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Youth Harp Program

youth-harp program

dominique dodgeA specialty program tailored specifically to young harpers ages 10-16

Directed by Dominique Dodge

We continue building on the incredibly successful program we created in 2013 with Candyce Dunham. This year we're thrilled to bring Dominique Dodge back to Somerset for her second year leading the program. She did an incredible job with the kids in the program last year.

The feedback from the young people (and their parents)is very gratifying. We know there are plenty of music camps out there in the summer but we feel that our harp conference is a unique environment for the young player at a very reasonable cost.

We are offering a cozy, small program within our conference for young people to make friends and play harp together all while they have the opportunity to sample the full smorgasbord of other workshops that only Somerset offers. We have the excitement of harp players coming from all over the country they can rub shoulders with in an incredible diversity of harps and music not to mention the inspiration and motivation provided the daily concerts with some of the world's top players. And then there's the Exhibit Hall! If adults think that's like being a kid in a candy shop, imagine how a youngster will feel!

The 4 days will be packed with rehearsals, workshops, classes, camaraderie, and entertaining evening activities. Dominique Dodge will lead students through courses that are tailored to their interests and abilities using inspiration and positive encouragement plus they get an elective workshop each day from the extensive itinerary from top presenters at the Festival. Join us for an exciting year as we create another exciting Somerset Youth Harp Program!

youth classWho should come: The youth harp program is open to lever and pedal harp players at all levels. Young harp players 10-16 years old will be brought together in a supportive environment to work on both group and individual playing skills. If you want to connect with other players your age and have a fun time learning new harp skills and playing with your new-found friends in a harp ensemble, this program is for you! The ages listed here are suggestions, not edicts. Really experienced younger players might fit in just as well. Any questions, just email Dominique or Kathy for guidance.

2013 group(at left: some of our 2017 youth group getting guidance on a tune)
Students sign-up for the full festival, which means all 4 days. A parent or adult chaperone registers as a non-harping companion. Non-harping companions can go to their own workshops on our list (or go hang out at the pool!) and of course, have concert tickets included in their registration too. We prefer that parents not sit in the class with their child. All minor children at the festival are the responsibility of their parent/chaperone.

What You'll Do

For those that can come to the festival early, we have a Meet and Greet and introductory session scheduled for Thursday 1-2:30pm. It would be great if you could be there! We're also suggesting that those who attend the Meet & Greet should take the workshop that follows directly, an informal harp ensemble, with former Youth Harp program director Robbin Gordon-Cartier.

Friday and Saturday:
1st Workshop at 9:30-11am:
see topics below
Lunchtime 11am-1pm: With your parent/chaperone
(1) Visit the Exhibit Hall and try out harps and shop.
(2) Go to any of the lunchtime mini-workshops.
(3) Go to the lunchtime concert & have lunch.
(4) Or go to the Harp Tasting!

2nd Workshop 1:30-3pm: Youth Harp Ensemble. Preparation for Sunday concert performance!

3rd Workshop 3:30-5pm:
your choice of any of the Somerset workshops. Check the daily schedules to see what's available in this time slot.
Dinner: 5pm-7pm
With your parent/chaperone
Concert: 7:30pm concert tickets are included in your registration.
Special Events after the concert:
we have regular scheduled special events after the concert which are open to all festival registrants. Additionally, youth harp program participants might want to organize their own harp circles or other get-togethers in this timeslot. Sometimes at this point in the day, bedtime understandably beckons!

Morning Workshop 9-10:30am: you'll have a chat session in this final workshop of the weekend as well as a final harp ensemble rehearsal in preparation for the Sunday concert.

Sunday concert at 11am: showcase for the Somerset Youth Harp Ensemble

Friday: Introduction to Scottish Tunes
What gives Scottish music its distinctive sound? How is this music passed on from person to person and generation to generation? This workshop will focus on two tunes from the highlands and Islands. Puirt-a-beul, or mouth music, is a genre of songs whose notes and rhythms mimic instrumental dance music. We’ll learn to sing the songs and then transfer the melodies to the harp, building ear-learning skills along the way. Once the tunes are learned, we’ll use appropriate rhythms and harmonies to build a collaborative arrangement.
Saturday: Introduction to Irish Tunes
How does Irish music differ from Scottish music? How are they related? We’ll explore two contrasting tunes, an Irish lullaby and a lively barn dance. As we continue to develop ear-learning skills and memory, we’ll build arrangements of each tune, identifying useful chord-shapes and rhythmic patterns.

Youth Harp Ensemble

Be a part of the Somerset Youth Harp Ensemble! You will rehearse and perform challenging and exciting repertoire that is carefully selected to develop techniques, deepen the students' understanding and awareness of the music, and expose students to new music and ideas. We will focus on rhythm, timing, and skills necessary to play well together in all aspects and scenarios. Within the ensemble we will work to create camaraderie, enthusiasm, and support for all levels of players. Harp Ensemble is an excellent opportunity to enjoy our instrument, share music together and provide a great sense achievement through performance. The Somerset Youth Harp Ensemble will perform in the final concert on Sunday. All levels are welcome and encouraged.
Day 1: This is year five for the Youth Harp Ensemble and it will be an exciting one! We will come together to learn music in many ways – we will use our ears, we will use written music by exploring lead sheets and we will compose original parts. Performing together is very rewarding and this class will focus on the skills needed to make a group play well together.
Day 2: This will be the second day of the harp ensemble and pieces from the first rehearsal will be chosen to perform. The focus will be on completing the chosen pieces by adding dynamics, tempos, harp effects and more!
Day 3: Final preparation and setup for the Sunday concert.

Below: The 2017 group with Dominique (right, top row) before their Sunday morning concert.

2017 youth group

The 2016 Youth Harp Ensemble (below) led by Sue Richards kicked off the Sunday concert.

youth ensemble
The first Somerset Youth Harp Ensemble (above) did a super performance in the Sunday concert in 2013 and the 2014 group (below), a very large ensemble under Robbin Gordon-Cartier's direction, garnered rave reviews. The 2015 youth group, under Candyce Dunham's direction, had a lot of the returning experienced players and aspiring younger students do a wonderful performance.
2014 youth concert

2015 youth


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

Updated 3/8/18
Workshop descriptions and schedules are subject to change. Refresh your browser to make sure you have the latest version of this page.