In Zen Guitar, the author talks about finding the silence between the notes. Even when playing a reel full stop, Gráinne Hambly, exhibits such poise, authority and skill that every note has its moment giving her music a depth that is hard to describe. Velvet wrapped around steel, might get close! Her style of playing and her accompaniments while firmly traditional, incorporate and celebrate contemporary rhythms with amazing dexterity and flawless taste. Her accomplishments are many. She is popular in many countries and she tours around the world, has three solo CDs, two music books and two CDs with William Jackson. 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 she is heading our Harpers' Escape at Somerset Sunday program and following the festival she is one of the guest musicians on the Harp Tour of Ireland from October 1-10. For the advancing student, eager to take on challenges, (warning: she makes it look easy!) Gráinne is a great choice.
Presenter website: Gráinne Hambly
Shyamali Roy Hauth (Yoga Alliance ERYT) is the founder of Mahari Yoga, a yoga & meditation school located in Reston, Virginia, with a secondary branch in Southern Illinois. She teaches Hatha yoga and meditation as well as trains the next generation of yoga teachers. She has worked with a variety of musicians and dancers and has developed yoga techniques to enhance their performance as well as reduce chronic use stress. Born in India, she learned from Guru Pankaj Charan Das, and later was certified in the Himalayan Institute tradition through Omaha Yoga and Body Work Center. She has a Masters in Human Resource Management and spent 10 years on active duty in the US Air Force. As with all our presenters she has a harp connection, of course! Shyamali began playing harp late in life, when she and her child both took lessons with Kathy DeAngelo, now festival director.
Presenter website: Mahari Yoga
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.”As before, Deborah will be presenting an additional all-day Sunday program, which have been so well received, that we've come up with a new program to help extend your weekend at the festival. She'll do four workshops for us and then present her own special Sunday Lead Sheet Boot Camp as an add-on.
Presenter website: Deborah Henson-Conant
Both of Joy Yu Hoffman’s parents were deeply involved in music and music scholarship, and Joy began her musical apprenticeship on the piano at the age of four, an education which continued even during the difficult political times in China in the 50’s and 60’s. By seventeen, her musical talent was officially recognized and she attended to the Shenyang Conservatory of Music. She came to America in the early 1980s and studied for her Bachelor and Master’s degrees at Roosevelt and Northwestern Universities. A musical adventure opened up for Joy when she received from China, a Chinese double-strung harp called the Kong Hou, leading her into a deep exploration of Chinese traditional music and the development of her own distinctive style. Naturally, her kong hou playing brought her to the double-strung harp and she has become one of its leading players--which is why she is featured in our double-strung harp track this year. She has released three CDs, Ballad, Blessing and Bridge, and has published a number of compositions and one exercise book for the double-strung harp. She not only plays Asian music on the Kong Hou (Chinese harp), but also Celtic music, Jazz and Blues.
Presenter website: Joy Yu Hoffman
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. In 1999 his composition 'Corryvreckan' from the album Inchcolm was included on Fiona Ritchie's favourites collection, "The Best of The Thistle & Shamrock, Volume 1." More recently he composed “Fantasia on Scottish Themes” for the Asheville Symphony Orchestra” in North Carolina. He is now living in Ireland. 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. He was recognized with Somerset's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016.
Presenter website: William Jackson
Cass Jendzurski first love was theater and until she came to the harp, she was a professional stage actor and singer. She felt a calling to leave the stage 20 years ago as she sat the bedside of a dying nun. She began a volunteer music ministry to the dying of her community, and now, some 6500 deathbeds later, her widely-used Songs for the Journey is an end-of-life ministry that has trained many others to join her in easing the patient towards transition and creating a beautiful memory for the family sitting bedside. She is on call 24/7 at a number of hospices and retirement communities to professionally deliver healing music to those who are in need. Cass is a certified healthcare musician from the Therapy Harp Training Program and is also a Level I graduate of SoundWerks. She has spoken at local, state, and national level conferences about her ministry and about the use of music to heal. She is also a regularly scheduled guest minister of music at church services throughout her hometown of Lancaster, PA. When she's not presenting you can find Cass at her Guided Angels Ministry table in the Exhibit Hall.
Presenter website: Guided Angels Ministry
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.
Liza will be doing harp regulation and string changing at the festival by appointment. You can contact her in advance at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 917-696-5974