Too much to mention, so I’m collecting here my Facebook posts of last month’s event for those who aren’t on FB. Please note that this isn’t a report on the event, just a few of my own activities and highlights there. You can now read host Stephen Bennett’s re-cap here.
HGG20 – the 20th Anniversary Harp Guitar Gathering was definitely one for the history books. Here is the first official photo from our CHGP, Chuck Thompson. If you open at 100%, you’ll be able to see everyone who attended. This year, someone was smart enough to suggest including the spouses in the Saturday night post-concert finale shot (alas, my wife Jaci was back home taking care of Maezi). There were lots of old faces and a few new ones. If you need names, just let me know.
I find myself once again after an HGG with almost no photos of my own, as I’m either working, prepping, planning, visiting, or noodling on this, that and the other instrument (always something new!).
So here are a very few with captions:
Thursday night’s dinner party at the Bennetts was a blast. Downstairs in SB’s music room, friends and fans got a glimpse of some of his treasures and mementos, including an early Bennett & Gurley photo!
An onstage candid with Tommy
And the man himself, just after accompanying….
…Martin Pleass, who did some fantastic Boogie Woogie piano
A beautiful and rare quiet moment at the end of the camp hike to the lake, with Benoit Meulle-Stef, Sophie and Mateo
One of my favorite photos (by Linda Morgan) from our final Monday morning breakfast at the Harp Guitar Gathering: I call him “the old man,” (no one else can), but he’s living legend Bob Hartman, grandson of Carl Larson, co-builder of all our Dyer (and other) harp guitars. SO glad he and Carol made it out for the 20th. At his command – with matching Hawaiian shirt ensembles – we did a special authentic “W. J. Dyer Harp Plectral Trio” introduction to the Water is Wide finale (second photo: SB with his HG, me with my mando, Andy Wahlberg with borrowed harp mandola (one of the 5 built).
Yeah, there were MANY surprises at HGG20 last weekend – and not just the elaborate theatrical performance we put on telling the complete Andy Wahlberg Story (50 years playing harp guitar!). I’m glad I thought to ask Jayne Sprinkle if I might play a quick little tune on her pedal harp (part of her duo with husband Randall). Very kind of them to set up a surprise opening of Sunday’s afternoon show, where I surreptitiously just started playing while Randall brought up the sound. I’m glad I asked – even though everyone by now has my 1995 Xmas CD set (with its two harp solos), SO many said after “I didn’t know, or, Wow, I forgot Gregg played the harp!” Just a small thing (I did my old favorite “Women of Ireland”), but it was nice to share that side of me with my HG-playing friends on our 20th year. Thank you, Jayne and Randall!
Jayne busted Chuck some years ago when he tried to photograph her through the strings. This is considered gauche and referred to as “putting the player in ‘harp jail’.” However, there IS a qualification, and that is IF you, the harpist, find yourself inadvertently in Harp Jail, you must “throw a Gookie.”
What REALLY made the 20th Anniversary Harp Guitar Gathering one to remember? Our surprise stage production of The Andy Wahlberg Story, celebrating Andy’s 50 years of playing harp guitar! The two Stephen Bennetts put this together and a whole secret cast – some last minute – was engaged (see last caption). They had the idea to combine Andy’s true-life story with another Andy, presenting this as a “lost episode” from The Andy Griffith Show. Naturally, there was only one choice for Barney Fife, which I played to my full pants-hiking limit.
(Photos by Linda Morgan, Benoit Meulle-Stef and Chuck Thompson)
In the Mayberry sheriff’s office
I actually got them up much higher than this, and truly (insert high-pitched voice) suffered for my art.
On the phone (only 1 prop available) with Gomer (a scene-stealing Mike Doolin).
Cast and crew, L-R: Michael Schreiner (guitar store proprietor), me, Dave Powell (bewigged as young Andy, a tour de force performance!), Mike (Gomer), Mateo Coltura (shoe-shiner), John Riley (narrator), Kitty Wahlberg (as herself), Andy (front seat in the audience), Travis Bowman (band), Kinloch Nelson (Kitty’s father), Matt Thomas (band), Stephen Bennett (musical director/band), Martin Pleass (Andy, of the Whippersnappers), Randall Sprinkle (sound effects), Ed Dowling (band)
SB with the other Stephen Bennett, our writer/director and all-around lovely man.
Thanks to all who came!