Are you enjoying some breaks from your routine? Alison Austin attended Lyon & Healy’s 150th celebration in Chicago, and Catherine Case and Susi Hussong were in New Orleans for the AHS Conference. Pat Wooster, as the chair of the World Harp Conference, will be in Sydney in a couple of weeks heading up that event, and my husband and I have tickets to the two opening concerts there before heading off for long-postponed visits to friends in Melbourne and Brisbane. I hope you, too, have some travel or musical plans on your itinerary.
Still looking for a summer camp? Don’t forget the extensive list on Harp Spectrum at www.harpspectrum.org/camps_concerts/camps%20USA.shtml.
With some hot days ahead of us, here’s a reminder: never leave your harp in the car in the heat, or at least park it in some shade and crack the windows. A very good list of do’s and don’ts in weather-related harp care is at www.venusharps.com/care- maintenance-4.htm. There is an old adage among harpists: if you are comfortable, your harp will be too.
Please mark your calendars now for the Alfredo Ortiz and Alice Giles not-to-be- missed visits in September and October (see Calendar). I hope you have a restful and fun summer!
Joyce (sitting in for president Catherine while she visits family back east)
Is it an African harp? Is it a chair? It’ s a Danish harp chair! I saw one in a Belltown shop window this month with a price tag of $2600 – for that amount you should be able to play tunes on it!
Video from the Yale Studio.
We’ve heard a lot recently about auditions, but musical ones for dogs? Leopold Mozart included them in his instrumentation so the Pittsburgh Symphony held an audition.
What do retired guys do? Watch this video to see how some inventive fellows with time on their hands and a lot of ingenuity used their shop skills to build an “orchestra!”
Two Exciting Workshops Come Up This Fall
Your officers are very excited to announce two wonderful opportunities that are coming our way this fall. Mark your calendars now so you wonʼt miss them!
Image from Mr. Ortiz's Website
Alfredo Rolando Ortiz, master of the Paraguayan harp, will be in Seattle at a booking conference and called us about doing a workshop and concert for us on Sunday, September 7! He has invited us to join him in an ensemble piece, and weʼre opening this to any member. You would need to learn it over the summer and come prepared to put it together with one brief rehearsal before the concert. Please let me know if youʼre interested in being in the ensemble. See calendar for details.
Image from Alice Giles' Website
Alice Giles, world-class Australian harpist on a World Tour, will present a master class on Saturday, October 18 at the University of Puget Sound and a concert on October 19, 8:00 at Pacific Lutheran University. Alice will be performing at the opening concert in Sydney, and was one of the concerto harpists at the final concert in Tacoma. Exact information on both super events will be available soon.
How Alison Austin Came to Play the Harp
My harp journey began in 1964 at about age six . My parents were symphony musicians. My father, Richard Skerlong was a violinist (later a violist) and assistant concertmaster in the Louisville Symphony. My mother, Patricia Skerlong, was a violinist in the symphony and raising five children ages 10 to 1 at that time. I fell in love with the harp as I went to rehearsals and watched the beautiful Japanese lady, Taka Kling, the Symphony harpist. When I was seven years old I asked if I could take harp lessons.
Unfortunately they were expensive and Symphony wages were very low, so my mother suggested the piano to start, which I studied until I was almost 14. At the end of 8th grade I asked to switch instruments, wanting to play the oboe. My mother, who chose our instruments based on what she could stand to listen to being practiced, reminded me about wanting to play the harp. By then we were living in Seattle and they were in the Seattle Symphony, so they asked the Symphony harpist Gertrude Bergseth to teach me. She did not want to take me as she was already teaching someone in my neighborhood, Carol Mukhalian! They got a referral from Heidi Lehwalder's mother, who played cello in the Symphony, and she recommended Lynne Palmer. I went to an audition and the rest is my harp history.
(By the way, Alison and Billʼs daughter, Diana, is getting married August 9.)