October 7, 8 & 9 2011

at the
Mary Taylor Memorial
United Methodist Church
and Hilton Garden Inn
in Milford, Connecticut

Hosted by 
Stephen Bennett & John Thomas

Another successful Gathering!

Here's what returning attendees had to say

Here's what some of our many first-time attendees had to say

This was our Schedule of Events

And here is the evidence!

Comments from returning Harp Guitar Gathering attendees

"Dear Harp Guitarites, Thanks to all of you who attended HGG9. Your enthusiasm, helpfulness, and willingness to laugh every time I so much as mentioned Gregg's name made for an extraordinary weekend. Thanks!" -John Thomas (co-host)

"Great gathering, John! Thanks again for everything you, Stephen and all the people responsible for the event did to make it the best one yet." -Steve Farmer, Georgia

"I've been to the Gatherings since #4 and I say "best one yet" after every one of them." -Michael Schreiner, Florida
"Thanks to all of you who work behind the scenes helped make this event a success. Thanks to all who freely gave your talents for all to enjoy, and enjoy we did. Lots of practicing & it showed. Great job everyone!!!! Had an enjoyable time getting to know many of new HG Family members, let's keep in touch, you know who you are." -Bruce Labadie, Florida
"It was a great three days: the location, the weather, the venue, all the HG people, and the music. Wow!" -Pete Bradshaw, California

Comments from First-Time Harp Guitar Gathering attendees

"I would like to thank you for one of the best weekends of my life - the Harp Guitar Gathering in Milford. What marvelous instruments, what great people, what wonderful music, what brilliant sense of humor, what a civilized and peaceful atmosphere! What a great place - looking at the pics and videos I took home I can see the beauty of that incredible church again. And, of course, what excellent organization! Everyone who has ever organized even the tiniest event knows how easy it is to overlook something and make mistakes. When things go as smoothly as at this HGG (at least it looked that way to me) it is a sign of meticulous planning, and of a quality that no participant should ever take for granted." -Michael Lohr, Germany
"I'm already looking forward to next year. What a great time! As a first-timer, I was pleasantly surprised. Again I would like to say what a great experience HGG9 was. Complete, unabashed, glorious bombardment of music. It’s always great to be around people speaking a similar language. The best thing about these gatherings is the shelving of the egos. The best mingle with the beginners–everyone is approachable and happy to share things." -Paul Price, Florida
"It was long overdue but I can't tell you how much I enjoyed my first HGG. I would mention the names of some of the wonderful people I met and got to break bread with but I would be afraid to offend those that I left out. The concerts were a highlight for me and I can't fathom how some of these folks aren't household names. People I met at the gathering were uniformly warm and friendly and I also got to try out countless outstanding harp guitars. I've got a lot of time in the woodshed ahead of me to get ready for the next gathering! I would be remiss in not mentioning the hard work that Jaci Rohr, Nancy Bennett and Linda Morgan did in front of and behind the scenes. Not that Gregg, Stephen, John or Joe were slacking in any way, but those ladies are the stealth weapon behind the HGG." -Esau Simmons, Massachusetts
"Just wanted to say that I had a great time attending my first harp guitar gathering. Hopefully the first of many. I enjoyed learning about the amazing instrument. You and all of the performers were very nice and insightful. Glad I could be a part of it. Hope to see you soon." -Glenn Roth, Connecticutt
"I was overwhelmed by the hospitality and generosity of all the attendees. Even if it was my first time, I felt right at home. I met a lot of incredible human beings and talented people with whom I wish to keep in touch. Congratulations to all the people involved in the organization of this event. Great job! The workshops I attended thru the weekend were very useful since they taught me a lot about my instrument and its origins. Thanks  for giving me the opportunity to share my music with you and to discover yours. Your positive comments gave me the energy to keep going. I'm already looking forward to next year in Dallas where we will meet again!" -Claude Laflamme, Quebec

Highlights on Gregg's Blogg

Harp Guitar X-rays are Front Page News

The Water is Wide in C#

James Kline, Our Special Featured Guest

Featured Performer Ed Littlefield, Jr.

HGG9: Luthier Panel and Demo

HGG9: Best Turnout Ever!

HGG9: Concert Performers

HGG9: Scheduled Events

Featured Performers:

Special Featured Guest:

Muriel Anderson (TN)

Stephen Bennett (CT)

Mike Doolin (OR)

Andy Wahlberg (FL)


Ed Littlefield, Jr. (WA)

James Kline

Virtuoso of the 19-string Arch Harp Guitar

Concert Performers:

A veritable plethora

Luthier Panel hosted by Kathy Wingert (CA)

Schedule of Events
(subject to change)

Segment descriptions by the inimitable John Thomas

FRIDAY, October 7, 2011

Location: Hilton Garden Inn, Gathering Room



Registration table will be open 4 to 6 at the Hotel




Opening Remarks

The state that was home to the world’s first Frisbee (1871, when Yalies turned over the pie tins of the Frisbee Pie Company and let ‘em fly), first hamburger (Louie’s Lunch in 1895), first lollipop-making machine (1908, named for its inventor’s favorite racehorse), first Polaroid camera (1934), first helicopter (1939), first color television (1948), and first calzone (Tony and Lucille’s in 1953) welcomes you to its first Harp Guitar Gathering.


Open Mic Night

An opportunity for any and all attendees to play for the crowd


SATURDAY, October 8, 2011

Location: Mary Taylor Memorial United Methodist Church


Coffee Hour / Registration

Coffee served, while final registration occurs


Opening Remarks: Stephen Bennett & John Thomas


Harp Guitar Security Check (x-rays and harp guitars): John Thomas

If Obi-Wan Kenobi had played harp guitar, he would have spent his spare time gazing at X-rays and 3-D CT-scans of rare, multi-stringed fretted instruments instead of displaying holograms of a princess Leia in distress.  If you want to see a see-through rendering of your own harp guitar dance in front of your eyes, get it to John a few days before the HGG9.  As a bonus, your instrument will glow in the dark for at least a millennium, making it the perfect match for that Nudie suit that you wear to your gigs.


Arranging for Harp Guitar: The On-the-Spot Challenge

A trio of players (Stephen Bennett, Andy Wahlberg and Muriel Anderson) will be informed of a song chosen by and known only to Frank Doucette.  They will then have just 15 minutes to woodshed a brand new arrangement.  At 10:30, the three return and get 20 minutes each to explain their process, choices and results.


Larson Brothers Update: Robert Hartman & John Thomas

Everything that’s new in the world of the old!  The oldest Larson instrument yet discovered, revelations about the evolution of the brothers’ designs, and, yep, dancing 3-D images of the work of the brothers Larson.


Lunch Break (tbd)
At nearby cafes of your choosing…


Songs with Harp Guitar: Ed Littlefield from Washington State

There’ll be no humbugs in the house when this popular multi-instrumentalist from the band Marley’s Ghost sings early Americana while plucking his Dyer-style Merrill harp guitar.


The 19-String Arch Harp Guitar: James Kline from The Canary Islands

Though the appellation for James’s homeland, Islas Canarias, derives from the Latin phrase Insula Canaria, or “Island of the Dogs,” James will make his instrument sing like a canary and you’ll howl like a canine with delight as he demonstrates his novel techniques and music on his unique nylon-string arch-harp-guitar with super trebles.


Luthier Panel: Hosted by Kathy Wingert

Loquacious luthiers artfully articulate performance parameters and aesthetic ethics regarding contemporary creations.


Dinner Break


Evening Public Concert

The 9th Annual Harp Guitar Gathering Concert
A selection of the finest harp guitarists in the world in a spectacular and varied program


SUNDAY, October 9, 2011

Location: Hilton Garden Inn, Multiple Rooms and  
Mary Taylor Memorial United Methodist Church

A change in location to allow concurrent events throughout the morning

Main Gathering Room

Secondary Rooms



Open Mic 
(all levels) hosted by
Andy Wahlberg

Anyone and everyone is encouraged to play for others onstage.


Individual Luthier Demonstrations 

Instrument tryouts available


Hands-on Harp Guitar Instruction

Simultaneous semi-staggered workshops given by Stephen Bennett, Mike Doolin and Muriel Anderson.  Bring your harp guitar, choose your favorite performer, and learn a tune!  When you return home, you’ll dazzle your friends and silence your critics.

10:00-11:00 (60 min): Stephen Bennett will teach an arrangement of the theme from the classic film High Noon - "Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling."  This will be a very hands-on workshop.  The music and tab notation will be given out - but at the end of the session.  Teaching will be done by Stephen playing and the class repeating, over and over again.  And again.  And again.  When you leave, you will have correctly played each component part of the arrangement.  It's then up to you to put it all together at home!  The guitar will be in standard tuning and you'll need sub-basses of G, D, A, B and E.  The tab will be for sub-basses (highest pitch to lowest: G D C B A E).
10:00-11:00 (60 min): Mike Doolin will teach his arrangement of Hall & Oate's "Sara Smile."  This tune is a great harp guitar vehicle with its strong bass line and chord progression.  Mike's arrangement illustrates techniques for arranging "band" songs for harp guitar, playing independent bass lines against melodies, "vocal" phrasing, and harmonic chords.  Printed handouts will be supplied with the arrangement in TAB and standard notation.  Standard tuning, but DADGAD friendly.
10:30-11:30 (60 min): Muriel Anderson will be teaching her tune "View From Space."  This beautiful piece of music features lots of harmonics, and features a particular pattern that combines one harmonic per every three notes.  She will break this pattern down so that it is accessible to all workshop participants.  Printed transcription will be supplied.  This will be an in-depth workshop and you should be prepared to work.

Presentation by Harpguitars.net editor Gregg Miner
(Historical, Contemporary, and a surprise or two)

The pontiff pontificates!  Something interesting, informative, and entertaining.

1:00 Lunch Break 

Travel to the Mary Taylor Memorial United Methodist Church

3:00 Afternoon Public Concert

The 9th Annual Harp Guitar Gathering Concert
A selection of the finest harp guitarists in the world in a spectacular and varied program


Travel to the Hilton Garden Inn, Gathering Room (shuttle service available)

Closing Dinner



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