Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Holiday Music

Saturday began the round of holiday music, with the Downtown Association's holiday open houses, sleigh rides & music. I'd intended to be out of town, so hadn't booked an event, but was called on at the last minute to fill in for another musician at 'Bella Casa,' as I'd stayed in town after all! The same threat of inclement weather prevented the scheduled musician from making it in - serendipity!

I love playing for the holidays! The music is fun (I enjoy finding unusual arrangements & less familiar pieces) & folks are so appreciative. The first listeners were a dad & his toddler son, who listened for a minute, then said 'harp!' They spoke several languages - at least French, German, Spanish & English - I told the boy (perhaps 2?) that some adults didn't know what a harp was! They listened intently for several minutes before re-joining the rest of their party.

Several folks did a double take as they entered the shop, commenting - "OH! It's live music - I thought it was a recording!!" Then they try to decide if they just paid me a compliment, or insulted me. I take it as a compliment :)

Today & next Tuesday I'll play during the lunch hour in the Lobby of Oregon Mutual Ins. company. They've invited me to play holiday music the last several years, & it's a welcome break for the employees & clients.

These are 'wallpaper' gigs, background music while folks go about their business - shopping, going between their office & another, or passing through the lobby on their way to lunch. These are 'wallpaper' gigs - & some musicians seem to find them tedious. I actually enjoy being 'background' music - folks can continue talking & going about their business, but when I stop playing, they miss that sweet accompaniment.

I arrange my set by key signature, beginning with all levers down (Key of Eb) & end with one or two sharps (G or D) I have a list of the songs in order, & note which book it's in. My 'big book' is filled with music in sheet protectors, & I have several books of Christmas & Holiday music arranged for the harp. Many of the arrangements come from my copies of 'Folk Harp Journal' & I've arranged & written out others. For a long 'wallpaper' set, I can play pieces over after about 40 minutes, but do have enough music to play about 2 hours without any repeats.

Today I'll be playing about an hour, & have a 'short set' list from which I'll play. It's rather gray & rainy today, fortunately there's parking right by the main entrance, & my harp, stool & music only take two trips to unload.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Sunday

Happy Thanksgiving to those in the US - may your plates & hearts be full!
(I know Canadians already celebrated!)

This weekend I'll be playing the harp two places - both at the 11 AM service at First Baptist Church, on Cowls between First & Washington streets (McMinnville, OR). This is the contemporary service, great music, & a very welcoming congregation.

In the afternoon from 2-4 PM, Sunday Nov 29, 2-4 PM I'll be playing for the "Season's Interlude" Workshop at Yogis studio, on 3rd Street in downtown McMinnville. This workshop "offers an opportunity to escape from the emotional rollercoaster that can occur during the holiday season. We will explore how yoga can be used as a tool for stress release. Yoga offers some very effective methods that can be incorporated into your everyday life to help us learn how to remain calm, focused and centered.
We will incorporate pranayama or breathwork, along with yoga postures and philosophy. The second half of the class will feature Nadya King playing her harp during restorative yoga to allow you to soften, relax and renew in the midst of this busy, wonderful holiday time."

Instructors for the class & workshop are Lan Carpenter, M.Ed.,RYT, & Karen Manfrin, RYT (both are Registered Yoga Alliance Teachers)
Registration is still open, & workshop fee of $30 may be prepaid to reserve your space.

Yogis Hatha Yoga Studio

540 NE 3rd Street, McMinnville

Questions: 503.502.5790

email: yogistudio@hotmail.com

Sunday, November 15, 2009

How to Build a Website

I spent much of Saturday at my office with a co-worker, working on the website - which I - mostly - built myself! We began using an on-line appointment booking system this fall, & wanted to add a 'buy now' button for our gift certificate sales, since last winter's SNOW put quite a damper on that - check out my Tutorial over at Vestella's Vale :)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Yoga Class - delightful!

The class at Yogis 'with harp' was SO well received!!
Two teachers (thanks Lan & Karen) & a record 26 students (there was no room left on the floor :)

I brought my small harp, Tuille, & played quiet accompaniment for the hour long class. A favorite was the glissandos as the students reached Up-p-p & then back down - there were smiles all around the class.

Yogis is such a lovely studio, if you're in the area & enjoy movement, check it out!! Our next event will be playing for the 'Season's Interlude' workshop on Sun, November 29, from 2-4 PM (I'll accompany the second hour of the workshop)

Yogis is located at 540 NE 3rd Street, McMinnville - you may register or ask questions by calling 503-502-5790

Other harp offerings this month include my participation in the
Taizé service at 7 PM, this Sunday Nov 15, in the chapel at First Baptist church in downtown McMinnville (125 SE Cowls St, McMinnville, OR foe -472-7941)
Four of us from the
Taizé worship team attended a service in Portland on Sunday the 8th - so beautiful!

Here's a U-tube clip of a Taizé Service - candles, contemplative music, quiet, laying on of hands & sharing a few readings.

& next Saturday, Nov 21, I'll be playing downtown for the 'Third Sat' Art & Wine Walk, at Oregon Stationer's on 3rd, between Baker & Cowls, 5 PM - 6:30!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Yoga Workshop

Recently I was contacted by a couple of the teachers from 'Yogis' studio here on Third Street, inviting me to play harp for a Sunday afternoon Yoga workshop, & a 'preview' class on Sat, Nov 7! I love to play harp for workshops, & this will be a nice opportunity for all of us.

The Nov 7 class from 4-5:15 PM is one of several weekly 'community' classes, the student determines their own fee. The workshop will be from 2-4 PM, Sunday Nov 29, 2-4 PM (the Sun. after Thanksgiving - fee to be determined).

Instructors for the class & workshop are Lan Carpenter, M.Ed.,RYT, & Karen Manfrin, RYT (both are Registered Yoga Alliance Teachers) (you can read more about them on the Yogis teachers page)

Yogis has been open several years, providing a variety of offerings,
including Open, Intermediate, Hot, Gentle, Yin, and Vinyasa styles. The weekend workshops quite very popular, & offer more depth & personal attention for each student. We hope the harp/workshop combo will be a regular feature at Yogis.

Yogis is located at 540 NE 3rd St, McMinnville, Oregon, across the street from McMennamin's 'Hotel Oregon,' & their number is: 503.502.5790

Holiday bookings are already coming in, with events scheduled for Oregon Mutual Insurance & the Newcomers club. I'll keep you posted on dates as we move into Nov.

& you can reach me at: 503-474-2988 if you'd like more info, or to schedule me for your holiday event!

Happy Spooky days!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Lovely Wedding!

Sunday afternoon Rowan & I graced a wedding at a B & B in Lafayette, one of the small towns just N of McMinnville. The house itself was built in 1872, & is on the National Register of Historic Places. We were outside, under sunny skies.

The bride & I made all our arrangements thru e-mails, including the recent decision to have me play for the reception in addition to the ceremony. It was a small, simple wedding, & harp was a wonderful choice for the venue & style.

Since the Kelty House is on Lafayette's main street, & there was pretty steady traffic, it was a plesant surprise to find the tall hedges combined with the harp music masked the traffic sounds! The weather was perfect, warmer than yesterday, but still quite pleasant, & the tall trees provided plenty of shade.

One of the nicest things about playing for a reception or other 'wallpaper' (background music) event is the sense of peace the harp brings to the participants. The most common comment today (in addition to the general 'I love harp music!') was that the music kept the conversations quieter, masked the traffic sounds, & fit the event perfectly!

Each 'garden room' was beautifully set up, & the event was seamless. Colours were green & brown, my dress matched the Mother of the Bride's in colour! I wore the wreath during the reception, & had a nice chat (after the cake cutting) about some of the delightful plants now available to Oregon gardeners - Tea Camellias & Olive tree, with a friend & a fellow involved in the Nursery business. Several of the local wineries have planted olive trees, & Red Ridge Farms has even put in an olive press, both for their use & for other growers.
Camellias grow well in our area, olives are just being tried here. I have a couple of each, such beautiful plants.

Monday, July 20, 2009


It's summer & wedding season!
Since May, a group of 'Wine Country Wedding Professionals' has met each month at an event venue for education & networking. The food & decorations, & company are always great, & it's fun getting to know some of the other folks.

June's event was held at one of my favorite dance & event spots, the McMinnville Grand Ballroom. Tomorrow we'll meet at Navarra Gardens, on the Yamhill River, just outside Willamina. A few years ago I played at a riverbank wedding there - it's a lovely spot.

I've been asked to be one of the featured performers, so will have a chance to show off the harp & play some tunes. The coordinator, Becky Simpson, has 'No Ordinary Affair,' & works hard making these events fun, interesting, & inspiring.
Time to go practice!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Who's on Third??

What a treat harping on the street! I borrowed my friend Dennis' Crate Taxi amp, & Rowan & I spent a couple of delightful hours playing tunes & sharing smiles.

Today I was pleased to find that the photo a News Register photographer (Marcus Larson) snapped yesterday made the FRONT PAGE of the paper!! (to see the photo & caption, scroll thru the photos at the top of the page, mine is the 3rd of 5)

This was our first year playing for the festival - I hope to play a couple of days for next year's event. A double bike trailer/stoller made transporting Rowan, the music & amp a joy (& no worries about parking!)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Harping This Week

Just a reminder that I'll be 'out & about' playing harp on Third Street in the 500 block during McMinnville's popular 'Who's on Third??' event - stroll down Third Street, see old friends & vendors (150 booths) and choose from an array of festival food.

Last year, the name changed from "Turkey Rama" & the focus shifted from increasingly trite & commercial to promoting local businesses, artists & musicians.
Other events around Oregon inc: the Salem Art Fair, the Lavendar Festival, with lavender farms around Yamhill County open to guests & artists in the fields doing 'plein aire' drawings/paintings, the Sisters Quilt Show, & the Oregon Country Faire down Veneta way! Lots to choose from!

'Who's on Third?' Nadya & Rowan - Friday July 10: 1:30-3:30 in the 500 block (on Third Street)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Sweet Market

I'm SOO glad I played at the Market this week, & not last, as unexpected 'weather' had everyone scrambling to pack up - wind, pouring rain & a 'river' flooding one of the alleys!

T'was nice & mild yesterday, & the musicians rate a sun umbrella, which marks the space & provides a nice shade. It's early in the season, but there were many visitors. The harp is such a fascinating instrument, drawing children & adults into a magical circle.

I brought my fairy dust, & sprinkled cheeks - one little girl put a doller (from her grandpa) into my basket, then asked "but, what do I get??" I said "the music" - had forgotten I'd brot a vial of fairy dust (ultra fine glitter) . . . so I pulled that out for later visits. It's fun to see eyes light up, & hear 'I've always loved the harp!'

I always enjoy playing at the market, tho it's a long 'wallpaper' (background music) gig - 1:30 - 6 PM Thursdays. I didn't play anything a second time! I use coloured tabs in my books, to mark the different keys, allowing me to play a number of pieces without having to flip levers. Each string has two settings, with a lever acting like a guitar's 'fret' - flip the lever & the string is a bit shorter, & a half step higher. I 'set' the strings with A, B & E tuned to the flat; so to get the key of C, flip 3 levers per octave.

Monday the 15th I'll play harp for a private retirement party, & Sun the 28th at Third Street Spriitual Center, for their Sunday Service. Jacqueline Mandell, a Tibetan Buddhist leader from Portland will be the speaker.

Come & give a listen!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Summer Music

In a few weeks, our Farmer's Market will open for the season - a time we all look forward to! The market opens Thur, May 28, on Cowl's Street, between 2nd & 3rd, & runs for 20 weeks. The Downtown Association coordinates booking vendors & musicians.

McMinnville's market is well known throughout the valley, with vendors coming from the immediate area & from out of County. Produce fresh from the farms, jewelry, soap, honey, herb plants, meat, cheese & eggs from naturally farmed animals, fresh flowers, & representatives from the Native Plant Society & Garden Club . . . the list of this year's vendors is posted on the DTA site.

One of the features is weekly music, & I've played harp at the Farmer's Market since 2003, always a fun event!
This year I'll be at the
Farmers' Market: Thur, June 11from 1:30-6 PM. Link
Another popular event is 'Who's on Third?' "The second weekend in July, McMinnville's longest standing festival (formerly known as Turkey Rama), offers a stroll downtown with over 150 booths featuring arts and crafts, local community and non-profit groups, area businesses, and an array of festival food."

Last year, the name changed, & the focus shifted from increasingly trite & commercial to promoting local businesses, artists & musicians. The 'carnival' has been moved out of the downtown area, & booth spaces are now in the center of the street (rather than on the sidewalks). This year I've been invited to be one a 'street musician,' stationed on the 500 block.
In the past, I've painted faces, done massage, so it will be fun to 'wear a new hat' as Ladyharp!

'Who's on Third?' Friday July 10: 1:30-3:30 in the 500 block (on Third Street)

I hope you can make it to one or both events!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Saint Patrick's Day at Bistro Maison

The wedding (my daughter's) was lovely :) We all had a grand time, the harping went well, she was a beautiful bride, etc! The music all came together, & things are returning to what passes for normal.

Deborah from Bistro Maison, a lovely French restaurant in McMinnville, called to invite me to play harp for Saint Patrick's Day dinner, Tue March 17. A few years ago I played for this dinner, & it was very popular - a full house in a lovely setting with great food, & harp - what's not to like?
So if you're thinking of going out for the evening, & would like to hear some Celtic music, played on an Irish style Celtic harp, Bistro Maison is the place!
Most of the tunes will be Irish, with a smattering of other Celtic pieces.

Of course, any harper might have some mixed feelings about P
atrick himself ( ~ 400 AD) - who drove the 'snakes' (or druids?) out of Ireland. Harpers, who held the traditional stories & songs in their heads, were often persecuted by those wanting to spread the 'new religion.'

From Alison Vardy's website: "The period starting from the 1600s during English rule in Ireland was difficult for Irish harpers as the harp as a folk and court instrument was suppressed to prevent a resurgence of nationalism. Harps were burnt and harpers executed. The tragic extinction of this harping tradition at the end of the eighteenth century had a number of causes: the Angloization of the Irish (and Scottish) cultures, the increased popularity of step-dancing and the fiddle, and the inability of the harp to play the musical accidentals required for classical music, which started coming in to vogue in Dublin and Edinburgh during the then Baroque era. Only in Wales was the Folk harp tradition unbroken."

In the late 18th century, Edward Bunting began collecting traditional tunes, including many by Turlough Carolan (1670-1738), the blind Irish folk harpist. My set will include a number of these, & other Irish & Celtic pieces, including some from Wales & from Brittany & Celtic Spain!

Some of 'Patrick's Breastplate' comes from an old Gaelic blessing:

I bind to myself today:
The power of Heaven,
The light of the sun,

the brightness of the moon,
The splendor of fire,
The flash of lightening,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of the sea
The stability of Earth,
& the compactness of Rocks.

In a workshop with a Gaelic woman raised as a Druid, I learned a dance (similar to TaiChi) that accompanies this blessing. Harps have become the national instrument of Ireland, & I've collected a few harp items from Ireland & England this winter, including these two bells.

Monday, January 19, 2009


In a few weeks, my daughter is getting married, & I've been practicing her 'special request' songs! Sharon Thormahlen's 'Planting Dandelions' (from 'A Rose in Winter') while the kids toss flower petals; the theme from 'Friends' for the attendants, & 'You Say it Best When You Say Nothing at All' for her own walk down the isle. I'll play one of my songs for the candle lighting, & the Bridal Chorus at the end. She's a beautiful bride, & her girls are so excited to 'finally' be in a wedding! I'll be playing 'Rowan Luchair' (above), my 34 string harp from Rick Kemper.

It's also time for the annual publication of the Bridal guide, & my ad is up for renewal. Our local paper gives out the guide to all brides as they publish their engagement photos, or their wedding date, so it's a good connecting point.

I have a tentative booking for a Sept. wedding; at times I play for several weddings in a year, other years, only a few; & there are always the requests for a CD - maybe this year??