Somerset Harp Festival Online
REGISTERCONTACT US  
 

2022 Festival Presenters

(Click on the name to learn more about the presenter and their workshops. Some archive presenters are not listed here.)

We're glad to have Erik back at his fourth Somerset (so far two on video, two in person)! Fueled by his interest in medieval history and fantasy literature, Erik Ask-Upmark started playing folk music when he was a teenager and took up piano and harpsichord. His friend built a small harp and asked him to try it out and he was hooked. At the same time he took up the Swedish bagpipe. Nordic music became his passion and he has recorded many CDs solo and with his groups including the critically acclaimed "Heaven's Polska" and "Winter is coming". His latest CD 1350 - Music for a plague features medieval music where he plays different Gothic harps, among many other instruments! Erik has has earned the coveted title of "Riksspelman" (Master musician of the Realm in Sweden) and performs early music and Nordic traditional music both as a soloist and with his groups Svanevit, Dråm and Falsobordone. He lives at the tip of Sweden and is just about an hour from Copenhagen from where he usually travels all over the world to give concerts and workshops. Like every other gigging musician, over the last two years however he has - for obvious reasons - come to focus more on sharing his music by digital means from the safety of his own home.

Presenter website: Erik Ask-Upmark



Black Death Tunes | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: LIVE on 07/30/22 10-11:30am
Erik's previous workshops at Somerset in medieval and renaissance music have always been popular, and this one follows in those footsteps, only now he's focusing on a single year and a specific event in history-- the fateful year 1350 AD and the Black Death! It's not as gruesome a subject as you might think. The era is home to some amazing music, utterly captivating and especially poignant considering the times and circumstances in which it was composed. If you have even the slightest interest in history and medieval music, you will find this workshop very fascinating! Historical harps are of course welcome but not needed as any harp will do fine. Part of the workshop will explore the possibilities of singing with the harp while accompanying ourselves.

Nordic Repertoire Builder | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int-Adv | Method: Archive Video
This workshop is meant to expand the repertoire for fans of Nordic/Scandinavian music or those who would like to add to the 101 workshop. Tunes will be taught by ear (sheet music will follow) and Erik will focus on different types of polskas and other types of Swedish tunes, looking especially at how to achieve a truly danceable rhythm. Lots of work with left-hand accompaniment and techniques will help make your melodies lively and danceable.

Nordic Tunes “Must-Haves” | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: On Video Anytime |
If you ever find yourself at a Nordic music session, or for that matter a Celtic session where you want to infuse some "nordicness", then you will be glad to have taken this workshop! All melodies here will definitely be familiar to other musicians in the Nordic genre since they are all part of the standard repertoire, and for one single good reason-- they're rollickin' great tunes!

Silly Harp Tricks | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Archive Video
If you're looking to spice up your playing, take this workshop! Erik will give you many different ideas and tricks that you can use on all kinds of music that will help you create your own arrangements. You will first learn an easy melody by ear, and we’ll use that to build a complete arrangement with accompaniment, ornaments, variations and left hand technique. Then Erik will show you some of his “party tricks” like extending the range of your harp, changing its sound, how to use strumming and vibrato, plus using the levers in cool ways.

Swinging Swedish Dance Tunes | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: LIVE on 07/31/22 10-11:30am
Be prepared to tap your feet when you play the tunes in this workshop! One of the reasons Swedish folk music is becoming increasingly popular, is the fascinating rhythm that you find in dances like the polska and slängpolska as well as the schottis, waltz, long dance and maybe even the polka (yes, the one without an "s")! The emphasis will be on what makes Swedish folk music unique with its scales, accompaniment styles, ornamentation and so on, but most important will be simply getting into the groove!

Tunes from Around the World | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: On Video Anytime |
Usually Erik's focus lies on Nordic music, but he is very fond of all types of folk music and in this workshop he will share some of his favorite tunes that he has collected over the years. With music from such different places as Austria, Turkey, China, Croatia and Iceland (to name a few), this workshop is sure to broaden your repertoire and teach you some new tricks!

Patricia Bair is a licensed Occupational Therapist with over 30 years’ experience in the treatment of upper extremity injuries. She has a certification in Music Ergonomics and has completed additional training in the treatment of musicians’ injuries through the University of Western Michigan, MedBridge, and the Performing Arts Medicine Association. While employed at Orlando Health’s Center for Advanced Rehabilitation, she was instrumental in establishing a program of education and screening for orchestral musicians.

Presenter website: Bair Hands--Music Ergonomics



Exercises for Musicians | Type: Demo| Level: Any| Method: On Video | Anytime
Play pain-free by caring for your body. Patricia will demonstrate exercises that focus on posture and muscles used in harp playing. Learn how to stretch, what to stretch, and when to stretch to get the most out of your time. Learn to build a base of support for harp playing by building core strength and learn the benefits of cardiovascular exercise.

“My Muse, tho' hamely in attire, May touch the heart." said Robert Burns. There is nothing ‘hamely’ about Debbie Brewin-Wilson’s artistry as a musician and singer, and the combination of these skills with her passion for Robert Burns results in music that echoes ‘the wood note wild’ as Burns describes the natural and unpretentious singing he liked best. An experienced performer and teacher, Debbie’s repertoire also includes many traditional Scots ballads and Scottish jigs, reels, and strathspeys as well. She is also an ordained priest in the Episcopal Church, her current congregation being in nearby Sparta, NJ. To date, she has three solo CDs, Dream of Caledonia, Roots and Wings, and Love Came Down at Christmas, a mix of original and traditional songs. Cofounder, with Kathy DeAngelo of the Harper’s Escape, she was on staff at the Escape for all of its 24 years and co-authored the Escape tunebooks, Ten Years of Tunes, Another Ten Years of Tunes and The Parting Glass). Debbie has also published three song and harp arrangement collections: Burns for Bairns and Wood Notes Wild and her newest Harp of My King, a compilation of Celtic Tunes New & Old for Christian Worship, which also includes a CD companion. She created our Basically Beginning program in 2009. Beginners will be particularly glad to have a chance to be in-person in her workshops this year. She will also be doing the Beginner group for the Harpers' Escape at Somerset (date to be announced).

Presenter website: Wisdom Harp



Beginner's Basics | Type: Hands-on | Level: Nov.-Beg | Method: LIVE on 07/22/22 10-11:30am
New harpers or those who need a refresher should take this workshop so Debbie can guide you through the basics of hand position, placing, and playing. You'll get lots of hands-on pointers and exercises to help you grow comfortable with your instrument and learn to play more fluidly.

Beginner's Boost #2: Cookie Cutters | Type: Hands-on | Level: Nov.-Beg | Method: On Video Anytime |
We've brought back 3 videos from Debbie's Beginners Boost 2 series. View these videos and refer back to them when you need to before our 'live' festival and your sessions with Debbie. In this segment, Debbie gets to showing you 3-finger chords, starting with triads, and explains how these chord patterns easily translate to every key. Learn to place, then play. Placing is important.

Beginner's Boost #2: Finger Conventions | Type: Hands-on | Level: Nov.-Beg | Method: On Video Anytime |
We've brought back 3 videos from Debbie's Beginners Boost 2 series. View these videos and refer back to them when you need to before our 'live' festival and your sessions with Debbie. In this segment, Shapes of chords, Debbie calls them cookie cutters, become all-important and once you learn the shapes it will make your playing clean and beautiful. Consistency is key. Place, then play, is the harp mantra. Learn which finger to play for which intervals.

Beginner's Boost #2: Octave Patterns | Type: Hands-on | Level: Nov.-Beg | Method: On Video Anytime |
We've brought back 3 videos from Debbie's Beginners Boost 2 series. View these videos and refer back to them when you need to before our 'live' festival and your sessions with Debbie. In this segment, you'll learn the most common "big" chord patterns or "cookie cutters" as Debbie calls them. Be sure to place, then play! Thumbs up!

Beginner's Boost 1: Exercises 1 | Type: Hands-on | Level: Nov.-Beg | Method: On Video Anytime |
If you've just started to play the harp, this video workshop is from a series Debbie created for the Beginners' Boot Camp in 2020. If you already know how to tune the harp, sit at the harp and your basic hand positions, start this video! Now start learning the notes and how to pluck! Thumbs up! Get comfortable with the instrument and yourself! Music-reading ability is not necessary. Video 4 from the 2020 Series.

Beginner's Boost 1: Exercises 2 | Type: Hands-on | Level: Nov.-Beg | Method: On Video Anytime |
If you've just started to play the harp, this video workshop is from a series Debbie created for the Beginners' Boot Camp in 2020. This segment continues on from Beginner's Boost Exercises 1 and here you're learning how to position and playing using more fingers. Practice plucking and playing scales. Thumbs up! Use both hands and practice cross-overs.Music-reading ability is not necessary. Video 5 from the 2020 Series.

Beginner's Boost 1: Sitting at the Harp | Type: Hands-on | Level: Nov.-Beg | Method: On Video Anytime |
Debbie gets you off to a good start with some solid foundation in learning how to position and sit at the harp and how to work on hand position. Review these "basics" videos as often as needed to establish good habits. Video 3 from the 2020 series.

Beginner's Boost 1: Using a Tuner | Type: Hands-on | Level: Nov.-Beg | Method: On Video Anytime |
If you've just gotten your harp and want to start building a solid foundation for learning and playing it, the first step is actually learning how to tune it! Debbie explains how to use a tuner to do that. Video 2 from the 2020 series

Beginner's Chord Basics | Type: Hands-on | Level: Nov.-Beg | Method: LIVE on 07/22/22 3-4:30pm
If you're having trouble getting your hands to cooperate with forming chord shapes, Debbie will demystify chord structures and reinforce the harp fundamentals you’ll need to become more fluent in playing chords. She'll show you how to play your favorite tunes using a “lead sheet” , which is just music that displays a chord letter rather than using the bass clef for the left hand.

Beginner's Coordination Basics | Type: Hands-on | Level: Nov.-Beg | Method: LIVE on 07/23/22 10-11:30am
Feeling that you can play one hand or the other but not both at the same time? This is common for beginning players. Debbie will review some of the basics to lay the groundwork, then focus on pointers, to help you get both hands working together. She’ll teach a tune to reinforce good playing technique with both hands, while reviewing chord structures at the same time.

Celtic Service | Type: Lecture | Level: Any | Method: LIVE on 07/24/22 9am
Debbie is our official pastor in residence! Join her for her Sunday morning worship service and make "a joyful noise".

Harpers' Escape at Somerset (beginner group): Add-on | Type: Hands-on | Level: Beg. | Method: LIVE on 07/21/22 1-4:30pm
New format for this year's Escape! In the first session, everybody learns the same "group" tune and adds accompaniment suited to their level. Then each group will learn additional tunes, learned by ear, and get left-hand tips and tricks for the accompaniment in the second session. This is an Add-on to an All-Access ticket. People who are signed up for this will get access to download audio files to listen to in advance. This Add-on includes a second weekend event on 9/17. Debbie will be leading the beginner-level group.

Harpers' Escape Somerset Saturday (beginner group): Add-on | Type: Hands-on | Level: Beg. | Method: LIVE on 09/17/22 1-5:30pm
New format for this year's Escape! This Saturday is a continuation of the Escape at the July festival, an Add-on to an All-Access ticket. Review session is followed by the Use It or Lose It session with the entire group. A Teacher's Concert ends the day.

Deette Bunn says it was love at first sight but took a year of persistent parental persuasion before she started harp studies when she was 9. Classically trained with a Bachelors and Masters degree in harp performance, Deette has soloed with orchestras throughout the US and has held several principle harp positions as well. She discovered the lever harp - both single and double strung - during her 17 year stint as 2nd harp with the Syracuse Symphony and has been an active teacher and performer on the single and double strung lever harp ever since. Teaching is her passion and she is currently on the faculty at Syracuse and Cornell Universities, giving lessons on both pedal and lever harp. She maintains a full private studio, a busy performance schedule, and is the director of Harmony of Harps, a local lever harp ensemble for which she has written numerous lever harp arrangements. In addition, she works as a double-harp therapist at her local hospital and hospice. Deette is a long-time Somerset attendee. Her Double-strung workshops were so well-received last year we had to have her back.


Double-Strung & Harp Essentials for Beginners | Type: Hands-on | Level: Beg. | Method: Archive Video
Yes! You can begin on a double-strung! This workshop is for those who are new to harping and the double-strung. You will learn how a double-strung is different from a single strung harp, how to hold your harp, basic harp technique and easy exercises appropriate for any kind of harp, and how to use them effectively on the double-strung harp. You will also learn about basic hand shapes for chords, and how to turn those into fun rhythm patterns as well as beginning techniques like echoing and overlapping that are unique to double-strung harp.

Double-strung Harp “Blind Side” lever tips | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: LIVE on 07/22/22 10-11:30am
Don't let your Double-strung arrangements be limited by lever changes on the "blind side." Deette says they can be managed by careful planning and willingness to use RH and LH for both melody and accompaniment. Take this workshop to explore the options with pop songs and Christmas carols. It will open up a whole new world!

Double-strung harp in therapy settings | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: LIVE on 07/23/22 3-4:30pm
You want your time with patients to be quality for you and them. Deette will show you how to create intros, interludes and outros for the songs you like to play in your therapy work. You'll get some solid tips on alternate harmonies and rhythms to enhance your patients' experiences.

Double-Strung Next Steps | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Archive Video
If you already play the harp, this is your chance to learn how the double-strung adds interest to your arrangements. We'll learn how to take advantage of never having your hands get in each others' way and work around having to change levers. You'll get solid new exercises to assist you with hand independence and new ideas for "thinking outside the box" when creating your arrangements.

Hymns & Chants for Double-strung harp | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: On Video Anytime |
Even single-row players are always looking for ways to make their hymns and chants less predictable and more interesting. Take this workshop and let Deette show you how you can take advantage of your unique instrument's qualities to create interesting arrangements. Learn how to use special effects, different harmonies, rhythms and registers.

At home in two cultures, Nicolas Carter was raised in Asuncion, Paraguay, where he learned to play the Paraguayan harp and later in Minnesota. His principal teacher Isidro Caballero (Father to Paraguay's harp genius Nicolasito) taught him in the traditional folk style of learning by ear, an “ideal way for me to learn, every note I have to hear and feel it.” Playing professionally since 1988 in a variety of settings, as accompanist to singer Lizza Bogado, to playing in a various trios and groups from “Son del Sur” (Song from the South, Latin-American folk music), and “Los Amigos” (traditional Mexican music) to ” Nube” (New World Fusion). As a solo harpist, Nicolas has had concerts in Europe, the United States, and Latin America. Nicolas combines his passion for music with a deep interest in theatre, and indeed, holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Theatre Direction from the University of Minnesota. His CDs, more than a dozen, reflect the several musical idioms from Latin to Fusion in which he is fluent. After living in Central America for a few years, Nicolas is now is based in White Plains NY and gigs all over the United States.

Presenter website: Nicolas Carter


Andean Music from Argentina | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: On Video Anytime
Carnavalito is a traditional indigenous dance from northern Argentina. Its current form is an expression of a syncretism between Pre-Columbian and Spanish colonial culture. The song has a catchy melody that will invite you to skip around the house. If you love the flavor of Andean music this workshop is for you.

Christmas Latin Style | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int | Method: Archive Video
Here is an entertaining way to spice up your Christmas repertoire! Nicolas Carter has put a new twist on beloved North American traditional Christmas pieces so you can wake up your listeners with joyful rhythms and a delightful surprise to the ear. Nicolas makes all his workshops FUN, so he'll show you how to play "Joy to the World” as a Colombian Cumbia, a very popular Latin dance music style that will truly bring joy to the song.

Improvise Your Way to a Composition | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Archive Video
Everyone is able to improvise music and discover their own melody hidden within them. Nicolas believes it's an intuitive approach to composing music and he'll prove it to you in this workshop. The improvisational exercises will facilitate defining melodic phrases to create an original composition. Even though this workshop will be recorded for later replay, have your own recording device (like on your smartphone) handy to capture the specific bits that strike you most. Nicolas has been composing and recording music for over 25 years and his compositions combine styles of music from around the world.

Latin American Waltzes | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Archive Video
Most of the world's cultures include some kind of waltz in their dance repertoire. In this fun workshop, learn about the distinct characteristics of waltzes in Latin American music and how specific Latin harp techniques will make you sound like an entire band. Nicolas will teach the music "by ear." Nicolas will use the Paraguayan waltz Lena Luna. You can hear him play it on the video on his bio page. Bring a recording device to jog your memory later.

Learning patterns to guide improvisation and composition | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: On Video Anytime
By practicing musical patterns you open yourself to a wide range of possibilities for improvisation or creating your own composition. This is also a quick way to remember a song, because your hand has memorized its position on the strings and the specific movement. The discovery is to see how you can repeat the same pattern in different notes and let your ear assess the outcome.

Make Me a Lyre! | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Archive Video
Smaller than even most lap harps, how can you make the most out of a 10-string lyre? Nicolas explores many ways to make music with the lyre, techniques, musical patterns, rhythms, special effects and even half steps notes. You will be surprised with the musical possibilities. Check out his quick little video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOIEYU3qpQk&t=8s

Mexican Romantic Music | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: LIVE on 09/10/22 3-4:30pm
"El reloj" (The Clock) is a song of the Bolero genre, with music and lyrics by Mexican composer and singer Roberto Cantoral. The song became a classic in the late fifties, the golden era of the Mexican trios. It has been recorded endlessly ever since. The song works nicely on the harp and is easy to learn and you'll learn some Mexican-flavored accompaniment too.

Paraguayan Music Introduction | Type: Hands-on | Level: Beg-Int | Method: LIVE on 09/10/22 1-2:30pm
You don't need a Paraguayan harp for this workshop--any harp will do! This workshop is an introduction to the Paraguayan Polca, the delightful syncopated rhythm that combines 3/4 and 6/8. Nicolas will teach "Sueño de Angelita" , a well loved classic by Felix Perez Cardozo, the father of Paraguayan harp tradition. It has a simple melodic phrase you will explore the Paraguayan decorative technique. Though the music score will be available as the downloadable handout, Nicolas will teach "by ear" and you'll learn most by observation, listening and working on the melody pattern in relation to the various Paraguayan harp playing techniques.

An emerging and impressive South American talent, in his second Somerset appearance, Edmar hails from Bogota, Colombia and is a long-time US resident. He has electrified the jazz-fusion musical landscape with his dynamic, virtuoisic and charismatic playing of the South American harp. A reviewer writes: “Edmar’s body seemingly engulfs his Colombian harp as he crafts almost unbelievable feats of cross-rhythms, layered with chordal nuances." His first foray on stage was an act of tremendous courage: that of inviting himself on stage with his big, unusual instrument with acclaimed musicians who had not played with him before. But he was prepared and he wowed them all, musicians and audience alike and his career was launched. At the core of his improvisational preparation is connecting with a melody by playing it until the basic line is such a part of him he can move freely and naturally around it. In 2014 Camac Harps introduced its new Llanera model harp named for Edmar Castañeda.

Presenter website: Edmar Castañeda



Just Joropo | Type: Hands-on| Level: Int.| Method: Video in Archive
Joropo was a Spanish word that originally meant "a party", but now it has come to mean a type of music and dance that identifies Venezuelans. Typically, played on a Llanera, a Venezuelan harp, Edmar will teach the bass lines and chord progressions and get both your hands working together. You don't need a llanera to take this workshop! Any harp will do.

Latin Dance Rhythms: Salsa | Type: Hands-on| Level: Int-Adv| Method: Video in Archive
In this workshop you'll be building on fundamental Latin rhythms and focusing on Salsa, the roots of which lie in eastern Cuba but grew and developed in New York City during the 60s. Different regions of Latin America and the United States have distinct salsa styles of their own, such as Cuban, Dominican, Puerto Rican, Cali Colombia, L.A. and New York styles. Both hands will get a heavy-duty workout and you’ll leave this workshop feeling energized and accomplished!

Colombian-born Nicolás Castañeda Lozano began his career playing Colombian folk music on llanera harp and percussion instruments, winning numerous awards in Colombia and international competitions which lead to a scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston. He graduated from Berklee in 2016 specializing in jazz composition, having garnered honors there for artistic excellence in jazz and music production. He is at the forefront of a new wave of Latin musicians that combines new music influences with traditional music. We're thrilled he is able to join us on late notice this year for our on-site festival and share his deep experience with the llanera harp music traditions with us.

Presenter website: Nicolas Castañeda



Llanera Harp Introduction | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: LIVE 07/21/22 3-4:30pm
You don't need a Llanera harp for this workshop--any harp will do! This fun workshop is an introduction to the Llanera Harp, a traditional folk instrument played in the plains of Colombia and Venezuela. Learn its origins and how the melodic and harmonic relationship are combined with syncopated and polyrhythmic rhythms. You will learn a Llanera harp short piece that applies all these basic playing techniques. This workshop is the foundation of Nicolas' other workshops later in the weekend. Click on the link it you want to listen/watch in advance Caminito Verde, the piece you'll work with Nicolas.

Llanera Harp & Corrido | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: LIVE 07/22/22 1-2:30pm
You don't need a Llanera harp for this workshop--any harp will do! In Llanera music the "Corrido" has harmonic, melodic and rhythmic aspects in 3/4 time that give it a characteristic unique flavor. Nicolas will introduce you to this system and you will learn a traditional Corrido piece "Los Caracoles". Click on the link it you want to listen/watch in advance Los Caracoles, the piece you'll work with Nicolas.

Llanera Harp Special Effects | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: LIVE 07/22/22 3-4:30pm
The traditional Llanera Harp is a very rhythmic and exciting instrument and its special effects are used in both accompaniment patterns and lead melodies such as Bordoneo, Cueriao, Chamaquiao among others. You will learn how to use these effects in the context of the llanera harp music and how to apply them in any harp and genre. You don't need a Llanera harp for this workshop--any harp will do!

Llanera Harp Por Derecho | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: LIVE 07/24/22 10-11:30am
"Por Derecho" is a 12/8 structure that uses polyrhythmics, hemiolas and multiple percussive effects in both hands plus improvisation. Get ready for a rhythm workout with Nicolas. You will learn how to play in the "Por Derecho" system by learning a short piece "Pajarillo". This piece will offer you a fun way to explore and strengthen all aspects of your playing, learn about hand independence and improvisation with a Latin American taste. Click on the link it you want to listen/watch in advance Pajarillo, the piece you'll work with Nicolas.

Màiri Chaimbeul hails from the Isle of Skye in Scotland and has been living in Boston for a number of years. She graduated from the Berklee College of Music, where she had been given the American Roots Award, and in 2018 joined its faculty in the Strings Department. She has deep Gaelic traditional music roots, of course, and has been developing her own sound with a distinctive voice and improvisational playing style. As an up-and-coming young harpist, Màiri has twice been nominated for the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award, and was a finalist in both the BBC Young Traditional & Jazz Musicians of the Year and BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician awards. She tours regularly here in the States, the UK and in Europe and performs with fiddler Jenna Moynihan, the progressive-folk group Aerialists, the Brìghde Chaimbeul Trio, and with legendary violinist Darol Anger & the Furies.

Presenter website: Mairi Chaimbeul



Gaelic Mouth Music | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: LIVE on 07/30/22 3-4:30pm
Learn one or two lovely wee tunes from the Gaelic mouth music tradition. Get the background on this tradition. You'll hear how the language impacts the rhythm of the tunes and get some fingering and ornamentation tips from Màiri to help the tunes flow on the harp.

Learn a Gaelic Song Air | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: LIVE on 07/31/22 3-4:30pm
Add a beautiful old Gaelic song to your repertoire. Learn the melody by ear with ideas from Màiri on making it your own in both the right and left hands. Mairi will teach by ear with a downloadable PDF available for reference after the class.

Melodic variation in traditional tunes | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: On Video Anytime
Melodic variations have a huge impact on the feel and flow of a melody, and can even help make tunes fit more easily under the fingers on the harp. Working through variations opens the door for tunes to become vehicles for your own spontaneous improvisations. You'll learn a basic melody and Màiri will teach you some of her variations, talking through what's happening and comparing them with the original melody.

Simple reharmonisation and bass-lines | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: On Video Anytime
If you want to get more creative with your left hand but aren't sure where to start, Màiri will walk you through some simple reharmonization concepts to add depth and colour to your arrangements. She'll show you some ideas for bass lines that use chord inversions to create momentum.
Desmystify Learning by Ear | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Archive Video
One of the most important musical skills you can develop is the ability to learn by ear. It allows you to really dig into the core of different styles by transcribing and learning from recordings of the musicians you love, to dive into playing situations where we might be unfamiliar with the music with more confidence, and get the music that’s in our heads onto our instruments. Màiri will share her top tips on techniques, tools and exercises for developing your ear, looking at hearing and identifying patterns and shapes, and getting out of your head when it all feels a bit much! Targeted to any level player who is inexperienced in learning by ear or wants to improve that skill.

Putting the Lilt in Scottish and Irish dance tunes | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Archive Video
You’ve heard people play jigs, reels, strathspeys and more, and you love it, but when you try to play these tunes yourself, especially when learning from sheet music, it just doesn’t sound the same! If this rings true, this workshop is for you! Join Màiri to explore the rhythmic nuances of some of these Celtic tunes, and work through some tips and exercises on how to get that special lilt into your playing.

Rhythm and Groove Workout | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int | Method: Archive Video
Rhythm and groove drive what makes music sing, and makes us feel good, and makes other musicians extra fun to play with. Màiri will show you exercises and tools for focusing on rhythm and groove in your playing. You’ll learn about syncopation, poly-rhythms, odd meters, using your metronome creatively and ways to split grooves between the hands.

Song Groove Patterns | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Archive Video
When you accompany yourself or others singing, do you find yourself coming back to the same patterns again and again? In this workshop, Màiri will teach some groove patterns to help your songs shine, bringing momentum and vitality to your accompaniment. After learning the basic groove pattern, split between the hands, Màiri will walk you through different ways of developing the pattern, and how to apply it to different tempos, chord progressions, and feels.

Singer and harper Dominique Dodge hails from the White Mountains of New Hampshire and maintains strong ties to Cape Breton and Nova Scotia. Deeply grounded in the music and song traditions of Cape Breton, Ireland, and Scotland, Dominique has a passion for melody-driven dance music and responsive, rhythmic accompaniment, as well as for songs, airs, and 18th century harp music. A former Fulbright Scholar, Dominique has an MA from the University of Limerick in Irish Music Performance and a BA Honours in Scottish Music from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow. She is a fluent and dedicated learner of Scottish Gaelic and current student at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig (The University of Highlands & Islands). Dominique has extensive experience in traditional arts education, and she has taught for many highly regarded organizations including The Gaelic College in Nova Scotia, The Ohio Scottish Arts School, and The University of Aberdeen. Her new CD is called Canan nan Teud, The Language of the Strings. This is Dominique’s 5th year leading our Youth Harp Program, which offers young people a collaborative, multi-faceted approach to traditional music through which they can build both friendships and musical skills.

Presenter website: Dominique Dodge



Youth Harp Program: Day 1 Meet & Greet | Type: Hands-on| Level: Beg-Int| Method: LIVE 07/21/22 3-4:30pm
We kick off our Youth Harp Program with a Meet & Greet session as part of our Thursday Specials. This is an optional part of the 4-day program. It's a get-acquaiinted session which includes a harp circle and an overview of what to expect during the rest of the weekend. Here are the 2 tunes that Dominique will be teaching. We recommend downloading these tunes and just listening to them, to get them into your head, before you come to Somerset.

Youth Harp Program: Day 2 | Type: Hands-on| Level: Beg-Int| Method: LIVE 07/22/22 10-11:30am and 1-2:30pm
Learning Tunes and Songs. We’ll learn to sing 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.

Youth Harp Program: Day 3 | Type: Hands-on| Level: Beg-Int| Method: LIVE 07/23/22 10-11:30am and 1-2:30pm
Learning Tunes and Songs. We’ll learn to sing 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.

Youth Harp Program: Day 4 | Type: Hands-on| Level: Beg-Int| Method: LIVE 07/24/22 10-11:30am
Final get-together and close out of our first youth harp program. Get answers to questions and/or issues regarding any topic related to harp. This will also be a time to help set new goals for playing, discuss new experiences, help students realize their potential and open up possibilities for the future. This is a wonderful opportunity for youth harpists to unite on issues they feel are relevant, exchange ideas.

Sometimes a particular experience will connect with existing skills in such a way that a person will embark in an entirely new but inspired path. Such is the case for Edie Elkan, who with a strong background in music, experience as a teacher of piano, and an early grounding in playing the harp, found herself first, returning to the harp to assuage her own grief, and then discovering that the harp was being used in medical environments which in turn led her to found Bedside Harp in 2002, a New Jersey, hospital-based harp therapy program. In 2005 Elkan was recognized by the Society for the Arts in Health Care for her work at the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital’s cancer center, where, in a research project, she discovered that patients who listened to live harp music while receiving chemotherapy were less anxious that those patients who did not. Edie has published Everything You Ever Wanted to Know (about Harp Therapy) and her master’s thesis: The Edie Elkan Method of Teaching Folk Harp as an Instrument of Healing. Also available is a 4-set CD Oodles of Noodles, a recording of a workshop on ‘noodling’ presented at Somerset.

Presenter website: Bedside Harp


Creating Dreamy Music for the Bedside | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: LIVE on 07/23/22 1-2:30pm
In this hands on workshop Edie will identify what a dreamy sound is and show you how to notate it. Then she'll show you how to free yourself from the page by playing from your heart. All levels of harpists.

Improvising and Noodling | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Archive Video
Clear off your music stand, breathe in and out, and just sit down and play If you want to really play music from the heart, Edie will give you the confidence to creatively improvise and noodle without sheet music in front of you. A great workshop for beginners.

Our Day as a Therapeutic Musician | Type: Lecture | Level: Any | Method: Archive Video
You've heard of harp therapy and therapeutic music training programs, and you are interested in this field, but how does doing this work differ from a wedding gig, playing at church or a recital? Come and find out what therapeutic musicians do every day and what it's like. Discover what a fulfilling day can be and what special skills are needed. Come if you're interested in the topic. You don't know what you don't know.

Playing in Lifecare Communities | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Archive Video
Edie will share her repertoire and programming tips on her work in Lifecare Communities which includes conducting Sing Alongs and Name That Tune games in Independent Living, Assisted Living and Dementia Units. This is a hands-on on how to play chords to accompany yourself singing along with the seniors you'll be playing for which is much easier than having to deal with both melody and harmony. Edie will show you various ways to play the chords—from simple one-hand accompaniment to somewhat more complex stuff, with focus mainly on I, IV, V chords. You'll be singing and playing some simple chordal accompaniment in no time! Participants for the whole workshop will receive a discount coupon for Edie’s Strike the Harp and Join the Chorus, a guide on using the harp as an instrument of accompaniment.

Therapeutic Harping in Today’s World and Beyond | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: LIVE on 07/22/22 3-4:30pm
The pandemic caused hospitals and longterm care facilities to go on total lockdown for over a year. What is a therapeutic harpist to do? This hands on workshop is packed with ideas for creating work for yourself as a therapeutic harpist by expanding your vision and repertoire to be able to serve everyone everywhere by playing by ear and improvising. All levels of harpists.

From her first glimpse of the harp at age of three, Shelley Fairplay was itching to play. At nine, after time learning piano, her harp journey began. Soon she was playing in harp ensembles, regional and county orchestras, and providing music during theatre performances. From Cardiff, Shelley achieved her BMus and was invited to play a solo with the University Symphony. From the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Shelley received her Masters and soon after that her teaching diploma. Shelley is a fully qualified Primary School teacher with two years of classroom experience where she ran choirs, school orchestras, recorder groups and music workshops. She also has an on-line teaching program at StartHarp.com. where she is known as a thorough, fun and compassionate teacher. Shelley brings passion and energy to all things harp—and fun. This is her second year presenting at the festival.

Presenter website: Shelley Fairplay


Beautiful Beethoven Starter Kit | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: LIVE on 07/31/22 10-11:30am
One of Shelley's favorite composers is Beethoven--and maybe yours too. Here's a chance to add some Beethoven to your repertoire. Learn the beautiful "Shepherd’s Prayer" from Beethoven’s 6th Symphony with Shelly showing you how to embellish this and other simplified Beethoven tunes, like "Ode to Joy". By the end of this class you will gain confidence working with the I vi ii V progression and 4 note inversion shapes. She may use a looper as part of this workshop but you don't need one to enjoy this class. Folks with a looper will get basic ideas on working with a looping pedal tangentially from this workshop.

Foundation Shapes & Flourishes | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: LIVE on 07/31/22 1-2:30pm |
Improve your sight reading, placing, memorization, and improvisation! Discover new and fun ways to warm up and make practicing more enjoyable. Shelley will give you exercises, practice strategies and a floaty piece with lots of fancy flourishes in it, all designed to help your visual recognition and muscle memory. Find out how you might use ‘fancy flourishes’ for improvisation and inspiration.

Just Loopy | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Archive Video
A looper pedal enables performers to record their playing live on stage and then perform over their recorded ostinato tracks. Learn the joys of using ostinato patterns in your own playing and discover some basics on how a looper pedal can be used with harp in performance. You do not need a looper pedal for this session, but you will need to download the paper print out of one!

Metronome Magic | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: On Video Anytime |
Does the thought of using the metronome make you break out in a sweat? No need to fear! Shelly will show you how to love your metronome while you find ways to improve your flow, agility, and speed. You will learn the tune, Ar Hyd y Nos (All Through the Night), which will help you discover how metronome practice and techniques can help you become a stronger and more confident player.

Pop Patterns & Play-Along | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: LIVE on 07/30/22 10-11:30am
Learn the techniques that will enable you to arrange and play your favourite pop tunes to suit yourself. Even learn how to write your own. Shelley will step you through 6 ideas and get you to play-along with her on pop tune examples that you can hone over time and build on these ideas forever. Leave this workshop feeling empowered to use these ideas with any pop tune you like.

What on the harp is that? | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Archive Video
There are a wide range of mysterious topics that come up in harp playing, including unusual techniques, harp specific symbols on music and notational challenges surrounding lever and pedal markings. This workshop with Shelley is intended for the more advanced sight-reader.

Dr. Laurence Furr has an incredible musical pedigree. He is cantor and organist at Trinity Lutheran Church in Fort Worth, TX and has a B.M. and M.M. is in pipe organ performance. A Fulbright scholar, he studied harpsichord in Madrid while earning his Ph.D in music and art history. He found his passion as a therapeutic musician, becoming a Certified Clinical Musician in 2014 through the Harps for Healing program and in 2016 became a Certified Therapeutic Harp Practitioner through IHTP. He works at JPS Health Network in Fort Worth, playing in Surgery, Emergency, ICU, NICU, Trauma, Cardiac, Oncology, and Psychiatric Units. He is on the Board of Advisors for Andrew Schulman’s Medical Musician Initiative. He has produced two solo New Age harp albums on Myndstream, Deep Peace and Upon the Corner of the Moon, which are getting played on several radio stations including PBS and One World Music Radio. This is Laurence's fourth year presenting at Somerset.

Presenter website: Laurence Furr


Therapeutic Celtic Circle of Modes | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: LIVE on 07/31/22 1-2:30pm
Ireland's ancient harpers had 3 strains of music, called the geantrai, suantrai and goltrai. These days we can relate these to modes. As therapeutic musicians we are taught when to use rhythm vs. non-pulse music and we are taught to use major keys, minor keys, and modes. In this workshop we will discuss how to design medleys based on the Celtic Circle for patients at the bedside and for staff and families. We will discuss the importance of the performer’s artistry and the use of key, mode, and rhythm. These same principles can be used to design concert performances and even your practice sessions by calming improvisational techniques, reflective composition, and ending with uplifting repertoire.

Maeve Gilchrist thrives on innovation and improvisation - what she fondly calls "my musical patchwork quilt." Steeped from an early age in both classical and traditional music, Edinburgh-born Maeve Gilchrist discovered jazz in her late teens which she pursued at Berklee School of Music in Boston where she also studied voice, percussion and Latin American music. She subsequently became Berklee's first lever harp instructor. Maeve has stretched the traditional boundaries of the harp and has been credited as an innovator of the Clarsach (Scottish Harp) due to her chromatic style of playing and improvising. Now living in New York City, Maeve is touring regularly with her own project and giving workshops worldwide. Performance highlights include the Tanglewood Jazz Festival, The World Harp Congress, and the Celtic Connections Festival. You've seen her on the Somerset stage in numerous artistic configurations with other artists, including with dancer Nic Gareiss. She collaborates and performs with so many artists across so many kinds of musical genres that we have a hard time keeping up with her! She now has four CDs out as well as several instructional books published by Hal Leonard Music. Due to her touring schedule this summer, Maeve will be giving us her workshops on video and we'll schedule her for a Somerset Saturday in the Fall.

Presenter website: Maeve Gilchrist


Advanced Technique | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int-Adv | Method: Archive Video
This workshop is for those who have the fundamentals down but are looking to go deeper into finger dexterity, sound-control and looking to find more ease with the instrument. We’ll tackle finger-strengthening exercises, jumps, slides and speed playing techniques across both hands with a focus on breath, weight-distribution and lightness. Think of this as a boot camp for technique and be prepared to try new things, let go of old-hang-ups and get more connected to your instrument.
Chord voicings and accompaniment patterns | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: On Video Anytime
The order in which we stack chord tones has a huge impact on the sound of your accompaniment and the elegance of a phrase or form. Maeve will show you how to use some simple chord progressions as vehicles for exploring voicings. By finding common tones between chords and minimizing jumping around different registers, we can create a more sophisticated and cohesive accompaniment while using less energy!

Core Arpeggios | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Archive Video
Fully explore the benefit of working with arpeggios as part of a comprehensive exercise and dexterity program. Delve deeply with Maeve and find how using them in different shapes will help stretch fingers and break muscle memory while increasing dexterity over the full range of your harp. By using unorthodox shapes and different inversions, arpeggios can be the most beneficial exercise that will help free up your hands and navigate your instrument more freely.

Elements of Jazz & Improvisation | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: On Video Anytime
Improvisation is an important technique that not need only be associated with jazz but with whatever musical situation you find yourself in. By explaining basic jazz harmony and how to voice it tastefully on the harp, Maeve will help players ease into the world of improvisation. She'll use a standard jazz tune as a base for improvising over chords and form. Get some of the basic blues patterns and groove.

Hand Separation | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: On Video Anytime
This topic is something that often works it's way into Maeve's teaching regardless of topic but in this focused workshop, we hone in on the mind and musical benefits of utilizing our two hands as separate instruments. Not only do an independent left and right hand allow for more interesting arrangement and composition ideas but they blast open up the musical mind and allow a deeper connection both material and instrument. Learning to practice in this way is a process that will never be boring. You'll start to understand how to cultivate your curiosity into a constant stream of learning opportunities. It might sound a little complicated but Maeve promises you'll have fun!

Play Faster and Better | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Archive Video
Maeve will walk you through how to play both faster AND better, something that you might think is impossible for you. Maeve makes it look easy but there's a process she's worked for years that makes her playing look effortless. It's not really a secret but it will take some dedication! If you're interested in working on building up your dexterity, style and comfort in more up tempo music, this is the workshop for you. You won't be going from 0 to 60 by the end of the workshop, but you'll be headed in that direction.

Rhythm Workout | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Archive Video
Rhythm brings vitality and drive to music and can make the difference between an amateur and a professional. Maeve will focus on rhythm and how to incorporate it into warm-up and practice routines to strengthen all aspects of your playing. Learn about hand independence, poly-rhythms, syncopation, ostinato's and more!

Secrets to Effective Practicing | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Archive Video
In this workshop, Maeve will walk you through a well rounded practice session focusing on the warm up and how to incorporate metronome use right from the beginning. Combining rhythm, hand independence and finger exercises for a thorough and effective warmup, you'll realize that the most effective routine is one that YOU can create to fit your own level and challenge yourself. She'll then give examples of how to isolate problem parts of pieces or tunes and tackle them, using time in an effective way and saving the most enjoyable parts of playing to the very end of the practice session as a reward! Questions and group participation will be highly encouraged in this workshop in order for participants to get the most out of it that they possibly can. This will be a fun and highly useful workshop for any level of harpist.

Joyful, centered, and a consummate musician are words that describe the presence and playing of Robbin Gordon-Cartier.   Dedicated early to the study of the harp, Gordon-Cartier spent long summers as a young harpist in Ireland studying at the Royal Irish Academy.  Since then she has appeared nationally and internationally everywhere from Carnegie Hall to the National Symphony of Santo Domingo, at events honoring Lord Guiness, Cicely Tyson and Sir James Galway.   She plays frequently at churches and gospel events. Robbin 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, busting stereotypes. Her Cicely Tyson harp ensemble will be playing in our Friday lunchtime concert. Robbin led our Youth Harp Program in 2014 and 2015 and led the Teacher's Symposium for 2 years. Now we have her back this year with a completely updated Teacher's Symposium. She has joined the faculty of Kean University in Union, NJ as Concert Artist/Adjunct Harp Faculty. Robbin has a CD out, Just As I Am.

Presenter website: Robbin Gordon-Cartier


Go Paperless with Digital Sheet Music | Type: Lecture | Level: Any | Method: Archive Video
Explore the world of digital sheet music and how to make the switch from paper to tablet. Robbin will go over the basic starter pack and give tips and favorite shortcuts and enhancements to make going digital easy and helpful. Find out how liberating it is not dragging a case of music to a gig and having access to music that is not even in your paper library yet. You'll get all the pointers in getting started, including how to convert music you already have, organizing tips, best practices for using the tablet in practice and at gigs and so much more.

Hymns and Arranging | Type: Hands-on | Level: Beg.-Int. | Method: LIVE on 07/24/22 10-11:30am
Hymns remain popular music in many denominations and should have an important place in your repertoire if you play for services, rituals like funerals and other life events. Robbin will cover three popular hymns and lead you through arranging them in different ways to fit different parts of the service.

Gospels & Spirituals | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Archive Video
There are gospel songs and spirituals that stand the test of time and transcend generations, denominations and all spiritual situations. Robbin will actively lead participants and take one of the classics and turn it up into a 21st century gospel hit! You'll learn tips for arranging, adapting and assessing how songs can be updated, which will be applied to a variety of gospel songs. By the end of this workshop you'll be playing the new gospel song arrangement and have the tools to learn and arrange other gospel songs.

Lever It Up! | Type: Hands-on | Level: Beg.-Int. | Method: LIVE on 07/22/22 10-11:30am
If you are limiting your playing to one key, never use accidentals and certainly no lever slides, then you should come learn how to get the most out of your levers. You got 'em. Use 'em! This is a hands-on workshop designed to get you playing in many keys, modulating and even jazzing it up!!

More Reps for your Repertoire | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: LIVE on 07/21/22 3-4:30pm
You have perfected your favorite song and it is performance ready--but it is really short. Give your repertoire an upgrade by using the elements you love about the piece and expanding it. Robbin will show you how repeats don’t have to be repetitious and give you tips for adding effects, varying left hand patterns and doing modulations to keep your repertoire fresh.

Music Reading 101 | Type: Hands-on | Level: Beg. | Method: On Video
Just as there are many recipes for Chocolate Chip Cookies; there are many ways to learn how to read music. The key is finding the way that works the easiest and quickest for you. In this workshop Robbin will go over the many ways to learn the basics of note reading, drills for practicing reading and how to go from reading notes on the paper to playing notes on the harp.

Music Reading 201 | Type: Hands-on | Level: Beg. | Method: On Video
Building on Music Reading 101, this workshop will incorporate reading chords, playing from lead sheets and recognizing patterns rather than reading the notes one by one. Robbin will help you work on sight reading skills and identifying key signatures to make note reading as easy as reading words in an article. Learning how to count out rhythms and note values is also covered.

Nerves of Steel | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: LIVE on 07/23/22 3-4:30pm
Does performing in public or even the idea of it send you into a tailspin of nerves? Has the pandemic gotten you out of practice? How will you work around the changes that come with age and illness? Let Robbin show you how to develop a routine that allows you to look forward to performing and sharing your gifts with others.

As well as being an acclaimed harper and dynamic teacher, and with five cd’s and four books of music, Rachel has contributed energetically during this difficult time to promote harp music events and classes on-line. Her youtube harp workshop series HARP at HOME, won her a second nomination as Tutor of the Year in the BBC Alba Scots Trad awards.  In early April 2020 Hair coordinated the move of the Edinburgh International Harp Festival online, giving harpists around the world another way to engage in concerts and workshops, earning the Festival a further nomination as Event of the Year at the BBC Alba Scots Trad awards. Hair, who grew up in the Highlands, normally divides her time between Glasgow and the bewitching Isle of Man where she is exploring the music particular to the island. In the words of an Irish Music Today review of her newest album, SPARKS (with guitarist Ron Jappy) “Rachel helped to establish a modern harp sound with her trio line-up, but on her fifth album she’s gone back to her roots, back to basics, back to the music she most loves to play. Together with guitarist Ron Jappy, Rachel presents traditional tunes from Scotland, Ireland, and the Isle of Man, that mysterious land of mermaids, Manx cats and millionaires.” We're catching her 'live' on-site this year thanks to her US touring schedule.

Presenter website: Rachel Hair


Celtic Connections | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Archive Video
Take a trip in this workshop and find the many smaller countries that have a Celtic Connection with wonderfully vibrant music. Explore the music of lesser known Celtic nations like Cornwall, Galicia and Asturias. What gives their music their special flavor? Find out! There are other ample opportunities at the festival to explore the traditional music of Ireland and Scotland. Tunes will be taught by ear with music downloadable as a PDF.

Manx Music 101 | Type: Hands-on | Level: Beg. | Method: Archive Video
The Isle of Man is sandwiched in the middle of the Irish Sea between Scotland, England and Ireland, and its music has some similarities to its surrounding neighbours but also some unique qualities. Learn about how the music was revived and learn a sampling of this particular flavor of Celtic music! Tunes will be taught by ear, with music provided as a downloadable PDF.

Manx Music Starter Kit | Type: Hands-on | Level: Beg. | Method: Archive Video
Sandwiched in the middle of the Irish Sea, the Isle of Man and its music has some similarities to its surrounding neighbours in Ireland, Scotland and Great Britain but also some unique qualities. Learn a sampling of this particular flavor of Celtic music! Tunes will be taught by ear, with music provided as a downloadable PDF. To learn more about the culture, see Rachel's Manx Music 101 in our Archive for a tour of the island and more tunes!

Manx to the Max | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Archive Video
The mysterious island in the middle of the Irish Sea, the Isle of Man, is the smallest of the Celtic Nations, but in recent years has been making waves in the Celtic Music scene. The Claasagh (Manx Gaelic for harp) has been undergoing a recent revival on the island, so come help further the cause and learn some of the tunes from the island in the process! Add some Manx tunes to your repertoire. Tunes will be taught by ear, with music provided at the end of the workshop.

Mellow Melodies | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: LIVE on 7/24/2022 10-11:30am
This is a nice relaxed workshop, simply intended to add a few lovely melodies to your Scottish repertoire, that aren't terribly difficult, but are immensely satisfying. Everybody needs tunes like these, whether you're playing for an audience or just for yourself!

Scotland's Simon Fraser Collection: Beauties of the North | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int-Adv | Method: LIVE on 07/23/22 1-2:30pm
Scotland has a wealth of wonderful tune collections of traditional music and song and Rachel's favourite collector is Captain Simon Fraser from the Lochaber area of the Scottish Highlands. He took the time in the 19th century to notate hundreds of melodies from the region. Come to this workshop to explore with Rachel the beauties of this collection, first published in 1816.

Strathspeys Starter Kit | Type: Hands-on | Level: Beg. | Method: LIVE on 07/22/22 1-2:30pm
Rachel will give you an introduction to the Scottish strathspey and its wonderful dance rhythms. You'll learn how to give this unique Scottish dance form the 'snap' that's needed to make it sound authentic. Depend on training your ear to hear what makes playing this kind of tune jump off the page.

Tunes Built for Speed | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int-Adv | Method: LIVE on 07/23/22 3-4:30pm
If you want to show off your dexterity and be a flyer on the harp, the secret is picking your repertoire carefully! Come to this workshop to learn some melodies that will you have you speeding up and down your harp in no time and learn what to look out for when choosing the best tunes to play at tempo. Rachel will give you some solid tips on how to get the tunes you know up to speed so you can follow those fiery paced fiddlers!

Wistful Waltzes | Type: Hands-on | Level: Beg-Int | Method: Archive Video
There's nothing quite like a wistful waltz to swirl your fingers around. Rachel has a nack of picking the most satisfying, feel-good tunes to teach. The waltzes she has chosen, from a variety of traditions, will be a wonderful addition to your repertoire and just perfect to play when your session needs a breather from the fast-paced jigs and reels. Tunes will be taught by ear, but music provided in advance.

From her expressive renderings of airs to dynamic dance tunes, Grainne Hambly demonstrates ‘absolute mastery of the Irish harp’. Her accompaniments while firmly traditional, incorporate and celebrate contemporary rhythms with dexterity and flawless taste. Popular worldwide, Grainne has three solo CDs, two music books and a collaborative CD with William Jackson. Over the past year Gráinne has developed a popular online programme of workshops as well as participating in many online performances. With a master's degree from Queens University in Belfast and years of workshop experience, her teaching skills match her playing; she is patient, clear, and sharp-eyed. She teaches at most of the major summer schools in Ireland and is in much demand here when she's on tour. She was also on staff at You Gotta Have Harp's Harpers' Escape Weekend for 16 years. This year we're glad to have her here in person. She will be teaching at Somerset’s Sunday Harper’s Escape program from her home in County Mayo, Ireland later in September. For the advancing student, eager to take on challenges, (warning: she makes it look easy!) Gráinne is a great choice. We're glad to be able to host Grainne on-site this year and see her in-person!

Presenter website: Gráinne Hambly


Beyond Carolan: Ireland’s Other Harper/Composers | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Archive Video
We're still playing their music more than 300 years later and many of their pieces have worked their way into the folk tradition. Learn about the popular harper/composers who are not Carolan and preceded him in the musical timeline. Their simple, elegant melodies have stood the test of time and some we only know from music collections like Buntings. Add some new pieces to your repertoire. Taught by ear with written music in PDF that is downloadable before/after the class.

Beyond Jigs and Reels | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Archive Video
Broaden your repertoire of Irish dance tunes, with some slides, polkas, barndances and other less widely played tunes. Grainne will teach some of these easy melodies, along with some tips on appropriate ornamentation and how to add lift and rhythm through interesting accompaniment and syncopation. This workshop is ideal for both intermediate and advanced players, as the melodies are not difficult to learn but playing them up to speed can be a fun challenge! Music taught by ear, no sight-reading necessary.

Carolan Challenge | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int-Adv | Method: LIVE on 07/22/22 1-2:30pm
You can never know too many Carolan tunes! Try your hand at one of Carolan’s more complex and tricky compositions in this intermediate/advanced level workshop.

Carolan: His Life and Music | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Archive Video
We're still playing O'Carolan's music more than 350 years after he was born. These are simple, elegant melodies that are as popular today as then. Learn about Carolan's life and the times he lived in and some of his music in this hands-on workshop that will add 2 new pieces to your repertoire. Taught by ear with written music distributed at the end of the workshop. The festival will be having a Carolan Marathon as its special event Saturday night to mark Carolan's 350th birthday.

Discover the Neal Collection | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: LIVE on 07/23/22 10-11:30am
Find out more about the first collection of Irish music published in Ireland in 1724, which included some tunes by Carolan and other well known pieces such as Molly MacAlpin. We will discuss the background to the collection and learn a tune from it, including ideas for the left hand arrangement.

Fun & Easy Irish Tunes | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Archive Video
Build on your current Irish repertoire with this bonus workshop from the 2021 Somerset Saturday series. Gráinne will teach a dance tune by ear and show you how to do the various stylistic ornamentations that give the music that lilting quality. Gráinne will also give you important tips on fingering that will help you play more quickly. While Irish music is all about the melody, you'll learn how to add an appropriate accompaniment.

Harpers' Escape at Somerset (advanced): Add-on | Type: Hands-on | Level: Adv. | Method: LIVE on 07/21/22 1-4:30pm
New format for this year's Escape! In the first session, everybody learns the same "group" tune and adds accompaniment suited to their level. Then each group will learn additional tunes, learned by ear, and get left-hand tips and tricks for the accompaniment in the second session. This is an Add-on to an All-Access ticket. People who are signed up for this will get access to download audio files to listen to in advance. This Add-on includes a second weekend event on 9/17.

Harpers' Escape Somerset Saturday (advanced): Add-on | Type: Hands-on | Level: Adv. | Method: LIVE on 09/17/22 1-5:30pm
New format for this year's Escape! This Saturday is a continuation of the Escape at the July festival, an Add-on to an All-Access ticket. Review session is followed by the Use It or Lose It session with the entire group. A Teacher's Concert ends the day.

Irish dance music: Intro to Ornamentation & Arranging | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int-Adv | Method: Archive Video
Start your Irish dance repertoire, or build your current repertoire, with this workshop. Gráinne will teach a dance tune by ear and show you how to do the various stylistic ornamentations that give the music that lilting quality. Gráinne will also give you important tips on fingering that will help you play more quickly. While Irish music is all about the melody, you'll learn how to add an appropriate accompaniment.

Irish Tunes Built for Speed | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: LIVE on 07/22/22 3-4:30pm
In this workshop you will learn some easy dance tunes which you can have fun working on playing ‘up to speed’. Grainne will also discuss some tips and tricks for developing your fingering technique for playing dance tunes at tempo.

Irish Waltzes | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: LIVE on 07/23/22 3-4:30pm
Waltz time in any music genre is particularly satisfying to play on harp and the lovely melodies of Irish music will surely make learning some of these tunes from Grainne a fun time.

It's always great to have Deborah Henson-Conant on our faculty to challenge you to boldly go where no harper has gone before. Since one reviewer called her the ‘wild woman of the harp,’ Deborah describes herself as being "cross-genre: jazz-pop-comedy-blues-flamenco-celtic.” During her impressive career which includes a CD that was nominated for a Grammy, Deborah has brought the harp out of the demure background and into the electric limelight! Mixing music and theatre Deborah performs solo or with a symphony with equal ease. When orchestrating her own music, she often engages symphonic musicians in unexpected ways. Writes another reviewer “her life, her shows, her instrument, her workshops, and her music are all about transformation.” We're glad to finally see her in-person and take her workshops 'live'!

Presenter website: Deborah Henson-Conant



Art of Noodling | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: LIVE on 07/22/22 10-11:30am
If you've ever heard someone say, “Just noodle” and then ask yourself “but HOW???”, this is the workshop for you. You’ll learn to noodle on chord progressions that you can use as intros, interludes or improvisations and maybe even more importantly – how to noodle elegantly when you get totally lost, in a way that brings you back to the tune you’re playing. This is the one workshop at Somerset where we want you to noodle!

Easy Jazz Chords and Progressions | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Archive Video
A progression is a series of chords – and some are especially powerful for improvisation. Once you learn how to use them, you can easily create spontaneous improvisations – or use them as intros or interludes for the music you already play. In this workshop, you’ll learn one of the world’s most useful progressions, the “two-five-one-six”, that DHC calls the “Power Progression” because it can be used in so many ways: for intros, improvisation and to modulate from key to key. You'll learn how to put it together, build jazz chords on it and then improvise with it. Once you learn how to do this, you’ll be able to add jazzy chords to other progressions DHC will show you in the workshop.

Intro to the Blues | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Archive Video
Do you long to have fun and jam with other musicians! To hear people say to you "Wow, I never knew you could play THAT on a harp!" If so, then take this workshop! You'll learn the 3 essential musical roles in the Blues--and how to play them with only 2 hands! Learn one of the coolest, and most useful bass techniques at YOUR level of technical ability--a technique that's not just great for the Blues, but for lots of rhythmic music. Learn the wickedly simple harmonic structure of the 12-Bar Blues and why that simplicity is such a rich field for creative expression. Get the ultra-fun swing rhythm at the heart of the Blues--it's already deep inside your body.

Jazzy Arpeggios | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Archive Video
Did you know that Jazzy Arpeggios can be easier than regular arpeggios? That’s because they’re visually symmetrical. And here’s what’s so great about them: there are only 4 possible shapes for a 7th chord arpeggio and once you learn those shapes you can learn basic jazzy arpeggios, hand-over-hand and cascading inversions. And that’s what we’ll do in the workshop! The best part is that you’ll be able to put what you learn immediately into play by using these beautiful arpeggios as introductions and interludes to any tune you play.

Magical Music Expander | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: LIVE on 07/23/22 10-11:30am
They’re easy, they’re fun and they allow you to get way more mileage out of those arrangements you’ve spent so long learning! You've got a nice arrangement but the piece isn't all that long. Magical Music Expanders to the rescue. DHC will show you how to create ‘expander sections’ that release the ear from the song you’re playing long enough that you can come back and play it again, and have it sound new each time.

Modal Improvisation Magic | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: LIVE on 07/24/22 10am-5pm
You probably don't realize that so much of music goes beyond the regular major scales. This all-day Sunday event is your chance to take a deep dive into Modes and find out how they can be your gateway to improvising and freeing you from staring at sheet music! Genres from the Blues to Celtic to Pop Tunes to Therapeutic use modes that convey many moods. This is an all-day special add-on that requires advance sign-up.

Musical Cartoons | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: LIVE on 07/23/22 1-2:30pm
Did you ever want to play something that sounds like Cowboy Music? Or something that sounds Celtic? Did you ever want to play “Shave and a Haircut”, or sound like Debussy without actually having to play a piece by Debussy? This class is all about silly cartoon-type music that evokes a style of music but has zero artistic value but is reeeeeallly fun to play. If you feel like you have to musically justify taking this workshop, then you really need this workshop! It's time to just have fun playing harp.

Perform with Passion | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Archive Video
If you want to perform, you DO want to play with fire! Regardless of whether you’re a Fledgling or a Professional, jumpstart your own path to playing with greater passion with this workshop from the fiery harp diva herself. Using her dramatic harp showpiece “Baroque Flamenco,” DHC will show you how to go from just "learning the notes" and “counting it out” to finding the core of a melody and playing it with a grace that transcends playing ability, then expand it as your skills increase. She’ll show you how your body can lead you to the 'character' that brings the music alive. This workshop will totally energize your morning and have you tapping in rhythm the rest of the day!

Sing & Play | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Archive Video
Learning to sing and play the harp at the same time is more than the mechanical aspect of what to do with your hands while your voice does its thing. Use the harp to unleash that path to your heart's voice. Accompaniment doesn't have to be complicated to support your singing. DHC will give you her favorite use-anywhere left-hand patterns and show you how you can adapt them to achieve a solid accompaniment roadmap to get your song where it's going!

Vamp Your Way to Improv | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: LIVE on 07/22/22 1-2:30pm
You've probably heard other musicians talking about Vamps and are not sure what that is. Or may you know what vamps are and wish you had some to play around with. Take this workshop with the Queen of Vamps and you'll get a hands-on work-out of vamps and learn how they can expand your improv skills. No sight-reading necessary. Break free of the printed page.

Although Nancy Hurrell is proficient in a wide variety of musical genres from classical and popular, to Celtic and early music, it is her expertise and devotion to preserving older harps that is a distinguishing feature of her impressive career. She is a recognized world authority on the Egan Irish harp and her book, The Egan Irish Harps, has been widely acclaimed both here and in Ireland. She has published articles in History Ireland and Irish Arts Review magazines. She performs in several Boston early music ensembles and recently played medieval harp in Hildegard’s 12th century play, Ordo Virtutum. Her CD Balletto, features early dance music, and a new ensemble recording is Turlough O’Carolan-A Life in Song. Nancy has 7 books of arrangements, including her Historical Harp Collections of early music. Take advantage of her expertise while you're here at Somerset. We've asked her to reprise the fun Renaissance Ball she led for us a number of years ago, to celebrate our being in-person again in Parsippany.

Presenter website: Nancy Hurrell



Medieval Estampies | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Archive Video
Estampies are instrumental pieces played for courtly dances in the 13th-14th centuries. The music has several verses anchored with a repeated refrain, making them easy to learn. Nancy will lead you through “La Manfredina” and “La Quarte Estampie Royal”, two tuneful pieces with an exotic medieval flavor. Sight-reading is necessary.

Origins of the Modern Celtic Harp: Finding Your Harp’s Roots | Type: Lecture | Level: Any | Method: LIVE on 07/23/22 1-2:30pm
Discover your harp’s ancestry, which can be traced back two hundred years to Ireland and John Egan’s innovative ‘Portable Irish Harp.’ A century later, around 1900, several harp makers imitated the model, with shape alterations and Celtic decoration: Morley, McFall, Clark, and others. Find out who played these harps, how the music changed, and how perceptions of the Celtic harp have evolved. Looking at images of rare surviving harps in collections, you’ll find a connection to the instruments in the past.

Playing Weddings: “Keep Calm and Carry on”! | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: LIVE on 07/22/22 1-2:30pm
Feel more confident preparing for unexpected situations at wedding ceremonies. You will gain tips from timing the procession to dealing with outdoor distractions. Nancy will lead a mock ceremony in class to try out helpful strategies. Don’t get flustered again by things like a last-minute request from the bride; Nancy will give you ideas on how you can quickly find and convey the essence of the piece. Bring your questions and a sense of fun. Advanced beginners and intermediate level; sight-reading is necessary.

Renaissance Dance Class | Type: Dance | > Level: Any | Method: LIVE on 07/22/22 3-4:30pm
Get ready to come to the Renaissance Ball on Friday night! Travel back in time through dance. Nancy will teach the dance steps and use recorded dance band music. Imagine yourself at the Parsippany Castle, dancing the elegant pavane, jolly branles, and fiery Spanish canario. No costumes needed for this class. This is an on-site, in-person workshop but Zoom attendees can still watch. If you have it, be sure to dress in garb for the Renaissance Ball on Friday night where you can show off your dance moves!

Renaissance Harp Ensemble | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Archive Video
Join Nancy in a virtual Renaissance ensemble and play multi-level harp parts: learning each part from Nancy and then playing along with her virtual band. You'll learn two popular pieces from around 1600. These ensembles were performed by Nancy’s students in the Brandeis University Early Music Ensemble. Advanced beginners and intermediate level; sight-reading is necessary.

Renaissance Harp Ensemble | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: LIVE on 07/21/22 3-4:30pm
Join Nancy in a Renaissance harp ensemble play-along. You will learn pieces from the early 17th Century arranged in multi-level harp parts. These performance ready ensemble arrangements have been performed by Nancy’s students in the Brandeis University Early Music Ensemble. Advanced beginners and intermediate level; sight-reading is necessary.

Simply listing William Jackson’s achievements, as musician, performer and composer can’t come close to capturing the brilliant spirit, musical intelligence, dry wit, and sympathy that he brings to every instrument he plays, piece he composes and class he teaches. Although the harp is his primary instrument, Billy’s knowledge and experience allows him to move comfortably from the bouzouki to the tin whistle. In 1976 he was a founding member of Ossian, a breakthrough Scottish band. His richly woven and bold compositions, The Wellpark Suite, St. Mungo, Inchcolm, and A Scottish Island, reveal him as a master of orchestration with a sensitivity to contemporary tastes and the traditional idiom. His most recent composition (2020) is an as yet untitled suite celebrating the connections between Ireland and Scotland over the years. Now living in Ireland, Jackson and Grainne Hambly have been hosting concerts from their home in County Mayo. His CD with Grainne Hambly debuted at Somerset in 2009. Besides many CDs he also has one book, Scottish Traditional Music, complementary to the CD The Ancient Harp of Scotland. He was on staff at You Gotta Have Harp's Harpers' Escape Weekend for eight years and this year is leading our Harpers' Escape at Somserset on Sunday. In 2016 Jackson was recognized with Somerset's Lifetime Achievement Award. We're happy to have Billy on-site in-person this year.

Presenter website: William Jackson


Ancient Harp of Scotland | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Archive Video
Nowadays, Scottish harpers are just as likely to play jigs and reels as the fiddlers and pipers are, but in the "old" days this wasn't the case. Learn about the "old" harp repertoire and the harpers who played it. Take advantage of William Jackson's expertise in interpreting and arranging this music. The music will be taught by ear but sheet music is also provided as a downloadable PDF.

Blind Harpers: who was Rory Dall? | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: LIVE on 07/22/22 3-4:30pm
Their music is very different than that of O'Carolan, probably the best-known, today, of the blind harpers. So who was Rory Dall? You and Blly will explore the music attributed to the 17th century blind harpers Rory Dall Morrison of Scotland and Rory Dall O'Catháin (Roger O'Keane ) of Ireland, and the confusion over the authorship of their compositions. This is yet another link in the music connecting Ireland and Scotland.

Compose Now: Getting Started | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: LIVE on 07/22/22 10-11:30am
Join Billy for this comprehensive look at the structure of traditional music and the modes and rhythms used from Gaelic song, strathspeys to jigs and reels. He'll show you how you can get started composing your own tunes by learning to use a simple chord progression as the basis for developing melodic ideas and then expand these melodic ideas into a larger work.

Composing in a Traditional Style | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Archive Video
What makes a new composition sound traditional? This is a comprehensive look at the structure of traditional music and the modes and rhythms used from Gaelic song, strathspeys to jigs and reels. Learn how to use a simple chord progression as the basis for developing melodic ideas and then expand these melodic ideas into a larger work.

Composing Using Ancient Prayers & Blessings | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: LIVE on 07/23/22 1-2:30pm
In this creative workshop you and William Jackson will choose one of the blessings and incantations from the Carmichael collection and create a melody and arrangement to one of the English translations. How do you fit somebody else’s words to your new melody? Be guided through the creative process. Who was Carmichael? By day he was a tax collector and the rest of the time Alexander Carmichael collected a vast amount of lore and traditions in the Scottish Highlands and Outer Hebrides where he lived from 1864 and 1882. His compendium Carmina Gadelica (The Hymns of the Gael), published in 1900, cast a light on “Celtic” spirituality.

Crossing to Ireland | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Archive Video
At its closest, Ireland and Scotland are only separated by 12 miles across the Irish Sea. They share similar Celtic albeit distinct cultural flavors and their histories are inextricably entwined, politically, and for our purposes, musically! Well-known Scottish harper William has deep family ties to Donegal and will take you through a musical exploration highlighting the cross-musical connections between Ireland and Scotland.

Harpers' Escape at Somerset (intermediate): Sunday Add-on | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: LIVE on 07/21/22 1-4:30pm
New format for this year's Escape! In the first session, everybody learns the same "group" tune and adds accompaniment suited to their level. Then each group will learn additional tunes, learned by ear, and get left-hand tips and tricks for the accompaniment in the second session. This is an Add-on to an All-Access ticket. People who are signed up for this will get access to download audio files to listen to in advance. This Add-on includes a second weekend event on 9/17.

Harpers' Escape Somerset Saturday (intermediate): Sunday Add-on | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: LIVE on 09/17/22 1-5:30pm
New format for this year's Escape! This Saturday is a continuation of the Escape at the July festival, an Add-on to an All-Access ticket. Review session is followed by the Use It or Lose It session with the entire group. A Teacher's Concert ends the day.

Music Therapy Using a Small Harp | Type: Lecture | Level: Any | Method: LIVE on 07/23/22 10-11:30am
This workshop will educate harp players who may be interested in the field of music therapy and want to see how harp may be used. William will give an overview of what distinguishes music therapy from other kinds of therapeutic harp programs. This is an open interactive session using William’s own vast experience working with special needs children, as well as his demonstrating his talking points using his harp and other instruments.

Liza Jensen has studied harp maintenance and mechanics privately under the tutelage of master harp builders Pat Dougal and John Pratt. She has worked out in California with Triplett Harps and is a warranty repair service for their company. She is the only American woman to be invited by Jakez Francois, president of Camac Harps, the most innovative harp manufacturer in the world, to become a warranty repair service for their company. When she's not working in her studio in New York City, Liza is globetrotting on her harp maintenance missions and has been all over the world. Since we'll have her on-site and in-person (yay!) you'll have the option to bring your harp to her for regulation and minor repairs. To schedule your harp regulation/repair with Liza on-site, click here to sign-up.

Presenter website: Liza Jensen


DIY harp maintenance 2: Tuning | Type: Demo| Level: Any| Method: LIVE 07/23/22 3-4:30pm
Learn to Do It Yourself. Liza focuses on properly using your tuner and tuning your harp. Essential! Is there a difference between tuning with levers up or levers down? What about the difference between tuning loud or soft. Then what do you do when your lever buzzes when engaged? You gotta know this stuff.

DIY harp maintenance 1: Knot Tying | Type: Demo| Level: Any| Method: LIVE 07/22/22 11:30am-12:15pm
Learn to Do It Yourself. You are, inevitably, going to break a string. You should know how to change it. Take this workshop and get a lesson in knot-tying and replacing strings. If you're a beginner or have never changed your own string, you should definitely take this workshop!

Harp Regulation & Maintenance | Type: Demo| Level: Any| Method: Archive Video
The mysteries of harp regulation will be completely resolved in this one workshop with our expert harp technician! Liza will answer your questions about what it means to have your harp regulated and all its associated concerns such as what happens to your harp as it ages and why the harp shifts. See what that looks like. Bring your harp to this workshop and see it for yourself. How old is too old for your strings to be on your harp? What are the top 5 reasons your harp will buzz? There are all sorts of things to be learned about your harp--no matter how long you've been playing you'll learn all kinds of useful info in this workshop.

Dynamic and versatile, Tristan Le Govic returns to our online Somerset faculty to regale us with the music of his native Brittany. Tristan began playing Celtic harp at six, first near home and then further afield in Ireland and Scotland where he has often appeared playing in duos and trios with other harpers. In concert Tristan captivates through a combination of his playing style, strong rhythm, singing, and rapport with fellow musicians on stage. He is just as comfortable on an acoustic harp as on an electric, especially when playing with his trio. He can sound ultra-traditional with his Breton renditions or just as easily swing into rhythmic jazz improvisations. He has numerous CDs to his credit, featuring his own compositions as well as Breton to Scandinavian music. Tristan has published a number of music collections, including, The Breton Harp Anthology, a unique collection of three music books featuring the best harpists in Brittany. He is featured in Alain Gallet's 2003 documentary, Le Renouveau de la Harpe Celtique en Bretagne ("The Celtic Harp Revival in Brittany").

Presenter website: Tristan LeGovic


Tristan will be appearing during our July 30-31 second weekend. His workshop topics to be announced.


Alan Stivell’s Breton Music | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int | Method: LIVE on 7/30/22 3-4:30pm
After celebrating Alan Stivell's ground-breaking album "Renaissance of the Celtic harp" last year, Tristan will celebrate this year the 50th anniversary of Stivell's most important concert known as the "Olympia " concert (1972). This turning point of his career launched a Celtic wave and some of his tunes have been performed all around the world since then. Tristan will teach some of the famous tunes of the leading Breton harper.

Breton Legends & Myths | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: LIVE on 7/31/22 1-2:30pm
Merlin, Broceliande, Korrigans and other fairies. Brittany is full of legends and myths on which many tunes are based. Tristan will present and teach some historical music related to those myths. No level requirement for this workshop. Everybody is welcome. You will learn at your own speed and level. Bring your harp and/or just enjoy listening to legendary tales!

Breton Music Introduction | Type: Hands-on | Level: Beg-Int | Method: Archive Video
Breton music is part of the Celtic repertoire along with Irish, Scottish or Welsh music. Tristan will introduce you to the traditional music of Brittany, which is now part of France. Add traditional dance tunes, marches and songs to your repertoire and learn the different styles with different modes and rhythms. You'll learn a melody by ear and then Tristan will step you through basic arranging appropriate to this music. No prior knowledge of Breton music is needed. This workshop will be taught by ear.
Jazzy Accompaniment for Traditional Music | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int-Adv | Method: Archive Video
Join Tristan for this fun workshop to learn how to use colourful chords or scales, groovy basses and swing to make our Celtic repertoire sound a little more contemporary and jazzy. A good understanding of playing chords and theory fundamentals is needed. We will go in a step-by-step progression. You'll learn some tools to understand the process of arranging: take a teaspoon of theory and just add a pinch of analysis (nothing hot, it’s for the flavour). Learners by ear and/or with the music are all welcome.


Karen Loomis is Assistant Director of the Historical Harp Society of Ireland, and is a specialist in musical instrument research, with expertise in the historical harps of Ireland and Scotland. She is dedicated to helping harp builders and musicians rediscover the sound world of the historical wire-strung harps of Ireland and Scotland, using modern technology to unlock the secrets of the surviving instruments. Karen has conducted groundbreaking studies of the Queen Mary and Lamont harps of the National Museum of Scotland, and led a project funded by the Arts Council of Ireland to study the 18th-century Hollybrook harp at the National Museum of Ireland, for the Historical Harp Society of Ireland. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and passion for these harps at workshops, and is a teacher and administrator for Acadamh na gCláirseach–Academy of Early Irish Harp.

Presenter website: Karen Loomis



Harps and High Tech: unlocking the secrets of Ireland and Scotland's harps | Type: Demo | Level: Any | Method: LIVE on 07/30/22 1-2:30pm
What did harps sound like in Ireland and Scotland centuries ago? Come and explore how new technology is being used to investigate historical instruments. See and hear how recent discoveries are helping to reconstruct a lost sound world, as new harps come ever closer to recapturing the historical craftsmanship of the last surviving instruments from an ancient tradition.

Historical Early Gaelic Harps: The Hollybrook Story | Type: Lecture | Level: Any | Method: Archive Video
The bell-like sound of the harp of Ireland and highland Scotland was heard in great halls throughout the Gaelic world. Built to be strung with wire, the substantial frames of the few surviving historical instruments stand in silent testament to a rich, centuries long musical tradition. Karen will premier the results of her forensic analysis and study of Ireland's Hollybrook harp.

Historical Tour of the Early Gaelic Harps | Type: Lecture | Level: Any | Method: Archive Video
From the middle ages through the early modern period, the bell-like sound of the harp of Ireland and highland Scotland was heard in great halls throughout the Gaelic world. Built to be strung with wire, the substantial frames of the few surviving historical instruments stand in silent testament to a rich, centuries long musical tradition. Today, this type of harp is undergoing a revival, as musicians seek to recapture its lost sound. In this presentation, Karen will trace the history of this iconic instrument through the surviving harps. Hear how Karen's ground-breaking forensic analysis of the Queen Mary harp and other recent discoveries are reshaping our understanding of these ancient instruments and are making it possible to build new instruments that more closely follow the craftsmanship of the originals.

Touching History: the harpers’ marks on the early Irish harps | Type: Lecture | Level: Any | Method: Archive Video
Although the historical harpers are long gone and can’t be here to show us how they played their instruments, they left behind visible wear showing where their hands and wrists (and feet and legs too!) rubbed against the soundbox, how they replaced strings, and even how they adjusted the position of the harp to play it. See for yourself, and inform your own explorations of playing style. This workshop will include demonstration and discussion of how to interpret the harpers’ wear marks. For more on Dr. Loomis' forensic analysis on early Irish harps, see her archived 2020 workshops.

john metrasJohn Metras is the quintessential public school music teacher who by need must be a multi-instrumentalist and yet he has distinguished himself by being professionally accomplished on any instrument he picks up, including harp! He graduated as a guitar major from University of San Francisco, took an M.A. in Music Education from Holy Names University and has a teaching credential from San Francisco State University along with National Board Certification for Elementary band. He has performed extensively on the guitar, accordion, piano and harp does early music, pop, jazz, show tunes and big band music. He is the principal guitarist in the Gravenstein Mandolin Ensemble and has written well over a dozen arrangements for mandolin orchestra. He won first place in the Lyon and Healy International Pop and Jazz Harpfest in Salt Lake City in the non-pedal harp division in 2004, playing his set on the cross-strung harp. He has promoted the cross-strung harp nationwide and has written numerous books of arrangements including 3 books of classical music for the cross-strung harp and a method for the cross-strung harp. His 2007 CD Paths Crossing is performed entirely on the cross-strung harp. His Guitar Transitions, a 2015 recording of popular music, is performed on the classical guitar. We've asked John to give us a few more videos on cross-strung harp for our video collection. Enjoy!

Presenter website: John Metras


Chord Magic on Cross-strung | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: On Video Anytime |
Have you opened up a fake book and seen a lot of chord symbols that you don't recognize? Not to panic, as you have a cross-strung harp, meaning that you can play any of them. This workshop will show you how to create the most commonly used chords and give you a chance to play along with a few chord progressions, simulating songs that use a number of altered chords.

Cross-strung Harp 1: Introduction | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Archive Video
Dive into the fascinating world of the chromatic cross-strung harp and learn about its history in its various forms. John will play musical examples showing how the instrument can play music of all styles with all the “juicy” chords that are often eliminated in lever harp playing. Hear about the pros and cons of this fascinating instrument and find resources to help you get started. All ability levels welcome.

Cross-strung Harp 101 | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Archive Video
Dive into the fascinating world of the chromatic cross-strung harp. In this second part of John’s introduction to the Cross-strung Harp, you will have the opportunity to learn how play melodies, chords and scales. Be sure to download the PDF for this workshop as you get ready to view this video.

Lead Sheets on Cross-Strung | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: On Video Anytime |
With a cross-strung harp you don't need to wonder if the lead sheet can be played on your harp. It can! Take a look with John at some tunes that would be virtually impossible to play on a lever harp and how one might arrange them to work easily on your harp.

Dr. Jen Narkevicius teaches and performs in the Washington DC area. Her innovative teaching mixes techniques based on her experience educating gifted and talented students, along with her full career in human factors and ergonomics. For nearly 15 years she has worked with harpers, fiddlers, bagpipers, guitarists, pianists, bass recorder players and others, to prevent injuries and to help them play efficiently and effectively. Jen is a founding member and Secretary of the National Standards Board for Music Ergonomics. She is Co-Director of Harp Quest and an instructor at the Ohio Scottish Arts School. Jen is the Competition Committee Chair and SHSA judge. She blogs weekly on topics that range from traveling with a harp to fulfilling musicians’ promise through ongoing training and self-care.

Presenter website: Jenius Creations


Ergonomics 101 | Type: Hands-on| Level: Any| Method: LIVE 07/22/22 3-4:30pm
Ergonomics is not just for working from home during a pandemic! Music Ergonomics refers to how a musicians hold and use musical instruments in ways that promote comfortable and stress-free playing. In this workshop, learn the five ways that music ergonomics will save you and your playing, and the importance of fitting your harp and environment to you! Join Jen to learn the impact of your body mechanics on your playing, and some common techniques to observe your own performance.

Selecting the right harp for you | Type: Demo| Level: Any| Method: LIVE 07/23/22 10-11:30am
There are many reasons to select one harp over another. Jen will cover using ergonomics as one aspect of that so you can play pain-free for a long, happy, harp life. She'll also talk about the size of the harp, seating, lighting, and room qualities in conjunction with long practice times, playing throughout your life, and the effects of aging and fitness on your playing. Take this workshop before going into our lunchtime Harp Tasting.

Cuban born Alfredo Rolando Ortiz is one the leading performers of the Paraguayan harp and has a multi-cultural repertoire which covers the folk, classical and popular music of many countries, in addition to his own compositions. He began playing the Venezuelan folk harp at 15, four years after his family emigrated there, a few months later began playing the Paraguayan harp and he eventually used music to support his medical studies. Dr. Ortiz also has a background in music therapy and sensory motor integration, which he draws on in his body/harp workshops. His compositions and publications are used in many schools and by many harp ensembles around the world. In 2008, he was commissioned by the Tenth World Harp Congress to compose a piece, which was then performed by 232 harpists at the Congress. When not performing with symphonies and orchestras, doing concerts or recording, Dr. Ortiz is traveling and doing lectures and master classes. In 2011, in honor of his 50 years of contributions to the harp community, Alfredo was awarded the very first Lifetime Achievement Award by the Somerset Folk Harp Festival.

Presenter website: Alfredo Rolando Ortiz


From Habanera to Tango | Type: Hands-on | Level: Beg-Int. | Method: LIVE on 7/30/22 10-11:30am
Learn about the history of the famous Cuban habanera music genre, its influence around the world and "the tango connection." Alfredo will show you accompaniment patterns and easy ways to create variations. Music samples will include Alfredo's compositions Habanera Gris, Habanera Rosa, Tango Triste, and the world favorite "La Paloma."

Cuban Rhythms & Spice | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Archive Video
Add some famous Cuban rhythmic styles to your repertoire. From the "Cha-cha-cha" to the "conga," Cuban rhythms are beloved around the world. Bring your harp to learn some very easy pieces. Easy printed music in the downloadable handout. You will also learn about the famous romantic Cuban "bolero" music style for a contrasting touch!

Latin music techniques & fun effects | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Archive Video
Latin American harp traditions include many unique and fun special effects. Even if you've never heard these terms before, you'll learn muffling techniques, muffled glissandi, Paraguayan "trino" (mandoline-like effect) and more. If you're interested in pop or jazz or looking to do something with your own compositions, this workshop will expand your technique repertoire with these interesting effects. Even beginners will be able to master some effects right away while understanding others to put them into practice in the future.

Latin Rhythms for Beginners | Type: Hands-on | Level: Beg. | Method: LIVE on 09/03/22 12pm-1:30pm
The traditional harp styles from Latin America are very rhythmic and exciting and use fun accompaniment patterns. You'll get the various unique rhythms, polyrhythms and syncopations of several countries and transform some well known melodies into habanera, salsa, cha-cha, meringue, conga, tango and more. Alfredo will teach you various ways of using octaves and chords for repetitive patterns while minimizing the effort to do it. Then you'll take these ideas to create your own rhythmic patterns for other music styles.

Latin Rhythms of Cuba | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: On Video Anytime |
Who better to teach you about Cuban rhythms than Alfredo? He's Cuban born and one of the pre-eminent Latin harpists of our time. Enjoy this fun workshop for players of any level.

Prevent Injury & Play Better and Faster | Type: Lecture | Level: Any | Method: Archive Video
Every harp player needs to be aware of how their technique and body should work together to prevent injury and playing problems and facilitate the performance of difficult passages. With his medical background in the fields of Music Therapy and Sensory Motor Learning, Dr. Ortiz will help you focus on the right aspects of your technique and learn good habits. Prevention is the key and breaking bad habits may seem difficult but learning how your body works and responds to your playing technique is essential. Take this workshop if you've ever gotten up from the harp with sore hands, arms or shoulders!

Christa Patton, originally a classically trained oboist, was always drawn to the ancient sound of double reeds. While her brother was collecting recordings of classic rock, Christa was searching for LPs of crumhorns and shawms. A late bloomer as a harpist, Christa was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to study the Baroque harp with Mara Galassi in Milan, Italy just as she was turning 40. She is a noted historical harpist and early wind specialist who has performed with many of today’s premier early music ensembles including Piffaro the Renaissance Band, Early Music New York, Boston Camerata, The King’s Noyse, Folger Consort, Newberry Consort, Apollo’s Fire, Parthenia, ARTEK and Chatham Baroque. Since one of her specialties is 17th century opera on Baroque harps, Christa has performed with New York City Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, Opera Atelier and the Opera Theater of Saint Louis. She is musical director of the Baroque Opera Workshop at Queens College, focusing on the works of early 17th century composers. Christa has been on the faculty of Rutgers University as well as the Madison Early Music Festival, Amherst Early Music Festival and Pinewoods Early Music Week, among others. She is a past president of the Historical Harp Society. She has toured throughout the Americas, Europe, and Japan. She presented as part of the Historical Harp Society's Conference held here at Somerset in 2019. We're so glad she can make it to our on-site festival this year and you'll finally be able to meet her in-person.

Presenter website: Christa Patton


French Estampie | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Archive Video
Originating in the 12th and 13th century, French Estampie are finely crafted and timeless dances and music, meant to evoke a full range of scenarios: from an intimate dance of veils to an earthy and exquisite celebration of movement. In this workshop, Christa will show how the simple verse-refrain form of French Estampie make them easy to play and serve as a base to improvise. Sight-reading required but good ear learners will have no trouble picking up the refrains.

Harp of Love and other songs from Colonial America | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Archive Video
Experience the charm of music popular in the American Colonies from collections such as the Scots Musical Museum, theatre songs from England performed in New York City, a collection of Favorite songs by Alexander Reinagle of Philadelphia, and a little ditty that Washington’s granddaughter, Eleonor Lewis Park, may have played on her early French pedal harp.

Henry plays harp | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Archive Video
King Henry the VIII of England was a well known music lover and patron of the arts. In his personal psalter he is depicted playing a harp as his fool stands by. Many compositions attributed to him can be found in a manuscript named after him. You and Christa will be looking at these sparse but lovely polyphonic pieces and enjoying how well they fit the harp, both as complete pieces to play alone or in consort with other harps. All harps are welcome. Sight-reading needed.

Hit the Road Jack and other Ground Basses from the 17th century | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: LIVE on 07/24/22 10-11:30am
The descending bassline from the classic "Hit the Road Jack" contemporary song is as old as the hills. This progression that underpins Greensleeves for example, and many other repeating basslines and their harmonies invite you to create your own melodies. Enjoy learning these timeless harmonic progressions and make up a few melodies if you are inclined. Understanding of playing chords is helpful. Chromatic harps are welcome but not essential.

Iberian Harp in 17th century Spain & the New World | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Archive Video
The harp was an indispensable instrument, accompanying songs and playing dances. In some parts Hispanic people use the harp still to welcome guests into their homes, to express deep piety in the church, as well as accompany their beloved Romances ( ballads), Danses, and Bailes in the theatres and in the streets. Join in and learn some ravishing songs and rousing dances for harp from 17th century Spain and the New World.

Medieval Carols to Sing & Play | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: LIVE on 07/23/22 1-2:30pm
Carols, which are dance songs, were depicted in art throughout the 14th century with figures moving gracefully to a singer with a drum. These monophonic melodies are easy to learn and lend themselves to atmospheric accompaniments. If you like to sing and play, or just play, this workshop is for you!

Medievel Pilgrim Songs from Spain | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int-Adv | Method: LIVE on 07/23/22 3-4:30pm
In the 14th century pilgrims sang while keeping watch at night in the church of the Blessed Mary of Montserrat outside of Barcelona, Spain. The Red Book of Montserrat (1399) is a collection of monophonic songs, canons and simple polyphony with danceable rhythms that they used. Join Christa to join your harp with others to play these strong yet simple pieces that are well suited for harp ensemble or to sing and play.

Spanish Dances from the 17th century | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: LIVE on 07/22/22 10-11:30am
You won't need a historical harp to enjoy this workshop featuring two 17th century tutors for harp by Lucas Ruiz de Ribayaz and Don Fernando de Huete. Christa will teach you how to improvise melodies and accompaniments with some lively rhythmic chord progressions, melodies and variations. You'll enjoy learning how to make up your own too. Sight-reading required

Spanish Dances of the 17th century | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Archive Video
Dance music was learned in Spain in the 17th century as a way of becoming familiar with the harp, guitar or keyboard. Pieces could be played simply at first, each being only a few measures long, but could also be expanded into compositions with infinite variations. Christa will teach some basic dance pieces and their chord accompaniment and then lead you through making up a few variations of your own. Reading ability required.

Mary Radspinner began harp studies with Jeanne Henderson in the Milwaukee Public Schools. She later taught public school music herself before moving to Houston where she freelanced and subbed with the Houston Symphony and Ballet orchestras. Mary has served as regional director of the American Harp Society, president of the Scottish Harp Society and the ISFHC (International Society of Folk Harpers & Craftsmen), and an editor-in-chief of the Folk Harp Journal. She is familiarly known for running Afghan Press and Melody's Traditional Music in Houston, which she co-owns with her husband John Gill. Afghan Press Music for the Harp represents a wide range of arrangers and composers from the 20th and 21st centuries.

Presenter website: Afghan Press


Business of Harping: become an entrepreneur | Type: Lecture| Level: Any| Method: LIVE 07/30/22 3-4:30pm
Join Mary, co-owner of Afghan Press and Melody's Traditional Music, for a lively give-and-take discussion on thinking 'outside the soundbox' on the possibilities and earning potential in being a career harpist or harpist supporter. Join the discussion about the many contributions you can make to the harp world in any capacity, at any level. Explore what else you can do besides playing weddings.

Business of Music Publishing | Type: Lecture| Level: Any| Method: LIVE 07/31/22 3-4:30pm
Mary Radspinner, co-owner of Afghan Press and Melody's Traditional Music, will talk about what it takes to create and publish your own music. She'll cover the many situations that come up during the process of writing, arranging and publishing your own or others' harp music. Here are just some of the topics she'll cover in this fast-paced 90-minute workshop: creating harp-able arrangements, desktop publishing and music editing software, proofreading, what you do after the arrangements are done, cover and binding considerations, PDF music, pricing and sending samples. She'll answer what Net 30 is and much more.

As one of the pioneers of the American folk harp, Kim Robertson’s style and approach to the instrument is uniquely personal and original. Trained classically on piano and orchestral harp, she brings a contemporary touch to both her original compositions and her arrangements of Celtic music. Her skill and stage presence as a performer has brought her a loyal following and she is an experienced and sensitive teacher as well. She has many CDs, among them Highland Heart, Shady Grove and Shall We Gather as well as numerous volumes of harp arrangements and several instructional videos. Though she makes her home in Wisconsin, she spends a good deal of the year touring both as a solo artist and with other performers. Kim has presented and performed at nearly every Somerset festival, and with good reason! She's got a clear style and can get everybody, seemingly effortlessly, working together and learning with humor and grace. No matter what the topic, her workshops are packed (this year we'll have to spread out!). Kim received our Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019. She'll be here in-person in Parsippay. Welcome back, Kim.

Presenter website: Kim Robertson


Arranging Shortcuts | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: LIVE on 7/23/2022 3-4:30pm
So many tunes, so little time! Learn some practical and quick ways to create interesting arrangements in a hurry for various performance demands. Various left hand patterns, chord vamps and interlude ideas will be covered that are easy to play but will give instant variety to any arrangement. Students are invited to bring in one of their own arrangements for ideas, time-permitting. No need for sight-reading.

Christmas Carol Creativity | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Archive Video
Known for her soulful Christmas recordings, Kim will share some secrets for arranging Christmas music. She'll cover classic and lesser-known carols and give you solid tips on choosing intros & chords patterns, substitute harmonies, creating medleys and other innovations that will breathe new life into standard carols. Sample tunes will be on lead sheets.

Contemporary Carolan | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Archive Video
Almost everybody loves the music of 17th century Irish composer Turlough O'Carolan. Take a cue from Kim's inventive experience, and find out how to add a modern twist to some of those pieces. Using a few of his well known and lesser known pieces, discover how to create intros, interludes, rhythmic motifs and alternative harmonies for making contemporary arrangements of these timeless melodies. Lead sheets will be used. A basic knowledge of chord structure helpful.

Cool Left Hand Patterns | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Archive Video
What makes some of Kim's music so compelling is her inventive and cool left-hand accompaniment patterns. This is your chance to look under the hood at how she does it. Learn some of Kim’s cool LH accompaniment patterns and find out how to add rhythmic complexity and harmonic spice to any melody. In this workshop, you'll learn how to build on drones, use 5ths and harmonic variations. Kim will also challenge you with more advanced syncopated patterns. Reference worksheets provided but reading music is not a requirement.

Damp It All! | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: LIVE on 07/23/22 10-11:30am
An introduction to the technique known as dampening or muffling. It's a routine part of any Celtic harper's playing, but strangely, many lever harpists never learn how to do it. It's primarily used by the left hand to clean up the long sustain of the bass string but can be used in either hand to give more tonal clarity as well as to create contrast and interesting rhythmic effects. Exercises will include individual finger damping, open hand damping, muting, staccato, walking bass lines and more. Go to enough Somerset concerts and you're sure to see a lot of it, so if you want to know how to make it happen, take this workshop. No need for sight-reading.

Improv for Introverts | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: LIVE on 07/22/22 1-2:30pm
Join Kim for this gentle look at (non-jazz) improvising as a means to spontaneous self-expression on your harp, particularly if you're a 'shy' player who worries too much about making mistakes. Kim will show you how simple chord vamps, right hand patterns, riffs and other formulas will give you the courage to improvise. Learn techniques that will help personalize your playing and lead to more creative arrangements. No need for sight-reading.

Lullabies for Lap Harp | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Archive Video
Lullabies are particularly well-suited for small harps, with their sweet, bell-like tone. Kim will teach some lovely traditional lullabies along with some accompaniment patterns that make the most of a smaller range. Excellent class for a beginning player and because it's Kim, the more advanced player will get quite a lot of ideas on accompaniment. Reference worksheets provided but reading music is not a requirement.

Two-Hand Teamwork | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: LIVE on 07/24/22 10-11:30am
For most harpers, coordinating both hands seems to be a big challenge. Making your hands work together requires a little patience Join Kim for this workout with some simple etudes to help develop two-hand coordination, including cross-overs, contrary motion and descants . If your goal is to develop independence in each hand and use the full range of your lever harp this is definitely the workshop you don't want to miss. No need for sight-reading.

We are happy to welcome West Coast multi-instrumentalist Verlene Schermer to Somerset this year. You will love her diverse, upbeat style of music that leans toward contemporary jazz and blues. With 11 albums and over 25 harp music books to her name, Verlene will guide you through techniques to inspire your own playing, performing, and composing. She often performs on her double-strung harp at various hospitals and is a mentor in the Harps for Healing Clinical Musician Certification Program. Verlene performs on harp, nyckelharpa, and vocals in a duo with Neal Hellman on mountain dulcimer; on harp, guitar, harp-guitar, and vocals with a duo called Silverwood. She's in her self-named Verlene Schermer band with Linnette Bommarito on flutes. She is a founding member of a Scandinavian trio called "Nykken". She currently performs on harp, guitar, harp-guitar, and vocals in Silverwood with Linnette Bommarito on flutes. She brings a variety of her instrumental talents to her latest group, called Gaelic Muses. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, she also plays tenor banjo, violin, and sings in her newest New Orleans style jazz band called Parlez-vous Jazz.

Presenter website: Verlene Schermer / Karmalu Productions


Cool Chords & Groovy Rhythms | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: LIVE on 07/30/22 1-2:30pm
Modern musical styles use chords that include notes beyond the triad, and rhythms that sometimes swing, sometimes syncopate. In this workshop, you'll be looking at chord extensions and altered chords used in jazz, pop and blues, how they’re voiced and how they function within a major key. Verlene will also cover the standard jazz and pop rhythm patterns. You'll get a chance to play through examples with Verlene. Come prepared for a real workout!

Playing from a Lead Sheet | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: On Video Anytime |
Lead sheets include just melody and chords, and sometimes song lyrics. Learn how to make an arrangement on the fly using lead sheets. Find out how to recognize which chords are in the key signature. Verlene will then give you strategies to adapt chords that are not in the key. Learn some tricks on what to do with the accidentals in the melody. The handout includes a Jazz chord formula chart so you can figure out what notes are in those crazy chords like F#m7b5 and Cmaj13#11, and whether you will be able to pull them off on a lever harp.

Playing to Heal | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: On Video Anytime |
Add to your repertoire of music to play in a hospital, hospice or even for background music at a dinner party. You’ll get a few simple transcriptions of some great tunes, and you’ll learn some tips on how to play requests you’ve never played on harp before (finding the melody & chords). You’ll also learn a few simple chord progressions that make improvisation easy and effective. Verlene will share some of her experiences in using these tools as a hospital musician.

Sing-Along Harper | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: LIVE on 07/31/22 3-4:30pm
Learn how to “jam” along with a song circle on popular sing-along songs – just like the guitar players! Verlene will use folk and pop tunes that have words and chords only – no written music. You’ll learn how to play chords in a variety of rhythm patterns and you’ll learn “fingerpicking” styles to play along with singers and guitarists and other musicians in a group setting. You can of course also use these patterns to accompany your own singing or another singer or instrumentalist!

Versatility and a willingness to explore—different musical genres, different types of harps and different settings in which to play, characterize Sunita Staneslow’s career. At eight Sunita was already deeply interested in music, playing flute, harp and piano. The next twenty years were spent studying mostly classical music, with such eminent harpists as Lucile Lawrence, Lily Laskine, and Judith Liber. While living in Jerusalem during the mid-'80's, Sunita began arranging various styles of Jewish music for the harp. More recently she has been working as a therapeutic musician in a children's hospital near Tel Aviv. She has participated in two studies to measure the effect of music on premature babies. Sunita has played under the baton of conductors such as Phillipe Brunelle and Claudio Abbado but her passion is traditional music. With more than a dozen recordings to choose from and many books of arrangements from classical, sacred, Celtic and Jewish music, Sunita has something to offer to every aspiring harper.

Presenter website: Sunita Staneslow


Arpeggio Diversity | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Archive Video
If you've never taken Sunita’s arpeggio workshop and want to get some new ideas for playing different types of arpeggios, this is the workout you're looking for! Sunita says she works with arpeggios like a sculptor. Learn cool things like how to take the same arpeggio and make it sound like a Spanish Guitar, or romantic or soothing. If you've taken her Arpeggios workshop before, you'll get even more out of this supercharged version. This workshop is targeted to players Intermediate level and beyond who want to learn how to creatively noodle! Learn how to sculpt beautiful phrases and play more musically. This is very hands-on.

Arpeggios 101 | Type: Hands-on | Level: Beg. | Method: Archive Video
Beginners who have never taken Sunita’s arpeggio workshops and want to get some new ideas for playing different types of arpeggios will have fun in this class. This is a no-pressure experience to get beginners really comfortable in using both hands to create the quintessential harp sound. This is very hands on and liberating because there is lots of looking at your harp and not at the paper.

Arranging Tips for Hymns | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Archive Video
Hymns can sound very heavy when played straight from the hymnal, which are basically written for piano. Sunita will share the arranging techniques she uses to make hymns more harp-friendly and contemporary without losing their original character. Find out how to tweak the harmony and make the arrangement flow so they fit the hand of a harpist. Basic sight-reading is required for this workshop.

Creative Beginner | Type: Hands-on | Level: Beg. | Method: LIVE on 07/30/22 1-2:30pm
Dive straight into the beautiful and creative possibilities with your harp. You and Sunita will play gorgeous glissandos and use these as a backdrop to creating instant beauty. Learn to explore the different ways to create the sound of snow, rain, and starlight. You'll take it to the next level and jumpstart improvising on your harp over simple chords. You have more imagination than you realize. Technique will follow.

Figuring Out Fingering | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: On Video Anytime |
Sunita wants you to make the connection between tone and phrasing with fingering. You might be looking for tricks and the easiest way to play but lose out on musicality. Focus on fingering to remedy phrasing that is sometimes stiff or clunky. Very often, better fingering can change the ebb and flow of the music you create. This workshop builds on Sunita's previous Fingering video now in our archive.

Finetune Your Phrasing | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: LIVE on 07/31/22 10-11:30am
The difference between lovely and breathtaking is often in the phrasing. Sunita will zero in and work on the small details in your dynamics, timing, fingering and gesture. Find out how to go beyond the dots on the page and work on examples to control the push and pull of dynamics and rhythm. Let's define nuance and breath. You will be given specific tools to guide you towards the phrasing you have always wanted. This is hands on. Be ready to experiment.

Jewish Music & Modes | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Archive Video
Jewish music often has a distinctive and passionate sound created by the modes that it uses. What modes are commonly used in Jewish music? Sunita will give an overview and cultural signifcance of these modes and what will help make your arrangement or performance sound more authentic. You'll learn two traditional Jewish melodies that will give you the confidence to play for a Jewish wedding or audience. Add some Jewish flavors to your repertoire!

Suss out Suspended Chords | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: On Video Anytime |
Playing with Suspended chords is a game-changer. A sus chord turns a nice harmony into something with depth and complexity. Just by changing one note in a chord and suspending it, your harp will become a magical instrument. Sunita will show you how to work on the sus4 and sus2 chords. The next step will be to apply them to your music and learn how to flow with arpeggios of sus chords to create introductions and interludes. You will never hear harmony the same after using suspended chords.

Dr. Dennis Waring is passionate about all kinds of music and ethnic cultures, from all over the world. Armed with a PhD from Wesleyan University, he's an educator, ethnomusicologist, author, instrument maker, collector, performer, and arts consultant. His World Music Teacher Institutes often take him from coast to coast and he has taken two four-month journeys around the world as shipboard ethnomusicologist with the University of Virginia’s Semester At Sea program. His multi-instrumental proclivities gives him a musical range that includes classical, folk, jazz, and ethnic idioms. That wide-ranging musical passion led him to create Waring Music to provide access to a broad spectrum of musical and multicultural resources to the general public as well as educational institutions. We welcome Dennis back as a vendor as well as a presenter with his ever-popular Build-a-Harp workshop, in which he assists interested participants in building their own harps right at the festival.

Presenter website: Dennis Waring



Build a Harp | Type: Demo | Level: Any | Method: LIVE On-Site ONLY 7/23/22 at 10am & 1pm
Dennis Waring of Waring Music will guide you through the construction of their 19-string or double-strung, corrugated cardboard and wood harp, built from their unique kit. In the first part you'll build the harp and in the second part you'll string it and tune it. Purchase the kits before the festival for the discounted price: double-strung $235 or 19-string at $140 (email Dennis)--Dennis will bring your kit to the festival, so no shipping. This workshop will not be simulcast on Zoom for Online-Only attendees. Contact us to access our video in Archive.