KUAF Interview

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.

Interview

Sunday show

Concerts on tap!

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.

Cheers, Beth

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New Harp Arrives!

My new harp is here!!!! Whoot, Whoot! Here is the unpacking..

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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!

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Botanical Garden of the Ozarks

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!!!

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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.

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It’s a Harptastic Social Life

Professional musicians are small business owners and therefore wear a lot of hats. On my list of things that I do is helping out the International Society of Folk Harpers  and Craftsmen. This a great group and I help on the magazine and also manage their Facebook Page. Doing social media for yourself or for groups is a challenge – trying to create interaction, doing something interesting, maybe something funny, trying not to do too much or too little. I think it is an easy challenge for our group because we do have a specific focus and are fairly like minded but I do think about it a lot and work at it.

Since it is my nature to take pictures, lately I’ve been on this kick of doing some Harp Art for the page. Here are a few of my latest samples. I have some great photo apps on my iPad that help out and I’ve enjoyed experimenting with them. Below is also a painting that I did for one of my musicians friends.

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Wedding Season and FAQ’s

Well, it is officially wedding season. I am happy to say that I am nicely booked for the next two months and looking forward to some beautiful weddings. I’ll be visiting some very familiar places like Pratt Place Barn and Thorncrown Chapel and new churches from Alma to Rogers.

One of my favorite parts of the wedding process is getting to meet with the bride… and groom … or Mom… or….. It is fun to put ideas together and come up with the perfect plan for each event. I like to be able to tell people that I worked over ten years as a wedding photographer, I have been a bride, brides-maid, mother-of-the-bride and have played the harp at dozens of weddings over the last few years. I’ve learned a thing or two about weddings along the way and I’m pretty easy to get along with. A compliment that always means a lot to me after an event is that someone was impressed by my professionalism as well as my music. That is my goal.

Since I know how weddings work I can often get by on very little information but I do need to know some details in advance. Minimally, how many parents and attendants and the dress code and color for the wedding. After that, I can pretty much wing anything but obviously the more information the better! It is worth it to spend a little time in advance to have everything go smoothly on the big day.

One thing that I did to help brides (and other event planners) was to come up with a list of Frequently Asked Questions. These are the things that I always ask and the things that often get asked of me about the harp. I hope that you can take a minute to review this list. FAQ’s. It is a good list to get you in a harp-tastic mood. 🙂

If your question isn’t on the list, be sure to let me know!

Here is a picture of the wedding at Pratt Place Barn.

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New Harps!!

The past two weeks have been a flurry of new harp activity.

First, I saw a deal on one of my Harplists for a Harpsicle that I just couldn’t pass up. I thought it would be handy to have around for students but would really be the one that I could use when we travel. Sometimes I don’t need a big harp but I still need something! I was very excited when it arrived. Here it is in the backyard…

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The same day the new Harpsicle arrived my Dusty 36S Bubinga, which I’ve had for sale for almost 2 years, sold and went out the door in about 24 hours! I was shocked that it fell in to place so quickly and it is a perfect fit for the new owner. I feel great that it went to a good home where it will be used and appreciated. I loved that harp but it ended up not being the perfect fit for me. So now I really need that new Harpsicle to use during lessons for the new month or so.

After the Dusty left, I immediately called Dave & Sharon Thormahlen and managed to get in at the perfect moment to order my second Ceili! It was very lucky to have these dominoes falling in place. I love that I can dream up my own perfect combination for the harp and Dave can make it! And it appears that Dave is working at blazing speed because I’ve already gotten these photos from Sharon of the harp in progress.

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The new harp is Chesnut with dark binding so it will be a contrast to my current Ceili.

In the middle of all that, my young student, Josie, received her first harp. Her Grandmother had it shipped to my house so that I could prepare it for her. I spent three days tuning it and had it in pretty good shape by the time she arrived. Her Grandmother arranged a little party for her at my house and they surprised her with the harp while she was here. I think she was pretty excited!

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It was fun having all the different harps in the house at once. So, of course, I took some pictures!

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day (but it’s not just a Celtic Harp!)

As we finish basking in the glow of a Happy St. Patrick Day, I thought I would take this opportunity to clear up a few myths and misconceptions.

The harp is one of the earliest instruments known to man and it has grown and evolved over centuries. It is “native” to many different cultures and it comes in a wide variety of shapes and sizes!!

The harp that I play is technically known as a “lever harp” but is often also called a “Celtic harp” or “folk harp”.  The main difference between this and the “pedal harp” or “classical harp” is the mechanism that is used to create sharps and flats or “accidentals”. It is also a little bit smaller than a pedal harp but it is still a harp and it still sounds AMAZING! The main harp that I use (the black one on the website) comes from my good friends in Corvallis, Oregon, Dave and Sharon Thormahlen. www.thorharp.com My Ceili (pronounced Kay-lee) 34 Harp was custom designed and is strung with fluorocarbon strings for a bright sound. I also have a beautiful Bubinga 36S from Dusty Strings in Seattle, Washington.

Recently, I received this questions from a fellow harp player who is just starting their musical journey. “The Ceili is always described as ideal for Irish music…. In your experience, is the Ceili well-suited for many types of music as well as Irish?  Is it basically as versatile as your Dusty”? (Read into this question also… “as versatile as a pedal harp”?)

It is a good question and one I’m often asked. I always say I play the lever harp (both the Ceili and Dusty are lever harps) and add in an “also known as” when needed. I think this it is a good time to help people understand about the different types of harps but I never just call it a “Celtic harp”. I play every single genre of music on my harp!! Why limit it? My harp doesn’t know it should only play Celtic music!!!

Along with that, a pedal harp doesn’t have to be gold and doesn’t have to only play classical music. I hate to say that lever harps have limitations compared to pedal harps but they do make some forms of music more challenging. It boils down to the skills and desires of the harpist not just the mechanical aspects of the harp.

There is a wide world of harps and harpists out there with many different types, styles and cultural reference points. Who is to say where the journey might lead and what music might be created? While I think about this, I’m going to have some tea in my favorite mug.

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Here is a classic pedal harp (not gold in this case).

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A cross strung harp.

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A Paraguayan Harp

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And a few early references to harps…

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Winning Harp Photos!

The Folk Harp Journal (www.folkharpsociety.org) held a photo contest and I’m so excited to say that I won Second Place and an Honorable Mention!! I can’t wait to see my photo on the cover of the next issue! They received over 90 entries and I know that the editors were impressed by all the submissions.

I’ve been working on these photos for many years and it is such a joy for me. My earliest love is taking photos so it seemed a natural to me to start including the harp. If you haven’t had a chance to see my harp landscape photos I hope you will check them out at Red Bubble.

Well, according to a trusted source I’m not supposed to reveal which photos won so … the photos that were here are now deleted. Sorry.

But check back soon for an update!

Update – the second place photo was release on the Fall Issue. Here it is…

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Beatlemania!!!

In my work for hospice my usual mode is to play non-specific music which is relaxing and/or distracting for the patient, family and staff. I’m always happy to take requests but usually it is best to allow the music to work by weaving its own magic spell without hitting any emotional triggers. Many of us have memories fixed to certain songs and it is better at hospice to stay neutral since you never know who is listening. Luckily, there is soooo much beautiful music that has been written specifically for the harp to use in healing situations. We have a treasure trove of wonderful things to play.

Since my earliest harp days come from training to play at hospice and I continue to do this work a big chunk of my repertoire comes from this healing music. It is beautiful and can be used in many, many different situations. However, as I’ve expanded my reach with the harp my repertoire has expanded as well.

I do love playing things that people think don’t belong on the harp. And, yes, I can play “Stairway to Heaven”!!!

I have messed around with a few Beatles tunes but this week I got a new book (thanks Sylvia!) with LOTS of Beatles tunes. I’m super excited about adding some new songs to my playlist. Most of these songs have lots of lever changes during the pieces but I think it will be worth the effort.

Beatlemania forever!!