HGG9: Best Turnout Ever!

Before I continue with re-capping the performers and events, I wanted to thank, and introduce you to, all the past and new attendees who contributed to making this our biggest Registration turnout in our 9 years.  What was especially gratifying were those who came for the weekend who don’t play at all (spouses, friends and fans), and, importantly, at least a half-dozen 6-string players (of all levels) who don’t yet own a harp guitar.  Yes, it’s something we’ve been “harping” on for years (and I’ve blogged to death in the last month or two) – you want to come to a Gathering before buying your first (or second) harp guitar, if you possibly can.  We managed to find loaner harp guitars for all these players, and we saw them trying out dozens more.

Below, I’d like to show all these folks that I have photos of, including all the non-concert players who entertained us during the various open mics or impromptu hallway jams.  I’ll also show the Friday dinner tables with all the guests our photographer Chuck Thompson managed to catch.  At the end, I’ll list all the remaining registered Gathering attendees we don’t yet have a photo of – if you see your name on the list, and someone took a pic of you, please share it!

(Table names are only of those seated):

Harp Guitar playing friends from past Gatherings included:

Co-host John Thomas, with his vintage Dyer Style 7

Mark Farley, with his nylon-strung “classical” Lark in the Morning

Steve Farmer (left), Bettie Swarts and Dan Pease, with Muriel Anderson jamming on fiddle

Ed Dowling, with Benoît’s instrument

Michael Schreiner, with a beautiful Sullivan-Elliott-style harp guitar he built for himself

Nancy Conescu, with her Doolin electric

Ken Bonfield, with his Alan Carruth “Beastess”

Neal Rudy, with his Worland “Eaton lyraharp”

Martin Leykomm, with the infamous “Mystery Sunburst Dyer” which he now owns

Mike Belotto, with a travel 6-string practice guitar

Photographer Chuck Thompson, with his McCormick “Nashville-style” harp guitar

My (2 years older) brother Mark, with a borrowed Holloway
(me on my Dunn harp-uke)

And the plethora of first-time-attending current and future harp guitar players included:

Michael Lohr (from Germany), with his Holloway

Esau Simmons, with his very cool Beardsell

Paul Price, with his Holloway

Bob Workman, with his grandfather’s Dyer type 1 that we blogged about 2 months ago

Richard Reed, with Dennis Mitchell’s new short scale HG

Kinloch Nelson (pronounced “Kin-law”), with Kathy Wingert’s short scale HG

Jay Buckey, with his black Ukraine-built Dyer style

Glenn Roth, with Stephen Bennett’s original Merrill

James Platt, with Stephen’s brand new Holloway
(Do not let James tune your guitar…)

Robert Miller, with his Hewett

Phil Lester, with the Ukraine HG we raffled off

Robert Picott

All the players combined to make a spectacular grand finale (complete with “harp guitar choir”):

Sunday afternoon (when we were all in tune…)

Additional Gathering Goers this year not shown above (or are in previous or upcoming blogs) included:

For first time:

Randy Klimpert & son Nate
LaVonne Arendsee
John Hoyt (Brad’s uncle) & Suzanne Mount
Reid Kaplan & Sarah Whitaker
Steve Roan
Nick Waters

Loyal regulars:

Janice Mitchell (Dennis’ wife)
Susan Taylor (Stacy Hobb’s better half)

I think that covers everybody (pending the rest of the stage performers); if I’ve left anyone out, please remind me!

  1. Bernie N. Says:

    Being as it seems there were quite a few there; off the cuff, how many Holloway players would you say have changed their tuners (did you notice)? Changing both sets on mine made a world of difference.
    When the Gathering comes back to the Midwest area, I will make every effort to take it in.

  2. Gregg Says:

    No, Bernie, I didn’t have the time (or attention span) to contemplate such a study. I know plenty of Holloway customers who have not changed theirs. It all depends on one’s needs and temperament. The new models should be better as well. You should try some of my vintage 18-friction-tuner harp guitars some time!

  3. Benoit Says:

    Non mention the German instrument with wooden pegs, a nightmare to tune!

  4. Steve Farmer Says:

    Hi Bernie… Before HGG9 I replaced the base tuners on my Holloway with Waverlys. There’s a reason for the upgrade option. See you in Dallas!

  5. Gregg Says:

    Just in from Stephen Bennett:

    Greetings from the road. Nancy drove me to the airport at 6 on the Tuesday morning after Gathering so I could head to Denver and start the tour I’m on with Andy McKee (Gathering attendee for the first 5 years) and Antoine Dufour (a great guitarist who also is playing harp guitar these days and liable to show up at a Gathering of these years). We’ve played shows in CO, KS, MN, WI, IL (the Hartmans came out!), WV, KY and the last couple of nights in Ohio. We’re on our way to Ann Arbor, Michigan right now.

    ANYWAY, just wanted to belatedly say thanks again to all of you for coming to the Gathering this year! It was really great to have a bunch of new faces. In fact, it’s not only great – it’s an essential part of our evil plan for eventual world domination!

    I believe Benoit’s harp guitar that’s for sale is currently residing at my house in Connecticut. So anyone who is potentially interested in this instrument – and near enough to come check it out – shoot me an email and we’ll figure out a time you can do so. Of course, I won’t be home until next month, so not until then!

    Lastly, yes: replacing the tuners on the original batch of Holloways is a good idea. The latest instruments are supposed to be better, but I didn’t have enough time to check them out yet – the two that were sent to me only arrived on Friday of the Gathering.

    Thanks Chuck, for the great photos!

    And thanks Gregg, for posting all of this!!!

    Best to all,

  6. Bernie N. Says:

    Hello again, SB! We met shortly after you wrote this; at the Ark in Ann Arbor. (I had you guys sign my Holloway Certificate.)
    Such a treat to have you within arm’s reach and playing sweet and mellow–the calm before the storm of McKee!

    Folks–a rich and varied show, nicely played in solos and group set…man, does Andy fling those fingers/hands around!
    Antoine was the sleeper hit (as I talked to many in the audience who weren’t familiar with his playing); sensitive and artful. Your Beatles tune was the tune I took with me as a highlight, Stephen. (After I caught my breath from Andy’s “Drifting”!)

  7. Bob Hartman Says:

    Another great year at the gathering. Was happy to see SB and Andy and Antoine in Madison. Gave a great concert.

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