” session of meditative music and prayer

1:15-2:15pm Sacred Ensemble Experience (Including Taize Music)

2:15-3:15pm Rhett Barnwell – Play for Church Without Losing Your Religion

There may be no higher calling than when we are asked to play, or volunteer to play, for a religious service in a church or temple. Rhett will give you the practical side of playing in a religious setting and the Liturgical Calendar will be explored too. Practical guides to repertoire, compensation, weddings, funerals and other aspects of playing in a sacred setting.


3:25-4:25pm Joanna Mell – Create Hymn Arrangements from Lead Sheets

Most hymns are simple 16-bar tunes that make them easy to arrange and accompany. Joanna will take you through several hymns and show you how to create arrangements and improv with a variety of left hand patterns, from basic to advanced. Start off with some basic arpeggios and then work them up to more advanced levels and see the difference it makes. Of course, you can take everything you experience in this class and apply it to pop tunes as well.

5-minute stretch break

4:30- 5:30pm Robbin Gordon-Cartier– Scriptures from the Harp

"And I heard a voice from heaven, like the sound/of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder,/ and the voice which I heard was like the sound / of harpists playing on their harps." (Rev.14:2) The harp is mentioned more than any other instrument in the Bible. Robbin will show you how to bring Scriptures to life as she pairs them with the music from the harp.


7:00-8:30pm Sacred Ensemble Experience with Rhett Barnwell

What to Wear & Bring: You should dress casually and bring a notebook and pencil, as least. Music stands would be helpful. Recording devices welcome as well.

This is the tentative itinerary as of 2/12/18. Slight modifications will be made!

Costs & Registration

The Heavenly Harps Sunday Special: Only $100 if you add it to your full festival registration during our Early-Bird discount period, which ends May 1. If you just come for the single day it's $150 during early-bird. Single day is $165 after May 1. Although we'd like for you to sign-up in advance, you can register on-site.

Location & Hotel

The event takes place at the Sheraton Parsippany, 199 Smith Rd., Parsippany NJ. Attendees can take advantage of the Somerset discount hotel rate of $119/night--THE HOTEL IS SOLD OUT FOR OUR ROOM BLOCK. For more details on the location, maps, and transportation options see the Location page.

Questions? Need more information?

Call Kathy DeAngelo at 856-795-7637 or email Rhett Barnwell

If you find a mistake in any of these pages please let me know!

Updated 6/23/18
Workshop descriptions and schedules are subject to change. Refresh your browser to make sure you have the latest version of this page.