On Sunday, October 12th, I gave a concert in Carthage, Missouri as part of their 48th Annual Maple Leaf Festival sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. Carthage is a lovely town with lots of history and if you are into seeing the fall foliage emerge then you should definitely put Carthage on your list of places to visit.
The concert itself was sponsored by the wonderful Jeanne Goolsby at the Grand Avenue Bed and Breakfast and was held at Grace Episcopal Church. Reverend Steve served as my emcee and he was awesome! As I paused between played some traditional Irish songs and talked about Turlough O’Carolan, the patron saint of lever harpists, he told everyone about visiting Turlough’s grave in Ireland. It was nice to have those personal stories to go with to evening.
It was a great group of people in the audience. The size was nice so we were able to talk between songs and they asked lots of great questions about the harp and my musical journey. I think everyone enjoyed themselves as much as I did. It was a fundraiser for their church youth programs. I hope to go back again next year!
I also can’t say enough about Jeanne and the Grand Avenue. Last year, I called Jeanne out of the blue and asked her if we could take over her place for a harp gathering. She very kindly agreed and it was the beginning of a great relationship. (If you want to see a little video of that event, click here.) I couldn’t get the group gathered again this year but I was lucky that Jeanne asked me to come and play as part of the festival. Rick and I stayed two nights and used it as little romantic getaway break during the busy fall. Jeanne makes amazing food and the breakfast chat with the other guests was grand. I met a fellow Circle of Life cohort and a couple from Oklahoma. The gentleman of that couple is generally based overseas with the state department so we had a fascinating conversation to start the day.
In case you are wondering about the picture in the poster…. I did that last year to show off some new dresses that I bought. It seemed kind of hair-brained at the time so it was very convenient that they came in handy this year to use as part of the Maple Leaf Concert! I love it when my crazy ideas become useful later. I could pretend I planned it that way but that would be way too logical!
The picture of the tractor is just one of the many “vignettes” set up around Carthage to showcase their fall colors.
I was honored to be featured in two articles that came out in conjunction with the release of my CD “A Priceless Meadow.” Both of the articles focused on my work at Circle of Life Hospice (COL) where I have worked as a volunteer for almost seven years.
People are still commenting to me after the article in the newspaper and I’m still blushing. April Robertson did a lovely job with the article and it was a joy to meet her. She is a musician too so I’m sure that is part of why we enjoyed our time together and the article went so well. Click here to read the article.
Obviously, on the one hand I’m trying to promote and sell a CD (“A Priceless Meadow” in case you missed that! 🙂 ) but they can’t just do an article about a product. Most of the time my work for COL has been done fairly under the radar. In my family, both growing up and now, doing volunteer work is what you do but not something that you talk about. You just do it. So having this additional publicity based on my work is embarrassing. On the other hand I’ve come to realize the extreme need to publicize the work that COL does. It is so important and so misunderstood by the general public. Even in my own family when my father-in-law needed hospice the family struggled with the process.
The harp is just a magical instrument and so if via that I can help illuminate the work of COL, I’m happy to do it. I’m just a very small part of the process there but I’m very happy to be included. I’m also glad that the current doctors, nurses and administrators see the value in the work that I do. So for the articles, anything that helps further the discussion about hospice and choices in end of life care is valuable. It is a choice about living well not just about dying.
The second article that came out was from my alma mater, John Brown University, where I got my degree in 2002 as a working adult. I loved their Advanced Degree Completion Program. It was hard work but worth it. So recently, I sat down with Lori Walker and we talked about my time there and my work for COL. They like to know that their alumna go out into the world and do things to help the community. It is a fundamental part of their values. I believe that it will be printed in an alumni newsletter soon which I’m looking forward to so I might reconnect with a few of my fellow classmates. But in the meantime, you can click here to read the article.
I started my harp musical career with very low expectations. Would I ever learn a song? Could I ever play at church? Could I ever play in public at all? My track record with public performance as a kid wasn’t great and I wasn’t the best with public speaking so to be where I am now as a musician does constantly fill me with wonder. Truly. Having a CD out takes it the next level and I’m ready!
For the release of my CD “A Priceless Meadow” I went through the process of getting a physical CD made but also getting it set up for digital distribution. Obviously, that is not the future anymore but now. Some people have gone retro to do vinyl but that is not part of my future. Independent artists have to find a way to go down as many roads as possible to reach the widest audience. I don’t expect this CD to pay for it’s self immediately (or maybe not anytime soon) so I won’t be counting on my iTunes residual checks before they hatch but seeing your name in lights on iTunes is excellent.
The CD replication company that I worked with did a distribution bundle and they helped you through the process so you can now find my CD on CD Baby, Amazon and iTunes.
So, now you have a lot of ways to reach out and find my music! But, honestly, if you want to support an independent musician the best thing you can do is buy a CD directly from them. Or go to their concert. Or buy them a glass of wine. Give them a pat on the back and tell them that you appreciate what they are doing. Filling the world with beautiful music is actually hard work. But worth it.
On October 8th, I officially launch my new CD “A Priceless Meadow” with a Party at Arsagas! It was such a great party and I’m very thankful to all of my friends and family that attended the event. And those that sent their hugs even though they couldn’t be there!
Earlier in the week this is how excited I was when the actual CD arrived at my door. Rick caught the big moment right after we came home from a walk. I have to tell you there is something kind of cool about seeing this physical thing come from so many years of hard work.
The actual day (the day!) of the party this plaque arrived at my door. This was a gift from the CD replication company and, again, I have to tell you it was pretty cool to have this arrive. Especially right before the party. It makes me feel pretty official.
It was also nice that the release party got a little extra publicity in “What’s Up!.”
“Do you have a CD?” That is a question that every musician loves to hear. It is lovely acknowledgement that someone likes and appreciates your work. What a great feeling!
As a solo harpist, I think we probably get this question maybe even earlier than some other musicians. There is just something about the harp. But the thought of actually making a CD? AHHHHH!!!! And the process of actually DOING it? AAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!! It is alternatively – scary, fun, exhilarating, terrifying, frustrating, tedious, expensive, torturous, amazing and …… Bottom line. It is a lot of work and worth every second.
I am thrilled to announce that after almost three years of hard work, my debut CD is hitting the market. For many years as I played at hospice or performed at a restaurant I would get the question about a CD. I deferred for a long time. I didn’t think I was up to it. It is hard when you compare yourself to your idols and think “I could never match that so what do I have to offer?” But gradually, slowly, I decided that I did have something to say and I did have something to offer. I can’t compare myself to some of my idols and I’ll never be like them. I’m just me and that is fine.
So starts the process of making a CD – planning, picking songs, getting permissions, designing, making arrangements, recording. And repeat and REPEAT! I never thought it would take this long but it did and it really was worth it. Every delay actually turned into a blessing.
First, my long suffering husband. He bore the brunt of this process in many ways putting up with so many harp hauling duties, practice sessions, recording sessions and questions. He has spent a lot of time listening to me which he doesn’t mind as long as he’s drinking a beer (kidding! Sort of 🙂 ). Man, he is a patient soul and I’m the luckiest woman in the world. One hint – part of the CD title is an ode to him. Additionally, he was my first sound engineer and together we spent a lot of time doing recordings.
After each recording session we would go home and I would review and edit everything. First, I had to learn the sound editing program Audacity and later I had to learn Adobe Audition. Challenges. Worth it. Eventually, I decided that I still wasn’t getting exactly the sound that I wanted in the spaces where we were recording so I called Darren Crisp. Darren has a fabulous studio here in Fayetteville and has done CD mastering for some of my friends including Candy Lee. Getting to record and work with Darren has definitely been a highlight for me.
Picking songs – now there is a challenge! Trying to find the right mix of songs between things written for the harp, traditional, things you need to get permission to record, things you have to pay royalties on, things you’ve written. I admit that I feel a sense of failure that I didn’t include anything that I have written on this album. It is something that I have been working on but just haven’t quite been ready to share with the world. Maybe someday. In the meantime, I am honored that several wonderful people that I know were willing to share their talents with me. First, my friends RoJean Loucks and Carolyn Bame who both write the most beautiful songs specifically for lever harp. Narrowing down the options was the biggest challenges with their songs. I’m thrilled to play their songs and thankful for their shared gifts. Also, I was lucky to find a song that came from my parent’s church in Portland, Oregon. The song, “Come to Me”, was written by two members of the church for their choir. I think it is such a beautiful song for the choir and it was a challenge to bring it down to just a solo instrument. I hope they think I’ve done it justice. There were many songs that I worked on for some time that in the end didn’t make the cut for one reason or another. I had a really joyous time coming up with my own creative “mash-ups” of some traditional songs and I’m very proud of that work.
Designing… designing… Luckily, my friend, Rhonda Dillard, got me up and running in the design stage but eventually I had to learn Adobe Illustrator to work on the CD cover and other promotional materials. I’m still learning but I’ve made progress. The thing about this process… You are a musician but you end up being all these other things as well! A lot of hats. Since my soul will always be a photographer that is an easy part of the process for me. Dave and Sharon Thormahlen have given me great pieces of art to photograph and I love taking my harps and giving them a chance to shine in nature. The cover photo for the album was taken at Petit Jean State Park in Arkansas and I’ve been using that photo as my logo for a while. However, in the end, I did my final recording on my new harp which is the same model just a different color and a little bit bigger bass sound. I don’t think that is false advertising since they are so closely related.
Now comes the marketing, press releases, release party and, hopefully, sales. Obviously, I hope for sales. It would be nice to think that all of those people that asked over the years will come back and buy a CD. It would be nice to recoup my production costs, pay for the harpmobile and be able to buy my husband a beer. Mostly, I hope that people will enjoy it. I think they will be happy to have it at Circle of Life Hospice where I volunteer. I will be glad that I have finally accomplished this challenge and I am proud of all the work that I have done. It was worth it!
PS. The CD is available available for pre-order on my site if you want a physical CD. It will also be on iTunes, Amazon and CD Baby soon too!
A Priceless Meadow CD
On Thursday, July 24th, I hosted a concert at the Pavilion in Gulley Park in Fayetteville. Although we had the threat of rain all day the evening turned out to be beautiful. My dear friend, and fellow harpist, Tammy Willicox came all the way from Miami, Oklahoma to surprise me!
Many of my neighbors and friends came, a few that had heard the KUAF interview, and even a few people who were just walking through the park and lucked into some music.
I played lots of requests and did a lot of movie themes which are a favorite of mine. Here a few photos from the evening.
Recently, I was honored to be interviewed for the weekly Music Segment of Ozarks at Large on KUAF.
Christina Karnatz did a great job with the interview which aired on Friday, July 25, 2014. I talk about my early journey of learning to play the harp. On the Sunday recap show they aired my rendition of “Unchained Melody.”
Below are links to both segments.
I’m heading out of my comfort zone and into Concerts! Most of my playing events have been as background for a fabulous party or helping the bride sail smoothly down the aisle. I’m not usually one to be front and center and actually giving a harp performance. Well, starting last night, and into the new year this is going to change.
Last night at our church we had a lovely Coffee House event in the fellowship hall and it was a nice chance to perform in front of small but appreciative audience. I also shared the stage with some other amazing local musicians and that alone was intimidating!
I’ve have five concerts scheduled so far through early next year. They are all on my calendar and I will talk about each as they get closer so be sure to stay tuned on social media.
First up. Next Thursday, the 31st at 7pm, I’m going to be doing a casual, fun, FREE, concert at the Gazebo in Gulley Park. Bring a blanket and enjoy the lovely harp tunes.
In October, I will be doing a concert sponsored by the Grand Avenue B&B in Carthage, Missouri as a fundraiser for a church group. This concert is also being held to coincide with the 48th Annual Maple Leaf Festival.
November is Hospice Awareness Month and time for Thanksgiving. There will be two concerts to celebrate and give thanks for the gift of hospice. Also, a time to remember those in our lives for whom we are thankful. Donations will be requested to continue the work of Circle of Life Hospice. One concert will be given on Thursday evening the 13th at the Springdale location and another on Sunday the 16th in the afternoon at Legacy Village in Bentonville.
February is for LOVE! In 2015 KUAF will be celebrating several milestones. Please join us in a pre-Valentine’s Day celebration on Thursday, February 5th, to show some love for KUAF. Dessert and Wine from Beland Manor in Fort Smith will make this a perfectly LOVELY evening. Details and pricing will follow so stayed tuned.
I hope that I’ll see you at a concert soon.
My new harp is here!!!! Whoot, Whoot! Here is the unpacking..
It left Oregon on Tuesday the 17th and arrived in Springdale on Monday the 23rd. They were supposed to deliver it on Tuesday the 24th but I couldn’t see it sitting up in the warehouse overnight so I went and picked it up. Dave and Sharon trust the shippers but you still hold your breath until it arrives safely.
It has been almost two months of waiting for it to arrive. This is really very fast in harp time but slow for an impatient person like me. If you missed it, you might want to go back and see the post about the early journey to my newest harp.
The new harp has a built in pick-up so it will connect better with my amp. It also has a larger sound box by 1″ and you can tell the difference. I’m still getting it tuned up but I took it on it’s first journey to hospice yesterday. I think it will be ready for the wedding at Thorncrown Chapel this weekend and it will be great to hear it in that lovely space.
I love the racing stripes!
Last weekend I played my first wedding at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks in Fayetteville. As a long time member, I’m particularly fond of this location. It is so beautiful!!!
However, in full disclosure, I have to say that doing outdoor weddings is stressful. Arkansas is like many places where there is just no way to predict the weather. On any given day we could experience the whole spectrum of weather phenomenon – and we have! As you can imagine, my harp and my amp don’t like to be out in the rain and the heat can make it tough on your fingers and electronic equipment. The cold is very tough on the harp, too. If I agree to an outdoor wedding I REQUIRE that a Plan B be in place for the event. Playing at outdoor weddings is a challenge, I’ve got some great stories, but at a place like the Botanical Garden it is worth the risk.
Here are a few more photos from this weekend.