Sixth Annual Harp Guitar Gathering
October 11-12, 2008
Marylhurst University, Portland, Oregon
...and a marvelous time was had by:
Stealing ideas when the other
guy's not looking...
Completely winging it
Concerning HGG6 the overall feeling of family was almost overwhelming, much more so than previous years. The level of commitment that our community has to each other is amazing. I was able to reconnect with old friends from previous years and connect with new faces but old names. It was wonderful to be able to finally meet Jose G. and Jason Carter face to face after speaking with them for a long time via internet.
1) My lesson from John Doan in the cold parking lot at Motel 6.
2) Trading ideas with my Hewett brother Jose.
|4) Lunch with Stephan Sedgwick, his mother, Carter Lancaster, Jason Carter at the taco place (yes, I was the only American representative in the car).||
6) Being one of the last
performances of the Out of Blues bar before it turned into a strip
7) Norm's Strawberry Fields Forever arrangement (please record soon), Muriel playing "View from Space," "Why Worry" Doan/Anderson duet, Brad's AVC, Jason Carter's Violin bowing, Mike Doolin's Jazz duet with a sax player, and as always "the water is wide." - Nate Blaustein
|3) The 15ish people crowded into my room Saturday night singing Beatles tunes until 2 am (when we were shut down). Of course we had to call Andy Mckee to tell him what he was missing out on.||5) Sharing the experience with my wife and mother-in-law.|
|- Jeff and Gregg playing Wood Dragon.||
Many thanks to Mike for running the event, to Nancy for being the MC,
and to everyone who sold merchandise and helped with the logistics.
I hope to see all of you next year.
This year's gathering was a great event filled with history, luthiers and lots of players of the harp guitar. Our hosts Mike and Nancy saw to all the details and made every one feel at home on the beautiful Marylhurst University Campus.
Many of us initially gathered on Friday night at "Out of the Blues" and took turns playing a tune or two to the delight of a full house of harp guitarists!
The next morning Gregg Miner was impressive as usual reviewing various harp guitar history that he chronicled over the year and published on Harpguitars.net as well as sharing with a panel of players the behind the scenes of the making of "Harp Guitar Dreams" that he produced. Harp guitar history was wonderfully enhanced with brief talks from direct descendants of Chris Knutsen (Jean Cammon) and the legendary Larson Brothers (Robert Hartmann) and I added to the mix bringing a collection of twenty antique instruments in an effort to provide a historical context for the harp guitar.
The place was crawling in harp guitar makers that had come from all over the world. There seemed to be an almost continuous lineup of new designs on display upon which many players wore their fingers down trying them all out. I was grateful for the effort and insight Jeffrey Elliott made in presenting a detailed discussion of the making of my instrument way back in 1986.
The level of playing just seems to be getting higher and higher each year and could be heard in the round robin, the two public concerts, and in the numerous workshops. All of our core group were amazing and we were all delighted in hearing some new-to-us players like Jason Carter who mesmerized us with his contemplative style on his Sedgwick harp guitar (including his playing with a bow no less).
I was particularly impressed with several players who really stepped it up this year - Pete Bradshaw with his calming yet strong performance of Hawaiian inspired music; Brad Hoyt's sensitive composing and playing on his new Sedgwick instrument; Jeff Titus with his confident virtuosity and his articulate discussion of harp guitar notation; Dave and Tone Powell for their fun Smothers Brothers energy, etc, etc.
All of us there had the time of our lives. If you missed it, consider making it out next year when the gathering returns to Williamsburg, Virginia. I hope to see you there. - John Doan
Here are my comments and favorite moments - well, the whole event was a favorite moment!
As a first time attendee, I really didn't know what to expect. I knew I was going to experience the music of some of the best harp guitarist out there ... and what I saw went beyond my expectations. I listened carefully to every musician who performed and it was also very inspirational as well watching the luthiers talk about their creations with such enthusiasm. A very touching thing was to witness so much passion about the harp guitar from musicians, luthiers and audience, and of course sharing the stage with players that I admire so much. Thank you all for making me feel welcome and part of your harp guitar gang. - Jose Garmenzzi
Here are some of my highlights from the 6th Harp Guitar Gathering:
- Getting an opportunity to perform on my new harp guitar for everyone during the Sunday afternoon concert was the highlight of the weekend for me. It was amazing to finally get a chance to play the instrument on stage that has been in the making since the second harp guitar gathering.
- Performing my tune "The Other Things" on piano with Don Alder on harp guitar. The feel and style of his harp guitar arrangement takes the music to a new level. It was great! (Thanks also to Gregg for bringing the whole audience onstage for that intimate "piano bar" feeling)."
- Seeing the recognition that Steve was getting throughout the weekend for making such an amazing instrument. People were marveling at the innovation as well as its tonal balance. It was confirmed that weekend that the sound of the instrument matched his craftsmanship.
- Visiting friends that I haven't seen since the last Harp Guitar Gathering that was held in Oregon.
All in all, it was a great time! From now on, I will be known as a pianist and harp guitarist. Life is good! - Brad Hoyt
Another great Gathering! As always, for me it is about the old friends and many new friends that immediately became "family" - Jason Carter, John Thomas, Bill Storms, Dennis Merrill, Tim Bertsch to name a few. They helped fill some of the emotional gap from missing Stephen, Andy M and Dan.
Of course, instruments, music, builders and players - so many discoveries and new creativity, I couldn't take it all in. Eventually, it'll all find it's way on to this site, but for the emotion of the event, you need to be there. Hope to see you all again - and those who didn't make it - next year!
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