Northwest Autoharp Gathering, July 27th to July 30th, 2017
The 2017 Northwest Autoharp Gathering did not disappoint! Once again auto-harpists basked in a haven that enabled them to form musical connections with one another.
Getting settled is a cinch since the well-appointed rooms at the Ananda center include lots of storage space, linens, and comfortable beds. Delicious meals, snacks, and beverages are provided throughout the three-day retreat, enabling musicians of all levels to focus solely on each other and the music. And to keep us focused and fit, yoga classes are offered for early risers by Ananda instructors!
The 70 registrants warmly greeted each other and, upon arriving Thursday afternoon, received bound books with workshop materials. Beginners and newbies were invited to an orientation workshop, assuring they would feel a part of things by dinner.
The music officially kicked off when participants equipped with instruments, banners, kazoos, shakers, sticks, and hula hoops marched from the dining room to the auditorium to the tune of Golden Slippers. There they heard a sampling of music from the four featured performers and a brief synopsis of the many workshops offered by them as well as over a dozen musically accomplished volunteers. Then guided jamming and non-guided jamming commenced for players at every level.
Friday and Saturday were a whirlwind of activity packed with workshops, special events, song circles, and performances. Meditative opportunities abounded at the Ananda site as well…. walking trails, gardens, chickens, cattle, and delicious blackberries were readily at hand.
Highlights included contra dancing, Hawaiian happy hour, gospel jam, bazaar, a cozy teahouse for participants to perform and hear each other play, an open stage performance, the fourth annual Sunday morning tribute sing-along, guided/unguided jams for all playing levels, and spectacular performances Friday and Saturday night. Les Gustafson Zook, Ann Norris, Rick Fitzgerald, and Laura Gregg were a joy to hear, play with, and learn from!
Best of all, we are felt included!. We all broke bread together at an array of round tables in the dining hall and had many opportunities to play, dance, and sing with performers, friends, fellow autoharp players, and other instrumentalists. The sense of community is hard to describe!
Needless to say, many satisfied, weary, and musically fulfilled individuals reluctantly dispersed after lunch Sunday afternoon. New and old musical friendships and connections will likely flourish throughout the year until next year’s gathering.
The volunteers who provided amplification, registration materials and distribution, props, decorations, leadership, accompaniment, set up, planning, and outreach know who you are. Pete Daigle’s offerings are appreciated as well. He was always happy to assist with luthier related emergencies, questions, instrument orders, and accessories. His workshop provided an overview of ways people can survive without him!
We look forward to another great event next year. We are excited to announce next year’s instructors will be Heidi and John Cerrigione, Kathy Wieland, Will Smith, and Hal Weeks.
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