The MN Scottish Harp Weekend started off Saturday morning with the usual bustle of tuning harps, filling out forms, figuring out how to turn the lights on in an unfamiliar building, and finding creative ways to display the SHSA banner.
Saturday: The Competition & Evening Concert
Before we started, our enthusiastic and personable judge, Jen Narkevicius, reminded the contestants about the importance of breathing, and also urged them to keep their performance in perspective with the rest of their lives; it was a much-needed reminder! And then we were off: eight harpists and one ukulele player competing in six different categories.
One of our local sponsors, Musicmakers, Inc., gave a short presentation on their harps and brought several harps to display.
In a pause between categories, Jen taught us all the “shortest and worst Scottish poem” that she knew, which was indeed quite short and uneventful.
Around noon, we held a short awards ceremony.
- Beginner: 1st – Paula Bhagyam .
- Novice: 1st – Veronika Stanichar, 2nd – Erin McLean, 3rd – Diane Smith.
- Apprentice: 1st – Emma Dangers, 2nd – Alexis Hernandez Abreu, 3rd – Sandy Waterman.
- Master: 1st – Stephanie Claussen
- Ensemble: 1st – Emily Taege & Stephanie Claussen (ukulele & harp duet)
- Harp & Voice: 1st – Sandy Waterman
- Harper of the Day: Sandy Waterman (for being able to produce another tune on the spot)
- Most Promising Scottish Harper: Veronika Stanichar (for her Scottish tune selections and performance)
Jen Narkevicius shared overall comments with the harpists, emphasizing the importance of listening to Scottish music and also the tapping of toes! She also awarded two special prizes, Harper of the Day and Most Promising Scottish Harper.
An evening concert rounded out our Saturday with good attendance from local harpists and friends.
Sunday: Brunch, A Harp Workshop & Music Jam
Sunday began with a Scottish brunch of sausages and ham, scones, tomato tart, tea and toast (because who doesn’t like socializing with other harpists?) followed by an excellent workshop from Jen. We learned a lovely little strathspey called “They Stole My Wife Last Night.”
The weekend ended with a music jam, where several harpists were joined by local musicians on concertina, mandolin, ukelele, fiddle, bodhran, guitar, recorder and flute!
It was a busy weekend and as always, we went home inspired to practice, to listen, and to play more harp. Thank you to everyone who participated! Our weekend of harp fun was made possible by grants and/or sponsorship from Musicmakers Inc., Stoney End, the American Harp Society, and the MN Scottish Fair and Highland Games.